Research Summary

Laura Esserman, MD, MBA, an internationally recognized breast surgeon, breast oncology specialist, and visionary in personalized medicine, is revolutionizing breast cancer screening and treatment throughout our nation today.

As a Professor of Surgery and Radiology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Director of the UCSF Breast Care Center, Dr. Esserman's breast cancer work spans a spectrum from basic science to public policy issues and the impact of both on the delivery of clinical care. She is a provocative thought leader calling attention to and finding solutions for over-diagnosis and over-treatment of breast cancer, especially of DCIS.

Since 2002, Dr. Esserman has led the I-SPY TRIALS, a ground-breaking national public-private collaboration among NCI, FDA, more than 20 cancer research centers, and major pharma, biotech companies, and the not for profit sponsor, Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative. This trial model, which has now become an international model for translational research, designed to shave several years and tens of millions of dollars off the drug development process. The trial paradigm is now being developed for use in other disease domains, and she recently got FDA approval for an I-SPY Covid trial, designed to rapidly screen and confirm high impact treatments to reduce mortality and time on ventilators.

Additionally, Dr. Esserman led the creation of the University of California-wide Athena Breast Health Network, a learning system designed to integrate clinical care and research as it follows 150,000 women from screening through treatment and outcomes. As part of the network, she has spearheaded the development of the WISDOM study to learn how to improve breast cancer screening by testing and comparing the safety and efficacy of a personalized screening strategy informed by each woman's breast cancer risk and preferences against the standard of annual screening.

Dr. Esserman is a passionate and persistent advocate for her patients. She is keenly aware that many of her patients don't have 10 years to wait for the right treatment options. Her work is dedicated to accelerating the development of targeted, effective prevention and treatment options that can make a difference at the time when they are needed the most. Through these efforts, Dr. Esserman is helping to reshape the healthcare system, and changing it from a general population approach to a personalized and patient-centered care model.

Dr. Esserman has published more than 300 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and is regularly consulted by prestigious scientific, business, and consumer media including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Health Magazine, Prevention Magazine, The Newshour, ABC World News, the NBC Nightly News, the CBS Evening News, and NPR's Science Friday.

Dr. Esserman was included as one of TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2016, and was the recipient of the 2016 Stanford Business School Ernest C. Arbuckle Award and the 2016 Personalized Medicine World Conference Pioneer and Luminary Award. The San Francisco Business Times honored her with the Most Influential Women in Business Awards for 2018, and she also received the 2018 Giant of Cancer Care® in Cancer Diagnostics award.

Research Funding

  • July 15, 2020 - June 30, 2025 - Surgical Oncology Training Grant, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: T32CA251070
  • March 1, 2020 - February 28, 2025 - Extending the Diversity, Reach, and Generalizability of the WISDOM Study, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: R01CA237533
  • September 8, 2017 - August 31, 2022 - I-SPY2 +: Evolving the I-SPY 2 TRIAL to include MRI-directed, adaptive sequential treatment to optimize breast cancer outcomes, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: P01CA210961
  • September 16, 2015 - August 31, 2020 - Elucidating the molecular and contextual basis for IDLE ultralow risk lesions and the tumor immune microenvironment of high risk in situ and invasive breast cancers, Principal Investigator. Sponsor: NIH/NCI, Sponsor Award ID: U01CA196406

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

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
  • 2018
    OncLive Giants of Cancer Care Award from OncLive
  • 2020
    Brinker Award for Scientific Distinction in Clinical Research from Susan G. Komen

 

Selected Publications

  1. Wang T, Huilgol YS, Black J, D'Andrea C, James J, Northrop A, Belkora J, Esserman LJ. Pre-Appointment Nurse Navigation: Patient-Centered Findings From a Survey of Patients With Breast Cancer. Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2021 Oct 01; 25(5):E57-E62.  View on PubMed
  2. Khoury AL, Keane H, Varghese F, Hosseini A, Mukhtar R, Eder SE, Weinstein PR, Esserman LJ. Trigger point injection for post-mastectomy pain: a simple intervention with high rate of long-term relief. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Sep 17; 7(1):123.  View on PubMed
  3. Symmans WF, Yau C, Chen YY, Balassanian R, Klein ME, Pusztai L, Nanda R, Parker BA, Datnow B, Krings G, Wei S, Feldman MD, Duan X, Chen B, Sattar H, Khazai L, Zeck JC, Sams S, Mhawech-Fauceglia P, Rendi M, Sahoo S, Ocal IT, Fan F, LeBeau LG, Vinh T, Troxell ML, Chien AJ, Wallace AM, Forero-Torres A, Ellis E, Albain KS, Murthy RK, Boughey JC, Liu MC, Haley BB, Elias AD, Clark AS, Kemmer K, Isaacs C, Lang JE, Han HS, Edmiston K, Viscusi RK, Northfelt DW, Khan QJ, Leyland-Jones B, Venters SJ, Shad S, Matthews JB, Asare SM, Buxton M, Asare AL, Rugo HS, Schwab RB, Helsten T, Hylton NM, van 't Veer L, Perlmutter J, DeMichele AM, Yee D, Berry DA, Esserman LJ. Assessment of Residual Cancer Burden and Event-Free Survival in Neoadjuvant Treatment for High-risk Breast Cancer: An Analysis of Data From the I-SPY2 Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Oncol. 2021 Sep 16.  View on PubMed
  4. Esserman L, Eklund M, Veer LV, Shieh Y, Tice J, Ziv E, Blanco A, Kaplan C, Hiatt R, Fiscalini AS, Yau C, Scheuner M, Naeim A, Wenger N, Lee V, Heditsian D, Brain S, Parker BA, LaCroix AZ, Madlensky L, Hogarth M, Borowsky A, Anton-Culver H, Kaster A, Olopade OI, Sheth D, Garcia A, Lancaster R, Plaza M. The WISDOM study: a new approach to screening can and should be tested. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2021 Sep 16.  View on PubMed
  5. Esserman LJ. The use of neoadjuvant therapy to further personalize breast cancer treatment. Clin Adv Hematol Oncol. 2021 Sep; 19(9):569-572.  View on PubMed
  6. Onishi N, Li W, Newitt DC, Harnish RJ, Strand F, Nguyen AA, Arasu VA, Gibbs J, Jones EF, Wilmes LJ, Kornak J, Joe BN, Price ER, Ojeda-Fournier H, Eghtedari M, Zamora KW, Woodard S, Umphrey HR, Nelson MT, Church AL, Bolan PJ, Kuritza T, Ward K, Morley K, Wolverton D, Fountain K, Lopez Paniagua D, Hardesty L, Brandt KR, McDonald ES, Rosen M, Kontos D, Abe H, Sheth D, Crane E, Dillis C, Sheth P, Hovanessian-Larsen L, Bang DH, Porter B, Oh KY, Jafarian N, Tudorica LA, Niell B, Drukteinis J, Newell MS, Giurescu ME, Berman E, Lehman CD, Partridge SC, Fitzpatrick KA, Borders MH, Yang WT, Dogan B, Goudreau SH, Chenevert T, Yau C, DeMichele A, Berry DA, Esserman LJ, Hylton NM. Breast MRI during Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: Lack of Background Parenchymal Enhancement Suppression and Inferior Treatment Response. Radiology. 2021 Aug 24; 203645.  View on PubMed
  7. Huilgol YS, Keane H, Shieh Y, Hiatt RA, Tice JA, Madlensky L, Sabacan L, Fiscalini AS, Ziv E, Acerbi I, Che M, Anton-Culver H, Borowsky AD, Hunt S, Naeim A, Parker BA, van 't Veer LJ, Athena Breast Health Network Investigators and Advocate Partners , Esserman LJ. Elevated risk thresholds predict endocrine risk-reducing medication use in the Athena screening registry. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Aug 03; 7(1):102.  View on PubMed
  8. Heath CL, Esserman LJ, Flavell RR, Melisko ME. Authors' Reply: To the Letter to the Editor by Groheux et al. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2021 08 01; 19(8):xxx-xxxii.  View on PubMed
  9. Beitler JR, Thompson BT, Baron RM, Bastarache JA, Denlinger LC, Esserman L, Gong MN, LaVange LM, Lewis RJ, Marshall JC, Martin TR, McAuley DF, Meyer NJ, Moss M, Reineck LA, Rubin E, Schmidt EP, Standiford TJ, Ware LB, Wong HR, Aggarwal NR, Calfee CS. Advancing precision medicine for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Lancet Respir Med. 2021 Jul 23.  View on PubMed
  10. Keane H, Huilgol YS, Shieh Y, Tice JA, Belkora J, Sepucha K, Shibley WP, Wang T, Che M, Goodman D, Ozanne E, Fiscalini AS, Esserman LJ. Development and pilot of an online, personalized risk assessment tool for a breast cancer precision medicine trial. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Jun 17; 7(1):78.  View on PubMed
  11. Pusztai L, Yau C, Wolf DM, Han HS, Du L, Wallace AM, String-Reasor E, Boughey JC, Chien AJ, Elias AD, Beckwith H, Nanda R, Albain KS, Clark AS, Kemmer K, Kalinsky K, Isaacs C, Thomas A, Shatsky R, Helsten TL, Forero-Torres A, Liu MC, Brown-Swigart L, Petricoin EF, Wulfkuhle JD, Asare SM, Wilson A, Singhrao R, Sit L, Hirst GL, Berry S, Sanil A, Asare AL, Matthews JB, Perlmutter J, Melisko M, Rugo HS, Schwab RB, Symmans WF, Yee D, Van't Veer LJ, Hylton NM, DeMichele AM, Berry DA, Esserman LJ. Durvalumab with olaparib and paclitaxel for high-risk HER2-negative stage II/III breast cancer: Results from the adaptively randomized I-SPY2 trial. Cancer Cell. 2021 Jul 12; 39(7):989-998.e5.  View on PubMed
  12. Hewitt KC, Miller P, Piper M, Prionas N, Son JD, Alvarado M, Esserman LJ, Wong JM, Ewing C, Mukhtar RA. Positive margins after mastectomy in patients with invasive lobular carcinoma of the breast: Incidence and management strategies. Am J Surg. 2021 Jun 10.  View on PubMed
  13. O'Grady N, Gibbs DL, Abdilleh K, Asare A, Asare S, Venters S, Brown-Swigart L, Hirst GL, Wolf D, Yau C, van 't Veer LJ, Esserman L, Basu A. PRoBE the cloud toolkit: finding the best biomarkers of drug response within a breast cancer clinical trial. JAMIA Open. 2021 Apr; 4(2):ooab038.  View on PubMed
  14. Dar H, Johansson A, Nordenskjöld A, Iftimi A, Yau C, Perez-Tenorio G, Benz C, Nordenskjöld B, Stål O, Esserman LJ, Fornander T, Lindström LS. Assessment of 25-Year Survival of Women With Estrogen Receptor-Positive/ERBB2-Negative Breast Cancer Treated With and Without Tamoxifen Therapy: A Secondary Analysis of Data From the Stockholm Tamoxifen Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Jun 01; 4(6):e2114904.  View on PubMed
  15. Glencer AC, Wong JM, Hylton NM, Krings G, McCune E, Rothschild HT, Loveday TA, Alvarado MD, Esserman LJ, Campbell MJ. Modulation of the immune microenvironment of high-risk ductal carcinoma in situ by intralesional pembrolizumab injection. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 May 25; 7(1):59.  View on PubMed
  16. Matthys MB, Dempsey AM, Melisko ME, Dreher N, Che ML, Van't Veer LJ, Esserman LJ, Basu A. Incorporation of Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System to assess quality of life among patients with breast cancer initiating care at an academic center. Cancer. 2021 Jul 01; 127(13):2342-2349.  View on PubMed
  17. Liu G, Mitra D, Jones EF, Franc BL, Behr SC, Nguyen A, Bolouri MS, Wisner DJ, Joe BN, Esserman LJ, Hylton NM, Seo Y. Mask-Guided Convolutional Neural Network for Breast Tumor Prognostic Outcome Prediction on 3D DCE-MR Images. J Digit Imaging. 2021 Jun; 34(3):630-636.  View on PubMed
  18. Magbanua MJM, Li W, Wolf DM, Yau C, Hirst GL, Swigart LB, Newitt DC, Gibbs J, Delson AL, Kalashnikova E, Aleshin A, Zimmermann B, Chien AJ, Tripathy D, Esserman L, Hylton N, van 't Veer L. Circulating tumor DNA and magnetic resonance imaging to predict neoadjuvant chemotherapy response and recurrence risk. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Mar 25; 7(1):32.  View on PubMed
  19. Abel MK, Greenwood H, Kelil T, Guo R, Brabham C, Hylton N, Wong J, Alvarado M, Ewing C, Esserman LJ, Boughey JC, Mukhtar RA. Accuracy of breast MRI in evaluating nodal status after neoadjuvant therapy in invasive lobular carcinoma. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Mar 05; 7(1):25.  View on PubMed
  20. Du L, Yau C, Brown-Swigart L, Gould R, Krings G, Hirst GL, Bedrosian I, Layman RM, Carter JM, Klein M, Venters S, Shad S, van der Noordaa M, Chien AJ, Haddad T, Isaacs C, Pusztai L, Albain K, Nanda R, Tripathy D, Liu MC, Boughey J, Schwab R, Hylton N, DeMichele A, Perlmutter J, Yee D, Berry D, Van't Veer L, Valero V, Esserman LJ, Symmans WF. Predicted sensitivity to endocrine therapy for stage II-III hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative (HR+/HER2-) breast cancer before chemo-endocrine therapy. Ann Oncol. 2021 05; 32(5):642-651.  View on PubMed

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