Judy E. Garber, MD, MPH

Director, Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention

Susan F. Smith Chair

Institute Physician

Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Appointment Phone: 617-632-2178 (Cancer Genetics and Prevention), 617-582-7777 (established patients CGP), 617-632-2175 (Breast Oncology), 617-632-3800 (established patients BO)
Fax: 617-582-8807
Preferred Contact Method: office phone


Treatment Centers
Medical Oncology
Clinical Interests
Breast cancer, Cancer genetics, Cancer prevention


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
450 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA  02215


Board Certifications
Hematology, 1988
Internal Medicine, 1984
Medical Oncology, 1987
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Hematology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Cancer Epidemiology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Medical Oncology
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Internal Medicine
Medical School
Yale University School of Medicine
Dr. Garber is the Director of the Center for Cancer Genetics and Prevention at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. She also consults with the Pediatric Cancer Genetic Risk Program at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Dr. Garber conducts research in clinical cancer genetics, with a special focus in the genetics of breast cancer. She has played a major role in the development of national guidelines in cancer genetics. She is also a leader in research into the characteristics and treatment of triple negative or basal-like breast cancer, the most common form in women with BRCA1 mutations. Her translational research focuses on the evaluation of novel agents targeting DNA repair defects in breast cancer, including PARP inhibitors for treatment and prevention of breast cancer and other BRCA-associated cancers.

Dr. Garber is a past president and current member of the Foundation Board of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). She serves on the National Cancer Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute and was elected into the National Academy of Medicine in 2013. She also serves as the Chair of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) Scientific Advisory Board. She is an ASCO Statesman and a Fellow of the AACR Academy.
Clinical Cancer Genetics, Cancer Risk, and Prevention

Our group has two areas of active interest: the identification of individuals with genetic factors that place them at high risk of developing cancer, and the development of strategies to reduce cancer risk. We focus on breast cancer primarily, but are now expanding our efforts to other cancers. Breast cancer geneticsOur group developed one of the first cancer risk and prevention clinics, where we recruit patients and families with hereditary and familial breast cancer, evaluate them for mutations in BRCA1, BRCA2, and other genes, and then enroll patients in ongoing follow-up studies. These studies evaluate the long-term psychosocial and medical effects of genetic testing and explore the best ways to integrate genetic testing into the care of women diagnosed with breast cancer. We are also studying the prevalence of germline p53 mutations and mutations in the Fanconi anemia (FA) genes in a cohort of the very youngest women diagnosed with breast cancer. In collaboration with Dr. Alan D'Andrea, we also plan to expand epidemiologic studies of the FA genes to squamous tumors. Breast cancer risk reductionWe are developing novel approaches to the chemoprevention of cancer and the identification of modulatable biomarkers for use in chemoprevention studies. One clinical trial uses aromatase inhibitors to reduce circulating estradiol in women who have the highest levels, and measures changes in bone density and mammographic breast density as biomarkers of hormone effect. Another trial is piloting tamoxifen in women with increased risk of breast cancer because of chest radiation therapy for Hodgkin's disease. In collaboration with Drs. Myles Brown and Bruce Spiegelman, we are developing biomarker assays for use in the evaluation of rosiglitazone in an early-phase breast cancer chemoprevention trial. In a phase I chemoprevention trial, we are studying the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antagonist, Iressa. Finally, we are developing duct lavage as a sampling technique with which to identify modulatable biomarkers for use in breast cancer chemoprevention trials.PharmacogeneticsWe are also interested in using genetic markers to identify individuals at particular risk for toxic side effects of chemoprevention agents. Two large national trials are evaluating the potential contributions of hereditary clotting abnormalities, factor V Leiden and prothrombin G20210A, to the risk of thromboembolic complications with tamoxifen.

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As a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, our physicians are passing on their expertise to the next generation of pediatric hematologists and oncologists.