Sarah Taylor, MD
Assistant Professor of Gynecologic Oncology
Gynecologic cancers encompass a variety of cancers that each present unique challenges for patients and for those caring for them. When patients are diagnosed with advanced stage or recurrent disease, treatment options are often limited. My research focuses on understanding these diseases and developing new ways to treat these cancers to improve not only how long women live but improve the quality of the life during and after treatment.
Sarah Taylor, MD
Research in Brief
The focus of my clinical and translational research is in the development and implementation of early phase clinical trials. My specific area of interest is in women with gynecologic malignancies. As a gynecologic oncologist, my primary role is to see and care for women with gynecologic malignancies, which gives me expertise as well as knowledge of the daily challenges both patients and the physicians face when fighting these cancers. My research is focused within the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute/UPMC Hillman Cancer Center’s Phase I Translational Research Team, which is a multi-specialty group focused on the development, promotion and execution of novel phase I oncologic clinical trials.
My work within the Magee-Womens Research Institute focuses on correlative biomarker development and identifying targetable pathways for drug development. Uterine leiomyosarcomas are a rare but aggressive form of uterine cancer with limited treatment options for either adjuvant or recurrent therapy. Neither current chemotherapy nor any targeted agents have been successful in demonstrating a high or durable response rate. My work to identify the frequency of genetic aberrations in a large cohort of uterine leiomyosarcoma and correlate molecular analysis with clinical data aims to identify potential individuals that may benefit from targeted therapy and which pathways should be employed. With approximately 21,000 new cases diagnosed per year and 14,000 deaths from this disease annually, epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic malignancies. Currently, there are no effective screening strategies and over 70% of patients present with stage III or IV disease. Management of patients with advanced EOC includes aggressive surgical cytoreduction followed by platinum-based chemotherapy. However, not all ovarian cancers are responsive to chemotherapy. Because of this, there is interest in targeted therapies, including endocrine therapy, which has limited side effects. Studies report anti-estrogen agents for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancers. Although not all patients were selected based on tumor estrogen receptor (ER) positivity, those that did, observed clinical responses in only a subset, suggesting ER status alone does not effectively predict response. Investigating an estrogen response signature in ovarian tumors, to define a population of patient that could benefit from hormonal therapy affords me experience as well as ongoing collaboration to continue to develop therapeutic targets as well diagnostic correlates for future trials.
My collaborations extend to my colleagues within the Women’s Cancer Research Group at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing. As an interdisciplinary team of researchers, we focus on overlapping research interests regarding patients’ quality of life, health services research, and patient-reported outcomes. This work is crucial to addressing all aspects of cancer care, which extends beyond cancer directed therapies. This ongoing work recognizes the importance of care the spans the life of a woman who lives with and survives cancer.
Phase IIA trial of delayed initiation of olaparib maintenance therapy in platinum sensitive recurrent ovarian cancer
5K12HD063087-09 (NICHD) (PI) 6/15/2019-6/15/2022
Goals: This single arm, open label phase II clinical trial evaluating delayed start olaparib maintenance therapy, based on rise in CA125, for patients with EOC who have had a PR or CR to platinum-based treatment.
Dissecting DNA damage and repair pathways in leiomyosarcomas: Improving therapy by understanding biology
Sarcoma Foundation of America Duensing (PI) 6/1/2019-
Goal: Specific Aims are to (1) Profile expression and activation of the main DNA damage and repair (DDR) pathways in LMS, (2) Determine functionality of DDR pathways in LMS, and (3) Identify and test anti-cancer drugs that specifically target dysregulated DDR pathways in LMS.
NCI ET-CTN with Phase I Emphasis at UPCI/HCC
UM1CA186690 (NIH/NCI) Chu (PI) 3/1/2014-2/28/2021
Goal: To be part of the new NCI ETCTN as a lead academic organization and to develop early-phase clinical trials at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute/UPMC Hillman Cancer Center.
Identification of Endocrine Therapy Responsive Low Grade Serous Ovarian Cancers and Ovarian Tumors of Low Malignant Potential
University of Pittsburgh Physicians Academic Foundation (PI) 9/30/2017-9/30/2019
Goal: The objective of this study is to assess ability of our gene signature (“EndoRx”) panel to predict response to endocrine therapy in patients with low grade serous ovarian cancer and ovarian low malignant potential tumors
Phase I Study of Triapine With Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients With IB2-IVA Cervical or Vulvar Cancer
National Cancer Institute- Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program (PI) 6/1/2016-12/31/2022
Goal: Then primary objective is to determine the incidence of dose-limiting toxicity and to determine the maximum tolerated dose of triapine in combination with chemotherapy and radiation. The secondary objectives include response rates, basal expression of ribonucleotide reductase, change in gamma-H2Ax levels, change in phosphorylated-ATM levels, incidence of toxicity, oral bioavailability of oral form of triapine and pharmacokinetics of intravenous and oral triapine
- Taylor SE, Li R, Petschauer JS, Donovan H, O'Neal S, Keeler AW, Zamboni WC, Edwards RP, Zorn KK. Phase I study of intravenous (IV) docetaxel and intraperitoneal (IP) oxaliplatin in recurrent ovarian and fallopian tube cancer. Gynecol Oncol. 2015 Jun 23. PMID:26111788
- Matsumoto J, Kiesel BF, Parise RA, Guo J, Taylor S, Huang M, Eiseman JL, Ivy SP, Kunos C, Chu E, Beumer JH. LC-MS/MS assay for the quantitation of the ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor triapine in human plasma. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2017 Aug 31;146:154-160. PMID: 28881312
- Taylor SE, Petschauer JS, Donovan H, Schorzman A, Razo J, Zamboni WC, Edwards RP, Zorn KK. Phase I study of intravenous (IV) oxaliplatin and intraperitoneal (IP) docetaxel in recurrent ovarian tube cancer. Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2019 Jan;29(1):147-152 PMID: 30640697
- Hay C, Hartnett E, Zuchelkowski BE, Donovan H, Campbell, G, Roberge MC, Carter J, Taylor SE. Sexual Health as Part of Gynecologic Cancer Care: What Do Patients Want? Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2018 Nov;28(9):1737-1742. PMID: 30358703
- Hay C, Donovan HS, Campbell GB, Taylor SE, Wang L, Courtney-Brooks M. Chemotherapy in older adult gynecologic oncology patients: Can a phenotypic frailty score predict tolerance? Gynecol Oncol. 2019 Feb;152(2):304-309. PMID: 30503049
- Campbell G, Thomas TH, Hand L, Lee YJ, Taylor SE, and Donovan H.S. Caring for survivors of gynecologic cancer: Assessment and management of long-term and late effects. Seminars in Oncology Nursing. 11 March 2019. PMID: 30867102