Bluhm Family Research Professor of Breast Cancer
Professor of Surgery
Feinberg School of Medicine
At this time, the only successful breast cancer prevention strategy for women with BRCA gene mutations is surgical removal of the breasts and/or ovaries. Alternative, non-surgical preventive interventions are badly needed to replace some, if not all, of these invasive procedures. This is a focus of Dr. Seema Khan who has been studying a class of anti-progesterone drugs that have shown promise as an effective strategy for the prevention of BCRA-related breast cancer. In her current BCRF-funded study, Dr. Khan will test the effects these drugs on breast cancer cell growth and tumor development in laboratory models, as well as measuring changes in breast tissue from BRCA mutation carriers. These experiments will lay the groundwork for a breast cancer prevention study of an anti-progesterone drug in women with BRCA mutations and lead to new options for women at high risk for breast cancer, and those with early breast cancer.
Dr. Seema A. Khan is Professor of Surgery in the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and the Bluhm Family Professor of Cancer Research. She is the Co-leader of the Women’s Cancer Research Program at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her research focuses on applying biomarker knowledge to improve breast cancer risk stratification and develop preventive interventions for high risk women. Her research is funded by the NIH (NCI), The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Avon Foundation, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Current studies include an examination of the effects of progesterone antagonists in women with breast cancer, and a study of breast cancer risk biomarkers in benign breast biopsy samples. In addition, Dr. Khan’s group is working on the development of transdermal delivery of drugs to the breast. She chairs a Phase III trial for the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group which will investigate the role of local therapy for the primary tumor in women presenting with Stage IV breast cancer. Recently completed research includes a case/control study of hormone levels in nipple aspirate fluid.