Department of Medicine

Department of Medicine

  Division of Hematology/Oncology

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photo Shannon Puhalla, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine


Phone: 412-641-4530

Office: Magee-Womens Hospital
300 Halket Street, Room 3524
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-641-4530
Fax: 412-641-6461
Administrative Assistant:
Christine Marriott
Address: 300 Halket Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-641-3494
Education and Training
BS, Kent State University, Kent, OH, 1997
MD, Northern Ohio State University College of Medicine, Rootstown, OH, 2001
Internal Medicine Residency, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH, 2004
Hematology/Oncology Fellowship, James Cancer Hospital, Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus, OH, 2007
Research Interest
I am Director of Breast Cancer Clinical Research, overseeing the clinical and translational research efforts of the Breast Cancer Clinical Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI). My clinical and translational research interests include molecular therapeutics and drug discovery with particular emphasis on development of novel agents and combination regimens in early-phase clinical trials in breast cancer. I have received Career Development Awards from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)/Conquer Cancer Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) and from the Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE) that was co-held by Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pittsburgh. I have had my work published in key medical journals such as the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and have served as a guest reviewer for Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. I was also awarded the Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award (CCITLA) from the National Cancer Institute. I am actively involved in the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Program, (NSABP) Division of Industry Sponsored Trials and I am to local co-principal investigator of the Translational Breast Cancer Research Consortium (TBCRC). I am particularly focused on novel therapeutics for triple negative breast cancer, reversal of endocrine therapy resistance, and the care of patients with metastatic breast cancer. My work has also focused on treatment of breast cancer brain metastases and genomic analysis of breast cancer.
Clinical Interest
I maintain an active practice at Magee Women’s Hospital of UPMC, specializing in the care of patients with breast cancer. I see patients with various subtypes and stages of breast malignancies. I lead enrollment of patients in clinical trials and donation of tissue samples. I also see patients enrolled on phase I clinical trials in the Phase I Clinic at the Hillman Cancer Center of UPCI. I am fortunate to work closely with excellent colleagues in breast surgery, radiation oncology, and pathology at UPMC.
Educational Interest
I work closely with medical student, residents and oncology fellows in the outpatient clinic and mentoring research projects in breast cancer. Both residents and fellows that I have mentored have successfully moved on to oncology fellowships and university faculty positions.
For my complete bibliography, Click Here.
Selected Publications:
Puhalla SL, Davidson NE. Breast cancer: The 21-gene recurrence score - biology remains at the forefront. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. 2016; 10: 1038.
Gurda GT, Ambros T, Nikiforov MN, Nikiforov YU, Lucas PC, Dabbs DJ, Lee AV, Brufsky AM, Puhalla SL, Bhargava R. Characterizing Molecular Variants and Clinical Utilization of Next-generation Sequencing in Advanced Breast Cancer. Applied Immunohistochemistry and Molecular Morphology. 2016; Epub ahead of Pring.
Achkar T, Wilson J, Simon J, Rosenzweig M, Puhalla S. Metastatic breast cancer patients: attitudes toward tissue donation for rapid autopsy. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 2016; 155(1): 159-64.
Wang B, Bahreini A, Gyanchandani R, Lucas PC, Hartmaier RJ, Watters RJ, Jonnalagadda AR, Trejo Bittar HE, Berg A, Hamilton RL, Kurland BF, Weiss KR, Mathew A, Leone JP, Davidson NE, Nikiforova MN, Brufsky AM, Ambros TF, Stern AM, Puhalla SL, Lee AV, Oesterreich S. Sensitive Detection of Mono- and Polyclonal ESR1 Mutations in Primary Tumors, Metastatic Lesions, and Cell-Free DNA of Breast Cancer Patients. Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. 2016; 22(5): 113-7.
Liao S, Hartmaier RJ, McGuire KP, Puhalla SL, Luthra S, Chandran UR, Ma T, Bhargava R, Modugno F, Davidson NE, Benz S, Lee AV, Tseng GC, Oesterreich S. The molecular landscape of premenopausal breast cancer. Breast Cancer Research. 2015; 17: 104.
Puhalla S, Elmquist W, Freyer D, Kleinberg L, Adkins C, Lockman P, McGregor J, Muldoon L, Newbit G, Peereboom D, Smith Q, Walker S, Neuwelt E. Unsanctifying the sanctuary: challenges and opportunities with brain metastases. Neuro-Oncology. 2015; 17(5): 639-51.
Burgess M, Puhalla S. BRCA 1/2-Mutation Related and Sporadic Breast and Ovarian Cancers: More Alike than Different. Frontiers in Oncology. 2014; 4: 18.
Puhalla S, Brufsky A. Treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer: looking backwards briefly. The Lancet Oncology. 2013; 14(13): 1250-1.
Puhalla S, Bhattacharya S, Davidson NE. Hormonal therapy in breast cancer: a model disease for the personalization of cancer care. Molecular Oncology. 2012; 6(2): 222-36.
Puhalla S, Mrozek Y, Young D, Ottman S, McVey A, Kendra K, Merriman NJ, Knapp M, Patel T, Thompson ME, Maher JF, Moore TD, Shapiro CL. Randomized phase II adjuvant trial of dose-dense docetaxel before or after doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide in axillary node-positive breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2008; 26(10): 1691-7.
Notable Achievements
Outstanding Studen tin Internal Medicine, Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, 2001
Career Development Award, Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), 2010
Career Development Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), 2010
Junior Scholar Award in Clinical Cancer, Univeristy of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI, 2012
Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award (CCITLA), National Cancer Institute, 2012
Appointment as Scientist Reviewer, Breast Cancer Research Program, Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, 2016