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David Rimm, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Pathology
Director, Pathology Tissue Services
Director, Translational Science in Pathology
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, Connecticut

Current Research

  • Seeking methods to distinguish patients at high risk of breast cancer recurrence from normal risk patients.
  • Clinical trial data are analyzed to identify biomarkers that can select the most appropriate treatment option for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer.

  • These studies will help to identify ensure that each patient receives the right treament and is not exposed to additional therapy that is not needed.

Trastuzumab (Herceptin®) is one of the most effective drugs for management of HER2-positive breast cancer. However, not all patients who take the drug are cured.

The goal of Dr. Rimm's BCRF research is to determine which patients are likely to recur so that treatments can be adjusted to prevent recurrence. In a large international clinical trial, called ALTTO, addition of the anti-HER2 drug lapatinib (Tykerb®) to traztuzumab helped some patients with HER2-positive breast cancers, but for most patients, the added therapy was unnecessary.

Dr. Rimm will use the tissue obtained from patients enrolled in the ALTTO trial to better understand why some tumors do not respond to trastuzumab and test an assay to identify patients who might benefit from the addition of lapatinib.

There are currently five approved drugs to treat HER2-positive breast cancer, but no assay can define which patients will benefit from which drugs.  Dr. Rimm's research will define specific biomarkers and special combinations of those markers that may allow segregation of different patients to different HER2 therapies.


Dr. David Rimm is a Professor in the Department of Pathology at the Yale University School of Medicine with a secondary appointment in Medicine (Oncology). He completed an MD-PhD at Johns Hopkins University Medical School followed by a Pathology Residency at Yale and a Cytopathology Fellowship at the Medical College of Virginia. His lab group focuses on quantitative pathology using the AQUA® technology invented in his lab with projects related to predicting response to therapy, recurrence or metastasis in breast cancer. He is a member of a number of correlative science committees for multi-institutional breast cancer clinical trials including SWOG, ALLTO, and TEACH. He also serves on the Molecular Oncology committee for the College of American Pathologists. He is an author of over 280 peer-reviewed papers and 8 patents. He has served on advisory boards for Genentech, Novaritis, BMS, Perkin Elmer, Dako, ACD, Avida , OptraScan, Metamark Genetics and Genoptix.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Estée Lauder Companies Brands Award in Memory of Evelyn H. Lauder

Area(s) of Focus