Dre Saima Hassan, MD, PhD, FRCSC

Assistant professor;
Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery,
Faculty of Medicine;
University of Montréal, CRCHUM and Institut du cancer de Montréal.


Key words: Triple-negative breast cancer, PARP inhibtors, combination therapy, DNA damage response

Contact :


Office: 514-890-8000 x.15878

2002  MDCM, McGill University

2009 Ph.D, McGill University, Department of Experimental Surgery, Supervisor: Dr. Mark Basik 

2011 FRCSC, McGill University, Division of General Surgery

2013 Clinical Fellowship, University of Toronto, Division of Surgical Oncology 

2016 Research Fellowship, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Supervisor: Dr. Joe Gray

2014-2016  Ontario Institute of Cancer Research (OICR) Fellowship Award  

2014-2016  Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, administered by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research 

2013-2014 Telus-Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation National Fellowship 

  • 2017 (PI) Bourse de projet de recherche - Department of Surgery, University of Montreal
  • 2013-2014 Conquer Cancer Foundation of American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) - Young Investigator Award, endowed by Evelyn H. Lauder, Breast Cancer Research Foundation
  • 2012-2013 William S. Fenwick Fellowship and Joseph M. West Family Memorial Fund - Postgraduate Research Award

Awards and prizes 

2015 Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Award for Breast Cancer Symposium

2009 Breast Cancer Achievement Award, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

2008 Canadian Research Award for Specialty Residents, awarded by the Canadian Society of Clinical Investigation, Professional Association of Interns and Residents of Ontario Trust Fund, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada 

The role of PARP inhibitors for triple-negative breast cancer patients


Our overarching goal is to better understand the therapeutic approach to triple-negative breast cancer.  While three or four types of chemotherapy is the standard of care, it is not well understood if all of these patients require this treatment, with its associated cytotoxic side effects.  It is plausible that a proportion of these patients could benefit from more targeted therapy, such as PARP inhibitors.   PARP inhibitors target the DNA repair process and are currently being evaluated in clinical trials.  Our objective is to better understand the efficacy of PARP inhibitors as single-agents and in combination using a cell-line model, in order to better select which breast cancer patients may benefit from such treatment.  Furthermore, we would like to evaluate the DNA damage response using immunofluorescence and high-content imaging.  


Associted websites: 

  1. Hassan S, Heiser LM, Gray JW. Systems Biology and Genomics In: Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine, 9th Edition (RC Bast Jr, CM Croce, WN Hait, WK Hong, DW Kufe, M Piccart-Gebhart, RE Pollack, RR Weichselbaum, H Yang, and JF Holland, eds.) John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, N.J. March 2017

  2. Angarita FA, Hassan S, Cannell AJ, Dickson BC, Gladdy R, Swallow CJ, Hogg D, Gupta A, Blackstein ME, McCart JA. Clinical features and outcomes of 20 patients with abdominopelvic desmoplastic small round cell tumorEur J Surg Oncol. 2017 Feb;43(2):423-431. PMID: 27890349

  3. Légaré S, Cavallone L, Mamo A, Chabot C, Sirois I, Magliocco A, Klimowicz A, Tonin PN, Buchanan M, Keilty D, Hassan S, Laperrière D, Mader S, Aleynikova O, Basik M. The estrogen receptor cofactor SPEN functions as a tumor suppressor and candidate biomarker of drug responsiveness in hormone-dependent breast cancers.  Cancer Res. 2015 Oct 15;75(20):4351-63. PMID: 26297734

  4. Hassan S, Petrella T, Zhang T, Kamel-Reid S, Nordio F, Baccarelli A, Sade S, Naert K, Al Habeeb A, Ghazarian D, Wright F.  Pathologic complete response to intralesional interleukin-2 therapy associated with improved survival in melanoma patients with in-transit disease. Annals of Surgical Oncology, 2015 Jun;22(6):1950-8. PMID: 25366584

  5. Hassan S, Buchanan M, Jahan K, Aguilar-Mahecha A, Gaboury L, Muller WJ, Alsawafi Y, Mourskaia AA, Siegel PM, Salvucci O, Basik M.   CXCR4 peptide antagonist inhibits primary breast tumor growth, metastasis and enhances the efficacy of anti-VEGF treatment or docetaxel in a transgenic mouse model.  Int J Cancer. 2011 Jul 1;129(1):225-32. PMID: 20830712

  6. Hassan S, Ferrario C, Saragovi U, Quenneville L, Gaboury L, Baccarelli A, Salvucci O, Basik M.  The Influence of Tumor-Host Interactions in the SDF-1/CXCR4 Ligand/Receptor Axis in Determining Metastatic Risk in Breast Cancer.  American Journal of Pathology, 2009 Jul 1; 175 (1): 36-45. PMID: 19497995

  7. Hassan S, Salvucci O, Baccarelli A, Basik M. Plasma stromal-cell derived factor-1 (SDF) 1: Host-Derived Marker Predictive of Metastasis in Breast Cancer.  Clinical Cancer Research 2008 Jan 15; 14(2):446-54. PMID: 18223219

  8. Hassan S, Ferrario C, Mamo A, Basik M.  Tissue microarrays: emerging standard for biomarker validation. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2008 Feb;19(1):19-25. PMID: 18053705