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Breast Surgery Research and Clinical Trials

Surgeons within the Division of Breast Surgery provide daily care to patients while also devoting their time and expertise to 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.

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

  • Personalizing prevention strategies
  • Patient satisfaction and quality of life
  • Optimizing multidisciplinary treatment planning, including surgery, systemic therapy and radiation
  • 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
  • Improved understanding of the environment around the breast tumor, including blood vessels, immune cells and other biological components (referred to as the tumor microenvironment)

Breast Surgery Research Projects

  • Analyzing patient-reported outcomes in breast cancer surgery.
  • Studying management of the axilla after preoperative systemic chemotherapy with particular focus on individual tumor features.
  • Using artificial intelligence to predict the likelihood of cancer in women with a biopsy of atypical ductal hyperplasia (ADH).
  • Individualizing treatment options for women with non-invasive disease including ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and lobular carcinoma in situ (LCIS).
  • Examining surgical techniques and advanced imaging modalities to optimize surgical treatments and outcomes.
  • Studying the tumor microenvironment to better understand the immune response to breast cancer.

If appropriate, your surgeon will discuss opportunities for you to participate in one of our current research studies.

Breast Surgery Clinical Trials

  • Phase III trial evaluating axillary lymph node dissection or axillary radiation for patients with node-positive breast cancer treated with chemotherapy. Learn more about this clinical trial.
  • PRECISION (Profiling Early Breast Cancer for Radiotherapy Omission) trial aims to evaluate whether patients do not need radiation treatment after undergoing a lumpectomy, also known as "breast conserving surgery". Learn more about this clinical trial.
  • Phase III trial studying standard or comprehensive radiation therapy in patients with early-stage breast cancer treated with chemotherapy and surgery. Learn more about this clinical trial.
  • Phase II study evaluating mass spectrometry and intraoperative MRI (iMRI) in the Advanced Multimodality Image-Guided Operating suite (AMIGO) in breast-conserving surgery. Phase I results showed that tumor assessment is enhanced by iMRI with the patient lying facing upward rather than downward. Learn more about this clinical trial. Read this related article.
  • Trial aimed at studying the need for surgical intervention in patients diagnosed with flat epithelial atypia (FEA) or intraductal papilloma without atypia (IPWA) by core needle biopsy. Learn more about this clinical trial.
    • Related work: Multi-site trial evaluating surgical excision of lobular neoplasia.
  • Trial assessing the value of supine MRI (i.e., lying on one’s back) vs. standard MRI (i.e., lying on one’s stomach) in determining the size and location of tumors in women with breast cancer treated with preoperative therapy. Learn more about this clinical trial.
  • Comparison of Operative to Monitoring and Endocrine Therapy (COMET) Trial is a phase III randomized trial investigating the benefits for active surveillance compared with standard care for patients with low risk ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Learn more about this clinical trial.
  • A randomized trial studying the effect of a shorter treatment schedule of radiation therapy. Learn more about this clinical trial.
  • Registry trial to determine the value of the DCISionRT™ test—a diagnostic test that predicts an individual patient’s benefit from radiation therapy—in the treatment of women with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Learn more about this clinical trial.

These are just a few breast cancer trials that may be available to you. Visit the clinical trials page to access a complete list of all breast cancer clinical trials open to new participants. Your surgeon will discuss these opportunities with you further.

Selection of Recently Published Projects

Support Our Breast Surgery Research

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:

  • Tailoring therapy based on tumor type
  • 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
  • In depth analysis of the tumor and surrounding immune cells to identify ways to mobilize a patient’s own immune system to fight their cancer

Learn how you can support our breast surgery research projects.


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