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
Alfred A.de Lorimier Endowed Chair in General Surgery, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Breast Oncology

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

(partial list)
  • 2010
    CaBIG Advancing Innovation Award, Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid
  • 2013
    Honors & invited plenary speech, "Risk- Based Screening and Prevention of Cancer as a Solution to Over-Diagnosis and Over-Treatment.” Women in Science Program Conference
  • 2013
    San Francisco American Cancer Society Soiree honors
  • 2014
    Award for Outstanding Achievement in Women’s Health, Journal of Women’s Health
  • 2014
    Award for excellence in translational oncology. 10th “Industry/Academia Translational Oncology” Symposium, Moores UCSD Cancer Center
  • 2016
    Stanford Graduate School of Business Earnest C. Arbuckle Award
  • 2016
    Personalized Medicine World Conference Luminary Award
  • 2016
    TIME 100 List of Most Influential People in the World
  • 2018
    20 Most Influential Moms of 2018, Family Circle

Selected Publications

  1. Scheel JR, Kim E, Partridge SC, Lehman CD, Rosen MA, Bernreuter WK, Pisano ED, Marques HS, Morris EA, Weatherall PT, Polin SM, Newstead GM, Esserman LJ, Schnall MD, Hylton NM. MRI, Clinical Examination, and Mammography for Preoperative Assessment of Residual Disease and Pathologic Complete Response After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer: ACRIN 6657 Trial. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2018 Apr 30; 1-10.
    View on PubMed
  2. Chiu C, Aleshi P, Esserman LJ, Inglis-Arkell C, Yap E, Whitlock EL, Harbell MW. Improved analgesia and reduced post-operative nausea and vomiting after implementation of an enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) pathway for total mastectomy. BMC Anesthesiol. 2018 Apr 16; 18(1):41.
    View on PubMed
  3. Bidard FC, Michiels S, Riethdorf S, Mueller V, Esserman LJ, Lucci A, Naume B, Horiguchi J, Gisbert-Criado R, Sleijfer S, Toi M, Garcia-Saenz JA, Hartkopf A, Generali D, Rothé F, Smerage J, Muinelo-Romay L, Stebbing J, Viens P, Magbanua MJM, Hall CS, Engebraaten O, Takata D, Vidal-Martínez J, Onstenk W, Fujisawa N, Diaz-Rubio E, Taran FA, Cappelletti MR, Ignatiadis M, Proudhon C, Wolf DM, Bauldry JB, Borgen E, Nagaoka R, Carañana V, Kraan J, Maestro M, Brucker SY, Weber K, Reyal F, Amara D, Karhade MG, Mathiesen RR, Tokiniwa H, Llombart-Cussac A, Meddis A, Blanche P, d'Hollander K, Park JW, Pierga JY, Pantel K. Circulating Tumor Cells in Breast Cancer Patients Treated by Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: A Meta-analysis. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 04 12.
    View on PubMed
  4. Price ER, Khoury AL, Esserman LJ, Joe BN, Alvarado MD. Initial Clinical Experience With an Inducible Magnetic Seed System for Preoperative Breast Lesion Localization. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2018 Apr; 210(4):913-917.
    View on PubMed
  5. Lindström LS, Yau C, Czene K, Thompson CK, Hoadley KA, Van't Veer LJ, Balassanian R, Bishop JW, Carpenter PM, Chen YY, Datnow B, Hasteh F, Krings G, Lin F, Zhang Y, Nordenskjöld B, Stål O, Benz CC, Fornander T, Borowsky AD, Esserman LJ. Intratumor Heterogeneity of the Estrogen Receptor and the Long-term Risk of Fatal Breast Cancer. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Jan 19.
    View on PubMed
  6. Peled AW, Sears M, Wang F, Foster RD, Alvarado M, Wong J, Ewing CA, Sbitany H, Esserman LJ, Fowble B. Complications After Total Skin-Sparing Mastectomy and Expander-Implant Reconstruction: Effects of Radiation Therapy on the Stages of Reconstruction. Ann Plast Surg. 2018 Jan; 80(1):10-13.
    View on PubMed
  7. Olshen A, Wolf D, Jones EF, Newitt D, van ‘t Veer LJ, Yau C, Esserman L, Wulfkuhle JD, Gallagher RI, Singer L, Petricoin EF, Hylton N, Park CC. Features of MRI stromal enhancement with neoadjuvant chemotherapy: a subgroup analysis of the ACRIN 6657/I-SPY TRIAL. J Med Imaging (Bellingham). 2018 01; 5(1):011014.
    View on PubMed
  8. Kwong A, Ho JCW, Shin VY, Kurian AW, Tai E, Esserman LJ, Weitzel JN, Lin PH, Field M, Domchek SM, Lo J, Ngan HYS, Ma ESK, Chan TL, Ford JM. Rapid detection of BRCA1/2 recurrent mutations in Chinese breast and ovarian cancer patients with multiplex SNaPshot genotyping panels. Oncotarget. 2018 Jan 30; 9(8):7832-7843.
    View on PubMed
  9. DeMichele A, Yee D, Esserman L. Mechanisms of Resistance to Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2017 12 07; 377(23):2287-2289.
    View on PubMed
  10. Esserman LJ, Yau C, Thompson CK, van 't Veer LJ, Borowsky AD, Hoadley KA, Tobin NP, Nordenskjöld B, Fornander T, Stål O, Benz CC, Lindström LS. Use of Molecular Tools to Identify Patients With Indolent Breast Cancers With Ultralow Risk Over 2 Decades. JAMA Oncol. 2017 Nov 01; 3(11):1503-1510.
    View on PubMed
  11. Rice BA, Ver Hoeve ES, DeLuca AN, Esserman LJ, Rugo HS, Melisko ME. Registry study to assess hair loss prevention with the Penguin Cold Cap in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2018 Jan; 167(1):117-122.
    View on PubMed
  12. Esserman LJ. The WISDOM Study: breaking the deadlock in the breast cancer screening debate. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2017; 3:34.
    View on PubMed
  13. Bartelink IH, Prideaux B, Krings G, Wilmes L, Lee PRE, Bo P, Hann B, Coppé JP, Heditsian D, Swigart-Brown L, Jones EF, Magnitsky S, Keizer RJ, de Vries N, Rosing H, Pawlowska N, Thomas S, Dhawan M, Aggarwal R, Munster PN, Esserman LJ, Ruan W, Wu AHB, Yee D, Dartois V, Savic RM, Wolf DM, van 't Veer L. Heterogeneous drug penetrance of veliparib and carboplatin measured in triple negative breast tumors. Breast Cancer Res. 2017 Sep 11; 19(1):107.
    View on PubMed
  14. Wolf DM, Yau C, Sanil A, Glas A, Petricoin E, Wulfkuhle J, Severson TM, Linn S, Brown-Swigart L, Hirst G, Buxton M, DeMichele A, Hylton N, Symmans F, Yee D, Paoloni M, Esserman L, Berry D, Rugo H, Olopade O, van 't Veer L. DNA repair deficiency biomarkers and the 70-gene ultra-high risk signature as predictors of veliparib/carboplatin response in the I-SPY 2 breast cancer trial. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2017; 3:31.
    View on PubMed
  15. van 't Veer LJ, Yau C, Yu NY, Benz CC, Nordenskjöld B, Fornander T, Stål O, Esserman LJ, Lindström LS. Tamoxifen therapy benefit for patients with 70-gene signature high and low risk. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Nov; 166(2):593-601.
    View on PubMed
  16. 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 08; 165(1):161.
    View on PubMed
  17. Fowble B, Jairam AK, Wang F, Peled A, Alvarado M, Ewing C, Esserman L, Park C, Lazar A. Indications for Postmastectomy Radiation After Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in ypN0 and ypN1-3 Axillary Node-Positive Women. Clin Breast Cancer. 2018 Feb; 18(1):e107-e113.
    View on PubMed
  18. Campbell JI, Yau C, Krass P, Moore D, Carey LA, Au A, Chhieng D, Giri D, Livasy C, Mies C, Rabban J, Sarode VR, Singh B, Esserman L, Chen YY. Comparison of residual cancer burden, American Joint Committee on Cancer staging and pathologic complete response in breast cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy: results from the I-SPY 1 TRIAL (CALGB 150007/150012; ACRIN 6657). Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2017 Aug; 165(1):181-191.
    View on PubMed
  19. 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
  20. Chien AJ, 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 Aug; 165(1):151-159.
    View on PubMed

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