Titles and Affiliations
Associate Professor of Medicine
Director of Translational Research, Gynecologic Oncology
Harvard Medical School
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
The Play for P.I.N.K. Award in Honor of Laura Lassman and in Memory of Nicholas Lassman
Areas of Focus
- Tumor Biology
Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
Improving response to PARP inhibitors in breast and ovarian cancer.
Some triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC) share a common biology with ovarian cancer driven by mutations in the BRCA genes and deficient DNA repair. Consequently, treatment approaches such as Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors, which target the underlying DNA repair problem are currently being used to treat both ovarian and breast cancers with BRCA mutations. However, not all women will benefit from single-agent PARP inhibitors or will develop resistance to the PARP inhibitor. Drs. Konstantinopoulos and Matulonis are studying PARP inhibitor combination therapies that may act synergistically to provide better treatment outcomes for patients with breast and/or ovarian cancers.
Progress Thus Far
Drs. Konstantinopoulos and Matulonis have made significant progress developing new treatment strategies for breast and ovarian cancer. This year, they opened a phase III clinical trial testing the combination of the chemotherapy alpelisib (PIQRAY®) and the PARP inhibitor olaparib (LYNPARZA®) compared to standard of care chemotherapy. The team has also made progress moving additional combination clinical trials forward.
In the upcoming year, Drs. Konstantinopoulos and Matulonis are continuing PARP inhibitor combination projects and broadening their portfolio to include new combinations as well as combinations of agents that exploit a cancer’s underlying susceptibility to DNA damage.
Panagiotis A. Konstantinopoulos, MD, PhD is Director of Translational Research and Attending Oncologist in the Gynecologic Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His translational research career focuses on ovarian cancer and other gynecologic malignancies with an important niche in the areas of DNA damage and repair and immunotherapy. His work has focused on unraveling mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy and targeted agents, developing the rationale and preclinical data for novel drug combinations in ovarian cancer, and identifying novel diagnostic and predictive biomarkers of therapeutic response in gynecologic cancers as well investigating their mechanistic implication in carcinogenesis.
His research efforts in this area have been supported by several Harvard-wide, industry and national sources including the Department of Defense (DOD), Ovarian Cancer Research Program (OCRP) and the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). As a clinical researcher, he is also involved as a principal investigator (PI) and co-investigator in several gynecologic cancer clinical trials. Dr. Konstantinopoulos has served as a member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Clinical Oncology, is co-chair of the Dana Farber Harvard Cancer Center (DFHCC) Audit Committee and a member of the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) Experimental Medicine Committee.