Research Areas

The overall goal of the lab is to develop new approaches to early detection, prevention and individualized treatments that will improve overall cancer survival for women. Since 1988, the Women’s Cancer Program has maintained a biorepository to contribute to research efforts at Cedars-Sinai as well as research efforts worldwide. The biorepository currently contains over 100,000 specimens with follow-up clinical and survival data that includes over 300 data variables.

Major areas of research for the Women’s Cancer Program include:

Inherited Genetic Contributions to Risk and Therapy

  • Participation in the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA), which is a collaborative group of researchers working on genetic modifiers of cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers. The aim of CIMBA is to provide sufficient sample sizes to allow large scale studies for reliable evaluation of the effects of genetic modifiers.
  • Implementation of the Gilda Radner Hereditary Cancer Program, a program founded in 1991 that investigates the genetic and cellular changes that lead to cancer and seeks to improve therapies available to those diagnosed with hereditary cancers.
  • Implementation of the Novel Markers Trial, a study funded by the NCI and designed to assess the effectiveness of a novel tumor marker HE4 in combination with CA125 and ultrasound screening to detect early ovarian cancer in high-risk patients.
  • Examination of unique mechanisms of chemo sensitivity and resistance in BRCA mutation carriers


Association Between BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutations and
Survival in Women With Invasive Epithelial Ovarian Cancer.

Kaplan-Meier analysis was adjusted for year of diagnosis and study.
JAMA. 2012;307(4):382-389. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.20


Cancer Etiology, Biology and Metastasis

  • Investigation into the mechanisms by which genetic alterations contribute to cancer initiation and metastatic progression, and testing of various pathway-targeted therapies.
  • Participation in The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA) for ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers, which aims to create a comprehensive atlas of molecular information listing the genomic changes in all types of cancer.
  • Participation in the Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium, a forum of investigators of case-control studies of ovarian cancer to identify genes that may be related to the risk of ovarian cancer and to provide a venue for large-scale validation of ovarian cancer susceptibility polymorphisms.


Personalized Therapeutic Approaches

  • Identification of novel targets for molecular therapy and individualized markers that help select neoadjuvant treatment approaches
  • Examination of molecular profiling of primary and recurrent cancers to more effectively direct therapy


Progression-free survival (radiographic progression per Response Evaluation Criteria in
Solid Tumors, clinical progression, CA-125 progression per Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup
criteria, or death) for patients who received AMG 386 at 10 mg/kg once weekly
(QW; arm A), AMG 386 at 3 mg/kg QW (arm B), or placebo (arm C).

Karlan B JCO 2012;30:362-371