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, Sponsor Award ID: T32CA251070
  • March 1, 2020 - February 28, 2025 - Extending the Diversity, Reach, and Generalizability of the WISDOM Study , Principal Investigator . Sponsor: NIH, 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, Sponsor Award ID: P01CA210961
  • September 16, 2015 - August 31, 2021 - 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, 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. Wolf DM, Yau C, Wulfkuhle J, Brown-Swigart L, Gallagher IR, Lee PRE, Zhu Z, Magbanua MJ, Sayaman R, O'Grady N, Basu A, Delson A, Coppé JP, Lu R, Braun J, I-SPY2 Investigators, Asare SM, Sit L, Matthews JB, Perlmutter J, Hylton N, Liu MC, Pohlmann P, Symmans WF, Rugo HS, Isaacs C, DeMichele AM, Yee D, Berry DA, Pusztai L, Petricoin EF, Hirst GL, Esserman LJ, van 't Veer LJ. Redefining breast cancer subtypes to guide treatment prioritization and maximize response: Predictive biomarkers across 10 cancer therapies. Cancer Cell. 2022 May 25.  View on PubMed
  2. Marczyk M, Mrukwa A, Yau C, Wolf D, Chen YY, Balassanian R, Nanda R, Parker BA, Krings G, Sattar H, Zeck JC, Albain KS, Boughey JC, Liu MC, Elias AD, Clark AS, Venters SJ, Shad S, Basu A, Asare SM, Buxton M, Asare AL, Rugo HS, Perlmutter J, DeMichele AM, Yee D, Berry DA, van 't Veer L, Symmans WF, Esserman L, Pusztai L, I-SPY Consortium. Treatment Efficacy Score - continuous residual cancer burden-based metric to compare neoadjuvant chemotherapy efficacy between randomized trial arms in breast cancer trials. Ann Oncol. 2022 May 02.  View on PubMed
  3. Le NN, Li W, Onishi N, Newitt DC, Gibbs JE, Wilmes LJ, Kornak J, Partridge SC, LeStage B, Price ER, Joe BN, Esserman LJ, Hylton NM. Effect of Inter-Reader Variability on Diffusion-Weighted MRI Apparent Diffusion Coefficient Measurements and Prediction of Pathologic Complete Response for Breast Cancer. Tomography. 2022 Apr 22; 8(3):1208-1220.  View on PubMed
  4. Mukhtar R, Symmans WF, Esserman LJ. Association of Residual Cancer Burden After Neoadjuvant Therapy and Event-Free Survival in Breast Cancer-Reply. JAMA Oncol. 2022 Apr 01; 8(4):1.  View on PubMed
  5. Johansson A, Yu NY, Iftimi A, Tobin NP, van 't Veer L, Nordenskjöld B, Benz CC, Fornander T, Perez-Tenorio G, Stål O, Esserman LJ, Yau C, Lindström LS. Clinical and molecular characteristics of estrogen receptor-positive ultralow risk breast cancer tumors identified by the 70-gene signature. Int J Cancer. 2022 06 15; 150(12):2072-2082.  View on PubMed
  6. Yau C, Osdoit M, Esserman LJ, Symmans WF. Survivorship after neoadjuvant chemotherapy - Authors' reply. Lancet Oncol. 2022 03; 23(3):e96.  View on PubMed
  7. Umashankar S, Mamounas ME, Matthys M, Hadeler EK, Wong EC, Hicks G, Hwang J, Chien AJ, Rugo HS, Hamolsky D, Esserman L, Melisko M. Evaluation of the Pathways for Survivors Program to Address Breast Cancer Survivorship-Associated Distress: Survey Study. JMIR Cancer. 2022 Feb 25; 8(1):e31756.  View on PubMed
  8. Lopes Cardozo JMN, Drukker CA, Rutgers EJT, Schmidt MK, Glas AM, Witteveen A, Cardoso F, Piccart M, Esserman LJ, Poncet C, van 't Veer LJ. Outcome of Patients With an Ultralow-Risk 70-Gene Signature in the MINDACT Trial. J Clin Oncol. 2022 Apr 20; 40(12):1335-1345.  View on PubMed
  9. Nachmanson D, Officer A, Mori H, Gordon J, Evans MF, Steward J, Yao H, O'Keefe T, Hasteh F, Stein GS, Jepsen K, Weaver DL, Hirst GL, Sprague BL, Esserman LJ, Borowsky AD, Stein JL, Harismendy O. The breast pre-cancer atlas illustrates the molecular and micro-environmental diversity of ductal carcinoma in situ. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2022 Jan 13; 8(1):6.  View on PubMed
  10. Abel MK, Shui AM, Melisko M, Chien AJ, Yoshida EJ, Lancaster EM, Van 't Veer L, Esserman LJ, Mukhtar RA. The incidence of discordant clinical and genomic risk in patients with invasive lobular or ductal carcinoma of the breast: a National Cancer Database Study. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Dec 21; 7(1):156.  View on PubMed
  11. Yau C, Osdoit M, van der Noordaa M, Shad S, Wei J, de Croze D, Hamy AS, Laé M, Reyal F, Sonke GS, Steenbruggen TG, van Seijen M, Wesseling J, Martín M, Del Monte-Millán M, López-Tarruella S, I-SPY 2 Trial Consortium, Boughey JC, Goetz MP, Hoskin T, Gould R, Valero V, Edge SB, Abraham JE, Bartlett JMS, Caldas C, Dunn J, Earl H, Hayward L, Hiller L, Provenzano E, Sammut SJ, Thomas JS, Cameron D, Graham A, Hall P, Mackintosh L, Fan F, Godwin AK, Schwensen K, Sharma P, DeMichele AM, Cole K, Pusztai L, Kim MO, van 't Veer LJ, Esserman LJ, Symmans WF. Residual cancer burden after neoadjuvant chemotherapy and long-term survival outcomes in breast cancer: a multicentre pooled analysis of 5161 patients. Lancet Oncol. 2022 01; 23(1):149-160.  View on PubMed
  12. Dreher N, Matthys M, Hadeler E, Shieh Y, Acerbi I, McAuley FM, Melisko M, Eklund M, Tice JA, Esserman LJ, Veer LJV. A case-case analysis of women with breast cancer: predictors of interval vs screen-detected cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2022 Feb; 191(3):623-629.  View on PubMed
  13. Clark AS, Yau C, Wolf DM, Petricoin EF, van 't Veer LJ, Yee D, Moulder SL, Wallace AM, Chien AJ, Isaacs C, Boughey JC, Albain KS, Kemmer K, Haley BB, Han HS, Forero-Torres A, Elias A, Lang JE, Ellis ED, Yung R, Tripathy D, Nanda R, Wulfkuhle JD, Brown-Swigart L, Gallagher RI, Helsten T, Roesch E, Ewing CA, Alvarado M, Crane EP, Buxton M, Clennell JL, Paoloni M, Asare SM, Wilson A, Hirst GL, Singhrao R, Steeg K, Asare A, Matthews JB, Berry S, Sanil A, Melisko M, Perlmutter J, Rugo HS, Schwab RB, Symmans WF, Hylton NM, Berry DA, Esserman LJ, DeMichele AM. Neoadjuvant T-DM1/pertuzumab and paclitaxel/trastuzumab/pertuzumab for HER2+ breast cancer in the adaptively randomized I-SPY2 trial. Nat Commun. 2021 11 05; 12(1):6428.  View on PubMed
  14. Engebraaten O, Yau C, Berg K, Borgen E, Garred Ø, Berstad MEB, Fremstedal ASV, DeMichele A, Veer LV', Esserman L, Weyergang A. RAB5A expression is a predictive biomarker for trastuzumab emtansine in breast cancer. Nat Commun. 2021 11 05; 12(1):6427.  View on PubMed
  15. 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 Nov 01; 7(11):1654-1663.  View on PubMed
  16. Abel MK, Melisko ME, Rugo HS, Chien AJ, Diaz I, Levine JK, Griffin A, McGuire J, Esserman LJ, Borno HT, Mukhtar RA. Decreased enrollment in breast cancer trials by histologic subtype: does invasive lobular carcinoma resist RECIST? NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Oct 25; 7(1):139.  View on PubMed
  17. Yee D, Isaacs C, Wolf DM, Yau C, Haluska P, Giridhar KV, Forero-Torres A, Jo Chien A, Wallace AM, Pusztai L, Albain KS, Ellis ED, Beckwith H, Haley BB, Elias AD, Boughey JC, Kemmer K, Yung RL, Pohlmann PR, Tripathy D, Clark AS, Han HS, Nanda R, Khan QJ, Edmiston KK, Petricoin EF, Stringer-Reasor E, Falkson CI, Majure M, Mukhtar RA, Helsten TL, Moulder SL, Robinson PA, Wulfkuhle JD, Brown-Swigart L, Buxton M, Clennell JL, Paoloni M, Sanil A, Berry S, Asare SM, Wilson A, Hirst GL, Singhrao R, Asare AL, Matthews JB, Hylton NM, DeMichele A, Melisko M, Perlmutter J, Rugo HS, Fraser Symmans W, Van't Veer LJ, Berry DA, Esserman LJ. Ganitumab and metformin plus standard neoadjuvant therapy in stage 2/3 breast cancer. NPJ Breast Cancer. 2021 Oct 05; 7(1):131.  View on PubMed
  18. 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 10 01; 25(5):E57-E62.  View on PubMed
  19. Ropers FG, Barratt A, Wilt TJ, Nicholls SG, Taylor-Phillips S, Kramer BS, Esserman LJ, Norris SL, Gibson LM, Harris RP, Carter SM, Jacklyn G, Jørgensen KJ. Health screening needs independent regular re-evaluation. BMJ. 2021 09 27; 374:n2049.  View on PubMed
  20. 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

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