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Monali Vasekar, MD

Monali Vasekar, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Division of Hematology and Oncology
Scientific Program:Next-Generation Therapies

Research Interests

Dr. Monali Vasekar is a clinical researcher with an interest in clinical trial development in breast cancer and disparities in cancer care. For this she was awarded the two year grant - the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials: Career Development Award. In this work she is designing a therapeutic capstone trial under the mentorship of Dr. Monika Joshi, a nationally renowned genitourinary clinical trialist, the director of Penn State Cancer Institute's (PSCI) Clinical Trials Office and scientific officer of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium. Dr. Vasekar is also the institutional PI/Sub-I on ~20 breast cancer trials (phase 3 and 2) that are a mix of pharmaceutical and cooperative group studies (such as ECOG ACRIN, SWOG, NRG). She is especially interested in immunotherapeutics (IO) in breast cancer and was recently awarded a pilot PSCI grant for the study of Contrast US in IO for patients with breast cancer (Co-PI). In addition, she is a key clinical collaborator in investigator initiated trials (IIT) for breast cancer by distinguished researchers that include Dr. Kathryn Schmitz, a prolific exercise oncology researcher, Dr. Alan Lipton (biomarkers in breast cancer) and Kim Leitzel. Dr. Vasekar also has her own IIT in supportive cancer care, the "Diminishing Chemotherapy related side effects through patient education" D-CRSE study. She also leads the RiseUP committee, a PSCI committee interested in improving diversity in cancer clinical trials, and has ongoing collaboration with the CTSI-Informatics group for TriNetX database based research.

  • Therapeutics
  • Neoplasms
  • Survival
  • Immunotherapy
  • Drug Therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Monoclonal Antibodies
  • Mutation
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms
  • Hematologic Neoplasms
  • Economics
  • Smokers

Clinical Trials

A Phase 3 Study of Sacituzumab Govitecan Versus Treatment of Physician's Choice in Patients with Hormone Receptor-Positive (HR+)/Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-Negative (HER2-) (HER2 IHC0 or HER2-low [IHC 1+, IHC 2+/ISH-]) Inoperable, Locally Advanced, or Metastatic Breast Cancer and Have Received Endocrine Therapy
CCTG MA.39:Tailor RT: A Randomized Trial of Regional Radiotherapy in Biomarker Low Risk Node Positive and T3N0 Breast Cancer
Pilot study to evaluate if contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) can predict treatment response in triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients receiving combined chemotherapy and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICI).
A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Study of Adjuvant Cemiplimab versus Placebo after Surgery and Radiation Therapy in Patients with High Risk Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma (CSCC)
A Phase 3 Open-label, Randomised Study of Datopotamab Deruxtecan (Dato-DXd) With or Without Durvalumab Versus Investigator's Choice of Therapy in Patients With Stage I-III Triple-negative Breast Cancer Who Have Residual Invasive Disease in the Breast and/or Axillary Lymph Nodes at Surgical Resection Following Neoadjuvant Systemic Therapy(TROPION-Breast03)
NRG-BR009: A Phase III Adjuvant Trial Evaluating the Addition of Adjuvant Chemotherapy to Ovarian Function Suppression plus Endocrine Therapy in Premenopausal Patients with pN0-1, ER-Positive/HER2-Negative Breast Cancer and an Oncotype Recurrence Score (OFSET)
NRG-BR007: A Phase III Clinical Trial Evaluating Deescalation of Breast Radiation for Conservative Treatment of Stage I, Hormone sensitive, HER2- Negative Oncotype recurrence Score Less Than or Equal to 18 Breast Cancer (DEBRA)
An Open Label, Phase II Trial of Pre-operative Neratinib and Endocrine Therapy with Trastuzumab in Triple Positive Breast Cancers
APG-115 - A Phase Ib/II Study of APG-115 in Combination with Pembrolizumab in Patients with Unresectable or Metastatic Melanomas or Advanced Solid Tumors
Phase 1/2 Multicenter Study of the Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Preliminary Efficacy of APL-101 in Subjects with Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer with c-Met EXON 14 Skip Mutations and c-Met Dysregulation Advanced Solid Tumors

Recent Publications


Gordon, BR, Qiu, L, Doerksen, SE, Kanski, B, Lorenzo, A, Truica, CI, Vasekar, M, Wang, M, Winkels, RM, Abdullah, S & Schmitz, KH 2023, 'Addressing metastatic individuals everyday: Rationale and design of the nurse AMIE for Amazon Echo Show trial among metastatic breast cancer patients', Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, vol. 32, 101058.
Dailey, H, Labe, S, Jones, G, Bhasker, J, Kanwar, R, Hafiz, S, Crago, M, Fitzgerald, B, Mikhail, D, Zhu, J & Vasekar, M 2023, 'D-CRSE: Diminishing chemotherapy related side effects through patient education', Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, vol. 41, no. 16_suppl, e24148.
Julian, K & Vasekar, M 2023, 'Thoracic splenosis: an important consideration in oncology patients', BMJ case reports, vol. 16, no. 11, e257091.


Weng, X, Shen, C, Vasekar, M, Boltz, M, Joshi, M, Van Scoy, LJ & Wang, L 2023, 'Alzheimer's disease and related dementias is a risk factor for lower utilization of breast cancer screening and unstaged cancer diagnosis: Observational study from SEER-Medicare 2004–2016 data', Journal of Geriatric Oncology, vol. 14, no. 3, 101407.


Nesterova, D, Zhu, J, Kramer, C, Vasekar, M, Truica, C, Joshi, A, Hayes, M, Kessler, J, Saunders, EFH, Drabick, JJ & Joshi, M 2022, 'Group-led creative writing and behavioural health in cancer: A randomised clinical trial', BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 91-98.
Mrowczynski, OD, Vasekar, M, Fox, E, Harbaugh, K, Aregawi, D, Pameijer, CR, Zaorsky, N, Payne, R & Rizk, E 2021, 'Spontaneous Hip Dislocation Complicating the Management of Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Arising Within a Plexiform Neurofibroma', Cureus, vol. 13, no. 7, e16320.


Stahl, K, Wong, W, Dodge, D, Brooks, A, McLaughlin, C, Olecki, E, Lewcun, J, Newport, K, Vasekar, M & Shen, C 2021, 'Benefits of Surgical Treatment of Stage IV Breast Cancer for Patients With Known Hormone Receptor and HER2 Status', Annals of Surgical Oncology, vol. 28, no. 5, pp. 2646-2658.
Poulson, J, Cai, A, Benson, J & Vasekar, M 2020, 'EBV-Induced Pancytopenia: An Unusual Presentation of EBV Causing Bone Marrow Suppression-A Case Report', Penn State Journal of Medicine.
Pancholy, N, Walter, V, Drabick, J, Fox, EJ, Zaorsky, N & Vasekar, M 2020, 'Growth factor and its role in the treatment of patients with soft tissue extremity sarcoma receiving chemotherapy managed at an academic center: A retrospective study', Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, vol. 38, no. 15_suppl, e23573.
Polimera, H, Moku, P, Abusharar, SP, Vasekar, M & Chintanaboina, J 2020, 'Metastasis of Ewing Sarcoma to the Pancreas: Case Report and Literature Review', Case Reports in Oncological Medicine, pp. 7075048.
Hendriksen, BS, Stahl, KA, Hollenbeak, CS, Taylor, MD, Vasekar, MK, Drabick, JJ, Conte, JV, Soleimani, B & Reed, MF 2021, 'Postoperative chemotherapy and radiation improve survival following cardiac sarcoma resection', Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, vol. 161, no. 1, pp. 110-119.e4.
Yin, M, Grivas, P, Wang, QE, Mortazavi, A, Emamekhoo, H, Holder, SL, Drabick, JJ, Woo, MSA, Pal, S, Vasekar, M, Folefac, E, Clinton, SK, Monk, P & Joshi, M 2020, 'Prognostic Value of DNA Damage Response Genomic Alterations in Relapsed/Advanced Urothelial Cancer', Oncologist, vol. 25, no. 8, pp. 680-688.
Vasekar, M, Agbese, E & Leslie, D 2020, 'The value of immunotherapy: Comparison of annual cost per patient receiving immunotherapy versus chemotherapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer', Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, vol. 38, no. 15_suppl, e19364.