Robert J. Canter, M.D. for UC Davis Health

Robert J. Canter, M.D.

Professor, Department of Surgery

To see if Robert J. Canter is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).




Surgery - Oncology




Locations and Contact

2279 45th Street
Sacramento, CA 95817

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Additional Numbers

Clinic Fax


Clinic Referral Phone


Physician Referrals

800-4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284)

Philosophy of Care

Dr. Canter's philosophy is to have coordinated and integrated care for all patients across the spectrum of their cancer care.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Canter is a surgical oncologist who specializes in the surgical and multi-disciplinary management of soft tissue sarcomas of all locations, including the extremity, the retroperitoneum, and body wall. He has devoted his entire career to advancing all aspects of care for sarcoma patients.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Canter's research has a strong focus on multi-species models for natural killer (NK) cell immunotherapy, including adoptive therapy in dogs with spontaneous cancers and murine models of solid tumors. Dr. Canter's group is one of a select group of labs internationally who are studying dog NK cells, and they have completed a first-in-dog clinical trial of palliative radiation with intra-tumoral NK cells for dog with naturally-occurring osteosarcoma. His research is now focused on further characterization of the activating and inhibitory receptors of NK cells as part of a multi-species evaluation of optimizing NK cancer immunotherapy, and they are broadening their dog canine immunotherapy comparative oncology clinical trials with other novel immune agents.


Surgical Oncology

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC Davis Medical Group

Undergraduate School

B.A., Princeton University, Princeton NJ 1992

Medical School

M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia PA 1998


General Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA 1998-2005


Surgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York NY 2005-2007

Dean's Award for Excellence in Mentoring in Research (K12 mentee, Elizabeth David, MD), 2017

Dean's Team Award for Excellence in Research, Cancer Immunotherapy Comparative Oncology Team, 2016, 2017

Leadership Development Program, American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2016, 2017

Outstanding Faculty Member in a Teaching Capacity, UC Davis Department of Surgery, 2015, 2016

Christine and Helen Landgraf Award, UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2014

Paul Calabresi Oncology UC Davis K12 Career Development Award, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

Junior Career Leadership Program, UC Davis School of Medicine, 2011, 2012

Monica Gorin Fellow, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 2006

Leonard J. Perloff Chief Resident Teaching Award, Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 2005

William Y. Inouye Award, Excellence in Teaching by a Surgical Resident, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 2003

Keith Reemstma Award, General Surgery Resident of the Year, Department of Surgery, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, 2001

Alpha Omega Alpha, 1998

Magna Cum Laude, Department of History, Princeton University, 1992

Boutin RD, Katz JR, Chaudhari AJ, Yabes JG, Hirschbein JS, Nakache YP, Seibert JA, Lamba R, Fananapazir G, Canter RJ, Lenchik L. Association of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle metrics with overall survival and postoperative complications in soft tissue sarcoma patients: an opportunistic study using computed tomography. Quant Imaging Med Surg. 2020 Aug;10(8):1580-1589. doi: 10.21037/qims.2020.02.09. PMID:32742953.

Phan EN, Thorpe SW, Wong FS, Saiz AM, Taylor SL, Canter RJ, Lenchik L, Randall RL, Boutin RD. Opportunistic muscle measurements on staging chest CT for extremity and truncal soft tissue sarcoma are associated with survival. J Surg Oncol. 2020 Jul 1. doi:10.1002/jso.26077. PMID:32613648.

Gingrich AA, Marrufo AS, Liu Y, Li CS, Darrow MA, Monjazeb AM, Thorpe SW, Canter RJ. Radiotherapy is Associated With Improved Survival in Patients With Synovial Sarcoma Undergoing Surgery: A National Cancer Database Analysis. J Surg Res. 2020 Jun 26;255:378-387. doi:10.1016/j.jss.2020.05.075. PMID:32599458.

Judge SJ, Dunai C, Aguilar EA, Vick SC, Sturgill IR, Khuat LT, Stoffel KM, Van Dyke J, Longo DL, Darrow MA, Anderson SK, Blazar BR, Monjazeb AM, Serody JS, Canter RJ, Murphy WJ. Minimal PD-1 Expression in Mouse and Human NK Cells Under Diverse Conditions. J Clin Invest. 2020 Jun 1;130(6):3051-3068. doi:10.1172/JCI133353. PMID:32134744. 

Bateni SB, Johns AJ, Gingrich AA, Gholami S, Bold RJ, Canter RJ, Kirane AR. Elderly Age Is Associated With More Conservative Treatment of Invasive Melanoma. Anticancer Res. 2020 May;40(5):2895-2903. doi:10.21873/anticanres.14266.

Judge SJ, Ji J, Liu J, Kaur M, Kim E, Gong J, Tam KW, Kirane AR, Gholami S, Canter RJ, Bold RJ, Gangi A, Fakih M, Cho M. The Role of Palliative Surgery for Malignant Bowel Obstruction and Perforation in Advanced Microsatellite Instability-High Colorectal Carcinoma in the Era of Immunotherapy: Case Report. Front Oncol. 2020 Apr 21;10:581. doi:10.3389/fonc.2020.00581. eCollection 2020.

Judge SJ, Murphy WJ, Canter RJ. Characterizing the Dysfunctional NK Cell: Assessing the Clinical Relevance of Exhaustion, Anergy, and Senescence. Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2020 Feb 13;10:49. doi:10.3389/fcimb.2020.00049. eCollection 2020. PMID:32117816.

Gingrich AA, Modiano JF, Canter RJ. Characterization and Potential Applications of Dog Natural Killer Cells in Cancer Immunotherapy. J Clin Med. 2019 Oct;8(11):1802. doi:10.3390/jcm8111802.

Bateni SB, Gingrich AA, Hoch JS, Canter RJ, Bold RJ. Defining Value for Pancreatic Surgery in Early-Stage Pancreatic Cancer. JAMA Surg. 2019 Oct 1;154(10):e193019. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.3019. Epub 2019 Oct 16. PMID:31433465.

Judge SJ, Lata-Arias K, Yanagisawa M, Darrow MA, Monjazeb AM, Kirane AR, Bold RJ, Canter RJ, Canter DJ. Morbidity, mortality and temporal trends in the surgical management of retroperitoneal sarcoma: An ACS-NSQIP follow up analysis. J Surg Oncol. 2019 Sep;120(4):753-760. doi:10.1002/jso.25649. Epub 2019 Jul 29. PMID:31355444.