Improved understanding of breast tumor radioresponse is critical as many thousands of women will receive breast radiotherapy (RT) each year. Breast cancer is made up of a heterogeneous group of distinct biologic subtypes (ex. luminal, basal) with characteristic clinical outcomes and patterns of gene expression, but little is known about how those subtypes impact response to radiation.
Our lab’s long-term research interest is to individualize breast radiotherapy according to breast cancer biology. We want to understand why distinct breast tumors might respond differently to radiation. If we explore this differential response, we may be able to identify biomarkers that can predict radiation treatment response and drug targets that can be exploited to increase the effectiveness of radiation.
Our projects focus on using gene expression as a tool to understand radiation response in both in vitro and the in vivo setting. Our clinical trials contain tissue correlatives that provide a unique opportunity to follow our findings from bench to bedside. It is our hope that these tools could lead to biologically-based radiotherapy, with dose escalation or reduction according to risk. This tailored approach would improve the outcomes and overall well-being for women with breast cancer.