Kara N Maxwell, MD, PhD

faculty photo
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Hematology-Oncology)
Member, Abramson Cancer Center
Staff Physician, Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Association Medical Center, Paid Employee 2/8ths
Department: Medicine

Contact information
BRB Room 810
421 Curie Blvd
Philadelphia, PA 19104
BS (Genetics, Biochemistry)
University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998.
PhD (Molecular and Cellular Biology)
Rockefeller University, 2006.
MD (Medicine)
Weill Cornell Medical College, 2007.
Permanent link
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Description of Clinical Expertise

cancer risk evaluation, breast cancer risk, hereditary breast ovarian cancer, Li Fraumeni Syndrome, Fanconi Anemia

Description of Research Expertise

I am a Medical Oncologist with postdoctoral training in Cancer Genetics and PhD training in molecular and cellular biology. My research interests are in the genetics of human disease, particularly familial breast and prostate cancers, and in determinants of disease penetrance.

Maxwell Lab
We are a translational human genetics and genomics research laboratory studying mechanisms of tumor formation in inherited cancer syndromes. We have a focus on breast and prostate cancer, but are interested in the broad range of tumor types affected by DNA repair deficiency. We are using multi-omics analyses of human samples coupled with in vitro and in vivo modelling systems to understand how tumors form in patients with inherited cancers. We are also interested in environmental and other determinants of disease penetrance in patients at risk for breast and prostate cancer.

In order to perform our studies, we leverage the resources of the Basser Center for BRCA (https://www.basser.org/) and the Penn Medicine Biobank (https://www.itmat.upenn.edu/biobank/). We take a multi-disciplinary approach, collaborating with our colleagues across basic science labs and the clinical arena.

Rotation/Postdoc projects:
1) Mechanisms of tumor formation in CHEK2 mutation carriers
2) Prostate Cancer Genetics
3) Determinants of penetrance and advances in clinical management of low risk TP53 mutation carriers
4) Utility of polygenic risk scores in cancer risk
5) Extreme cholesterol lowering in breast cancer

Lab Members:
Greg Kelly (Lab Manager)
Heena Desai (Bioinformatician)
Ryan Hausler (Bioninformatician)
Maddy Good (Research Specialist)
Anh Le (Clinical Research Coordinator)

Jimmy Ding

Shun Yu MD
Louise Wang MD

Selected Publications

Wineland D, Le AN, Hausler R, Kelly G, Barrett E, Desai H, Wubbenhorst B, Pluta J, Bastian P, Symecko H, D'Andrea K, Doucette A, Gabriel P, Reiss KA, Nayak A, Feldman M, Domchek SM, Nathanson KL, Maxwell KN: Biallelic BRCA Loss and Homologous Recombination Deficiency in Nonbreast/Ovarian Tumors in Germline BRCA1/2 Carriers. JCO Precis Oncol e2300036, Aug 2023.

Kagami LA, Du YK, Fernandes CJ, Le AN, Good M, Duvall MM, Baldino SE, Powers J, Zelley K, States LJ, Mathew MC, Katona BW, MacFarland SP, Maxwell KN: Rates of intervention and cancer detection on initial versus subsequent whole body MRI screening in Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. Cancer Prev Res Epub, Jul 2023 Notes: doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-23-0011.

Valle LF, Nickols NG, Hausler R, Alba PR, Anglin-Foote T, Perez C, Yamoah K, Rose BS, Kelley MJ, DuVall SL, Garraway IP, Maxwell KN, Lynch JA.: Actionable Genomic Alterations in Prostate Cancer Among Black and White United States Veterans. Oncologist 28(6): e473-e477, Jun 2023.

Pyle LC, Kim J, Bradfield J, Damrauer SM, D'Andrea K, Einhorn LH, Godse R, Hakonarson H, Kanetsky PA, Kember RL, Jacobs LA, Maxwell KN, Rader DJ, Vaughn DJ, Weathers B, Wubbenhorst B, Regeneron Genetics Center Research Team, Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory, Greene MH, Nathanson KL, Stewart DR.: Germline Exome Sequencing for Men with Testicular Germ Cell Tumor Reveals Coding Defects in Chromosomal Segregation and Protein-targeting Genes. Eur Urol S0302-2838(23): 02813-0, May 2023.

Shevach JW, Aiello LB, Lynch JA, Petersen J, Hoffman-Hogg L, Hartzfeld D, Lundquist M, Kelley MJ, Scheuner MT, Montgomery R, Damjanov N, Robinson K, Wong YN, Jhala D, Parikh RB, Maxwell KN.: On-Site Nurse-Led Cancer Genetics Program Increases Cancer Genetic Testing Completion in Black Veterans. JCO Oncol Pract OP2200738, May 2023.

Hung A, Candelieri D, Li Y, Alba P, Robison B, Agiri F, Perez C, Lee KM, Maxwell KN, Li W, Aggarwal H, Pridgen K, Reed SD, DuVall S, Wong YN, Lynch JA.: Tumor testing and treatment patterns in veterans with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer. Semin Oncol 50(1-2): 11-24, Feb 2023.

Kim J, Vaksman Z, Egolf LE, Kaufman R, Evans JP, Conkrite KL, Danesh A, Lopez G, Randall MP, Dent MH, Farra LM, Menghani N, Dymek M, Desai H, Hausler R; Penn Medicine BioBank; Regeneron Genetics Center; Cancer Genomics Research Laboratory; Auvil JG, Gerhard DS, Hakonarson H, Maxwell KN, Cole KA, Pugh TJ, Bosse KR, Khan J, Wei JS, Maris JM, Stewart DR, Diskin SJ.: Germline pathogenic variants in 786 neuroblastoma patients. medRxiv Jan 2023.

Buckley KH, Niccum BA, Maxwell KN, Katona BW.: Gastric Cancer Risk and Pathogenesis in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Carriers. Cancers (Basel) 14: 5953, Dec 2022.

Sun L, Candelieri-Surette D, Anglin-Foote T, Lynch JA, Maxwell KN, D'Avella C, Singh A, Aakhus E, Cohen RB, Brody RM: Cetuximab-Based vs Carboplatin-Based Chemoradiotherapy for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 148(11): 1022-1028, Nov 2022.

Shah JB, Pueschl D, Wubbenhorst B, Fan M, Pluta J, D'Andrea K, Hubert AP, Shilan JS, Zhou W, Kraya AA, Llop Guevara A, Ruan C, Serra V, BalmaƱa J, Feldman M, Morin PJ, Nayak A, Maxwell KN, Domchek SM, Nathanson KL.: Analysis of matched primary and recurrent BRCA1/2 mutation-associated tumors identifies recurrence-specific drivers. Nat Commun 13: 6728, Nov 2022.

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Last updated: 08/28/2023
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