Titles and Affiliations

Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Chief and Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts

Research area

Improving response to PARP inhibitors in breast and ovarian cancer.

Impact

Some triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) share a common biology with ovarian cancer driven by mutations in the BRCA genes and deficient DNA repair. Consequently, treatment approaches such as Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, which target the underlying DNA repair problem are currently being used to treat both ovarian and breast cancers with BRCA mutations. However, not all women will benefit from single-agent PARP inhibitors or will develop resistance to the PARP inhibitor. Drs. Matulonis and Konstantinopoulos are studying PARP inhibitor combination therapies that may act synergistically to provide better treatment outcomes for patients with breast and/or ovarian cancers.

Progress Thus Far

Drs. Matulonis and Konstantinopoulos have made significant progress developing new treatment strategies for breast and ovarian cancer. This year, they opened a phase III clinical trial testing the combination of the chemotherapy alpelisib (PIQRAY®) and the PARP inhibitor olaparib (LYNPARZA®) compared to standard of care chemotherapy. The team has also made progress moving additional combination clinical trials forward.

What's next

In the upcoming year, Drs. Matulonis and Konstantinopoulos are continuing PARP inhibitor combination projects and broadening their portfolio to include new combinations as well as combinations of agents that exploit a cancer’s underlying susceptibility to DNA damage. 

Biography

Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, is Chief and Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  She is the first recipient of the Brock-Wilson Family Chair at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  She co-leads the ovarian cancer program within the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Her research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with a specific interest in ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.   

 Dr. Matulonis has led several PARP inhibitor, anti-angiogenic agent, immunotherapy, and combination trials for ovarian cancer in the United States and internationally. Dr. Matulonis serves on the Massachusetts Ovarian Cancer Task Force, the NRG ovarian committee, and the Scientific Advisory Board for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and the Clearity Foundation.  She received the Dana-Farber Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee M. Nadler “Extra Mile” Award, the Clearity Foundation award, and the Zakim Award at Dana-Farber for patient advocacy.  

After receiving her MD from Albany Medical College, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA

BCRF Investigator Since

2008

Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Award in Honor of Laura Lassman and in Memory of Nicholas Lassman

Areas of Focus

Co-Investigator