Jennifer M. Specht, MD

Jennifer M. Specht, MD

Associate Professor
Department of Medicine
University of Washington

Mailing Address

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
825 Eastlake Ave E, G3630
Seattle, WA 98109-1023

Admin Contact

Michele Roe

Specialty / Expertise

Breast Cancer

Research Interests

  • Molecular Imaging with FDG PET and DCE-MRI to understand in vivo biology of locally-advanced and inflammatory breast cancer
  • Triple-negative (ER, PR, and HER2 negative) breast cancer

Current Research Projects

Title: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Consortium Breast Cancer SPORE
Project 3: Metabolic Alterations in Advanced Breast Cancer and Response to Systemic Therapy
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Using dynamic kinetic PET imaging, we have identified patterns of tumor metabolism and perfusion associated with poor response and early relapse. Defining the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this finding, and informing better strategies for treating these patients, is the focus of this project.

Title: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Consortium Breast Cancer SPORE
Core C: Clinical Core
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
To facilitate translational research through the support of clinical trials and clinical research studies. The Clinical Core will incorporate a highly-effective breast cancer clinical trials team into the overall structure of the SPORE.

Title: DCE-MRI and FDG PET with Kinetic Analysis to Monitor Breast Cancer Response to Neoadjuvant Sunitinib and Metronomic Chemotherapy
Funding Source: National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)
The correlative imaging studies for this companion proposal to Pfizer IIR #GA9000S1 will evaluate dynamic FDG-PET with kinetic analysis and DCE-MRI with semi-quantitative parametric image analysis to measure breast cancer response to neoadjuvant therapy.

Title: A Phase II Study Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of Sunitinib Maleate in Combination with Weekly Paclitaxel Followed by Doxorubicin and Daily Oral Cyclophosphamide Plus G-CSF as Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Locally Advanced or Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Funding Source: Pfizer
The objective of this phase II clinical trial is to assess the safety and efficacy of sunitinib maleate in combination with weekly paclitaxel followed by weekly doxorubicin and daily oral cyclophosphamide plus G-CSF as neoadjuvant therapy for patients with LABC or inflammatory breast cancer.

Title: PET to Measure Breast Cancer Bone Metastasis Response
Funding Source: NIH/NCI
Prospective study of FDG and fluoride PET in patients with bone-dominant breast cancer undergoing systemic therapy with the goals of (1) prospectively validating FDG PET as a biomarker of breast cancer bone metastasis response that can be used as an endpoint in clinical trials and to direct clinical therapy, and (2) measuring the relationship between tumor properties and adjacent bone turnover (lytic versus sclerotic measuring the relationship between tumor properties and adjacent bone turnover (lytic versus sclerotic metastases) to direct effective diagnosis and therapy and assess the risk of skeletal complications.

Title: Combined Targeted Therapies for Triple Negative Advanced Breast Cancer:  A Phase II Trial of Weekly Nab-Paclitaxel and Bevacizumab Followed by Maintenance Targeted Therapy with Bevacizumab and Erlotinib
Funding Source: Genentech and Veridex, LLC
The primary endpoint will be time to disease progression with secondary endpoints to include response rate, overall survival, safety and toxicity, and correlation of response with EGFR over-expression in the primary tumor, changes in levels of circulating tumor cells, and circulating endothelial cells as potential predictors of treatment response.

Title: Phase I Study of ABT-888 in Combination with Cisplatin and Vinorelbine for Patients with Advanced Triple Negative Breast Cancer and/or BRCA-Mutation Associated Breast Cancer
Funding Source: Mullen Gift Fund
The primary objective of this study is to determine the MTD of ABT-888 when administered daily for 14 days out of a 21 day cycle in combination with cisplatin and vinorelbine in subjects with metastatic TNBC and BRCA mutation associated breast cancer.

Title: The BEACON Study (Breast Cancer Outcomes with NKTR-102): A Phase 3 Open-Label, Randomized, Multicenter Study of NKTR-102 versus Treatment of Physician’s Choice (TPC) in Patients with Locally Recurrent or Metastatic Breast Cancer Previously Treated with an Anthracycline, a Taxane, and Capecitabine
Funding Source: Nektar Therapeutics
The primary objective is to compare overall survival of patients who receive NKTR-102 to patients who receive treatment of physician’s choice selected from seven single-agent intravenous therapies.

Title: VELVET Study.  A two-cohort, open-label, multicenter Phase II trial assessing the efficacy and safety of pertuzumab given in combination with trastuzumab and vinorelbine in first line patients with HER2-positive advanced (metastatic or locally advanced) breast cancer.
Funding Source: Genentech, Inc.
The primary objective is to compare overall response rates assessed by a blinded independent review committee of pertuzumab given in combination with trastuzumab and vinorelbine together in a single infusion bag versus conventional sequential administration in separate infusion bags.


Dr. Specht received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Pacific Lutheran University, in Tacoma, WA and her MD from the University of Washington, Seattle, WA. She trained in the laboratory of Dr. Steven Rosenberg at NIH, Surgery Branch in tumor immunotherapy as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Scholar. She completed her Internal Medicine Residency and Medical Oncology Fellowship at the University of Washington, and joined the faculty in 2006.

Selected Publications

Gee A., Specht JM, Kerk D., Moore JD, Drum AS, and Elston RA.  Disseminated neoplastic cells in Mytilus trossulus: verification of host species origin by (16S-like) rRNA sequence comparison.  Molecular Marine Biology and Biotechnology 3:7-12, 1994.

*Specht JM, Wang G, Do MT, Lam JS, Royal RE, Reeves ME, Rosenberg SA, and Hwu P.  Dendritic cells retrovirally transduced with a model tumor antigen gene are therapeutically effective against established pulmonary metastases.  J Experimental Med 186:1213-21, 1997.

*Specht JM, Tam SL, Kurland BF, Gralow JR, Livingston RL, Linden HM, Ellis GK, Schubert EK, Dunnwald LK, Mankoff DA.  Serial 2-[18F] fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) to monitor treatment of bone-dominant metastatic breast cancer predicts time to progression (TTP).  Breast Cancer Res Treat, 105(1): 87-94. 2007.

*Dunnwald LK, Gralow JR, Ellis GK, Livinston RB, Linden HM, Specht JM, Doot RK, Lawton TJ, Barlow WE, Kurland BF, Schubert EK, Mankoff DA. Tumor metabolism and blood flow changes by positron emission tomography: Relation to survival in patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy for locally advanced breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 20:26(27): 4449-57.September 2008.

Dunnwald LK, Doot RK, Specht JM, Gralow JR, Ellis GK, Livingston RB, Linden HM, Gadi VK, Kurland BF, Schubert EK, Muzi M, Mankoff DA. Pet tumor metabolism in locally advanced breast cancer patients: predicting outcomes after neoadjuvant chemotherapy by kinetic analysis of FDG PET. J Nucl Med. May 2009; 50, Supplement 2: 7P.

Mankoff DA, Specht JM, Dunnwald LK, Partridge S. Blood Flow-Metabolism Mismatch: Good for the Tumor, Bad for the Patient. Clinical Cancer Research. 15(17): 5511-7. September 2009.

Specht JM, Gralow JR. Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Locally Advanced Breast Cancer. Seminars in Radiation Oncology. 19:4: 222-228. October 2009.

*Specht JM, Kurland BF, Montgomery S, Dunnwald L, Doot R, Gralow JR, Ellis GK, Linden HM, Livingston RB, Allison K, Schubert E, Mankoff DA.  Tumor metabolism and blood flow as assessed by PET varies by tumor subtype in locally advanced breast cancer. Clin Cancer Res May 15, 2010 16:2803-2810.

Doot R, Muzi M, Peterson L, Schubert E, Gralow J, Specht J, Mankoff D. Kinetic Analysis of 18F-Fluoride PET Images of Breast Cancer Bone Metastases. J Nucl Med. 51(4) 521-527, April 2010.

Partridge S, Vanantwerp R, Doot R, Chai X, Kurland B, Eby P, Specht J, Dunnwald L, Schubert E, Lehman C, Mankoff D. Association Between Serial Dynamic Contrast Enhanced MRI and Dynamic 18F-FDG PET Measures in Patients undergoing Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy for Locally Advanced Breast Cancer. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 32(5) 1124-1131, November 2010.

Dunnwald L, Doot R, Specht J, Gralow J, Ellis G, Livingston R, Linden H, Gadi V, Kurland B, Schubert E, Muzi M, Mankoff D. PET Tumor Metabolism in Locally Advanced Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy: Value of Static versus Kinetic Measures of Fluorodeoxy glucose Uptake. Clinical Cancer Research. 17(8):2400-9, 2011.

Linden H, Kurland B, Peterson L, Schubert E, Gralow J, Specht J, Ellis G, Lawton T, Livingston R, Petra P, Link J, Krohn K, Mankoff D. Fluoroestradiol (FES) Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Finds Pharmacodynamic Differences Between Estrogen Deprivation and Blockade In Metastatic Breast Cancer. Clinical Cancer Research. 17: 4799-4805, July 2011.

*Specht J, Mankoff D. Advances in Molecular and Functional Imaging for Breast Cancer Detection and Characterization. Breast Cancer Research. 14: 206, 2012.

Mankoff D, Specht J, Eubank W, Kessler L. FDG PET/CT in Breast Cancer: When ... and When Not? Journal of Clinical Oncology. 30: 1252-54, 2012.

Kurland B, Gadi V, Specht J, Allison K, Livingston R, Rodler E, Peterson L, Schubert E, Chai X, Mankoff D, Linden H. FDG PET SUV percent change and post-treatment Ki-67 concur following a 2 week run-on of aromatase inhibitor therapy, but not trastuzumab.  European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging. 2:34, June 2012.

Kurland B, Gadi V, Specht J, Allison K, Livingston R, Rodler E, Peterson L, Schubert E, Chai X, Mankoff D, Linden H. Feasibility study of FDG PET as an indicator or early response to aromatase inhibitors and trastuzumab in a heterogeneous group of breast cancer patients. EJNMMI Research. 2:34, September 2012.

Somlo G, Atzori F, Strauss LC, Geese WJ, Specht JM, Gradishar WJ, Rybicki A, Sy O, Vahdat LT, Cortes J.  Dasatinib plus capecitabine for advanced breast cancer: safety and efficacy in phase I study CA180004.  Clinical Cancer Research, February 2013.

Last updated: April 2013