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BCRF Grantee Since


Area(s) of Focus

Roisin M. Connolly, MB, BCh

Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO
Assistant Professor of Oncology
Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Baltimore, Maryland

Current Research

Patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 positive breast cancer (HER2+) are generally treated with trastuzumab (Herceptin), a targeted anti-HER2 agent, in combination or in sequence with chemotherapy. Recent data, however, suggest that some patients derive equal benefit from anti-HER2 agents alone and may not require chemotherapy. Studies also indicate that using two anti-HER2 agents together is more effective than one agent alone. Knowing which patients are most likely to benefit from anti-HER2 therapies alone will provide a more personalized approach for patients with HER2+ breast cancer that minimizes treatment without compromising outcomes. Dr. Connolly and her colleagues are conducting a multi-center phase 2 clinical trial in patients with early-stage HER+ breast cancer to identify early markers that will help select patients who may be treated with anti-HER2 therapy alone and spared chemotherapy. The trial is being conducted through the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium, with over 15 clinical sites participating. The results from the study will be used to design a future definitive randomized trial to identify those patients who do or not need chemotherapy.


Dr. Connolly is an Assistant Professor of Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. Her principal research activities consist of designing and conducting clinical trials that test investigational new drugs in the treatment of breast cancer. Dr. Connolly’s current focus relates to the investigation of novel agents in both the neoadjuvant and metastatic settings. She is interested in developing both tissue and imaging‐based biomarkers of response to breast cancer therapies. In addition, she has specific expertise in the use of epigenetic modifiers in breast cancer patients. As a clinical investigator with a focus on translational drug development, her goal is to improve outcomes for patients with breast cancer in a research environment.