Gynecologic Oncology Disease Management Group Research
Researchers in Perlmutter Cancer Center’s Gynecologic Oncology Disease Management Group (DMG) work together to improve outcomes for women with gynecologic cancers through clinical excellence, translational research, and education. We study gynecologic cancers, facilitating both laboratory and clinical research to advance the standards of care while improving quality of life. We approach prevention, treatment, and survivorship through comprehensive multidisciplinary clinical care, clinical trials, and individualized treatment approaches.
The Gynecologic Oncology DMG is comprised of a multidisciplinary group of gynecologic oncologists and surgeons, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, radiation oncologists, genetic counselors, fellows, residents, research nurses, clinical research associates, and scientists who plan research studies and manage patient care. Our DMG meets weekly to discuss challenging management cases and pathology results, presenting each case in thorough detail, including reviewing surgical procedures, pathology, and radiologic imaging. Our recommended treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or radiation therapy, or a combination of treatment modalities, as well as consideration for clinical trials. We also meet weekly with our clinical research team to monitor clinical trial progress, patient accruals, and study modifications.
Our DMG treats gynecologic oncology cancers, including ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancer, gestational trophoblastic disease, uterine sarcoma, and other gynecologic cancers. We understand the importance of seeing women with gynecologic cancers as quickly as possible, so we work to see new patients within 48 hours. Providers or patients can call our referral line at 1-THIS-GYNONC (1-844-7GYNONC) to schedule an appointment or physician consultation. Appointments for prevention, pre-cancer, and most non-cancer conditions are scheduled within a week.
Our members have held key roles in national organizations devoted to this field, including the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG), where members have served as committee chairs and members of the medical oncology, ovarian, endometrial, translational science, and cancer prevention committees. We have also been involved in designing and running national clinical trials.
Gynecologic Cancer Research Leadership
Franco M. Muggia, MD
Professor, Department of Medicine
Douglas A. Levine, MD
Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Director, Division of Gynecologic Oncology
Head, Gynecology Research Lab
Stella C. Lymberis, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology
Gynecologic Oncology Research Areas of Focus
In the Gynecologic Oncology DMG, we use basic laboratory research and translational clinical trials to improve care. Our clinical research programs include clinical trials for cancer treatment, cancer prevention, cancer genetics, and quality of life. The Gynecology Research Lab receives funding from the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program, the National Cancer Institute, the V Foundation for Cancer Research, the Honorable Tina Brozman Foundation, and many other philanthropic supporters.
Gynecologic Oncology Basic and Translational Science Research
The Gynecology Research Laboratory studies novel biomarkers for the early detection of ovarian cancer; precision medicine for ovarian and endometrial cancers; and rare tumors with unmet treatment needs. Using molecular biology, precision medicine, nanotechnology, and biobanking, we aim to better understand how cancer develops and how people respond to treatment.
Recent research has enabled us to describe the molecular signatures of advanced ovarian cancers and their cellular origins; identify biomarkers of treatment response for endometrial cancers; define a mechanism of treatment response for a rare ovarian cancer; and evaluate off-target effects of PARP inhibitors. Our focus includes NRG Oncology/GOG cooperative group trials, targeted therapies, and immunotherapies.
Gynecologic Oncology Clinical Research and Trials
Current clinical trial research is looking at ways to improve the treatment of newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients by combining immunotherapy with platinum and taxane-based chemotherapy. There is an effort to introduce evolving formulations and routes of administration, as well as new agents to improve treatment outcomes. We are studying the efficacy of maintenance PARP inhibitor therapy in the prevention of ovarian cancer relapse and using immunotherapy and antibody–drug conjugates for recurrent ovarian and endometrial cancers. We are studying rapid genetic testing for newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients and cascade testing for all first-degree relatives of known mutation carriers and minimizing the consequences of ovarian cancer risk–reducing surgery.
We are working toward understanding how the driver mutation that causes small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type, has led to dramatic and durable responses for young women with aggressive tumors through the use of immune checkpoint inhibition for a tumor that has a very low mutation burden.
In current clinical radiation research, we are exploring ways to improve external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy. This includes incorporation of MRI imaging in treatment planning, improving dosimetry and targeting of radiation therapy, reducing toxicities, addressing sexual side effects and quality of life, and evaluating disparities in cervical cancer outcomes.