Benjamin Smith, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
2013-2014 BCRF Project(s):
(Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO 2011 Career Development Award)
Every year in the United States, over 100,000 women receive radiation therapy after a lumpectomy for breast cancer. Radiation therapy treats cancer cells that may remain in the breast after a lumpectomy, and as a result it substantially lowers the chance that the cancer will come back in the breast and also improves long-term survival.
Dr. Smith is conducting a randomized trial to compare a shorter course of breast radiation therapy to the standard six week course of breast radiation therapy. This protocol has been open for just over two years and so far approximately 210 patients have enrolled. The study intends to determine if the shorter course breast radiation is as good as the longer course with respect to the way the breast looks and feels to the patient three years after treatment. Patients are still enrolling to this study, so there is not yet any data to report. Nevertheless, patient accrual is advancing and Dr. Smith is gathering all the data needed to answer their study question.
Dr. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology (tenure-track) at MD Anderson and a board-certified radiation oncologist with clinical and research expertise in cancer treatment and health services research. He is currently vice-chair of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) guidelines subcommittee and has led ASTRO's efforts to develop evidence-based guidelines on accelerated partial breast radiation and fractionation of whole breast irradiation. He has authored or co-authored 37 peer-reviewed original research papers, including several articles featured in high profile journals such as the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
In addition, Dr. Smith maintains a busy portfolio of health services research projects which broadly focus on leveraging existing health claims datasets to elucidate the use, effectiveness, toxicity, and cost-effectiveness of various radiation modalities commonly used in the treatment of cancer. This research is funded in part by a multi-institutional, multi-investigator grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to conduct comparative effectiveness research on cancer in Texas. As a radiation oncologist, Dr. Smith specializes in the care of women with breast cancer, and has a particular clinical interest in the care of elderly women with this disease.