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Harold J. Burstein, MD, PhD

Medical Oncology

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  • Institute Physician
  • Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Diseases Treated

Contact Information

  • Appointments617-632-2175 (new)
    617-632-3800 (follow-up)
  • Office Phone Number617-632-3800
  • Fax617-632-1930


Dr. Burstein graduated from Harvard College before earning his MD at Harvard Medical School. He also received a PhD in cellular immunology and a master's degree in the history of science from Harvard. He trained in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital before his oncology fellowship at DFCI. In 1999, he joined the staff of DFCI and Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he is a clinician and clinical investigator in the Breast Oncology Center.

Board Certification:

  • Internal Medicine, 1997
  • Medical Oncology, 2000


  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Hematology/Oncology


  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Internal Medicine

Medical School:

  • Harvard Medical School

Recent Awards:

  • George P. Canellos Award for Excellence in Clinical Investigation and Patient Care 2001
  • Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2012
  • Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Clinical Mentor Award, 2014


Clinical Investigation of Breast Cancer

In the Breast Oncology Center, our clinical trials help define new treatment options for women with early-stage and advanced breast cancer. These trials use the scientific and laboratory resources at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center to translate clinical observations into well-described biological phenomena. Some of our recent studies are described below.We have conducted several NCI-supported phase II trials of angiogenesis inhibitors in advanced breast cancer. These studies analyzed clinical outcomes for treatment with standard or low-dose "metronomic" chemotherapy (also thought to have anti-angiogenic potential) in combination with bevacizumab, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) antibody. The primary endpoints of these studies are to characterize the response rate and safety profile of treatments. Correlative studies are analyzing baseline and dynamic measures of angiogenesis as predictors of tumor response, including measurement of circulating endothelial cells. Based on encouraging preliminary findings for these trials, we developed a trial of bevacizumab and metronomic chemotherapy that is now open to patients with early-stage breast cancer. This study will also use proteomics to gauge the extent of anti-angiogenic activity.In addition, we are evaluating other novel agents in clinical trials, including various anti-angiogenesis drugs and new formulations of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.With colleagues in the health services research division at Dana-Farber, we are also exploring optimal use of adjuvant endocrine therapy for breast cancer. In these research efforts, we use computer modeling to help define which treatment strategies (e.g., tamoxifen, an aromatase inhibitor, or sequential treatment with one and then the other) would best prevent cancer recurrence. Such outcomes analyses can help inform clinical decision when direct data are not available to guide recommendations.


Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
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