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About Us

Coalition Leadership


Monica Bertagnolli, MD
Professor of Surgery at Harvard University Medical School, and an Associate Surgeon at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)

Dr. Bertagnolli is a Professor of Surgery at Harvard University Medical School, and an Associate Surgeon at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). Dr. Bertagnolli attended the University of Utah College of Medicine, and received her training in surgery at BWH. She also completed a 3-year fellowship in oncology research at DFCI. She is presently the Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at BWH and DFCI.

Dr. Bertagnolli’s clinical focus is the treatment of patients with germline APC gene mutations, a condition known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). As a result, she manages duodenal and biliary malignancies, complex colorectal cases, and visceral and retroperitoneal sarcomas. Dr. Bertagnolli is a member of the Gastrointestinal Cancer and Sarcoma Disease Centers at the Brigham and Women’s/Dana Farber Cancer Center, where she collaborates with colleagues in medical oncology, radiation oncology, and pathology to treat cancer patients in a tertiary care setting.

Dr. Bertagnolli’s research examines gastrointestinal tumor biology with the goal of developing more effective, patient-specific cancer prevention and treatment strategies. Her basic research investigates APC gene function, an activity regulating many tumor types, particularly colorectal cancer (CRC). Her laboratory was the first to document that APC truncation causes a dominant negative effect upon intestinal epithelium, and the first to show in an animal model that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) block tumor formation and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2) activity. To investigate the clinical relevance of these results, Dr. Bertagnolli led a multinational trial showing that celecoxib prevented adenomas in patients at risk for CRC. This study also found increased cardiovascular complications among celecoxib users, raising a concern for routine use of these drugs for both cancer prevention and arthritis.

Dr. Bertagnolli was one of the organizing members of gastrointestinal correlative science initiatives within the NCI-funded Cancer Cooperative Groups, where she facilitated integration of tumor-specific molecular markers of treatment outcome into nation-wide clinical cancer treatment protocols. Dr. Bertagnolli has had numerous leadership roles in multi-institutional cancer clinical research consortia, and currently serves as Group Chair of Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB).