Jennifer A. Ligibel, MD

Jennifer A. Ligibel, MD

Medical Oncology

Contact Information

Office Phone Number





617-632-2175 (new patients)
617-632-3800 (established patients)


Jennifer A. Ligibel, MD

Dr. Jennifer Ligibel is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and a Senior Physician in the Breast Oncology Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Ligibel’s research focuses on the impact of energy balance factors, such as physical activity and body weight, upon cancer risk and outcomes. She has conducted more than a dozen randomized trials evaluating the impact of exercise and weight loss interventions on endpoints such as cardiorespiratory fitness, biomarkers associated with cancer risk and outcomes, body composition, and quality of life in cancer patients and survivors. This work has culminated in the design and implementation of the Breast Cancer Weight Loss (BWEL) Trial, the only fully powered Phase III clinical trial designed to test the impact of a weight loss intervention on invasive disease-free survival in women with early-stage breast cancer and obesity (NCT02750826). 

In addition to primary research work, Dr. Ligibel also is the Director of the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living and has built a comprehensive clinical Healthy Living Program for patients at Dana-Farber and beyond that offers an array of exercise classes, nutrition seminars, cooking demonstrations, programs focused on healthy cooking for families, weight management programs, and holistic longitudinal programs to foster wellness during and after cancer treatment. 

Finally, Dr. Ligibel is the inaugural Director of Center for Faculty Well-Being at Dana-Farber. In this role, she studies the prevalence and predictors of burnout in academic physicians, as well as develops solutions to mitigate and prevent burnout in Dana-Farber Faculty. In recognition of her work in mentoring and supporting faculty, she was awarded the Hologic, Inc Endowed Women Who Conquer Cancer Mentorship Award in 2021.



Director, Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies and Healthy Living
Director, Center for Faculty Well-Being
Senior Physician
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School


Diseases Treated

Board Certification

  • Internal Medicine, 1999
  • Medical Oncology, 2002


  • Dana-Farber/Partners CancerCare, Hematology/Oncology


  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Internal Medicine

Medical School

  • Washington University School of Medicine

Recent Awards

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology Career Development Award 2004


    Exercise Studies in Patients With Breast Cancer

    Our research concentrates on the relationship between exercise and weight and breast cancer outcomes. Many studies over the past 20 years have demonstrated that women who are overweight at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis have a higher risk of recurrence and breast cancer-related death than do leaner women. A recent report from the Nurses' Health Study group has demonstrated that weight gain after diagnosis is also a poor prognostic marker in both pre- and postmenopausal women; another report from the same group demonstrated that women who exercised after breast cancer diagnosis had a lower risk of cancer recurrence than did sedentary women, even if they did not lose weight as a result of their increased physical activity.The mechanism linking exercise and weight with breast cancer outcome is not well understood. It is known that obese women have higher levels of insulin and other hormones related to energy balance. Preclinical studies have implicated insulin and a number of adipocytokines (hormones derived from adipose tissue) in the malignant transformation of breast cells in vitro. A recent clinical study has also demonstrated that breast cancer patients with higher fasting insulin levels at the time of diagnosis are at increased risk of developing a breast cancer recurrence or dying than are patients with lower insulin levels.We are conducting a series of pilot trials of exercise interventions in breast cancer patients to evaluate both the feasibility of exercise in different breast cancer populations and the impact of exercise on insulin and other hormones related to energy balance. We hope to use the knowledge gained from these pilot trials to help design a larger randomized trial of exercise in breast cancer patients to better study the impact of physical activity on breast cancer outcomes.


    Location Avtar

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    450 Brookline Avenue Boston, MA 02215
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    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    Location Avtar

    Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

    450 Brookline Avenue Boston, MA 02215
    Get Direction
    42.3374, -71.1082

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    Jennifer A. Ligibel, MD

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