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Joseph A. Sparano, MD

Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Vice-Chair, ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Current Research

  • Seeking to advance treatment and improve outcomes by conducting practice-changing clinical trials and identify biomarkers of response.

  • Ongoing clinical trials are focused on side effects from aromatase therapy and new immunotherapies. Biospecimens are collected to better understand breast cancer and response to therapy.

  • Biobanks of tissue and blood from patients enrolled in clinical trials are an invaluable resource in improving our understanding of breast cancer, and identifying which patients are most likely to benefit from specific therapies.

The ECOG-ACRIN Breast Committee performs practice-changing clinical trials in early- and advanced- breast cancer. BCRF has been crucial to the Committee's translational research program, including the collection, management, processing and routing of patient samples collected on ECOG Trials for future research projects. 

Current efforts include 1) studies to identify genetic signatures which may predict musculoskeletal side effects with aromatase inhibitor treatment; 2) establish the efficacy of the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab as a single agent in metastatic metaplastic breast cancer, a rare and aggressive disease.

In 2013, the Coalition of Cancer Cooperative Groups, a non-profit member organization of the National Cancer Institute-sponsored Cooperative Groups, created the North American Breast Cancer Groups Biospecimen Bank for Determinants of Late Relapse in Operable Breast Cancer. The NABCG Biospecimen Bank is a unique resource of archived primary and metastatic tumor tissue, blood, and DNA being collected from more than 15,000 women who participated in two large cooperative group cancer treatment trials, TAILORx and E5103.

The purposes for the collection and analysis of samples is to improve our understanding of breast cancer, and identify which patients are most likely to benefit from specific therapies.

To date a total of 14,895 blood samples from 1,812 patients have been collected, as well as tissue from 20 patients who are participating in an ongoing late-relapse biorepository initiative. Tissue collection from this study is expected to continue for up to four years. Blood samples from 551 patients have been tested to determine the presence of circulating tumor cells which may be related to the occurrence of relapse.

The blood and tumor samples are a unique resource that may be used for research to explore possible tumor and host-related factors contributing to recurrence and which may be potentially modifiable via pharmacologic, nutritional or other lifestyle interventions.


Joseph Sparano is Professor of Medicine & Women's Health at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Associate Chairman for Clinical Research in the Department of Oncology at Montefiore Medical Center, and Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center. He also serves as Vice Chair of ECOG-ACRIN and Vice-Chairman of the AIDS Malignancy Consortium. Dr. Sparano's research has focused on developmental therapeutic approaches for breast cancer, lymphoma, and HIV-associated cancers, and therapeutic applications of genomic profiling in cancer. He is the chair of the TAILORx clinical trial in breast cancer, an NCI-sponsored trial designed that is integrating multi-parameter gene expression profiling in clinical practice ( 

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Lewis P. Janowsky Memorial Award

Area(s) of Focus