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Dennis C. Sgroi, MD

Co-Director of Breast Pathology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Current Research

  • Seeking new strategies to prevent resistance to hormonal therapies.
  • Laboratory studies are ongoing to characterize an unusual genetic event that may cause drug resistance in estrogen-dependent breast cancers. 

  • Successful targeting of these genetic events with existing drugs could have a near-term impact in overcoming resistance to hormonal therapies and improving outcomes in patients with early stage hormone positive breast cancer.

Hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer accounts for the majority of all breast cancers diagnosed worldwide.  Most of these breast cancers are responsive to anti-estrogen (hormonal) therapies, but 25-30 percent of patients will experience resistance to hormonal therapy.

Although substantial progress has been made in identifying mutations in breast cancer "drive genes" (genes involved in the development of cancer), these are likely to represent an incomplete picture of all of the relevant genetic events contributing to hormonal resistance. 

One type of genetic event that is often overlooked is gene fusions–the abnormal joining of two genes.  Dr. Sgroi and colleagues have identified novel driver gene fusions in patients with advanced HR+ breast cancer and have shown that they are responsible for resistance to hormonal therapy and poor clinical outcome.

This year, the team will assess the prevalence and clinical relevance of gene fusions in tissue from patients with early stage breast cancer. This work will have near-term impact, as a number of these gene fusions can be targeted with existing drugs. This will help overcome hormonal therapy resistance improve outcomes in women with early stage HR+ breast cancer. 

Bio

Dr. Dennis C. Sgroi is a Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, and Co-Director of Breast Pathology and Member of the Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts General Hospital.  He maintains an active clinical practice on the breast pathology consultation service and he is actively engaged in translational research. The overarching goals of research in the Sgroi laboratory are to develop better ways to identify patients who are at risk for the development of breast cancer and to identify those breast cancer patients who are likely to benefit from targeted drug therapies. His laboratory is taking several different approaches to achieving these goals. First, they are deciphering specific molecular events that occur during the earliest stages of tumor development and using this knowledge to develop biomarkers that will predict for increased risk of progression to cancer. Second, using advance molecular technologies, they are searching for novel breast cancer biomarkers to identify patients with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer who are most likely to benefit from extended hormonal therapy and from novel targeted therapeutics. He is currently on the scientific advisory board for the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and has served on the scientific advisory board the Barnett Institute at Northeastern University.

BCRF Investigator Since

2015

Donor Recognition

The Boston Hot Pink Luncheon Award in Honor of Nancy and Rick Kelleher