Patients with aggressive, therapy resistant estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancers comprise the majority of breast cancer mortality. Yet the factors which lead to the development of this disease, drive metastasis, and reduce treatment sensitivity are poorly understood. Hormones dictate the cycles of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis that mammary function in reproduction, and anti-estrogens have been the main adjuvant therapy. We use preclinical in vitro and in vivo models to investigate how hormones and their interactions with other oncogenic factors fuel the development and progression of these tumors, and the mechanisms by which the microenvironment modulates hormone actions and treatment responses.
We team with clinical oncologists and pathologists, as well as experts in immunology, genomics and steroid hormone signaling, the extracellular matrix, motility/ invasion and stem cell biology, with the long term goal of identifying novel preventative and treatment approaches for this devastating disease.