John Austin Vargo, MD

  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology
  • Physician, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside

As a radiation oncologist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and Mary Hillman Jennings Radiation Oncology Center at UPMC Shadyside, my clinical focus is in the treatment of pediatric cancer, adult sarcoma, lymphoma, and extracranial stereotactic radiosurgery with a focus in spine. I am actively involved in medical student and resident education and a variety of clinical research efforts.

Representative Publications

Ling DC, Vargo JA, Heron DE.  Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer.  Cancer J 2016;22:302-6.

Horne ZD, Glaser SM, Vargo JA, Ferris RL, Balasubramani GK, Clump DA, Heron DE, Beriwal S.  Validation of Proposed HPV Risk-Adapted Staging According to AJCC/UICC TNM Criteria for Positive Oropharyngeal Carcinomas.  Cancer 2016;122:2021-30. 

Glaser SM, Vargo JA, Balasubramani GK, Beriwal S.  Stage II Seminoma: Patterns of Care and Survival by Treatment Strategy. Clin Oncol 2016;28:513-21.

Ling DC, Vargo JA, Ferris RL, Ohr J, Clump DA, Yau WYW, Duvvuri U, Kim S, Johnson JT, Bauman JE, Branstetter BF, Heron DE.  Risk of Severe Toxicity Based on Site of Recurrence in Patients Treated with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer.  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2016;95:973-80.

Vargo JA, Beriwal S.  Reply to A Olszewski et al: Controversial Results the Foundation to the Pursuit of Truth in Science.  Journal of Clinical Oncology 2016;34:1427-8.

Glaser SM, Vargo JA, Balasubramani GK, Beriwal S.  Surveillance and Radiation Therapy for Stage I Seminoma – Have We Learned From the Evidence. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2016;94:75-84. 

Ghareeb ER, Dulmage BO, Vargo JA, Patton TJ, Quinn AE, Flickinger JC.  Severe Refractory Hailey-Hailey Disease Treated with Electron Beam Radiotherapy and Low Level Laser Therapy: A Case Report and Review of the Literature.  Cutis 2016 [In Press].

Ghareeb ER, Dulmage BO, Vargo JA, Balasubramani GK, Beriwal S.  Underutilization of Mohs Micrographic Surgery for Less Common Cutaneous Malignancies in the United States.  Derm Surg 2016;42:653-62.

Ling D, Vargo JA, Balasubramani GK, Beriwal S.  Underutilization of Radiation Therapy in Early-Stage Marginal Zone Lymphoma Negatively Impacts Overall Survival.  Practical Radiation Oncology 2016;6:e97-105..

Vargo JA, Gill BS, Balasubramani GK, Beriwal S.  Treatment Selection and Survival Outcomes in Early-Stage Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: Do We Still Need Consolidative Radiotherapy?  Journal of Clinical Oncology 2015;33:3710-7.

Gill BS, Vargo JA, Balasubramani GK, Beriwal S. Management Trends and Outcomes for Stage I-II Mantle Cell Lymphoma Using the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB): Ascertaining the Ideal Treatment Paradigm.  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2015;93:668-76.

Vargo JA, Beriwal S.  In Reply to Xie et al: What is the appropriate CTV to PTV margin for the primary CTV in extended-field IMRT for intact cervical cancer?  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2015;92:475-6.

Boisen MM, Vargo JA, Beriwal S, Sukumvanich P, Olawaiye AB, Kelley JL, Edwards RP, Huang M, Courtney-Brooks MB, Comerci JT.  Surgical Outcomes of Patients Undergoing Extrafascial Hysterectomy Following Neoadjuvant Radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy for Locally Advanced Endometrial Cancer Clinically Extending to the Cervix or Parametria.  Int J Gynecol Cancer  2016 [In Press].

Vargo JA, Gill BS, Balasubramani GK, Beriwal S.  What is the Optimal Management of Early-Stage Low-Grade Follicular Lymphoma in the Modern Era?  Cancer 2015;121:3325-34.

Vargo JA, Ferris RL, Ohr J, Clump DA, Davis KS, Duvvuri U, Kim S, Johnson JT, Bauman JE, Gibson MK, Branstetter BF, Heron DE. A Prospective Phase II Trial of Re-irradiation with Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy plus Cetuximab in Patients with Recurrent Previously-Irradiated Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck.  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2015;91:480-8. 

Vargo JA, Beriwal S.  RTOG Chest Wall Contouring Guidelines for Post-mastectomy Radiotherapy: Is it Evidence Based?  Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2015;93:266-7.

Vargo JA, Kim H, Houser C, Sukumvanich P, Olawaiye A, Kelley JL, Edwards RP, Comerci JT, Huang M, Courtney-Brooks M, Beriwal S. Image-based Multichannel Vaginal Cylinder Brachytherapy for Vaginal Cancers.  Brachytherapy 2015;14:9-15.

Vargo JA, Heron DE.  Clinical Application of Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT): Cranium to Prostate.  Front Oncol 2015;5:266. 

Vargo JA, Boisen MM, Comerci JT, Kim H, Houser C, Sukumvanich P, Olawaiye A, Kelley JC, Edwards RP, Huang M, Courtney-Brooks M, Beriwal S. Neoadjuvant Radiotherapy ± Chemotherapy followed by Extrafascial Hysterectomy for Locally Advanced Endometrial Cancer Clinically Extending to the Cervix or Parametria.   Gynecol Oncol 2014;135:190-5.

Vargo JA, Kim H, Choi S, Sukumvanich P, Olawaiye AB, Kelley JL, Edwards RP, Comerci JT, Beriwal S.  Extended Field IMRT with Concomitant Boost for Lymph Node Positive Cervical Cancer: Analysis of Regional Control and Recurrence Patterns in the PET/CT era. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2014;90:1091-8.

Rwigema JCM, Nguyen D, Heron DE, Chen AM, Lee P, Vargo JA, Low DA, Huq S, Steinberg ML, Kupelian P, Sheng K.  4π Noncoplanar Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancers – Improved Local Control and Late Toxicities. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2015;91:401-9.

Vargo JA, Kim H, Houser C, Berhane H, Sukumvanich P, Olawaiye A, Kelley JL, Edwards RP, Krivak TC, Comerci J, Huang M, Courtney-Brooks M, Beriwal S. Definitive Salvage for Vaginal Recurrence of Endometrial Cancer: The Impact of Modern Intensity-Modulated-Radiotherapy with Image-Based HDR Brachytherapy and the Interplay of the PORTEC 1 Risk Stratification.  Radiother Oncol 2014;113:126-31.

Ling D, Vargo JA, Wegner RE, Flickinger JC, Burton SA, Engh J, Amankulor N, Heron DE.  Post-Operative Stereotactic Radiosurgery to the Resection Cavity for Large Brain Metastases: Clinical Outcomes, Predictors of Intracranial Failure, and Implications for Optimal Patient Selection.  Neurosurg 2015;76;150-7.

Vargo JA, Ferris RL, Clump DA, Burton SA, Heron DE.  Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy ± Cetuximab as Primary Treatment for Elderly Patients with Medically-Inoperable Head and Neck Cancer. Front Oncol 2014;4:214.

Davis KS, Vargo JA, Ferris RL, Burton SA, Ohr JP, Clump DA, Heron DE.  Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Recurrent Oropharyngeal Cancer - Influence of HPV Status and Smoking History.   Oral Oncol 2014;50:1104-8.

Ling D, Vargo JA, Smith RP.  Radiation-Induced Esophageal Strictures in a Patient with CREST Syndrome.  Practical Radiation Oncology 2015;5:2.

Deutsch M, Vargo JA, Islam M, Rizk S.  Limited Stage Small Cell Carcinoma of the Anal Canal: A Case Report and Review of the Literature. J Rad Oncol 2014.

Soran O, Vargo JA, Polat AV, Soran A, Sumkin J, Beriwal S. No Association between Left Breast Radiation Therapy or Breast Arterial Calcification and Long-term Cardiac Events in Patients with Breast Cancer.  Journal of Women’s Health 2014;23:1005-11.

Ghareeb ER, Bhargava R, Vargo JA, Florea A, Beriwal S.  Primary and Radiation Induced Breast Angiosarcooma: Clinicopathological Predictors of Outcomes and the Impact of Adjuvant Radiation Therapy.  Am J Clin Oncol 2016; 39:463-7.

Vargo JA, Beriwal S.  Image-Based Brachytherapy for Cervical Cancer.  World J Clin Oncol 2014;5:921-30.

Rwigema JC, Vargo JA, Clump DA, Ferris RL, Ohr J, Heron DE.  Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy in the Management of Head and Neck Malignancies.  Current Cancer Therapy Reviews 2014;10:314-22.

Vargo JA, Verma V, Kim H, Kalash R, Heron DE, Johnson R, Beriwal S.  Extended (5-year) Outcomes of Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation Using MammoSite Balloon Brachytherapy: Patterns of Failure, Patient Selection, and Dosimetric Correlates for Late Toxicity.   Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2014;88:285-91.

Horne ZD, Clump DA, Vargo JA, Shah S, Beriwal S, Burton SA, Quinn AE, Schuchert MJ, Landreneau RJ, Christie NA, Luketich JD, Heron DE.  Pretreatment SUVmax Predicts Progression-Free Survival in Early-Stage Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Treated with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy.  Radiat Oncol 2014;9:41.

Vargo JA, Kubicek GJ, Ferris RL, Duvvuri U, Johnson J, Ohr J, Clump DA, Burton S, Heron DE.  Adjuvant Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy ± Cetuximab Following Salvage Surgery in Previously-Irradiated Head-and-Neck Cancer.  Laryngoscope 2014;124:1579-84.

Vargo JA, Heron DE, Ferris RL, Rwigema JC, Kalash R, Wegner RE, Ohr J, Burton S. Examining Tumor Control and Toxicity After Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy in Locally Recurrent Previously-Irradiated Head and Neck Cancers: Implications of Treatment Duration and Tumor Volume.  Head and Neck 2014;36:1349-55.

Research Interests

My research includes clinical research projects for a variety for a variety of cancers focused on the integrations of modern radiation techniques such as Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy, Stereotactic Radiosurgery, and Image-based High Dose Rate Brachytherapy.  Additionally, using national hospital based-registry data from the National Cancer Database I have been a part of a number of projects focused on disparities in treatment selection across a number of disease sites, including lymphoma, testicular, head and neck, and skin cancer, and the impact of these disparities in survival on a national level.