Roberto A. Leon Ferre, M.D., studies breast cancer with a focus on triple-negative breast cancer and immuno-oncology. Dr. Leon Ferre is interested in furthering understanding of factors that impact the prognosis and response to anti-cancer treatments in patients with breast cancer, especially immunotherapy and targeted agents. Dr. Leon Ferre is currently focused on evaluating the tumor microenvironment of patients with triple-negative breast cancer and evaluating how the presence of different immune cell populations relates to long-term outcomes and treatment response.
The ultimate goal of Dr. Leon Ferre's research is to provide a deeper understanding of the complex interactions between the immune system and breast cancer tumor cells, and leverage this understanding to design clinical trials evaluating rational combinations of novel immunotherapeutic agents, targeted therapies and cytotoxics, as well as to identify predictive biomarkers that allow for better selection of patients with breast cancer who are likely to benefit from immune-directed therapeutic strategies.
- Characterization of prognostic factors of triple-negative breast cancer. Triple-negative breast cancer is the most aggressive type of breast cancer, affecting younger women and characterized by worse clinical outcomes. Dr. Leon-Ferre is evaluating factors that drive risk of recurrence in early-stage triple-negative breast cancer by evaluating tumor samples from a large cohort of patients treated at Mayo Clinic.
- Characterization of the interactions between the immune system and the tumor microenvironment of patients with triple-negative breast cancer. Dr. Leon Ferre is evaluating how systemic immunity (evaluated in peripheral blood) and the tumor immune microenvironment (evaluated in tumor samples) impact treatment response and long-term outcomes.
- Supportive care. Dr. Leon Ferre dedicates efforts to optimizing the management of cancer treatment side effects, which affect the quality of life of patients with breast cancer. He has evaluated treatments that reduce hot flashes resulting from anti-estrogen therapy.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Leon Ferre's hope is that his research leads to the development of novel, more effective and less toxic treatments for triple-negative breast cancer. He aims to improve the length and quality of life for patients with this disease.