Leonid Cherkassky, MD

Assistant Professor of Oncology
Department of Surgical Oncology
Center for Immunotherapy
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Areas of Expertise: 
Liver Surgery, including resection of colorectal liver metastases
Pancreatic Surgery
Bile duct Surgery
Gastric Surgery
Colorectal Surgery
Adrenal Surgery
Special Interests: 
T cell immunotherapy
Laparoscopic and robotic liver, bile duct, and pancreatic surgery
Improving rates of surgical resection for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer


I am a surgical oncologist who specializes in treating patients with gastrointestinal benign and cancerous disease, with a special focus on liver, bile duct, gallbladder, pancreas, and colorectal cancer. I feel privileged to work in concert with the dynamic team here at Roswell Park composed of members from medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, gastroenterology and radiology. Together, our philosophy is to work as a team to discuss all aspects of a patient’s care to ensure the best possible treatment for every person. My personal role is to provide experienced surgical care to maximize the number of patients who benefit from resecting these tumors and to provide minimally invasive laparoscopic and robotic approaches whenever possible to allow faster patient recovery. I pride myself in providing each patient with the utmost attention to detail and giving care in a speedy, efficient way to ease anxiety and optimize outcomes.

In addition to caring for patients, I conduct laboratory and translational research within the Center for Immunotherapy and have been tasked with the development of immunotherapies for the treatment of pancreas, liver, and bile duct cancers. Even when these cancers are able to be surgically removed, there is often disease that has spread that leads to the cancer coming back. T cells are highly specialized immune cells that protect us from infections and cancers. I specialize in engineering T cells to target and kill cancers. T cell immunotherapy can be especially effective since it is a ‘living drug’ that can circulate throughout our bodies and treat any cancer that has already spread. My ultimate goal then is to combine surgery with immunotherapy to both remove the tumor and treat any disease that has already spread to prevent cancer from coming back to increase cancer survivors. I am excited to be at Roswell Park, an ideal place to combine my passions for taking care of cancer patients and developing effective immune therapies.


Education and Training: 
2004-2009 - MD - Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio
2009-2017 - General Surgery, Brown University, Providence, RI
2011-2014 - Research fellowship, T cell immunotherapy, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
2017-2019 - Clinical fellowship, Complex General Surgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
Board Certification: 
2018 - Board Certified General Surgery
Professional Memberships: 
Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO)
American College of Surgeons
Honors and Awards: 
2019 Young Investigator Award, Conquer Cancer Foundation/American Society of Clinical Oncology
2016 Cover of Journal of Clinical Investigation T cell therapy to treat solid tumors
2012 American College of Surgeons Resident Research Scholarship
2008 American Society of Nephrology Student Scholar Grant