UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Molecular Therapeutics

Clinical StudiesPhysician scientists within the BOCP head a number of clinical studies examining molecular therapeutics for the treatment of breast and ovarian cancers. These investigator-initiated, industry-sponsored, and national cooperative group trials aim to advance standards of care and improve outcomes for breast and ovarian cancer patients.

Selected Publications

  • A phase 1 study on the safety and efficacy of neratinib in combination with weekly paclitaxel and trastuzumab in women with metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer revealed a clinical benefit rate of 52%, suggesting impressive activity even following prior exposure to trastuzumab. These results are consistent with other studies suggesting the benefit of co-targeting multiple ErbB receptors. (Jankowitz et al., Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 72(6):1205-12, 2013).
  • Patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) typically have a poor prognosis and limited treatment options. An exploratory subgroup analysis of the randomized phase 3 RIBBON-2 trial, which enrolled patients with metastatic breast cancer that had progressed on first-line non-bevacizumab-containing chemotherapy, demonstrated significant progression-free survival and response benefits for patients with metastatic TNBC from the combination of bevacizumab with second-line chemotherapy. (Brufsky et al., Breast Cancer Res Treat. 133(3):1067-75, 2012).
  • Despite three large clinical trials showing a clinical benefit of intraperitoneal (IP) chemotherapy for the treatment of ovarian cancer, uptake of this form of therapy has been limited. A dose modulation study in patients receiving IP chemotherapy showed that 83% of patients completed 6 cycles of chemotherapy compared to 42% in GOG172 (Lesnock et al., Gynecol Oncol. 116(3):345-50, 2010). Subsequently, it was demonstrated that IP chemotherapy is feasible in patients with recurrent ovarian cancer (Skaznik-Wikiel et al., Int J Gynecol Cancer. 22(2):232-7, 2012).


Brufsky, Adam, MD, PhD
Olawaiye, Alex, MD
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Costantino, Joseph, DrPH
Rajkovic, Aleksandar, MD, PhD
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Documet, Patricia, MD, DrPH
Behavioral & Community Health Sciences
Rastogi, Priya, MD
Edwards, Robert, MD
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Roy, Partha, PhD
Jankowitz, Rachel, MD
Vlad, Anda, MD, PhD
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Kelley, Joseph, MD
Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences
Yothers, Gregory, PhD
Oesterreich, Steffi, PhD
Pharmacology & Chemical Biology