Improving the Science of Breast Cancer Treatment

My research interests are focused on improving therapy of breast cancer by refining existing diagnostic and treatment options, as well as introducing new methods that reduce side effects and improve quality of life for affected patients.

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Breast MRI is a powerful tool to facilitate the screening for and staging of breast cancer and can be valuable adjunct to guide breast surgery. We are working to identify the best methods for incorporating breast MRI into clinical care.

Breast Conserving Surgery

We also have a significant interest in improving methods of breast conserving surgery. Radiotherapy after lumpectomy is known to reduce in-breast tumor recurrence and is a standard of care for most women who undergo breast conserving surgery (also referred to as lumpectomy). Radiotherapy treatment normally lasts over 6 weeks. Accelerated radiotherapy after lumpectomy decreases radiotherapy treatment times from these 6 weeks to just 1 to 5 days.

Preliminary results show comparable efficacy between standard whole breast radiotherapy and accelerated radiotherapy. One form of accelerated radiotherapy available at Stanford, intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT), delivers a single dose of radiation at the time of lumpectomy while the patient is asleep without any postoperative radiotherapy treatments required. We have been using this approach as part of a clinical trial for 5 years.

Frederick M. Dirbas, MD