Mariann and Robert MacDonald Women's Cancer Risk Evaluation Center


Premier Research Program

Cancer Research at the Abramson Cancer Center

The Mariann and Robert MacDonald Women’s Cancer Risk Evaluation Center is supported by one of the foremost cancer research programs in the country.

Under the leadership of Susan Domchek, MD, Penn's Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk Evaluation Center has individuals nationally recognized for their expertise. Our Cancer Risk Evaluation Center is backed by our breast cancer research program - one of the few programs of its kind approved and funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Every day, more than 40 Penn scientists and physicians work to increase their knowledge about breast and ovarian cancer and to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat this disease. Because of these efforts, research advances can more quickly benefit patients.

  • Penn researchers conducted the landmark study showing that a prophylactic double mastectomy can lower the risk of developing breast cancer in women genetically pre-disposed to breast cancer.

Shaping the Future of Cancer Care

  • Cancer researchers at Penn are mapping the genetic changes that occur in breast cancer among women with no significant family history, women with multiple family members who have breast cancer and African American women who have BRCA1/BRAC2 mutations that may increase susceptibility to breast cancer.
  • Penn’s genetics laboratory is studying the biologic effects of pregnancy among women who are younger when they have children to better understand their lower-risk of breast cancer. The goal is to determine if there is a gene or protein activated during pregnancy that prevents breast cancer and identify a way to use that knowledge to benefit all women.
  • Penn is conducting a first-of-its-kind study to determine whether women at high risk of breast cancer can use exercise to meaningfully reduce their risk of getting the disease.

As one of the nation's largest cancer research centers, Penn investigators benefit each day from their collaborations and interactions with more than 400 scientists and physicians at the Abramson Cancer Center.