Sandra M. Swain

Sandra M. Swain, MD, is a professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) and the associate dean for Research Development at GUMC and MedStar Health. In addition, she is a member of the medical staff at MedStar Washington Hospital Center (MWHC) and MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, and she is an adjunct professor of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

In her role as the associate dean for Research Development, Dr. Swain works closely with industry and community partners to improve patients’ access to cutting-edge treatments and technologies by expanding medical research opportunities at GUMC and across MedStar Health. Prior to her decanal appointment at GUMC and MedStar Health, Dr. Swain served as the medical director of the Washington Cancer Institute at MWHC from 2007-2016. Prior to joining MedStar, she served as the deputy branch chief for the Medicine Branch of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute and as a tenured principal investigator. Also at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), she served as head of the Breast Cancer Section and chief of the Cancer Therapeutics Branch.

Dr. Swain’s research is focused on clinical trials and translational studies in metastatic breast cancer, specifically HER2-positive disease. Her interests also include adjuvant therapy for breast cancer, cardiotoxicity of cancer treatments, and healthcare disparities. She is internationally recognized as a leader in breast cancer research and treatment. Her work has been funded by the NIH, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and the Avon Foundation for Women. She has written or co-written more than 260 publications, including articles in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Lancet Oncology, JAMA Oncology, and other peer-reviewed journals.

Dr. Swain has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Susan G. Komen Award of Distinction for Community Service. She is also a recipient of an NIH Merit Award, and she is a two-time recipient of the National Cancer Institute Mentor of Merit Award.  In 2012, she received the Claude Jacquillat Award for Clinical Cancer Research, and in 2016 she received the Aleksandr Savchuk Prize from the Aleksandr Savchuk Foundation and was honored by the Washington Business Journal with its Women Who Mean Business award.

Dr. Swain is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). She has served on ASCO’s Board of Directors and is a past president (2012-2013). She is currently treasurer of the Conquer Cancer Foundation Board of Directors of ASCO, and she is a member of the Executive Committee of the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University. She has contributed to the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project for more than 30 years, as vice-chair of the Breast Committee and as a principal investigator of adjuvant trials for breast cancer. In addition, Dr. Swain is a member of the American Association of Cancer Research and the American Medical Association.

Dr. Swain received her medical degree from the University of Florida, Gainesville. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Vanderbilt University and a fellowship in Medical Oncology at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute. 

Research Interests

Dr. Swain’s research interests include the following:

  • Cancer treatment education and outreach
  • Adjuvant therapy for breast cancer
  • Oncology care for underserved populations
  • Metastatic and inflammatory breast cancer
  • HER2-positive breast cancer
  • Disparities in oncology
  • Cardiotoxicity of cancer treatments.

Selected Research

Cardiac Safety of HER2-Targeted Therapy in Patients with HER2-Positive Breast Cancer and Reduced Left Ventricular Function

Evaluation of Crofelemer for the Prevention and Prophylaxis of Diarrhea in Patients With Breast Cancer on Pertuzumab-Based Regimens

View Dr. Swain's publications on PubMed.

Visit Dr. Swain’s clinical practice page.

  • Research Areas
  • Oncology