Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Clinical Research- Breast and Gynecologic Cancers

Strategic direction and overarching themes for the service

Clinical and translational research in the breast and gynecologic team in the department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania focuses on:

  • The impact of radiation therapy on quality of life for women with breast and gynecologic cancers.
  • Developing methods for cardiac-sparing radiation therapy for women with breast cancer including prone positioning, respiratory gating and proton beam radiation.
  • Increasing the use of accelerated methods of radiation for breast cancer that aim to maintain the same rate of cure but decrease length of treatment and cost, and increase convenience of care.
  • Developing new methods to image cancers for radiation treatment planning and assessing response to therapy.
  • Exploring the role of proton therapy for women with breast cancer.
  • Exploring the role of proton therapy for women with cancers of the cervix and uterus.

Description of programs and protocols within the service

Breast Cancer

Title: A randomized study of the effect of yoga in patients with breast cancer receiving radiation

The purpose of this trial is to study the effect of Eischens yoga on radiation related fatigue and quality of life (QOL) in patients with breast cancer undergoing radiotherapy.  This randomized study has two cohorts: 1) twice-weekly Yoga sessions during radiation therapy, and 2) standard of care radiation therapy with supportive therapy instead of yoga.  All participants will be required to complete periodic questionnaires measuring cancer-related quality of life (FACT-G instrument) and fatigue (Brief Fatigue Inventory) throughout the duration of the study.

Principal Investigator: Lilie Lin, M.D.
Coordinator: Natalie Rosetti
Office: (215) 614-6092
UPCC: 08113

Title: A feasibility and phase II trial of accelerated partial breast irradiation (APBI) using proton therapy for women with stage IA-IIA breast cancer

This study seeks to determine the feasibility, efficacy, and safety of proton beam therapy for APBI compared to traditional radiation and whole breast treatment therapies. Other objectives include examining the feasibility, side effects, and clinical efficacy of using proton therapy on the tumor bed of women being treated for breast cancer after surgical removal of malignancy. Women eligible for this study include those aged 50 years and older, receiving proton-beam radiation as adjuvant therapy, diagnoses of stage IA-IIA breast cancer, and have undergone breast-conserving surgery.

Principal Investigator: Gary Freedman, MD
Coordinator: Natalie Rosetti
Office: (215) 614-6092
UPCC#: 04113

Gynecologic Cancers

Title: A Pilot Study to assess the suitability of DCE-MRI for Detection of Vascular changes after vaginal brachytherapy

This is a pilot study of DCE MR imaging to detect vascular changes in the vagina during and after radiotherapy in patients receiving adjuvant brachytherapy for cervical or endometrial cancer. All patients treated will receive a combination of external beam and intracavitary brachytherapy or intracavitary brachytherapy alone.  Patients on this study will receive 3 MRI scans at different time-points throughout their treatment. Vaginal toxicity is an important and poorly studied side effect of radiation therapy.  Understanding the pathophysiology behind vaginal fibrosis may inform future studies of radiation treatment using brachytherapy, including choice of dose and fractionation schedule. This study will provide preliminary data to be incorporated into future studies that will assess an intervention to prevent vaginal fibrosis/stenosis after radiation therapy in women treated for gynecologic malignancies.

Principal Investigator: Lilie Lin, MD
Coordinator: Natalie Rosetti
Office: (215) 614-6092
UPPC#: 26812

Title:  [18F] Fluorothymidine (FLT) PET/CT Imaging for Gynecologic Cancers

This study seeks to determine if a Positron Emission Tomography (PET/CT) scan, can help determine the right areas to target and avoid for radiation therapy and whether bone marrow is affected after radiation therapy has started.  The investigational imaging agent [18F] Fluorothymidine (FLT), a tracer for the PET/CT scan, will be tested in this study.  FLT has been used to identify areas of active bone marrow and tumor proliferation in other cancers, but it has not been used in PET/CT imaging for gynecologic cancers. To be eligible for this study, you must be at least 18 years of age, have a diagnosis of gynecologic cancer, and have been recommended to undergo treatment with either IMRT or proton therapy radiation with concurrent chemotherapy. Patient in this study will have 3 FLT injection PET/CT scans at different time points.  Additionally, blood samples will be collected to study biomarkers, which are molecules that are used to see how the body is responding to study therapy and to help us understand more about patient’s type of cancer.  Patients will also be required to complete several questionnaires about their general health, symptoms, well-being, and concerns related to cancer.

Penn Principal Investigator: Lilie Lin, M.D.
Coordinator: Natalie Rosetti
Office: ((215) 614-6092
UPCC: 28813

Relevant publications from the service members

(currently under construction)

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