Clear Search

Kenneth Offit, MD, MPH

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

Titles and Affiliations

Robert and Kate Niehaus Chair in Inherited Cancer Genomics
Member, Cancer Biology and Genetics Program
Vice Chairman, Academic Affairs
Chief, Clinical Genetics Service

Research area

Identifying new causes of inherited breast and ovarian cancer and increasing knowledge and awareness of personal risk.


In addition to the BRCA genes, there are many other genes that, when mutated, predispose women and men to breast cancer. Dr. Offit and his colleagues are conducting studies to identify other genes involved in hereditary breast cancer. They have identified a rare inherited cause of breast cancer and a type of therapy that may benefit affected patients. Their work continues to add to our understanding of the genetic risk of breast cancer and inform more personalized strategies for preventing and treating the disease.

Progress Thus Far

Dr. Offit and collaborators are completing an analysis of DNA from hundreds of families with unexplained breast, ovarian, and other cancers. They have used model systems to show that they can target, and in some experiments eradicate, tumors with mutations in a class of DNA repair genes that is different than BRCA1/2. This pathway, called nucleotide excision repair, is perturbed in many cancer types, and over the past year, they and colleagues have received federal funding to characterize possible drugs to target this pathway. They also completed a complicated laboratory and statistical study of alterations of another DNA repair gene, NBN, which they showed increased risk across cancer types, although not specific for breast cancer, and then confirmed these findings with a large dataset from a commercial laboratory.

What’s next

Dr. Offit will continue to expand DNA sequencing analyses to include a 100,000 tissue sample database from collaborating institutions, which will further the goal of identifying and targeting cancer causing genes and pathways.


Kenneth Offit is Chief of the Clinical Genetics Service in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). He is also Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and Vice Chairman of the Program in Prevention, Control and Population Research at MSKCC. He received his AB at Princeton University and his MD and MPH from the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. He is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He was awarded an American Cancer Society Career Research Recognition Award and the 2013 ASCO American Cancer Society Award for research in cancer prevention. Dr Offit is a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute, and of the Evaluation of Genomic Applications in Practice and Prevention working group of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Dr. Offit’s research team identified the most common mutation associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer in those of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. His group also published the first prospective study documenting a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer following oophorectomy in women carrying inherited mutations of the BRCA genes, and the first genome wide association study of BRCA2 mutation carriers. Dr. Offit’s group has discovered or characterized inherited mutations associated with risk of breast, ovarian, colon cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and other malignancies. His laboratory currently focuses on utilizing genomic approaches to discover novel mechanisms associated with increased risk for common malignancies, or which modify the risks of known hereditary predispositions.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Gray Foundation and BCRF Collaborative Award