Headshot of Marta Penas-Prado

Marta Penas-Prado, M.D., M.Sc.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Neuro-Oncology Branch


Dr. Penas-Prado is a neuro-oncologist focused on caring for patients with rare brain and spine tumors in the NCI-CONNECT (Comprehensive Oncology Network Evaluating Rare CNS Tumors) program at the Neuro-Oncology Branch (NOB). Her clinical research seeks to uncover the molecular underpinnings of rare central nervous system (CNS) tumors, better understand these diseases, and develop clinical trials to come up with more effective therapies. Rare tumors frequently present clinical challenges, due to issues such as poorly defined options for upfront treatment and recurrence, and limited access to specialized care and clinical trials. 
Beyond the NOB, Dr. Penas-Prado enjoys collaborating with a multidisciplinary team of neuropathologists, neuroradiologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, genetic counselors, and others to provide the best possible care for her patients and establish a care team with their local physicians. She also leads a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional tumor board to discuss complex neuro-oncology cases.

Explore the NOB's Research Programs >

Areas of Expertise

Adult Medulloblastoma
Rare Central Nervous System Tumors
Clinical Trials

Information for Patients

Learn more about our clinical trials and the highly specialized care teams that lead them.


Selected Key Publications

The Alliance AMBUSH Trial: Rationale and Design

Mahajan A, Shih H, Penas-Prado M, Ligon K, Aldape K, Hu LS, Loughan AR, Basso MR, Leeper HE, Nahed BV, Stott SL, Geyer S, Giannini C, Galanis E
Cancers. 14(2): 414, 2022. [ Journal Article ]

Clinical characterization of adult medulloblastoma and the effect of first-line therapies on outcome; The MD Anderson Cancer Center experience.

Majd NK, Mastall M, Lin H, Dibaj SS, Hess KR, Yuan Y, Garcia MM, Fuller GN, Alfaro KD, Gule-Monroe MK, Huse JT, Khatua S, Rao G, Sandberg DI, Wefel JS, Yeboa DN, Paulino AC, McGovern SL, Zaky W, Mahajan A, Suki D, Weathers S, Harrison RA, De Groot JF, Puduvalli VK, Penas-Prado M
Neuro-Oncology Advances. 79, 2021. [ Journal Article ]

Proposed Additions to the NCCN Guidelines for Adult Medulloblastoma.

Penas-Prado M, Armstrong TS, Gilbert MR
Journal of National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 18(11): 1579-1584, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

Proceedings of the Comprehensive Oncology Network Evaluating Rare CNS Tumors (NCI-CONNECT) Adult Medulloblastoma Workshop.

Penas-Prado M, Theeler BJ, Cordeiro B, Dunkel IJ, Hau P, Mahajan A, Robinson, GW, Willmarth N, Aboud O, Aldape K, Butman JA, Gajjar A, Kelly W, Rao G, Raygada M, Siegel C, Romo CG, Armstrong TS, Gilbert MR, NCI-CONNECT Adult Medulloblastoma Workshop
Neuro-Oncology Advances. 2(1): 97, 2020. [ Journal Article ]

Optimizing eligibility criteria and clinical trial conduct to enhance clinical trial participation for primary brain tumor patients.

Lee EQ, Weller M, Sul J, Bagley SJ, Sahebjam S, van den Bent M, Ahluwalia M, Campian JL, Galanis E, Gilbert MR, Holdhoff M, Lesser GJ, Lieberman FS, Mehta MP, Penas-Prado M, Schreck KC, Strowd RE, Vogelbaum MA, Walbert T, Chang SM, Nabors B, Grossman S, Reardon DA, Wen PY
Neuro-Oncology. 22(5), [ Journal Article ]


Three neuro-oncology providers smile outside

Forming Connections to Address Rare Brain Tumor Treatment and Care

May 21, 2024

Scientists and neuro-oncology providers are taking a comprehensive approach to improve care and treatment—performing laboratory research, conducting clinical trials, and fostering a sense of community. Watch Now >

A triptych of 3 headshots: Marta Penas-Prado, Erin Dunbar, and Adam Cohen

Forging an Alliance of Care to Meet the Unmet Needs of Rare Brain and Spine Tumor Patients 

August 17, 2023

Providers in the Neuro-Oncology and NCI-CONNECT Clinics collaborate with a patient’s local specialists to offer guidance and opportunities to participate in cutting-edge clinical trials. Read more >

Headshots of Dr. Heather Leeper and Dr. Marta Penas-Prado

Neuro-Oncology Branch Receives Awards at the 2021 SNO Annual Meeting

November 20, 2021

Dr. Heather Leeper and Dr. Marta Penas-Prado share findings from the NCI-CONNECT Immunotherapy and Natural History Studies in award-winning abstracts. Read more >

Scientist holding two test tubes

An Immunotherapy Drug Trial Expands Across the Nation to Advance Research

July 28, 2021

NCI-CONNECT launched an immunotherapy drug trial to reach more people with rare brain and spine tumors, more rapidly determine if the therapy is effective, and set the foundation for future trials. Read more >

Scientist in lab

New Multi-institutional Study Analyzes Tumor Tissue and Patient Data to Improve Care

February 22, 2021

Studying tumor tissue and clinical data across the NCI-CONNECT network of institutions will help researchers advance their knowledge of rare brain and spine tumors faster. Read more >

Dr. Penas-Prado speaking at a podium

Adult Medulloblastoma Workshop Report

August 20, 2020

Neuro-oncology experts from multiple disciplines met to discuss the scientific progress and challenges of treating medulloblastoma in adults and to find ways to collaborate to advance research and treatments. Read more >

Headshot of Marta Penas-Prado

Researching Medulloblastoma with Care and Knowledge

December 14, 2018

Dr. Marta Penas-Prado discusses her role on the NCI-CONNECT team and her interest in improving the lives of patients with medulloblastoma. Read more >


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