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Ronald C.   Walker

Ronald C. Walker, M.D.

Professor of Clinical Radiology & Radiological Sciences

Contact Information:

Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences
1121 21st Avenue South
CCC-1121 MCN
Nashville, TN 37232-2675


Research Description:

My research is focused on molecular imaging of cancer both to improve early and accurate diagnosis and to provide rapid assessment of tumor biology with physiological imaging, and on radiation therapy for cancer based on targeted molecular receptors within or on the cancer cell. I hope, with my collaborators, to use new tools to identify the risk level of an tumor at time of diagnosis, thus allowing up-front treatment decisions that will provide superior, safer and more cost-effective treatment strategies for each patient. I also work to discover new insights into tumor biology that will bring new opportunities for treatment, such as with peptide-receptor radiotherapy (PRRT). Importantly, I always consider if my research can lead to improvements in medical care that can ultimately be deployed with affordable, preferably off-the-shelf technology, in community hospitals throughout the US so that everyone can ultimately and quickly benefit from the contributions I am able to make to the care of patients suffering from cancer.

  • BS Biology, Baylor University 1974
  • MD Baylor College of Medicine 1978
  • Flexible Internship Scott USAF Medical Center 1978-1979
  • Radiology Residency Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center 1979-1982
  • Nuclear Medicine Fellowship Univ of Texas San Antonio 1982 - 1984
Research Description

PET imaging and research, particularly in multiple myeloma; PET-CT in oncology; imaging of neuroendocrine tumors, including with 68Ga-DOTATATE, Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy (PRRT) for neuroendocrine tumors with 177Lu-DOTATATE, and quantitative imaging of indeterminate lung nodules with both CT and PET-CT, including the use of novel radiopharmaceuticals, lung cancer screening.

Graduate medical education in diagnostic radiology and in nuclear medicine, especially in PET-CT and CT.

Fellow of the American College of Radiology and Fellow of the American College of Nuclear Medicine

  • Deppen SA, Blume J, Bobbey AJ, Shah C, Graham MM, Lee P, Delbeke D, Walker RC. 68Ga-DOTATATE Compared with 111In-DTPA-Octreotide and Conventional Imaging for Pulmonary and Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J. Nucl. Med [print-electronic]. 2016 Jun; 57(6): 872-8. PMID: 26769864, PII: jnumed.115.165803, DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.115.165803, ISSN: 1535-5667.
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  • Gifford A, Towse TF, Walker RC, Avison MJ, Welch EB. Characterizing Active and Inactive Brown Adipose Tissue in Adult Humans Using PET-CT and MR Imaging. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab [print-electronic]. 2016 May 5/10/2016; ajpendo.00482.2015. PMID: 27166284, PII: ajpendo.00482.2015, DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00482.2015, ISSN: 1522-1555.
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  • Deppen SA, Liu E, Blume JD, Clanton J, Shi C, Jones-Jackson LB, Lakhani V, Baum RP, Berlin J, Smith GT, Graham M, Sandler MP, Delbeke D, Walker RC. Safety and Efficacy of 68Ga-DOTATATE PET/CT for Diagnosis, Staging, and Treatment Management of Neuroendocrine Tumors. J. Nucl. Med [print-electronic]. 2016 May; 57(5): 708-14. PMID: 26769865, PII: jnumed.115.163865, DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.115.163865, ISSN: 1535-5667.
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  • Sherrod AM, Hari P, Mosse CA, Walker RC, Cornell RF. Minimal residual disease testing after stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma. Bone Marrow Transplant [print-electronic]. 2016 Jan; 51(1): 2-12. PMID: 26191950, PII: bmt2015164, DOI: 10.1038/bmt.2015.164, ISSN: 1476-5365.
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  • Gifford A, Walker RC, Towse TF, Brian Welch E. Correlations between quantitative fat-water magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography in human subcutaneous white adipose tissue. J Med Imaging (Bellingham) [print-electronic]. 2015 Oct; 2(4): 46001. PMID: 26702407, PMCID: PMC4684077, PII: 15121RR, DOI: 10.1117/1.JMI.2.4.046001, ISSN: 2329-4302.
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  • McKinley ET, Watchmaker JM, Chakravarthy AB, Meyerhardt JA, Engelman JA, Walker RC, Washington MK, Coffey RJ, Manning HC. [(18)F]-FLT PET to predict early response to neoadjuvant therapy in KRAS wild-type rectal cancer: a pilot study. Ann Nucl Med [print-electronic]. 2015 Jul; 29(6): 535-42. PMID: 25899481, PMCID: PMC4503488, DOI: 10.1007/s12149-015-0974-6, ISSN: 1864-6433.
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  • Gifford A, Towse TF, Walker RC, Avison MJ, Welch EB. Human brown adipose tissue depots automatically segmented by positron emission tomography/computed tomography and registered magnetic resonance images. J Vis Exp. 2015; (96): PMID: 25741672, PMCID: PMC4354647, DOI: 10.3791/52415, ISSN: 1940-087X.
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  • Smith GT, Rahman AR, Li M, Moore B, Gietema H, Veronesi G, Massion PP, Walker RC. Reproducibility of Volumetric Computed Tomography of Stable Small Pulmonary Nodules with Implications on Estimated Growth Rate and Optimal Scan Interval. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(9): e0138144. PMID: 26379272, PMCID: PMC4575025, PII: PONE-D-15-09876, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0138144, ISSN: 1932-6203.
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  • Massion PP, Walker RC. Indeterminate pulmonary nodules: risk for having or for developing lung cancer?. Cancer Prev Res (Phila) [print-electronic]. 2014 Dec; 7(12): 1173-8. PMID: 25348855, PMCID: PMC4829944, PII: 1940-6207.CAPR-14-0364, DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-14-0364, ISSN: 1940-6215.
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  • Deppen SA, Blume JD, Aldrich MC, Fletcher SA, Massion PP, Walker RC, Chen HC, Speroff T, Degesys CA, Pinkerman R, Lambright ES, Nesbitt JC, Putnam JB, Grogan EL. Predicting lung cancer prior to surgical resection in patients with lung nodules. J Thorac Oncol. 2014 Oct; 9(10): 1477-84. PMID: 25170644, PMCID: PMC4272613, PII: S1556-0864(15)30704-8, DOI: 10.1097/JTO.0000000000000287, ISSN: 1556-1380.
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  • Deppen SA, Blume JD, Kensinger CD, Morgan AM, Aldrich MC, Massion PP, Walker RC, McPheeters ML, Putnam JB, Grogan EL. Accuracy of FDG-PET to diagnose lung cancer in areas with infectious lung disease: a meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014 Sep 9/24/2014; 312(12): 1227-36. PMID: 25247519, PMCID: PMC4315183, PII: 1906615, DOI: 10.1001/jama.2014.11488, ISSN: 1538-3598.
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  • Walker RC, Smith GT, Liu E, Moore B, Clanton J, Stabin M. Measured human dosimetry of 68Ga-DOTATATE. J. Nucl. Med [print-electronic]. 2013 Jun; 54(6): 855-60. PMID: 23516312, PMCID: PMC4472480, PII: jnumed.112.114165, DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.112.114165, ISSN: 1535-5667.
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  • McKinley ET, Smith RA, Tanksley JP, Washington MK, Walker R, Coffey RJ, Manning HC. [18F]FLT-PET to predict pharmacodynamic and clinical response to cetuximab therapy in Ménétrier's disease. Ann Nucl Med [print-electronic]. 2012 Nov; 26(9): 757-63. PMID: 22821337, PMCID: PMC3543701, DOI: 10.1007/s12149-012-0636-x, ISSN: 1864-6433.
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  • Walker RC, Brown TL, Jones-Jackson LB, De Blanche L, Bartel T. Imaging of multiple myeloma and related plasma cell dyscrasias. J. Nucl. Med [print-electronic]. 2012 Jul; 53(7): 1091-101. PMID: 22693310, PII: jnumed.111.098830, DOI: 10.2967/jnumed.111.098830, ISSN: 1535-5667.
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  • Grogan EL, Weinstein JJ, Deppen SA, Putnam JB, Nesbitt JC, Lambright ES, Walker RC, Dittus RS, Massion PP. Thoracic operations for pulmonary nodules are frequently not futile in patients with benign disease. J Thorac Oncol. 2011 Oct; 6(10): 1720-5. PMID: 21760552, PMCID: PMC3712870, DOI: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e318226b48a, ISSN: 1556-1380.
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  • Deppen S, Putnam JB, Andrade G, Speroff T, Nesbitt JC, Lambright ES, Massion PP, Walker R, Grogan EL. Accuracy of FDG-PET to diagnose lung cancer in a region of endemic granulomatous disease. Ann. Thorac. Surg [print-electronic]. 2011 Aug; 92(2): 428-32; discussion 433. PMID: 21592456, PMCID: PMC3186439, PII: S0003-4975(11)00478-4, DOI: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2011.02.052, ISSN: 1552-6259.
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  • Callison JC, Walker RC, Massion PP. Somatostatin Receptors in Lung Cancer: From Function to Molecular Imaging and Therapeutics. J Lung Cancer. 2011; 10(2): 69-76. PMID: 25663834, PMCID: PMC4319675, DOI: 10.6058/jlc.2011.10.2.69, ISSN: 1598-7809.
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  • Bartel TB, Haessler J, Brown TL, Shaughnessy JD, van Rhee F, Anaissie E, Alpe T, Angtuaco E, Walker R, Epstein J, Crowley J, Barlogie B. F18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography in the context of other imaging techniques and prognostic factors in multiple myeloma. Blood [print-electronic]. 2009 Sep 9/3/2009; 114(10): 2068-76. PMID: 19443657, PMCID: PMC2744568, PII: blood-2009-03-213280, DOI: 10.1182/blood-2009-03-213280, ISSN: 1528-0020.
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  • Walker RC, Jones-Jackson LB, Martin W, Habibian MR, Delbeke D. New imaging tools for the diagnosis of infection. Future Microbiol. 2007 Oct; 2(5): 527-54. PMID: 17927475, DOI: 10.2217/17460913.2.5.527, ISSN: 1746-0921.
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  • King DL, Stack BC, Spring PM, Walker R, Bodenner DL. Incidence of thyroid carcinoma in fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography-positive thyroid incidentalomas. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007 Sep; 137(3): 400-4. PMID: 17765765, PII: S0194-5998(07)00230-6, DOI: 10.1016/j.otohns.2007.02.037, ISSN: 0194-5998.
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  • Walker R, Barlogie B, Haessler J, Tricot G, Anaissie E, Shaughnessy JD, Epstein J, van Hemert R, Erdem E, Hoering A, Crowley J, Ferris E, Hollmig K, van Rhee F, Zangari M, Pineda-Roman M, Mohiuddin A, Yaccoby S, Sawyer J, Angtuaco EJ. Magnetic resonance imaging in multiple myeloma: diagnostic and clinical implications. J. Clin. Oncol [print-electronic]. 2007 Mar 3/20/2007; 25(9): 1121-8. PMID: 17296972, PII: JCO.2006.08.5803, DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2006.08.5803, ISSN: 1527-7755.
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  • Shaughnessy JD, Zhan F, Burington BE, Huang Y, Colla S, Hanamura I, Stewart JP, Kordsmeier B, Randolph C, Williams DR, Xiao Y, Xu H, Epstein J, Anaissie E, Krishna SG, Cottler-Fox M, Hollmig K, Mohiuddin A, Pineda-Roman M, Tricot G, van Rhee F, Sawyer J, Alsayed Y, Walker R, Zangari M, Crowley J, Barlogie B. A validated gene expression model of high-risk multiple myeloma is defined by deregulated expression of genes mapping to chromosome 1. Blood [print-electronic]. 2007 Mar 3/15/2007; 109(6): 2276-84. PMID: 17105813, PII: blood-2006-07-038430, DOI: 10.1182/blood-2006-07-038430, ISSN: 0006-4971.
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  • Yaccoby S, Ling W, Zhan F, Walker R, Barlogie B, Shaughnessy JD. Antibody-based inhibition of DKK1 suppresses tumor-induced bone resorption and multiple myeloma growth in vivo. Blood [print-electronic]. 2007 Mar 3/1/2007; 109(5): 2106-11. PMID: 17068150, PMCID: PMC1801040, PII: blood-2006-09-047712, DOI: 10.1182/blood-2006-09-047712, ISSN: 0006-4971.
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  • Mahfouz T, Miceli MH, Saghafifar F, Stroud S, Jones-Jackson L, Walker R, et al.. 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography contributes to the diagnosis and management of infections in patients with multiple myeloma: a study of 165 infectious episodes. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2005; ((23)): 7857-63.
  • Angtuaco EJC, Fassas AB, Walker RC, Sethi R, Barlogie B. Multiple myeloma: clinical review and diagnostic imaging. Radiology. 2004; ((231)): 11-23.
  • Barlogie B, Shaughnessy J, Tricot G, Jacobson J, Zangari M, Anaissie E, Walker R, Crowley J. Treatment of multiple myeloma. Blood. 2004; ((103)): 20-32.
  • Maxwell C, Rasmussen E, Zhan F, Keats J, Adamia S, Strachan E, Crainie M, Walker, R, et al.. RHAMM expression and isoform balance predicts aggressive disease and poor survival in multiple myeloma. Blood. 2004; ((104)): 1151-8.
  • Miceli MH, Atoui R, Walker R, et al.. Diagnosis of deep septic thrombophlebitis in cancer patients by Fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography scanning: a preliminary report. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2004; ((22)): 1949-56.
  • Tian E, Zhan F, Walker R, et al.. The role of the Wn/β-catenin signaling antagonist DKK1 in the development of osteolytic lesions in multiple myeloma. New England Journal of Medicine. 2003; ((349)): 2483-94.
  • Walker RC, Barlogie B, Shaughnessy J. Letter to the Editor regarding N Eng J Med 349:2483-2494, 2003 [letter]. New England Journal of Medicine. 2003; 14((350)): 1465.
  • Walker RC, Zigler SS. PET practice in nuclear pharmacy. Journal American Pharmacists Association. 2003; ((32)).
  • Walker RC, Weiss DW, Purnell GL, Forte KF. Positron emisson tomography scanning: a primer. Journal of the Arkansas Medical Society. 2002; 4((99)): 119-21.