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Sarat Chandarlapaty, MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York

Titles and Affiliations

Associate Attending Physician
Laboratory Head, Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Member, BCRF Scientific Advisory Board

Research area

Deciphering the underlying biology of drug resistance to improve patient response to targeted therapies.


Advances in cancer therapy have been a major contributor to the decline in breast cancer deaths over the last two and a half decades. Even with these advances, however, breast cancers have the ability to evolve, adapt, and become resistant to drugs, resulting in tumor growth and metastasis to distant sites in the body, which is ultimately lethal. Dr. Chandarlapaty is focusing on understanding why treatments that initially are effective against breast cancer become ineffective over time and then developing new approaches to prevent or overcome drug resistance.

Progress Thus Far

Dr.Chandarlapaty has discovered a pathway mediating resistance to anti-HER2 therapies. He and his team have also identified a recurrent mechanism of resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors, which are targeted therapies used to treat hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. He has found a promising strategy to overcome resistance to CDK4/6-directed therapy, which is currently under development for clinical use.

What’s next

During the upcoming year, Dr. Chandarlapaty is focusing on two research areas. First, Dr. Chandarlapaty is studying a less common set of mutations in the estrogen receptor. The hope is that by studying these alternative ways that the cancer cell induces hormone signals, researchers can ultimately devise new approaches to inhibit this pathway. Second, Dr. Chandarlapaty is studying a set of therapies called antibody-drug conjugates (ADC). ADCs are powerful tools for delivering chemotherapy specifically targeting breast cancer cells and not normal cells, which increases their efficacy and decreases their toxicity. Dr. Chandarlapaty is studying strategies to make ADCs more broadly effective. Both areas of his research have the potential to inform development of new treatment strategies and ultimately improve outcomes for breast cancer patients.


Sarat Chandarlapaty, MD, PhD, is an Associate Attending medical oncologist and a Laboratory Head in the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He earned his medical degree at the Wake Forest School of Medicine and his PhD at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Chandarlapaty completed his residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and his fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. A major focus of his work has been to characterize the significance of alterations present in metastatic tumors that have progressed following targeted therapies such as antiestrogens or CDK4/6 inhibitors, as well as to develop models of resistant cancer for testing newer therapeutic strategies.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The David Yurman Award

Areas of Focus

Treatment Tumor Biology