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Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD

Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts

Titles and Affiliations

Rob and Karen Hale Distinguished Chair in Surgical Oncology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts

Research area

Improving outcomes for patients with triple-negative breast cancer receiving immunotherapy.


Immunotherapy is now approved for routine use in combination with chemotherapy in the pre-operative setting for patients diagnosed with stage II or III triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, while these drugs result in increased rates of pathologic response and improved survival for some, they are associated with toxicities in approximately 45 percent of patients receiving this treatment. Neo-TRIBUTE (Translational Resource for Immuno-Biology to Understand Therapeutic Efficacy) is a study designed to understand why immunotherapy works for some but not others, and to extend its use for a greater number of patients. There is a critical need to better understand immune aspects of the tumor microenvironment as well as the immune cells circulating in a patient’s blood in order to identify factors that are associated with both response and toxicity to immunotherapy. Neo-TRIBUTE seeks to elucidate these factors.

What’s next

This collaborative effort, led by Dr. Elizabeth Mittendorf, will collect blood and tissue from patients with TNBC receiving immunotherapy (pembrolizumab) as part of their standard treatment. These biospecimens will be evaluated using novel technologies that will allow them to look at the immune response on a single-cell level. These analyses will provide insight into strategies to optimally select patients to receive immunotherapy as well as inform subsequent studies designed to enhance the response to such treatment.


Elizabeth Mittendorf, MD, PhD is the Robert and Karen Hale Distinguished Chair in Surgical Oncology and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also the Director of the Breast Immuno-Oncology program and Co-Director of the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Program at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center. Dr. Mittendorf received her medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine where she also completed a residency in General Surgery. She then served on active duty in the United States military before completing a fellowship in Surgical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Mittendorf also holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston. She is board certified by the American Board of Surgery.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Hale Family Award

Areas of Focus

Metastasis Treatment