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. Newitt DC, Zhang Z, Gibbs JE, Partridge SC, Chenevert TL, Rosen MA, Bolan PJ, Marques HS, Aliu S, Li W, Cimino L, Joe BN, Umphrey H, Ojeda-Fournier H, Dogan B, Oh K, Abe H, Drukteinis J, Esserman LJ, Hylton NM. Test-retest repeatability and reproducibility of ADC measures by breast DWI: Results from the ACRIN 6698 trial. J Magn Reson Imaging. 2018 Oct 22.
    View on PubMed
  2. Esserman LJ, LaCroix AZ. Precision risk-based screening might maximize benefit and minimize harm. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2018 Sep 14.
    View on PubMed
  3. Magbanua MJM, Rugo HS, Hauranieh L, Roy R, Scott JH, Lee JC, Hsiao F, Sosa EV, Van't Veer L, Esserman LJ, Park JW. Genomic and expression profiling reveal molecular heterogeneity of disseminated tumor cells in bone marrow of early breast cancer. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2018; 4:31.
    View on PubMed
  4. Partridge SC, Zhang Z, Newitt DC, Gibbs JE, Chenevert TL, Rosen MA, Bolan PJ, Marques HS, Romanoff J, Cimino L, Joe BN, Umphrey HR, Ojeda-Fournier H, Dogan B, Oh K, Abe H, Drukteinis JS, Esserman LJ, Hylton NM. Diffusion-weighted MRI Findings Predict Pathologic Response in Neoadjuvant Treatment of Breast Cancer: The ACRIN 6698 Multicenter Trial. Radiology. 2018 Sep 04; 180273.
    View on PubMed
  5. Tang V, Zhao S, Boscardin J, Sudore R, Covinsky K, Walter LC, Esserman L, Mukhtar R, Finlayson E. Functional Status and Survival After Breast Cancer Surgery in Nursing Home Residents. JAMA Surg. 2018 Aug 29.
    View on PubMed
  6. Boughey JC, Alvarado MD, Lancaster RB, Fraser Symmans W, Mukhtar R, Wong JM, Ewing CA, Potter DA, Tuttle TM, Hieken TJ, Carter JM, Jakub JW, Kaplan HG, Buchanan CL, Jaskowiak NT, Sattar HA, Mueller J, Nanda R, Isaacs CJ, Pohlmann PR, Lynce F, Tousimis EA, Zeck JC, Lee MC, Lang JE, Mhawech-Fauceglia P, Rao R, Taback B, Chen M, Kalinsky KM, Hibshoosh H, Killelea B, Sanft T, Hirst GL, Asare S, Matthews JB, Perlmutter J, Esserman LJ. Surgical Standards for Management of the Axilla in Breast Cancer Clinical Trials with Pathological Complete Response Endpoint. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2018; 4:26.
    View on PubMed
  7. Huang SY, Franc BL, Harnish RJ, Liu G, Mitra D, Copeland TP, Arasu VA, Kornak J, Jones EF, Behr SC, Hylton NM, Price ER, Esserman L, Seo Y. Exploration of PET and MRI radiomic features for decoding breast cancer phenotypes and prognosis. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2018; 4:24.
    View on PubMed
  8. Mukhtar RA, Wong J, Piper M, Zhu Z, Fahrner-Scott K, Mamounas M, Sbitany H, Alvarado M, Foster R, Ewing C, Esserman L. Breast Conservation and Negative Margins in Invasive Lobular Carcinoma: The Impact of Oncoplastic Surgery and Shave Margins in 358 Patients. Ann Surg Oncol. 2018 Jul 27.
    View on PubMed
  9. Mustoe MM, Lee CM, Melisko ME, Esserman LJ, Rugo HS. The DigniCap Scalp Cooling System and its use in the treatment of chemotherapy-induced alopecia. Future Oncol. 2018 Jul 12.
    View on PubMed
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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

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