The research interests of Matthew K. Tollefson, M.D., complement his clinical focus on urologic malignancies. Specifically, his research centers on the development of minimally invasive surgeries to treat and diagnose prostate, bladder and kidney cancers. Furthermore, Dr. Tollefson has worked to describe patient-related factors that may permit tumors to come back after surgical resection.
Dr. Tollefson has conducted a number of studies evaluating the relationship between body composition and the recurrence of cancers after surgery. His research has also evaluated the role of nutrition and patients' natural immune systems in the recovery from surgery.
- Minimally invasive surgical techniques. Dr. Tollefson is the site principal investigator on an ongoing randomized trial, funded by the National Cancer Institute, evaluating open versus robotic-assisted radical cystectomy.
- Patient nutrition and functional status prior to surgery. He has completed a number of studies evaluating the loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia) and its relationship to cancer recurrence and survival after surgery.
- Patient immune system response to cancers. Dr. Tollefson's research has evaluated how patients' immune systems react to new cancers and investigated immunological factors that can be modified to prevent the tumor from returning after surgery.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Tollefson's research is geared toward development and clinical application of minimally invasive surgical techniques, which will provide patients who have cancer with more-effective treatment options. He also hopes to improve patients' preparations for surgery by improving nutritional status and exercise capacity.