University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA

Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA

Professor, Departments of Surgery and Radiology, and Affiliate Faculty, Institute for Health Policy Studies, UCSF
Director, Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center; Co-Leader, Breast Oncology Program, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Breast Oncology | Cancer Genetics

Research Summary

My work in breast cancer spans the spectrum from public policy issues to basic science and the impact of both on the delivery of clinical care. In addition to being the Director of the Breast Care Center and the Clinical Leader of the NCI-designated Breast Oncology Program, I direct (as Principal Investigator) two large multicenter collaborations in my areas of interest. The I-SPY TRIAL (Investigating Serial Studies to Predict Your Therapeutic Response using Imaging And molecular analysis) is a correlative science study for women with stage II/III breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy, where women receive serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and core biopsies during the course of their therapy. This role led to the development of the I-SPY 2 Trial (PI), a large-scale trial that involves a unique collaboration by scientists from the NCI, the FDA, and nearly 20 major cancer research centers across the country. A distinctive feature of the trial is that it will screen multiple drugs from multiple companies—up to 12 different cancer drugs over the course of the trial. I-SPY 2 has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of drug development and speed the process of screening drugs with the goal of bringing safe and effective new drugs to market more efficiently. We are developing tools to tailor treatment for fast and slow growing tumors.

My role as former PI of the Biomarker Discovery Laboratory for the Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) led to the development of the ATHENA Breast Health Network, an integrated breast health network across the University of California campuses and the Sanford Medical Center. In this ambitious project, we are recruiting 150,000 women who are undergoing screening, and will follow them through any biopsy, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up. Importantly, this effort will serve to create an engine to provide and improve breast cancer prevention services.

Education

Harvard University, A.B., 1977, History of Science
Stanford University, M.D., 1983, Surgery
Stanford University, School of Business, M.B.A., 1993, Health Policy


Professional Experience

  • 1985-1988
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • 1988-1990/1983-1985
    Resident in General Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • 1990-1991
    Chief Resident in General Surgery, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • 1991-1993
    Consultant, Stanford University Hospital, Cost Benefit Issues in the ICU
  • 1992-1993
    Staff General Surgeon, Palo Alto VeteranOs Administration
  • 1991-1993
    Trauma Surgeon, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
  • 06/92-8/93
    Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery, Stanford University Department of Surgery
  • 09/93-present
    Co-Director, Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, UCSF/Mount Zion Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA
  • 09/93-5/04
    Assistant Professor of Surgery, UCSF/Mount Zion Medical Center
  • 06/96-present
    Affiliate Faculty, Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • 07/96-present
    Co-Director, High-Risk Program for Breast and Ovarian Cancer, UCSF/Mount Zion Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA
  • 04/97-present
    Joint Appointment, Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco, CA
  • 06/97-present
    Executive Committee, Integrative Medicine Program, UCSF/Mount Zion Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA, Associate Professor, Surgery & Radiology
  • 07/97-present
    Director, UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at Mt. Zion, San Francisco, CA
  • 06/98-present
    Clinical Program Leader, Breast Oncology Program, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at Mt. Zion, San Francisco, CA
  • 6/04-present
    Professor of Surgery and Radiology, UCSF/Mount Zion Medical Center
  • 2008-present
    Associate Director (Translational Informatics), Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF/Mount Zion Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA

Honors & Awards

  • 1974 Harvard University-Sophomore Standing
  • 1974, 75, 77 John J. Fomon Research Fellowship (American Cancer Society)
  • 1975 Harvard University-Susan B. Anthony Potter Prize
  • 1977 Harvard University-Magna Cum Laude
  • 1992 Certification: Board Certified, American College of Surgeons
  • 1998-2008 Breast Cancer Research Foundation Award
  • 2003 Showcase for Biotechnology
  • 2003 Landmark Lecture Award Windber Research Institute
  • 2005 SPORE (Specialized Programs of Research Excellence) Outstanding Investigator of the Year
  • 2007 Best Poster – Breast Oncology Program
  • 2008 Best Poster – Breast Oncology Program

Selected Publications

  1. Chien AJ, Chambers J, Mcauley F, Kaplan T, Letourneau J, Hwang J, Kim MO, Melisko ME, Rugo HS, Esserman LJ, Rosen MP. Erratum to: Fertility preservation with ovarian stimulation and time to treatment in women with stage II-III breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant therapy. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Aug; 165(1):161.
    View on PubMed
  2. Vidula N, Yau C, Li J, Esserman LJ, Rugo HS. Receptor activator of nuclear factor kappa B (RANK) expression in primary breast cancer correlates with recurrence-free survival and development of bone metastases in I-SPY1 (CALGB 150007/150012; ACRIN 6657). Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Aug; 165(1):129-138.
    View on PubMed
  3. Jo Chien A, Chambers J, Mcauley F, Kaplan T, Letourneau J, Hwang J, Kim MO, Melisko ME, Rugo HS, Esserman LJ, Rosen MP. Fertility preservation with ovarian stimulation and time to treatment in women with stage II-III breast cancer receiving neoadjuvant therapy. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 May 13.
    View on PubMed
  4. Shieh Y, Eklund M, Madlensky L, Sawyer SD, Thompson CK, Stover Fiscalini A, Ziv E, Van't Veer LJ, Esserman LJ, Tice JA. Breast Cancer Screening in the Precision Medicine Era: Risk-Based Screening in a Population-Based Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017 Jan; 109(5).
    View on PubMed
  5. Ellis MJ, Suman VJ, Hoog J, Goncalves R, Sanati S, Creighton CJ, DeSchryver K, Crouch E, Brink A, Watson M, Luo J, Tao Y, Barnes M, Dowsett M, Budd GT, Winer E, Silverman P, Esserman L, Carey L, Ma CX, Unzeitig G, Pluard T, Whitworth P, Babiera G, Guenther JM, Dayao Z, Ota D, Leitch M, Olson JA, Allred DC, Hunt K. Ki67 Proliferation Index as a Tool for Chemotherapy Decisions During and After Neoadjuvant Aromatase Inhibitor Treatment of Breast Cancer: Results From the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group Z1031 Trial (Alliance). J Clin Oncol. 2017 Jan 03; JCO2016694406.
    View on PubMed
  6. Bolan PJ, Kim E, Herman BA, Newstead GM, Rosen MA, Schnall MD, Pisano ED, Weatherall PT, Morris EA, Lehman CD, Garwood M, Nelson MT, Yee D, Polin SM, Esserman LJ, Gatsonis CA, Metzger GJ, Newitt DC, Partridge SC, Hylton NM. MR spectroscopy of breast cancer for assessing early treatment response: Results from the ACRIN 6657 MRS trial. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2016 Dec 16.
    View on PubMed
  7. Melisko ME, Goldman ME, Hwang J, De Luca A, Fang S, Esserman LJ, Chien AJ, Park JW, Rugo HS. Vaginal Testosterone Cream vs Estradiol Vaginal Ring for Vaginal Dryness or Decreased Libido in Women Receiving Aromatase Inhibitors for Early-Stage Breast Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2016 Nov 10.
    View on PubMed
  8. Berry D, Esserman L. Adaptive Randomization of Neratinib in Early Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2016 10 20; 375(16):1592-3.
    View on PubMed
  9. Trusheim MR, Shrier AA, Antonijevic Z, Beckman RA, Campbell RK, Chen C, Flaherty KT, Loewy J, Lacombe D, Madhavan S, Selker HP, Esserman LJ. PIPELINEs: Creating Comparable Clinical Knowledge Efficiently by Linking Trial Platforms. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2016 Dec; 100(6):713-729.
    View on PubMed
  10. Esserman L. The I-SPY approach to drug development. Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2016 Oct; 14(10):782-784.
    View on PubMed
  11. Esserman LJ, Thompson IM. Laura Esserman and Ian Thompson Discuss Strategies for Screening and Treatment of Early-Stage Cancers, and How Clinicians Can Learn From Each Other's Experiences. Oncology (Williston Park). 2016 Sep 15; 30(9).
    View on PubMed
  12. Mukhtar RA, Piper ML, Freise C, Van't Veer LJ, Baehner FL, Esserman LJ. The Novel Application of Genomic Profiling Assays to Shorten Inactive Status for Potential Kidney Transplant Recipients With Breast Cancer. Am J Transplant. 2017 Jan; 17(1):292-295.
    View on PubMed
  13. Wang F, Chin R, Piper M, Esserman L, Sbitany H. Do Prolonged Prophylactic Antibiotics Reduce the Incidence of Surgical Site Infections in Immediate Prosthetic Breast Reconstruction? Plast Reconstr Surg. 2016 Aug 15.
    View on PubMed
  14. Rugo HS, Olopade OI, DeMichele A, Yau C, van 't Veer LJ, Buxton MB, Hogarth M, Hylton NM, Paoloni M, Perlmutter J, Symmans WF, Yee D, Chien AJ, Wallace AM, Kaplan HG, Boughey JC, Haddad TC, Albain KS, Liu MC, Isaacs C, Khan QJ, Lang JE, Viscusi RK, Pusztai L, Moulder SL, Chui SY, Kemmer KA, Elias AD, Edmiston KK, Euhus DM, Haley BB, Nanda R, Northfelt DW, Tripathy D, Wood WC, Ewing C, Schwab R, Lyandres J, Davis SE, Hirst GL, Sanil A, Berry DA, Esserman LJ. Adaptive Randomization of Veliparib-Carboplatin Treatment in Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2016 Jul 7; 375(1):23-34.
    View on PubMed
  15. Park JW, Liu MC, Yee D, Yau C, van 't Veer LJ, Symmans WF, Paoloni M, Perlmutter J, Hylton NM, Hogarth M, DeMichele A, Buxton MB, Chien AJ, Wallace AM, Boughey JC, Haddad TC, Chui SY, Kemmer KA, Kaplan HG, Isaacs C, Nanda R, Tripathy D, Albain KS, Edmiston KK, Elias AD, Northfelt DW, Pusztai L, Moulder SL, Lang JE, Viscusi RK, Euhus DM, Haley BB, Khan QJ, Wood WC, Melisko M, Schwab R, Helsten T, Lyandres J, Davis SE, Hirst GL, Sanil A, Esserman LJ, Berry DA. Adaptive Randomization of Neratinib in Early Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2016 Jul 7; 375(1):11-22.
    View on PubMed
  16. Esserman L. When Less Is Better, but Physicians Are Afraid Not to Intervene. JAMA Intern Med. 2016 Jul 1; 176(7):888-9.
    View on PubMed
  17. Katchman BA, Barderas R, Alam R, Chowell D, Field MS, Esserman LJ, Wallstrom G, LaBaer J, Cramer DW, Hollingsworth MA, Anderson KS. Proteomic mapping of p53 immunogenicity in pancreatic, ovarian, and breast cancers. Proteomics Clin Appl. 2016 Jul; 10(7):720-31.
    View on PubMed
  18. Piper ML, Esserman LJ, Sbitany H, Peled AW. Outcomes Following Oncoplastic Reduction Mammoplasty: A Systematic Review. Ann Plast Surg. 2016 May; 76 Suppl 3:S222-6.
    View on PubMed
  19. Shieh Y, Eklund M, Sawaya GF, Black WC, Kramer BS, Esserman LJ. Population-based screening for cancer: hope and hype. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2016 Apr 13.
    View on PubMed
  20. Borowsky A, Esserman L. When the Gold Standard Loses Its Luster, Perhaps It Is Time to Change Nomenclature. Ann Intern Med. 2016 May 17; 164(10):694-5.
    View on PubMed

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