Dr. Laura Rosenberger
Principal Investigator
Associate Professor of Surgery
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Contact Information

Duke University Medical Center,
Department of Surgery, Box 3513
Durham, NC 27710

Phone (Office): 919-470-8649
Pager: 919-970-3616

X: @RosenbergerMD​​​​​​​

PHYTR Lab logo


Close up of phyllodes turmors

Phyllodes tumors are rare breast tumors and represent fewer than 1.0% of all primary breast tumors. Most National Comprehensive Cancer Centers treat only about 5-10 phyllodes tumors annually, making collaborative research in this area vital. Dr. Rosenberger and her multi-disciplinary team treat approximately 20-30 women with phyllodes annually at Duke and focus on advancing our understanding of these tumors.

Phyllodes tumors are classified into three subtypes: (1) benign, (2) borderline, and (3) malignant grades, which have extremely diverse biological behavior, and are poorly understood at this time. Benign phyllodes tumors are similar to fibroadenomas, the most common benign breast mass in teenagers, whereas malignant phyllodes, on the other end of the spectrum, have overlapping features with aggressive breast sarcomas. Typically identified in younger women (average age of 40 years), all grades of phyllodes tumors are treated almost exclusively with surgery alone. Surgery remains the only effective therapy, as there is no known effective chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or hormonal therapy. When tumors are metastatic, few treatment options exist making prognosis poor. Because of the rarity of these tumors, there exists common misdiagnosis, inconsistent management, patient anxiety and significant surgical morbidity in these young women due to classically large tumors and no pre-surgical therapies.

Phyllodes Tumor Collaborative Network

The Duke Department of Surgery in collaboration with the Duke Cancer Institute is uniquely positioned to lead critical investigations into the genomic profiling of these rare tumors, development of early detection strategies, prevention, and even the potential development of a therapeutic target. Dr. Rosenberger is the founder and Principle Investigator of an 11-site multi-center collaborative network of Comprehensive Cancer Centers that research phyllodes tumors.  She also leads an open phyllodes tumor registry study, which collects biospecimens and stores live tumor/tissue for future research.

At Duke, Dr. Rosenberger collaborates with specialists from all areas of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, including Dr. Juneko Grilley-Olson (Sarcoma Medical Oncology), Dr. Nicole Larrier (Sarcoma Radiation Oncology), Dr. Betty Tong (Thoracic Surgery), and Drs. Geoffroy Sisk and Brett Phillips (Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery). Importantly, these clinicians also collaborate with the scientists within Surgery, Pathology, Genetics, and within the Duke Cancer Institute. Together, these physicians and researchers are developing novel strategies directed at hereditary germline mutation identification, genomic profiling, and the potential to develop future therapeutic targets. 

Key Contributions

  • Established a multi-institutional Phyllodes Tumor research network
Map depicting locations of multi-institutional Phyllodes Tumor research network
  • Developed the first Phyllodes Tumor Cancer Reporting Protocol for the College of American Pathologists (CAP)
Logo and announcement for the College of American Pathologists' new protocol for examination of phyllodes tumors
  • Established the first prospective Phyllodes Tumor registry study and tissue repository
Images of phyllodes tumors being examined in a study

Lab Members

Samantha Thomas, MS, Senior Biostatistician (2016-Present)

Samantha Thomas

Amanda L. Nash, MD, Duke University General Surgery Resident (2019-Present)

Amanda Nash, MD
  • Oral Presentation: American Society of Breast Surgeon’s 22nd annual meeting
  • Nash AL, Rosenberger LH.  Image-Guided Breast Biopsy and Cyst Aspiration. The SCORE Portal. https://www.surgicalcore.org/modulecontent.aspx?id=1000456. 2019
  • Nash AL, Thomas SM, Plichta JK, Fayanju LM, Hwang ES, Greenup RA, Rosenberger LH. Contralateral Axillary Nodal Metastases: Stage IV Disease or a Manifestation of Progressive Locally Advanced Breast Cancer? Annals of Surgical Oncology. 2021; 28:5544-5552.
  • Nash AL, Thomas SM, Nimbkar SN, Hieken TJ, Ludwig KK, Jacobs LK, Miller ME, Gallagher KK, Wong J, Neuman HB, Tseng J, Hassinger TE, King TA, Hwang ES, Jakub JW, Rosenberger LH. Racial-Ethnic Variations in Phyllodes Tumor Among a Multicenter United States Cohort. Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2023; 127:369-373.
  • Rosenberger LH, Thomas SM, Hieken TJ, Gallagher KK, Neuman HB, Weiss AC, King TA, Wong J, Tong BS, Nash AL, Menendez CS, Hwang ES, Jakub JW, Plichta JK. Germline Genetic Mutations in a Prospective Multi-Center Cohort of 248 Phyllodes Tumors; Time to Expand Testing Criteria. October, 2023, Under Review.

Anna Louie, MD, Duke University General Surgery Resident 

Anna Louie, MD

Elle Reason, MS2-present, Duke Medical Student (2023-present)

Ellie Reason
  • Reason EH, Aiduk MD, Eward WC, Rosenberger LH. Relapsing Malignant Phyllodes Tumor Presenting as Isolated Acrometastases. October, 2023, Under Review

Prior Lab Members

  • Miller KN, McGuire EL, Yon JR, Sutherland JD, Meyer MA, Rosenberger LH. Isolated Liver Metastasis from a Malignant Phyllodes Presenting with Hemoperitoneum. The Breast Journal. 2020; 26:2246-2247.
  • Oral Presentation:  Society of Surgical Oncology, 73rd annual cancer symposium
  • Gutnik L, Ren Y, Thomas SM, Plichta JK, Greenup RA, Fayanju OM, Hwang ES, Rosenberger LH. Malignant Phyllodes Tumor and Primary Breast Sarcoma; Distinct Rare Tumors of the Breast. Journal of Surgical Oncology. 2022; 125:947-957.
  • Oral Presentation:  American College of Surgeons, 106th annual clinical congress
  • Olivere LA, Hill IT, Thomas SM, Codd PJ, Rosenberger LH. RFID Tracking for Tray Optimization: An Instrument Utilization Pilot Study in Surgical Oncology. Journal of Surgical Research. 2021; 264;490-498.
  • Hill I, Olivere L, Helmkamp J, Le E, Hill W, Wahlstedt J, Khoury P, Gloria J, Richard MJ, Rosenberger LH, Codd P. Measuring Intraoperative Surgical Instrument Use with Radio-Frequency Identification. JAMIA Open. 2022; 5(1): ooac003.
  • Oral Presentation:  Society of Surgical Oncology, 73rd annual cancer symposium
  • Fellows & Professors Case Presentations; Metachronous Contralateral Axillary Lymph Node Metastases.

Research Events

PHYTR Lab group
American Society of Breast Surgeons Annual Meeting 2023

Back row: Drs. Jennifer Plichta, Hannah Woriax, Kendra Parrish, Amanda Nash, Ton Wang, and Sydney Record, BA.
Front row: Drs. Laura Rosenberger, Astrid Botty van den Bruele, Akiko Chiba, Shelley Hwang
PHYTR Lab group
American Society of Breast Surgeons Annual Meeting 2022

Drs. Laura Rosenberger, Astrid Botty van den Bruele, Krislyn Miller, Jennifer Plichta, Gayle Dilalla, Kendra Parrish
Drs. Lola Fayanju, Laura Rosenberger, and Jennifer Plichta
Society of Surgical Oncology Annual Cancer Symposium 2018
Drs. Lola Fayanju, Laura Rosenberger, Jennifer Plichta

Funded Projects and Publications

Dr. Rosenberger's Publications

To view all of Dr. Rosenberger's funded projects and publications, visit her faculty profile.