Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D.

Medical Oncology

Locations and Appointments

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Personal Statement

In caring for people with breast cancer, it’s important to address the complexities and the constant changes of the disease. I believe in utilizing all available diagnostic tools, from functional imaging such as PET to advanced molecular technologies, including genomic and molecular profiling, to test tissue samples and blood to determine which therapies are most likely to optimize cancer outcomes and quality of life. Moreover, these tools and complexities are critical in determining when is appropriate to change therapy. Coupling this information with an understanding of the standard stage of the disease, we are able to formulate a personalized treatment plan that is unique to each person’s tumor. Patients come from all different backgrounds, whether newly-diagnosed or having received different prior treatments, and may respond differently to therapies. This approach allows us to best achieve disease control for each individual patient.

Biographical Info

Massimo Cristofanilli, MD, is an accomplished board-certified medical oncologist with more than two decades of experience as physician, investigator, researcher and leader. He has demonstrated original and innovative vision in the field of molecular diagnostics, liquid biopsy, translational research and drug development. Additionally, Dr. Cristofanilli has an extensive background in clinical trial design and is a key thought leader in the field of metastatic and locally advanced breast cancer.At Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, Dr. Cristofanilli serves as the Director of Breast Medical Oncology, the Associate Director of Precision Oncology at the Meyer Cancer Center (MCC), and the co-leader of the MCC Breast Cancer Disease Management Team, as well as the Scientific Director of the Englander Institute of Precision Medicine (EIPM).Dr. Cristofanilli received his medical degree from the University “La Sapienza” in Rome with Honors where he subsequently completed his fellowship in medical oncology. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at Cabrini Medical Center in New York and a medical oncology fellowship at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he also served as Faculty in the Department of Breast Medical Oncology for more than a decade.Dr. Cristofanilli has held several leadership positions over the years, including Chair of Medical Oncology and Associate Director of Clinical Research at the Fox Chase Cancer Center and Associate Director of Translational Research at Thomas Jefferson University. From 2015-2021, Dr. Cristofanilli was Professor of Medicine at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University in Chicago where he also served as the Director of the Breast Disease Team, Director of the Robert Lurie Cancer Center OncoSET Precision Medicine Program, and Associate Director of Clinical Research.In addition to his clinical expertise, Dr. Cristofanilli’s research focuses on biomarkers of endocrine resistance in breast cancer, liquid biopsies and novel drug development. His research in the areas of novel drug development, circulating tumor cells (CTCs) and ctDNA have led to improved treatments for breast cancer. Dr. Cristofanilli is an internationally recognized expert in the research and treatment of Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC), the most aggressive and deadly form of breast cancer. He is the founder and President of the IBC International Consortium (IBC-IC). Additionally, Dr. Cristofanilli is globally recognized for his contributions on the detection of micrometastatic disease in breast cancer and a key opinion leader in drug development in hormone-receptor positive metastatic breast cancer. He has co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Board Certifications
American Board of Internal Medicine
American Board of Internal Medicine (Medical Oncology)
Clinical Expertise
Breast Cancer
Breast Oncology
Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Personalized/Precision Medicine
Breast Cancer, Metastatic or Recurrent
Tumor Markers
Triple-Negative Breast Cancer
Precision Medicine
Cancer Immunotherapy
Cancer Clinical Trials
  • M.D.
    La Sapienza University (Italy)
  • Attending Physician
    NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
  • Professor of Medicine
    Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell University

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Advisory/Scientific Board Member: 
Syantra Inc