Breast Cancer

At Ohio State's Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James), a nationally and internationally recognized multidisciplinary team of medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, as well as breast reconstruction surgeons and rehabilitation therapists, create research-based treatment plans tailored to each patient's type of breast cancer.

In 2011, the OSUCCC – James opened the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center, the first of its kind in the Midwest (and one of only a handful in the country) to offer in one location the full continuum of breast cancer care – from prevention and screening through detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. The center is named for an Ohio State University alumna, philanthropist and breast cancer patient who worked for more than 10 years to heighten public awareness of breast cancer and to raise money for breast cancer research at Ohio State before her death in 2009 at age 42.

As one of only a few institutions approved by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase I and II clinical trials on NCI-sponsored anticancer agents, the OSUCCC – James has access to more leading-edge, targeted cancer therapies than most hospitals across America. That translates to better outcomes, fewer side effects and more hope.

Research Strengths

The nationally and internationally recognized experts at the OSUCCC – James utilize innovative research strategies that impact the entire spectrum of breast cancer, ranging from prevention to survivorship.


  • The OSUCCC – James has a clinic for patients at high risk for breast cancer. The clinic is co-lead by nationally acclaimed breast cancer experts Doreen Agnese, MD, a breast surgical oncologist, clinical geneticist and cancer researcher, and Sagar Sardesai, MBBS, a breast medical oncologist and cancer researcher. These experts and their teams treat women who are at high risk for breast cancer. Additionally, they have access to novel interventional trials to reduce the risk of developing the disease.


  • Multiple local therapy trials, including pre-operative radiation, and novel trials to prevent lymphedema
  • Novel treatment trials to include immunotherapy in early breast cancer
  • Treatment trials using novel oral antiestrogens in patients with estrogen receptor mutations
  • Trials for patients with metastatic breast cancer involving the brain
  • Trials focused on elderly patients with breast cancer. Additionally, the OSUCCC – James has a Senior Adult Breast Oncology Clinic, created specifically for patients 65 and older who have breast cancer, to assess their functional status and tolerability to treatments led by medical oncologist Nicole Williams, MD.
  • Correlative studies using tumor tissue and circulating tumor DNA to better understand the changing landscape of metastatic breast cancer

Survivorship and Symptom Management

  • The OSUCCC – James has an active and robust breast cancer survivorship clinic as well as other clinical services, including massages, acupuncture, psychosocial oncology, integrative oncology and physical therapy – not only to provide full clinical support for our patients but also to conduct novel intervention trials for patients who wish to participate.
  • Multiple trials examining the role of exercise in different stages of breast cancer
  • Novel trials with agents such as curcumin, nilotinib and more to evaluate prevention or management treatments related to potential side effects such as arthralgias and neuropathy
  • The Living Well With Advanced Breast Cancer Clinic for patients living with metastatic breast cancer. Patients are seen by nationally and internationally renowned medical oncologists, integrative oncologists, dietitians and other specialists, all to educate and empower patients with knowledge and resources about their cancer.

Clinical Trials

The OSUCCC – James has hundreds of open clinical trials at any given time, supporting groundbreaking research made available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio.
The breast cancer clinical trials offered at the OSUCCC – James provide a broad spectrum of opportunities for patients from national, multi-institutional trials that are looking for new standards of care to early clinical trials in which a patient may be one of only a few in the world receiving a certain therapy. In fact, patients at the OSUCCC – James have access to more of this nation’s leading-edge, targeted treatments and drugs than anywhere else in the area.

One of many exciting research studies at the OSUCCC – James offers new options for women with early stage breast cancer who are undergoing breast conservation therapy. Instead of treating the whole breast after lumpectomy, just the area of the breast around the lumpectomy cavity is targeted. This is called partial breast irradiation.

A randomized, phase 3 study compared whole breast irradiation with partial breast irradiation in a large group of women with stage 0, 1 or 2 breast cancer. More than 4,200 patients were enrolled in the trial as part of an NRG Oncology cooperative group clinical trial.

Study results showed that while partial breast irradiation does not produce equivalent cancer control for all breast cancer patients with stage 0, 1 and 2 disease, it should still be considered as an alternative for women with DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) and early-stage breast cancers deemed “low risk” based on other tumor characteristics.

Researchers showed that in this subsegment of breast cancer patients, the likelihood of recurrence 10 years post-treatment was very low overall and almost identical to that of women who received whole breast irradiation (2.3 percent) and partial breast irradiation (2.7 percent).

View all breast cancer clinical trials.

Clinical Research Accomplishments, Scientific Presentations and Publications

The OSUCCC – James breast cancer experts often present their findings and accomplishments to medical experts from around the world through presentations, publications and numerous national and international meetings and conferences they attend throughout each year.

The most recent publications include:

Soy Isoflavones and Their Metabolites Modulate Cytokine-Induced Natural Killer Cell Function. Published in Scientific Reports.

PIs: William Carson III, MD; Steven Clinton, MD, PhD

Physical Activity After Breast Cancer Surgery: Does Depression Make Exercise Feel More Effortful Than It Actually Is? Published in International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

  PIs: Maryam Lustberg, MD; William Farrar, MD; Stephen Povoski, MD; Doreen Agnese, MD, Raquel
       Reinbolt, MD; Robert Wesolowski, MD; Nicole Williams, MD; Sagar Sardesai, MBBS; Bhuvaneswari
       Ramaswamy, MD; Anne Noonan, MBBCh; Jeffrey VanDeusen, MD, PhD; Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD

Effects of Radiotherapy in Early-Stage, Low-Recurrence Risk, Hormone-Sensitive Breast Cancer. Published in Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

  PI: Julia White, MD

Outcomes Following Autologous Fat Grafting for Oncologic Head and Neck Reconstruction. Published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

  PI: Roman Skoracki, MD

Who We Are

The nationally and internationally recognized breast cancer research team at the OSUCCC – James spans a broad range of disciplines – medical, surgical and radiation oncologists, radiologists, pharmacists, reconstructive surgeons, pathologists – each specializing in specific areas of breasts cancer research.

It’s that sub-specialization and singular focus that enables this team to discover, develop and deliver research outcomes that lead to the most advanced surgical treatments, refined clinical procedures and highly targeted, precision therapies for each patient – which can mean improved outcomes, faster responses, fewer side effects and more hope for gynecologic cancer patients everywhere.

For additional information about a physician or researcher listed below, pleases click on the name.

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