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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

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

Area(s) of Focus

Fatima Cardoso, MD

European School of Oncology Breast Cancer Program Coordinator
Secretary General, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer
Director, Breast Cancer Unit
Champalimaud Cancer Center
Lisbon, Portugal

Current Research

No two cancers are the same and even within a single tumor, some cells will be sensitive to treatment while others are not. This property, called tumor hetergeneity, is one of the reasons why therapies don’t work the same in all patients and why some tumors continue to grow even when treated with targeted therapies. In the coming year, Dr. Cardoso and colleagues will conduct a combined retrospective and prospective study of breast cancer recurrence within the EORTC MINDACT trial. The MINDACT trial, which enrolled 6694 patients since its activation in Europe in 2007, was designed to compare Mammaprint, a 70-gene signature test, with the common clinical-pathological criteria in selecting patients for adjuvant chemotherapy. With previous BCRF support, MINDACT investigators were able to create a valuable resource in a biobank that contains preserved tumor samples, as well as blood and serum collected from consenting patients during the trial.  Dr. Cardoso’s team will retrospectively identify patients from MINDACT whose cancer has already recurred while prospecitively collecting biopsy material from all MINDACT patients who relapse over the next five years. They will then utilize advanced technologies to analyze the biology and genetics of the metastatic tumor and compare these to the primary tumor. This process will provide insights on the biology of breast cancer and the mechanisms of resistance to therapies.

Dr. Cardoso and her international colleagues continue their work on the Male Breast Cancer Study, a worldwide effort coordinated by the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC], with the help of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium [TBCRC], and organized under the network of the Breast International Group [BIG] and the North American Breast Cancer Groups [NABCG]. This Program has three parts. Part One is a retrospective joint analysis of clinical data and tumor samples from 1822 male breast cancer patients treated in the last 20 years in 23 centers from 9 countries, the largest series of male breast cancer ever studied. The first results of the retrospective study were presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium in 2014. Part Two of the study is focused on creating a registry of all male breast cancer patients treated within the EORTC/TBCRC/BIG/NABCG global network and includes collection of biological material that can be used for future studies.  This part is ongoing with over 100 patients included. The researchers are currently conducting in-depth biological characterization of the samples. Part Three is a prospective clinical trial, expected to open in late 2015, that will evaluate a new drug to treat male breast cancer. This important work will lead to the development of better treatment strategies for male breast cancer. 


Dr. Cardoso is the Director of the Breast Unit of the Champalimaud Cancer Clinical in Lisbon, Portugal. She earned her medical degree at the University of Porto in Portugal and completed fellowships in the Translational Research Unit of the Jules Bordet Institute (IJB) in Brussels, Belgium, and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. She then worked for 10 years as Assistant Professor at the Medical Oncology Clinic of the IJB where, besides her clinical work, she was active in the Translational Research Unit and was responsible for phase II-III trials in breast cancer. She is board certified in medical oncology and internal medicine.

Dr. Cardoso’s research interests include biology of breast cancer, prognostic and predictive markers of response to systemic therapy, and new anticancer agents.  She is actively involved in a number of phase I-III breast cancer clinical trials and served as the scientific director of the international research network TRANSBIG for 7 years (EU Framework VI).

Dr. Cardoso is actively involved in numerous professional organizations such as ESMO, ECCO, EORTC, ASCO, and AACR where she serves on several committees, is a Board Member and Chair of the National Representatives Committee of ESMO, the current EORTC Secretary General and chair of the EORTC-Breast Cancer Group. She is also the Breast Cancer Program Coordinator of the European School of Oncology and co-chair of the Advanced Breast Cancer International Consensus Guidelines Conference (ABC). Dr. Cardoso is editor-in-chief of The Breast Journal, associate editor of the European Journal of Cancer, and an editorial board member of several other journals.

She was awarded the prestigious Order of Santiago da Espada for Scientific Merit from the President of Portugal in June 2015.

Dr. Cardoso has authored over 230 publications and has presented her work nationally and internationally.