Karen Lisa Smith, M.D., M.P.H.

Headshot of Karen Lisa Smith
  • Associate Professor of Oncology


Breast Cancer, Cancer Genetics, Cancer Survivorship, Clinical Trials, Hereditary Breast Cancer, Medical Oncology, Toxicology ...read more

Research Interests

Breast Cancer, Cancer Survivorship, breast cancer clinical trials, toxicities of cancer therapies, hereditary breast cancer, triple negative breast ancer, physician-patient communications and racial disparities ...read more

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Sibley Memorial Hospital

Appointment Phone: 202-660-6500
5255 Loughboro Road, NW
1st Floor
Washington, DC 20016
Fax: 202-660-6501
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Karen L. Smith, M.D., is a medical oncologist specializing in breast cancer at the Kimmel Cancer Center at Sibley Memorial Hospital, and a member of the Johns Hopkins Breast Cancer Program and the Ovarian Cancer Program. Dr. Smith is also an assistant professor of oncology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Smith has an expertise in breast cancer, cancer genetics, cancer survivorship, clinical trials and toxicology. 

Dr. Smith earned her medical degree from Rush Medical College. She completed a residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, followed by a fellowship in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Smith also earned a Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis on epidemiology from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School to build a foundation for conducting clinical research. She went on to complete a fellowship in hematology and oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Before joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. Smith focused on the care of an underserved breast cancer patient population at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (WHC) and sat on the Clinical Research Committee for the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. She also oversaw the WHC survivorship program and accreditation through the Commission on Cancer, and served as an assistant professor of medicine in hematology and oncology at Georgetown University School of Medicine. 

Dr. Smith has led the expansion of the breast cancer clinical trial portfolio at Sibley and has participated in the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Leadership Program for Women Faculty. She is a member of the Alliance for Patient Access of the Oncology Therapy Working Group; the American College of Cardiology Cardio-Oncology Patient Education Editorial Team; the American Society of Clinical Oncology; and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group. Dr. Smith is also the co-leader of Johns Hopkins Symptoms and Quality of Life Research Track "Building Lifestyles, Outcomes and Care Services Research in Cancer" Program.

Dr. Smith has contributed to numerous peer-reviewed papers and book chapters regarding her research interests in cancer survivorship, treatment adherence, patient-reported outcomes, disparities, reducing the toxicities of cancer therapies, reproductive health issues in breast cancer patients and clinical trials.

Dr. Smith is an ad hoc reviewer for the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, Cancer Biology and Therapy, SpringerPlus, BioMed Central, Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Center Network, Journal of Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology and Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Dr. Smith has earned the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Master of Public Health Capstone Award and an American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award, both for her research expertise. She is currently conducting research with funding from the Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award, the Under Armour Women's Health and Breast Cancer Innovation Grant, and the Sloan Fund Research Council from Sibley. 

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  • Associate Professor of Oncology

Departments / Divisions

  • Oncology - Division of Women's Malignancies

Centers & Institutes



  • MD; Rush Medical College (1998)


  • Internal Medicine; Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (2002)


  • Internal Medicine; Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2003)
  • Hematology and Oncology; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (2006)

Board Certifications

  • American Board of Internal Medicine (Medical Oncology) (2006)

Research & Publications

Clinical Trial Keywords

Breast cancer clinical trials

Selected Publications

View all on PubMed

Peer-Reviewed Papers:

Smith K, Wray L, Klein-Carbal M, Schuchter L, Fox K, Glick J, Demichele A. Racial Disparities in Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Breast Cancer are not due to Excess Toxicity in African Americans. Clinical Breast Cancer. Vol 6, 2005:260-6.

Smith, KL, Adank M, Kauff N, Lafaro K, Boyd J, Lee J, Hudis C, Offit K, Robson M. BRCA Mutations in Women with Ductal Carcinoma in Situ: Prevalence and Risk Factors. Clinical Cancer Research. Vol 13, 2007:4306-10.

Dang C, DAndrea G, Lake D, Sugarman S, Fornier M, Moynahan ME, Gilewski T, Hurria A, Mills N, Troso-Sandoval T, George R, Robson M, Dickler M, Smith K, Panageas KS, Norton L, Hudis CA. Prolonged dose-dense epirubicin and cyclophosphamide followed by paclitaxel in breast cancer is feasible. Clinical Breast Cancer 2008 Oct;8(5):418-24.

Isaacs C, Herbolsheimer P, Liu M, Wilkinson M, Ottaviano Y, Chung G, Warren R, Eng-Wong J, Cohen P, Smith KL, Creswell K, Novielli A, Slack R. Phase I/II study of sorafenib with anastrozole in patients with hormone receptor positive aromatase inhibitor resistant metastatic breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. Vol 125, 2011:137-143.

Herbolsheimer P, Kapoor R, Smith KL, Perry D, Verma N, Veytsman I, Jelinek J, Swain SM. Phase I trial of dasatinib and ixabepilone in patients with solid tumors. Investigational New Drugs. 2012 Mar 6, epub ahead of print.

Khozin S, Roth MJ, Rajan A, Smith K, Thomas A, Berman A, Giaccone G. Hepatoid carcinoma of the lung with anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene rearrangement. Journal of Thoracic COncology. 2012 Nov;7(11):e29-31.

Reviews and Chapters:

Smith K. Patient 48: A 58-year old woman with ductal carcinoma in situ. In: Danso MA, Basch EM, eds. Hematology and Oncology Pearls. Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby, 2005.

Smith K. Patient 51: A 48-year old woman with stage II breast cancer. In: Danso MA, Basch EM, eds. Hematology and Oncology Pearls. Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby, 2005.

Smith K. Patient 69: A 56-year old woman with hormone-receptor-positive early-stage breast cancer. In: Danso MA, Basch EM, eds. Hematology and Oncology Pearls. Philadelphia: Elsevier Mosby, 2005.

Smith KL, Robson M. Update on Hereditary Breast Cancer. Current Oncology Reports. Vol 8, 2006:14-21.

Smith KL, Dang C, Seidman A. Cardiac Dysfunction Associated with Trastuzumab. Expert Opinion on Drug Safety. Vol 5, 2006: 619-29.

Demarco TA, Smith KL, Nusbaum RH, Peshkin BN, Schwartz MD, Isaacs C. Practical Aspects of Delivering Hereditary Cancer Risk Counseling. Seminars in Oncology. Vol 34, 2007: 369-378.

Smith KL, Isaacs C. Management of Women at Increased Risk for Hereditary Breast Cancer. Breast Disease: An International Journal. Vol 27, 2006-2007: 51-67.

Smith KL, Isaacs C. Chapter 15: Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Options in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers. In: Hereditary Breast Cancer. Editors: Isaacs C, Rebbeck TA. Informa Healthcare. New York, 2008.

Smith KL, Isaacs C. Poly(ADP-Ribose) Inhibition: Exploring a New Approach to Breast Cancer Prevention in BRCA1/2 Mutation Carriers. Current Breast Cancer Reports. Epub July 1, 2011.

Smith KL, Isaacs C. BRCA Mutation Testing in Determining Breast Cancer Treatment. The Cancer Journal. Volume 17, 2011:492-499.

Activities & Honors


  • Merit-Based Scholarship, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2002 - 2003
  • Master of Public Health Capstone Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , 2003
  • Merit Award, ASCO Foundation, 2005
  • Young Investigator Award, ASCO Foundation, 2005
  • Merit Award, ASCO Foundation, 2006


  • American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2003
  • Breast Cancer Survivorship Committee, 2011 - 2013
  • Cancer Committee, 2008 - 2013
  • Clinical Review Committee Medstar South, 2011 - 2013
  • Housestaff Hematology/Oncology Rotation, 2007 - 2011

Professional Activities

  • Chair, MedStar Washington Hospital Center, 2008 - 2013
  • Chair, Medstar Washington Hospital Center, 2011 - 2013
  • Director, Medstar Washington Hospital Center, 2007 - 2011
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