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Vered Stearns, M.D.
Co-Director, Breast Cancer Program
Professor of Oncology
Languages: English, Hebrew
Expertise: Breast Cancer, Medical Oncology
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Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Appointment Phone: 410-955-8964
401 N. Broadway
Baltimore, MD 21231 map
Vered Stearns, M.D., became interested in oncology even before she knew what the word meant. When she was 5 years old, she witnessed her grandfather dying of cancer. She decided then that, when she grew up, she wanted to become a doctor and cure cancer. “While my understanding of oncology has obviously grown more sophisticated, I hope never to lose my childhood enthusiasm for improving the welfare of those afflicted with cancer,” Dr. Stearns says.
During her fellowship at Georgetown University, where she first began focusing on breast cancer, Dr. Stearns enjoyed the privilege of working with internationally recognized physician-scientist whom, she recalls, moved seamlessly between the laboratory and clinic. “I was impressed not only with the breadth of their scientific knowledge, but even more so with their ability to translate state-of-the art research into the specific context of patient treatments,” she says.
Dr. Stearns has patterned her own career after these translational physician-scientists. As for her research goals, she aims to further an individualized approach to the prevention, treatment and care for people with or at risk of breast cancer. Currently, she focuses on the utilization of biomarkers to predict response to standard regimens used to treat and prevent breast cancer and to introduce new approaches. Already, she has made inroads toward this goal.
Dr. Stearns and her colleagues were the first to evaluate the role of specific cancer-related genetic variants, or mutations, among survivors who had been administered the drug tamoxifen to prevent the re-occurrence of breast cancer. Specifically, they examined the interplay of these genetic mutations in relation to tamoxifen’s metabolism, safety, and efficacy.
Dr. Stearns and her associates now are applying this same principle to evaluate the association between genetic variants and the outcomes of aromatase inhibitors, a class of drugs used to treat breast cancer in post-menopausal women. By evaluating these genetic variants in study subjects, as well as their responses to surveys (related to treatment symptoms) administered several times a year, she and her co-investigators hope to pinpoint factors that will predict which patients are likely to develop side effects from aromatase inhibitors.
The ongoing explosion of knowledge about the molecular basis of cancer, combined with the generosity of patients who continue to commit their time in clinical trials to further scientists’ understanding of breast cancer, make Dr. Stearns optimistic about the future.
“Improvements in bioinformatics will give us more pathways to recognize risk, determine prognosis, and estimate benefits from specific treatments,” she says. “It’s really important for individuals to keep an open mind about what clinical trials might be available, and to talk about that with their physicians. Today’s treatment standards are based on yesterday’s clinical trials.”
Dr. Stearns co-leads the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. She is the associate director for oncology for the Johns Hopkins Clinical Research Network and associate medical director for Johns Hopkins Singapore.
- Co-Director, Breast Cancer Program
- Co-Director, Breast & Ovarian Cancer Research Program Breast Cancer Research Chair in Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
- Professor of Oncology
Centers & Institutes
- MD, Rutgers - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (1992)
- MedStar Georgetown University Medical Center / Internal Medicine (1995)
- MedStar Georgetown University Medical Center / Medical Oncology (1997)
Research & Publications
Clinical Trial Keywordsbreast cancer
Learn more about clinical trials at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.
Selected PublicationsView all on Pubmed
Stearns V, Johnson MD, Rae JM, Morocho A, Novielli A, Bhargava P, Hayes DF, Desta Z, Flockhart DA. Active tamoxifen metabolite plasma concentrations after coadministration of tamoxifen and the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor paroxetine. J Natl Cancer Inst 2003;95:1758-64.
Stearns V. Mori T, Jacobs LK, Khouri NF, Gabrielson E, Yoshida T, Kominsky SL, Huso DL, Jeter S, Powers P, Tarpinian K, Brown RJ, Lange JR, Rudek MA, Zhang Z, Tsangaris TN, Sukumar S. Preclinical and clinical evaluation of intraductally administered agents in early breast cancer. Sci Transl Med 2011;3:106ra108. PMID: 22030751.
Stearns V, Jacobs LK, Fackler MJ, Tsangaris TN, Rudek MA, Higgins M, Lange J, Cheng Z, Slater SA, Jeter SC, Powers P, Briest S, Chao C, Yoshizawa C, Sugar E, Espinoza-Delgado I, Sukumar S, Gabrielson E, Davidson NE. Biomarker modulation following short term vorinostat in women with newly-diagnosed primary breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res 2013;19(14):4008-16. PMID: 23719261.
Stearns V. Chapman JAW, Ma CX, Ellis MJ, Ingle JN, Pritchard KI, Budd GT, Rabaglio M, Sledge GW, Maitre AL, Kundapur J, Liedke PER, Shepherd LE, Goss PE. Treatment-associated musculoskeletal and vasomotor symptoms and relapse-free survival in the NCIC CTG MA.27 adjuvant breast cancer aromatase inhibitor trial. J Clin Oncol 2015;33(3):265-71. PMID: 25512454.
Stearns V, Fackler MJ, Hafeez S, Lopez Bujanda Z, Chatterton RT, Jacobs LK, Khouri NF, Ivancic D, Kenney K, Shehata C, Jeter SC, Wolfman JA, Zalles CM, Huang P, Khan SA, Sukumar S. Gene Methylation and Cytological Atypia in Random Fine Needle Aspirates for Assessment of Breast Cancer Risk. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2016 Jun 3. pii: canprevres.0377.2015. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 27261491.