Breast Surgery Research and Clinical Trials

Surgeons within the Breast Surgery Service provide daily care to patients while also devoting their time and expertise to breast surgery research. As active physician-scientists, our surgeons move discoveries from concept to research to direct patient care—pioneering life-changing approaches that improve diagnoses, treatment techniques and quality of life.

Breast Surgery Research and Clinical Trials Topics

Breast Surgery Areas of Investigation

Our surgeons are investigating breast disease on multiple fronts, including:

  • Less invasive surgical techniques
  • Breast cancer in young women
  • Advanced imaging modalities to reduce the need for multiple surgeries [Advanced Multimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO)] Suite
  • Optimizing multidisciplinary treatment planning, including surgery, systemic therapy and radiation
  • Patient satisfaction and quality of life

If appropriate, your surgeon will discuss opportunities for you to participate in one of our current research studies or clinical trials. Cancer patients have direct access to the latest research-based treatments and clinical trials through our role in the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center. Visit the clinical trials page to access a complete list of all breast cancer clinical trials open to new participants at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and other Harvard teaching hospitals, including contact information for open trials. Only patients who have provided consent can participate in studies.

To learn more about clinical trials that focus on targeted therapies, visit the precision cancer medicine website of DF/BWCC. You can search by diagnoses and select genes, including HER2, BRCA and other breast cancer genes.

Breast Surgery Research Studies – Ongoing Projects
  • Optimizing multidisciplinary management strategies for patients with early stage disease undergoing mastectomy.
  • Examining surgical techniques and advanced imaging modalities including supine MRI examination to reduce the need for re-excisions.
  • Examining the impact of local therapy, including contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM), on physical and psychosocial outcomes for young women with breast cancer.
  • Studying characteristics of second malignancies and long-term survival outcomes in women diagnosed with lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS).
  • Evaluating clinicopathologic characteristics of classic and non-classic LCIS and the risk of concomitant and future breast cancer diagnosis.
  • Examining factors that predict the progression of disease in women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
  • Determining the role of circulating tumor DNA as a surrogate for response to neoadjuvant therapy in locally advanced breast cancer.
  • Studying novel treatments for triple negative breast cancers.
Breast Surgery Research Studies – Completed Projects
  • Routine surgical excision of lobular neoplasia is no longer recommended. Learn more.
  • Optimum pain control can be achieved while reducing the number of pain pills dispersed.
  • The 21-gene recurrence score is independently prognostic for both time to first progression and 2-year overall survival in ER–positive/HER2-negative de novo stage IV breast cancer. Learn more about this research study and access more information about the study.
  • Neoadjuvant chemotherapy reduces the need for axillary dissection in patients presenting with nodal metastases. Learn more.
  • Impact of neoadjuvant therapy on eligibility for and frequency of breast conservation in stage II-III HER2-positive breast cancer: surgical results of CALGB 40601 (Alliance). Learn more about this research study.
  • Growing Use of Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Despite no Improvement in Long-term Survival for Invasive Breast Cancer. Learn more about this research study and access the abstract online.
  • Intraoperative Supine Breast MR Imaging to Quantify Tumor Deformation and Detection of Residual Breast Cancer: Preliminary Results. Learn more.
  • Clonal relationships between lobular carcinoma in situ and other breast malignancies. Learn more.
Breast Surgery Clinical Trials
We Need Your Help

Your contributions to our research will provide even better care for the next generation of patients and their families. Your contributions can be directed in many ways, such as:

  • Optimizing surgical outcomes for patients with breast cancer
  • Improving surgical processes, techniques and protocols
  • Improving the patient experience and optimizing quality of life after breast cancer treatment
  • Developing new prevention strategies for women at increased risk


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