Quick Facts
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    Radiation Oncology
    Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
    Lung Cancer
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    Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
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    Pleural Mesothelioma
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About Dr. William Breen

Dr. William Breen serves as the associate research chair at the Mayo Clinic, an esteemed mesothelioma treatment center, where he conducts extensive research on radiation oncology. He graduated from the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in 2017. 

Breen has expertise with novel radiation technology that has advanced the treatment of mesothelioma. He is currently the principal investigator of a potentially groundbreaking clinical trial exploring the use of stereotactic body radiation therapy in combination with immunotherapy for patients with malignant mesothelioma

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

Stereotactic body radiation therapy, also known as SBRT, is much more precise than traditional radiation treatments and can better target tumor cells without causing harmful side effects. Research has also shown it to be more effective with 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 the clinical trial will use alongside the SBRT is the Opdivo and Yervoy combination the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved.

“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.

Dr. William Breen’s Role as Medical Reviewer on Asbestos.com

Breen’s experience as a pleural mesothelioma specialist in radiation and his extensive research background in radiation oncology qualify him as a contributor and reviewer for The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com. He ensures the radiation therapy content on Asbestos.com meets the latest medical and scientific standards.

Specialties of Dr. William Breen

  • Gamma knife and linear accelerator-based radiosurgery
  • Lung cancer
  • Pleural mesothelioma
  • Proton and photon radiation therapy
  • Radiation oncology
  • Stereotactic body radiation therapy

Experience and Medical Education

  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education (Residency)
  • Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center (Internship)
  • Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine (M.D.)
  • Saint John’s University (B.S.)

Awards and Recognition

  • Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award, Mayo Clinic, 2022 
  • Scott Spretel Resident Excellence Award Nominee, 2018 

Mesothelioma Clinical Trials Under Dr. William Breen

  • Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy With Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Mesothelioma, a phase I clinical trial on the combined effect of stereotactic body radiation therapy and immunotherapy in treating patients with pleural mesothelioma.

Publications of Dr. William Breen

  • Saifi, O. et al. (2023, November). Incorporating radiation with anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma: A multicenter consensus approach.
  • Bloom, J.R. et al. (2023, August). The incorporation of cognitive-sparing techniques into prophylactic cranial irradiation in the management of small cell lung cancer. 
  • Cunningham, D.A. et al. (2023, March). Proton Whole-Lung Irradiation: Initial Report of Outcomes. 
  • Breen, W.G. et al. (2020, March). Surgery for Mesothelioma After Radiation Therapy (SMART); A Single Institution Experience.