New Haven, Connecticut
Fellow, Hematology and Medical Oncology
Conquer Cancer – The ASCO Foundation
Conducting molecular analysis of primary tumors and metastases to inform therapeutic decision making.
Breast cancer is comprised of subtypes that differ in their biology, clinical presentation, and response to therapies. The main subtypes of breast cancer include those driven by estrogen, characterized by the positivity for hormone receptors (estrogen and progesterone , ER and PR, positive, respectively); others are driven by the expression of a growth factor called HER2 (HER2-positive); and alternatively, if the tumor does not express ER, PR, or HER2 , they belong to a subtype called triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). One curious clinical observation is the change in subtypes between the initial breast cancer and distant cancer or metastatic recurrence in the same patient, which is seen in around 20 percent of patients. A concern is that routine clinical tests that assign receptor status to cancers are error-prone and a change in receptor status may be due to inherent technical artefacts of the test.
Recently, powerful new molecular analysis methods have become available to capture the molecular subtype more precisely by measuring hundreds to thousands of genes. Since the subtype determines therapy selection, its accurate determination is a key factor in medical decision making. The goal of Dr. Khan’s Conquer Cancer research supported by BCRF is to use new molecular techniques to determine if receptor status change is due to the limitations of current subtyping methods, or if it reflects a true change in the biology of the disease. Correctly determining ER status is critically important for choosing the right therapies for metastatic breast cancer patients.
Adriana Kahn, MD is currently a medical oncology fellow at Yale University, where she will remain after fellowship as an Assistant Professor of Medicine. Originally from Brazil, she received her MD from Universidade Federal da Bahia, completed an internal medicine residency and a medical oncology fellowship at the Universidade de Sao Paulo. She completed a Breast Medical Oncology fellowship at the University of Calgary, Canada before moving to the United States and completing a residency in internal medicine at the University of Connecticut.
She has been working closely with her Yale mentors, Drs. Lajos Pusztai, Maryam Lustberg, Patricia LoRusso, and Eric Winer, to improve breast cancer care and drug development in the clinical setting by expanding clinical trial access to minoritized communities, refining breast cancer biomarker development, mitigating treatment toxicities and improving clinical outcomes through the development of investigator-initiated trials. Being embedded in the Breast Cancer and in the Cancer Drug Development Programs at the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale Cancer Center will allow her to continue to collaborate with many inspiring physicians, basic scientists and clinical trialists.
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