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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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. 2021 Dec 10.  View on PubMed
  4. 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. 2021 Nov 29.  View on PubMed
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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 Oct; 189(3):593-598.  View on PubMed
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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

Go to UCSF Profiles, powered by CTSI