Andrea Richardson, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology
2011-2012 BCRF Project:
(made possible by generous support from Price Chopper Supermarkets/Golub Corporation)
Harvard Medical School
Director, Breast Tissue Bank
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Co-Investigators: J. Dirk Iglehart, MD
and Zhigang Charles Wang, MD
, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
In 2012, this research group published several articles on their studies funded by The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In the Cancer Research
journal, Drs. Iglehart, Richardson, and Wang reported that LAPTM4B promotes cell survival during stress and faster tumor growth by inducing autophagy, a
scavenger-like process allowing tumor cells to conserve nutrients when external nutrient supply is low. They found that knocking down expression of LAPTM4B
reduces tumor growth in a laboratory tumor model.
Also, they published in the Cancer Discovery journal their work reporting that triple negative breast cancers that carry a high level of
chromosome rearrangement resulting from improperly repaired DNA strand breaks are more sensitive to cisplatin treatment. They have recently found that
overexpression of two genes, BLM and FANCI, is also associated with cisplatin sensitivity and reducing expression of these genes makes tumors more
resistant to cisplatin. In addition, this team has continued work on altered expression of microRNAs (regulatory RNA molecules). They reported their
results on microRNA expression profiling of breast cancers in a poster at the 2011 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium where they found that the miR-17-92
cluster as significantly overexpressed in triple negative breast cancers and that these tumors may be addicted to high miR17-92 for cell survival.
Furthermore, these researchers have recently identified miR-218 as a potential regulator of BRCA1. In 2012-2013, this group will continue the projects
described above as well as continue to participate in the cisplatin trial jointly conducted among several BCRF-funded teams at Dana-Farber Cancer
Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and University of Pennsylvania Abramson Family Cancer Center.
Andrea Richardson is an Assistant Professor of Pathology at Harvard Medical School. She received her MD and PhD degrees in 1991 from University of Texas Southwestern Medical and Graduate Schools. Her graduate work in Dallas involved the molecular analysis of chromosomal translocations associated with childhood leukemia. From there, she moved to Boston for a residency in anatomic pathology at Brigham and Women's Hospital. She stayed on to complete subspecialty training in breast pathology and cytopathology. After three years in private practice as a breast pathology specialist, Dr. Richardson was recruited back to Brigham and Women's Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute in 2000 to establish and serve as director of the DF/BWH Breast Tissue Bank for the Harvard SPORE in breast cancer.
She maintains both an active clinical practice on the BWH breast pathology consultation service and a translational research laboratory at DFCI. Her research is focused on developing a better understanding of breast cancer heterogeneity though microarray and pathologic profiling of human breast tumors. The goal of this work is to develop a comprehensive molecular understanding of breast cancer pathobiology so as to more effectively diagnose and treat breast cancer patients.
Recently, her lab has focused on developing predictors of response to DNA damaging agents in triple negative breast cancer, and on study of a newly recognized amplification on chromosome 8q22 and its role in chemotherapy resistance. In collaborations with Dr. Weinberg, Dr. Richardson has explored how tumor-stromal interaction, mesenchymal stem cells and microRNAs contribute to the process of metastasis and poor outcome in breast cancer patients. Her future work will further evaluate the role of microRNAs in chromosomal instability in triple negative breast cancers and will develop microRNAs as predictors of outcome in patients.