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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

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

Area(s) of Focus

Ursula A. Matulonis, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Clinical Director and Disease Center Leader,
Medical Gynecologic Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Boston, Massachusetts

Current Research

Drs. Matulonis, Berkowitz and Wang have joined forces to study the common genetic features of breast and ovarian cancers. The Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s team is credited with showing that the accumulation of genetic mutations in breast and ovarian cancers influences how the tumors respond to treatment. Using information from collaborative clinical trials, publicly available data from researchers from around the world and emerging technologies, they are leveraging discoveries made in one disease to benefit the other.  They then use this information to better understand drug resistance and to identify new biomarkers and therapeutic targets. In a clinical trial led by Dr. Matulonis and colleagues, ovarian cancer patients treated with a combination of the PARP inhibitor Olaparib plus another targeted therapy called Cediranib that blocks new blood vessel formation  had prolonged progression–free survival compared to patients treated with the PARP inhibitor alone. When they analyzed the DNA from the tumors they found two genes (NAI and LST) correlated with complete clinical response to PARP inhibitor-based therapy. They believe that combining these new markers with biomarkers for blood vessel formation, they can better predict response to this regimen, and perhaps even predict response to PARP inhibitor treatment alone in ovarian cancer. Because PARP inhibitors are being tested in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), they believe their findings in ovarian cancer may be valuable for predicting response to PARP inhibitors in TNBC as well.  This work will continue to shed light on resistance mechanisms and provide biomarkers of treatment response.


Ursula A. Matulonis, MD, is Medical Director and Disease Center Leader of the Medical Gynecologic Oncology Program at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.  Her research focuses on developing new targeted therapies for gynecologic malignancies, with an interest in the genetic changes in ovarian cancer that can lead to rationale drug development and selection. 

Dr. Matulonis is Principal Investigator (PI) of several clinical trials and translational studies for ovarian cancer.  She is the PI of a Department of Defense grant on ovarian cancer entitled "Prediction of Response to Therapy and Clinical Outcome Through a Pilot Study of Complete Genetic Assessment of Ovarian Cancer" and a Co-PI on the project "Genetic similarities between serous ovarian cancer and triple negative breast cancer" funded by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.   Dr. Matulonis is the overall PI on a Program Project Grant funded by the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation (OCRF) entitled "Rational combinations of novel biologic agents for ovarian cancer therapy" that was awarded in January 2014.   Dr. Matulonis serves on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Recommendation and Guideline committee for ovarian cancer and for the treatment of anemia, the Gynecologic Oncology Group ovarian committee, the National Cancer Institute Ovarian Cancer Task Force, the Scientific Advisory Board of OCRF, the editorial board of Gynecologic Oncology, and is Medical Director and Board Member for the non-profit organization Ovations for the Cure.  She is a recipient of the Dennis Thompson Compassionate Care Scholar award, the Lee M. Nadler "Extra Mile" Award, the Zakim Award for patient advocacy, and the Susan Love Award from the Fenway Health Clinic. 

After receiving her MD from Albany Medical College, she completed an internship and residency at the University of Pittsburgh, followed by a medical oncology fellowship at Dana-Farber.