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C. Kent Osborne, MD

Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

Titles and Affiliations

Professor of Medicine, Hematology and Oncology
Dudley and Tina Sharp Chair for Cancer Research
Founding Director Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center

Research area

Identifying and treating drivers of resistance in advanced estrogen receptor-positive and HER2-positive breast cancers.


While effective treatments for estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and HER2-positive breast cancers are available, many tumors are or become resistant to these therapies. Drs. Osborne and Schiff and their teams conduct laboratory and clinical studies to understand resistance to endocrine and anti-HER2 therapy and develop new treatment strategies to overcome it. They have a growing panel of experimental models of drug resistance and metastasis, as well as data from clinical specimens—valuable resources to advance the understanding of the molecular drivers of drug resistance that can be shared with the wider research community.

Progress Thus Far

In the past several years, the research group has used their large growing panel of laboratory models of resistance to reveal several mechanisms of resistance to ER and HER2 therapies. They have also developed novel treatment combinations to target these vulnerabilities to overcome resistance. In (ER)-positive breast cancer, the group has identified key molecular factors in promoting endocrine resistance and metastatic features, co-inhibition of which could potentially overcome resistance, and potential new vulnerabilities in resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors that may be therapeutically exploited in future studies.

What’s next

Leveraging their unique collection of models of resistance, the team will focus on further expanding their panel of genetically diverse models of acquired drug resistance to current and emerging targeted agents. They will also continue to characterize these models at the molecular and functional level and integrate them with relevant clinical datasets. Their studies will set the stage for future clinical studies to prevent or overcome resistance and will also help optimize the sequence of HER2-targeted agents in clinical practice.


Dr. Osborne was born in St. Louis, Missouri and received his AB and his MD from the University of Missouri, both with honors. He completed his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins and followed this with three years as a Clinical Associate at the Medicine Branch of the National Cancer Institute. He was a faculty member at the University of Texas Health Science Center from 1977 until 1999 and became Chief of Medical Oncology in 1992. In 1999, Dr. Osborne moved to Baylor College of Medicine to direct a new Breast Center and in 2004 was named Director of the Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor.

Dr. Osborne’s research interests have focused on the biology and treatment of breast cancer. He has published extensively on the role of growth factors in breast cancer pathogenesis and has also investigated the mechanisms of action and resistance to ER and HER2 targeted therapies in breast cancer. Dr. Osborne currently directs the Baylor Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence Grant, and he has authored more than 400 manuscripts on the biology and treatment of breast cancer.

BCRF Investigator Since



Rachel Schiff, MD

Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas