Last modified: September 28, 2021
Quick Facts
  • Expertise:
    Pleural Mesothelioma
    Lung Cancer
    Radiation Oncology
    Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)
  • Certifications:
    Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine (M.D.)

About Dr. Breen

Radiation oncologist Dr. William Breen at the Mayo Clinic is the principal investigator of a potentially groundbreaking clinical trial exploring the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy in combination with immunotherapy for patients with mesothelioma.

Breen, who graduated from the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in 2017, has expertise with novel radiation technology that has advanced the treatment of pleural mesothelioma.

“Radiation years ago was not thought to be helpful in treating mesothelioma,” Breen said. “That thinking has changed.”

Investigating SBRT with Immunotherapy

Stereotactic body radiation therapy, also known as SBRT, is much more precise and can better target tumor cells without causing harmful side effects. It also has been shown to be more effective in other cancers when used in combination with immunotherapy.

“We need to build upon the success we’ve seen with immunotherapy in treating mesothelioma and take that momentum forward,” Breen said. “We’re hoping to see some real synergy with SBRT.”

One of the immunotherapies used in the clinical trial will be the Opdivo and Yervoy combination recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, alongside the SBRT.

“Our primary goal is to demonstrate this is a safe, feasible option, but we’re also hoping to see good success in treating the cancer effectively for these patients,” Breen said.