The Loi lab focuses on breast cancer genomics, immunology of breast cancer and developing new therapeutics

Professor Loi is a medical oncologist specialising in the treatment of breast cancer and a clinician scientist who leads the Translational Breast Cancer Genomics and Therapeutics Laboratory. Her research team is internationally recognised for its use of genomic and immunological approaches to understand mechanisms of breast cancer growth and drug resistance.

The lab primary focus is to develop new therapeutic approaches for breast cancer patients incorporating both genomics and immunology. The immune microenvironment plays a critical role in the prognosis of some types of breast cancers, particularly the triple-negative and HER2-positive breast cancers. At present, the aim of the lab is to understand why some patients do or do not show an immune anti-tumour response. To this purpose, we try to decipher the specific tumour-intrinsic mechanisms that lead to different breast cancer immune phenotypes. Understanding the spectrum of immune responses according to tumour genomic and immune phenotype will help us design future studies of rational combinations that can effectively reactivate beneficial anti-tumour immunity in breast cancer patients and lead to improved survival. To help us measure immune responses in breast cancer, visit

Professor Loi also has a busy breast cancer clinical practise where she specialises in the management and treatment of breast cancer patients, in particular patients with HER2-positive breast cancer. She also leads the Breast Cancer Clinical Trials Unit (PCCTU) across the VCCC precinct and has an active interest in early drug development. She leads international trials focusing on new targeted and immune agents, allowing first time access for Victorian women to these breakthrough therapies. Examples of this are: Palbociclib in Hormone-Receptor-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer HER kinase inhibition in patients with HER2- and HER3-mutant cancersPembrolizumab plus chemotherapy as neoadjuvant treatment for high-risk, early-stage triple-negative breast cancer and Tucatinib, Trastuzumab and Capecitabine for Previously Treated HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer

The Breast Unit Medical Oncology service is unique in Australia, as it incorporates genomic and immunological tests both in tumour and blood into the routine management of patients to determine the best possible treatment options in a multidisciplinary setting. More information can be found in the Cancer Therapeutics and Translational Haematology Program page.

Professor Loi is co-chair of the International Breast Cancer Study Group (IBCSG) Scientific Committee based in Switzerland, a non-Executive Board Member and Scientific Advisory Committee Member of the Breast Cancer Trials Group (BCT) of Australia/New Zealand and a Board Member of Breast International Group, Belgium.

    Professor Loi is proud to be named a 2018, 2019 and 2020 Highly Cited Researcher, ranking among the top 1% of researchers for most cited documents in the field of Clinical Medicine.

    For any queries regarding the Loi Lab, please contact Jeannette Parrodi

    For clinical trials and patient appointments, please visit the Peter Mac Breast Service page or contact Jeannette Parrodi 

    Professor Loi and Professor Stephen Fox co-lead the Peter Mac Computational Pathology Group, whose members include:


    Dr Alice Bergin, Medical Oncology Consultant; Masters Candidate
    Dr Elizabeth Blackley, Medical Oncology Consultant; Masters Candidate
    Ms Emmaline Brown , Animal Technician
    Dr Lauren Brown, Breast Clinical Trials Fellow; PhD Candidate
    Ms Ann Byrne, PhD Candidate
    Mr Franco Caramia, Bioinformatician
    Ms Kylie Clarke, Senior Research Officer
    Dr Michael Hun, Postdoctoral Researcher
    Mr Luis Lara, Postdoctoral Researcher, Bioinformatics
    Dr Ran Li, PhD Candidate
    Dr Suling (Joyce) Lin, Postdoctoral Researcher, Bioinformatics
    Dr Stephen Luen, Medical Oncology Consultant; PhD Candidate
    Ms Ashwini Makhale, PhD Candidate
    Dr James McCracken, Medical Oncology Consultant; PhD Candidate
    Ms Carla Mercuri, Honours Student
    Mr Michael Neeson, Research Assistant
    Ms Jeannette Parrodi, Personal Assistant
    Ms Rashindrie Perera, PhD Candidate
    Dr Roberto Salgado, Pathologist
    Dr Sneha Sant, Postdoctoral Researcher
    Dr Peter Savas, Medical Oncology Consultant; Post Doctoral Researcher
    Dr Joyce Teo, Postdoctoral Researcher
    Ms Courtney Van Geelen, Research Assistant; PhD Candidate
    Mr Balaji Virassamy, PhD Candidate

    Key publications

    Loi S et al. Pembrolizumab plus trastuzumab in trastuzumab-resistant, advanced, HER2-positive breast cancer (PANACEA): a single-arm, multicenter, phase 1b-2 trial. Lancet Oncology. 2019 Mar;20(3):371-382. DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30812-X. 

    Emens L... Loi S. Trastuzumab emtansine plus atezolizumab versus trastuzumab emtansine plus placebo in previously treated, HER2-positive advanced breast cancer (KATE2): a phase 2, multicentre, randomised, double-blind trial. Lancet Oncology. 2020 Oct;21(10):1283-1295. DOI: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30465-4.

    Savas P, Loi S. Expanding the Role for Immunotherapy in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. Cancer Cell. 2020 May 11;37(5):623-624. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2020.04.007

    Blackley EF and Loi S. Targeting Immune Pathways in breast cancer: review of the prognostic utility of TILs in early stage triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). The Breast. 2019 Nov; 48 Suppl 1:S44-S48.

    Murthy R, Loi S, Okines A, Paplomata E, Hamilton E, Hurvitz S, Lin NU, Borges V, Abramson V, Anders C, Bedard P, Oliveira M, Jakobsen E, Bachelot T, Schachar S, Mueller V, Braga S, Duhoux F, Greil R, Cameron D, Carey L, Curigliano G, Gelmon K, Hortobagyi G, Krop I, Loibls S, Pegram M, Slamon D, Palanca-Wessels MC, Walker L, Feng W, Winer E. Tucatinib, Trastuzumab and Capecitabine for Previously Treated HER2+ Metastatic Breast Cancer: The HER2CLIMB Trial. New England Journal of Medicine. 2019 Dec 11.

    Loi S. Around the world and back again. Nature Medicine. 2019 Oct 7. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0578-0

    David S, Tan J, Savas P, Bressel M, Kelly D, Foroudi F, Loi S, Siva S. Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) for bone only oligometastatic breast cancer: A prospective clinical trial. Breast. 2019 Nov 6; 49:55-62 . doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2019.10.016.

    Schmid P, Adams S, Rugo HS, Schneeweiss A, Barrios CH, Iwata H, Diéras V, Hegg R, Im SA, Shaw Wright G, Henschel V, Molinero L, Chui SY, Funke R, Husain A, Winer EP, Loi S, Emens LA (2018). Atezolizumab and Nab-Paclitaxel in Advanced Triple-Negative Breast Cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. Oct 2018.

    Savas P, Virassamy B, Ye C, Salim A, Mintoff CP, Caramia F, Salgado R, Byrne DJ, Teo ZL, Dushyanthen S, Byrne A, Wein L, Luen SJ, Poliness C, Nightingale SS, Skandarajah AS, Gyorki DE, Thornton CM, Beavis PA, Fox SB, Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research into Familial Breast Cancer (kConFab), Darcy PK, Speed TP, Mackay LK, Neeson P, Loi S (2018). Single-cell profiling of breast cancer T cells reveals a tissue-resident memory subset associated with improved prognosis. Nature Medicine. Jun 25:1.

    Nolan E, Savas P, Policheni AN, Darcy PK, Vaillant F, Mintoff CP, Dushyanthen S, Mansour M, Pang JB, Fox SB; Kathleen Cuningham Foundation Consortium for Research into Familial Breast Cancer(kConFab), Perou CM, Visvader JE, Gray DHD, Loi S, Lindeman GJ (2017).  Combined immune checkpoint blockade as a therapeutic strategy for BRCA1 mutated breast cancer. Science Translation Medicine. Jun 7;9(393).

    Savas P, Salgado R, Denkert C, Sotiriou C, Darcy PK, Smyth MJ, Loi S (2016). Clinical relevance of host immunity in breast cancer: from TILs to the clinic. Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.13(4):228-41.

    Turner NC, Ro J, André F, Loi S, Verma S, Iwata H, Harbeck N, Loibl S, Huang Bartlett C, Zhang K, Giorgetti C, Randolph S, Koehler M, Cristofanilli M, PALOMA3 Study Group (2015). Palbociclib in Hormone-Receptor-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med.373(3):209-19.

    Salgado R, Denkert C, Demaria S, Sirtaine N, Klauschen F, Pruneri G, Wienert S, Van den Eynden G, Baehner FL, Penault-Llorca F, Perez EA, Thompson EA, Symmans WF, Richardson AL, Brock J, Criscitiello C, Bailey H, Ignatiadis M, Floris G, Sparano J, Kos Z, Nielsen T, Rimm DL, Allison KH, Reis-Filho JS, Loibl S, Sotiriou C, Viale G, Badve S, Adams S, Willard-Gallo K, Loi S (2015). International TILs Working Group. The evaluation of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) in breast cancer: recommendations by an International TILs Working Group 2014. Ann Oncol.26(2):259-71.

    Research programs

    Positions available

    The Loi Lab is always looking for talented PhD (graduate) students, especially bioinformatics, and post-docs interested in immunology and genomics of breast cancer. Overseas applicants welcome.