Titles and Affiliations
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Chief and Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
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
Panagiotis Konstantinopoulos, MD, PhD, 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. Matulonis and Konstantinopoulos are studying PARP inhibitor combination therapies that may act synergistically to provide better treatment outcomes for patients with breast or ovarian cancers.
Progress Thus Far
Drs. Matulonis and Konstantinopoulos have made significant progress developing new treatment strategies for breast and ovarian cancer. The team has multiple clinical trials in progress testing new treatment strategies. During the past year, the trials have yielded several new key findings. The team has successfully tested combination therapies against estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast and ovarian cancers. The results of a phase II trial led by Dr. Matulonis testing the antibody-drug conjugate mirvetuximab soravtansine for recurrent ovarian cancer resulted in the accelerated approval of mirvetuximab soravtansine for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer in November 2022. This was the first new drug approved for ovarian cancer by the United States Food and Drug Administration since 2014.
In the upcoming year, Drs. Matulonis and Konstantinopoulos will continue to work on drugs that exploit a cancer cell’s underlying DNA repair problems but also develop new agents and new strategies targeting cell signaling pathways. The team will be completing PARP inhibitor combination studies and launching several new studies and research projects for both ovarian and endometrial cancer.
Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, is Chief and Director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She is the first recipient of the Brock-Wilson Family Chair at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She co-leads the ovarian cancer program within the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. Her research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with a specific interest in ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.
Dr. Matulonis has led several PARP inhibitor, anti-angiogenic agent, immunotherapy, and combination trials for ovarian cancer in the United States and internationally. Dr. Matulonis serves on the Massachusetts Ovarian Cancer Task Force, the NRG ovarian committee, and the Scientific Advisory Board for the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation and the Clearity Foundation. She received the Dana-Farber Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee M. Nadler “Extra Mile” Award, the Clearity Foundation award, and the Zakim Award at Dana-Farber for patient advocacy.
After receiving her MD from Albany Medical College, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA.