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Steffi Oesterreich, PhD

Professor, The Shear Family Foundation Chair in Breast Cancer Research
Assembly Building #2051
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Phone: 412-641-8555


BS, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, 1989
PhD, Humboldt University, Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany, 1992
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, 1996
Headshot of Steffi Oesterreich, PhD

Molecular mechanism and clinical relevance of endocrine response in breast cancer

The Oesterreich lab includes technicians, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are trained in a multi-disciplinary research environment to work in basic, translational, and clinical aspects of breast cancer research. Specifically, our research projects focus on the role of co-regulator proteins in estrogen response in breast cancer. Estrogen mediates its potent mitogenic effects through the estrogen receptor (ER), which has been a successful target for endocrine therapy in breast cancer. Despite the success of such treatment, de novo or acquired resistance remains a major problem. A better understanding of how ER works is critical for the development of more efficient therapies, and better prediction for who should receive which form of endocrine therapy.

Over the last years, many dogmas in hormone response have changed, which has opened many exciting novel research areas. Examples are estrogen-mediated repression of gene transcription, and the role of co-repressors in this process, the close connection between estrogen signaling and epigenetic regulation of gene transcription, and the role of regulatory elements which are located far outside the promoter of the estrogen regulated genes, and which might even be on other chromosomes. We are studying these processes using state-of-the-art molecular and cellular techniques, mouse models, and clinical specimens. The ultimate goal of Dr. Oesterreich's research is to use this knowledge for improved diagnosis and endocrine treatment of breast cancer patients.

Journal Articles

Pathiraja TN, Nayak S, Xi Y, Jiang S, Garee JP, Edwards DP, Lee AV, Chen J, Shea MJ, Santen RJ, Gannon F, Kangaspeska S Jelinek J, Issa JJ, Richer JK, Elias A, Mcllroy M, Young L, Davidson NE, Schiff R, Li W, and Oesterreich S. Epigenetic reprogramming of HOXC10 in endocrine-resistant breast cancer. Science Transl med 6:229, 2014. PMID: 24670685.
Sikora Mj, Cooper KL, Bahreini A, Luthra S, Wang G, Chandran UR, Davidson NE, Dabbs DJ, Welm AL, Oesterreich S. Invasive lobular carcinoma cell lines are characterized by unique estrogen-mediated gene expression patterns and altered tamoxifen response. Cancer Res 74:1463-1472, 2014.  PMID: 24425047. PMCID: PMC3955299 [Available 2015/3/1]
Oesterreich S, Davidson NE. The search for ESR1 mutations in breast cancer. Nat Genet 45:1415-1416, 2013. PMID: 24270445
Oesterreich S, Brufsky AM, Davidson NE. Using mice to treat (wo)men: Mining genetic changes in patient xenografts to attack breast cancer. Cell Rep 4:1061-1062, 2013. PMID: 24075202
Oesterreich S, R Edwards and A Vlad.  Progestins:  Pro-senescence therapy for ovarian cancer:  Cell Cycle 12:1662-1663, 2013.
Hartmaier RJ, AS Richter, RM Gillihan, JZ Sallit, SE McGuire, J Wang, AV Lee, CK Osborne, BW O'Malley, PH Brown, J Xu, TC Skaar, S Philips, JM Rae, F Azzouz, L Li, J Hayden, NL Henry, AT Nguyen, V Stearns, DF Hayes, DA Flockhart and S Oesterreich.  A SNP in steroid receptor coactivator-1 disrupts a GSK3 beta phosphorylation site and is associated with altered Tamoxifen response in bone.  Mol Endo 26:220-227, 2012.
Watters RJ, PV Benos and S Oesterreich.  To bind or not to bind:  FoxA1 determines estrogen receptor action in breast cancer progression.  Breast Cancer Res 14:312, 2012.
Smith CL, I Migliaccio, V Chaubal, MF Wu, MC Pace, R Hartmaier, S Jiang, DP Edwards, MC Gutierrez, SG Hilsenbeck and S Oesterreich.  Elevated expression of the SMRT corepressor in breast cancer is associated with earlier tumor recurrence.  Breast Cancer Res Treat 136:253-265, 2012.
Steinman RA, AM Brufsky and S Oesterreich.  Zoledronic acid effectiveness against breast cancer metastases:  A role for estrogen in the microenvironment?  Breast Cancer Res 14:213, 2012.
Pathiraja TN, PB Shetty, J Jelinek, R He, R Hartmaier, AL Margossian, SG Hilsenbeck, JP Issa and S Oesterreich.  Progesterone receptor isoform-specific promoter methylation:  Association of PRA methylation with worse outcome in breast cancer patients.  Clin Cancer Res 17:4177-4186, 2011.
Garee JP, R Meyer and S Oesterreich.  Co-repressor activity of scaffold attachment factor B1 requires sumoylation.  Biochem Biophys Res Commun 408:516-522, 2011.
Oesterreich S, AV Lee and NE Davidson.  Is it time to reSET the standard for estrogen receptor testing in breast cancer?  J Clin Oncol 28:4101-4103, 2010.