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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The Play for P.I.N.K. Award

Area(s) of Focus

Carlos L. Arteaga, MD

Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer Research
American Cancer Society Clinical Research Professor
Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology
Director, Breast Cancer Research Program Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC)
Associate Director for Clinical Research at VICC
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, Tennessee

Current Research

Most estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers depend on female hormones and initially respond to anti-estrogen (endocrine) therapies, such as tamoxifen, aromatase inhibitors and fulvestrant. However, many of these cancers eventually become resistant to ER-targeted therapies. Dr. Arteaga’s BCRF research is focused on understanding why ER+ tumors become resistant and developing new approaches to improve clinical outcomes. His group is conducting a clinical trial where women with ER+ breast cancer receive the aromatase inhibitor letrozole for 10-21 days prior to surgery (neoadjuvant therapy) to discover mechanisms of resistance to anti-estrogen therapy. Using a molecular marker of cell growth called Ki67, they distinguish between tumors that are responsive to the therapy (low Ki67) versus those that are not and continue to grow (high Ki67). Coupling this data with genetic profiling, they have identified the gene FGFR1 as a potential therapeutic target to prevent endocrine resistance. Parallel to these studies, they are conducting clinical trials with FGFR inhibitors in patients with breast cancers that have high levels of the FGFR1 gene. Early results are promising and they are now initiating studies to combine letrozole with FGFR inhibitors in patients with this type of tumor. These studies have important clinical implications for patients with ER+ breast cancer.


Dr. Arteaga trained in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology at Emory University and the UT Health Sciences Center San Antonio, respectively. He joined Vanderbilt in 1989 where he now holds the Donna S. Hall Chair in Breast Cancer Research and serves as Professor of Medicine and Cancer Biology. Dr. Arteaga is also Associate Director for Clinical Research, Director of the Breast Cancer Program, and Director of the Center for Cancer Targeted Therapies at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. He has over 250 publications in the areas of signaling by growth factor receptors and oncogenes, targeted therapies and biomarkers of drug resistance, and investigator-initiated clinical trials in breast cancer. Since 2002, he has directed the NCI-funded Vanderbilt Breast SPORE. He is a member of the ASCI and the Association of American Physicians. He received the AACR Richard & Hinda Rosenthal Award, a 2007-2017 ACS Clinical Research Professor Award, the 2009 Gianni Bonadonna Award from ASCO and the 2011 Brinker Award from the Susan G. Komen Foundation. He has served as AACR co-chair of the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium since 2009. He is Deputy Editor of Clinical Cancer Research and member of the Editorial Board of Cancer Cell and six other peer-reviewed journals. He is immediate past President of the AACR in 2015.