Clinic Director, Clinical Genetics Service
Department of Medicine
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Dr. Robson is working with BCRF colleague Kenneth Offit on a project that brings together several studies using next generation sequencing (NGS) of DNA to define causes of inherited breast and ovarian cancer. While BRCA1 and BRCA 2 are the two most commonly mutated genes in breast and ovarian cancer, they can only explain a small portion of these cancers that occur at high frequencies in families. Drs. Robson and Offit have joined with BCRF colleagues Katherine Nathanson and Fergus Couch to sequence the exomes (coding regions within a gene) and whole genomes of women with BRCA negative breast and ovarian cancer. Via weekly conference calls and data exchange with BCRF colleagues, they have forged a working consortium and have recently received a grant from the National Cancer Institute to further this effort. In the coming year they will continue analysis of "spontaneous" changes (those not present in parents) in inherited DNA associated with cancer in young patients with breast cancer compared to parental DNA. As part of this study, they have initiated a protocol that allows them to provide the results of full genome analyses, i.e. all of a patient’s known inherited risk to all diseases, to selected individuals. These studies are advancing our understanding of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and have generated several published papers in the scientific literature bearing on the operational, medical, as well as ethical challenges of "personalized" genomic counseling.
Mark Robson, MD, is an Associate Attending Physician of the Clinical Genetics and Breast Medicine Service in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He received his B.Sc. from Washington and Lee University and his MD from the University of Virginia. He performed residency and fellowship training at Walter Reed Army Medical center before coming to Memorial Sloan Kettering in 1996. He is currently the Clinic Director of the Clinical Genetics Service and the chair of the Cancer Genetics Subcommittee of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Robson's research is directed toward the improving the integration of genetic information into the clinical management of women with breast cancer. He and his colleagues have conducted a number of studies examining outcomes in women with hereditary breast cancer to better define the risks and benefits of treatments such as breast conserving therapy and adjuvant chemotherapy in this group. He and his coworkers have also conducted a number of studies examining the effectiveness of screening interventions such as breast MRI or ovarian cancer screening in women at hereditary risk. He is currently conducting studies to evaluate the impact of intensive screening or surgical prevention upon women's quality of life, and to develop new screening tools, such as serum peptide profiling.