Swisher Elizabeth dept web 2-4-16

Elizabeth M Swisher, MD

Professor and Division Director, Gynecologic Oncology
Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics

Watch: KOMO 4 News Interview
Genetic Testing For Ovarian Cancer From Home
Stand Up to Cancer Video for Cancer Month
Stand Up to Cancer Feature in Reader's Digest
Q & A with Dr. Elizabeth Swisher

Joined UW Medicine:


Clinical Focus:

Gynecologic Oncology:
• Clinical trials for gynecologic malignancies
• Application of biological modifiers to treatment of gynecologic malignancies
• Genetics and risk reduction of hereditary cancers
• Robotic surgery


Washington, 1992


• Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2001
• Gynecologic Oncology, 2003


• MD Degree
   (University of California, San Diego, 1992)
• Residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology
   (University of Washington, 1996)
• Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology
   (Washington University, 1999)
• Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development Scholar
   Gynecologic Oncology (University of Washington, July 1999-October 2002)

Research Interests:

• Molecular genetics of sporadic and familial ovarian cancer
• Development of novel diagnostic markers in ovarian cancer
• Quality of life in patients with gynecologic cancers

Current Research:

• Defining a Premalignant Phenotype in Fallopian Tube Epithelium (R01)
• Clinical Implications of the Acquisition of BRCA1/2 Function in BRCA1/2-Deficient Ovarian Carcinoma
• BRCA1/2 Restoration as a Predictor of Response in a GOG Clinical Trial for Recurrent Ovarian Carcinoma
• Premalignant Genetic and Epigenetic Alterations in Tubal Epithelium from Women with BRCA1 Mutations
• The FA-BRCA Pathway and Response to Platinum and PARP Inhibitors in Ovarian, Tubal and Peritoneal Carcinomas
• Acquisition of Human Gynecologic Specimens and Serum to be Used in Studying the Causes, Diagnosis, Prevention and Treatment of Cancer
1. Gynecologic Oncology Tissue Bank
2. Serial Samples after Diagnosis


• American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
• American Association of Cancer Research
• American Society of Clinical Oncology
• Puget Sound Oncology Consortium


• Seattle's Best Doctors, 2010 and 2011

Selected Publications:

Norquist B, Wurz K, Pennil CC, Garcia R, Gross J, Sakai W, Karlan B, Swisher EM. Secondary somatic mutations restoring BRCA1/2 predict chemotherapy resistance in hereditary ovarian carcinomas, J Clin Oncol Aug 2011;29(22):3008-15. PMID: 21709188

*Walsh T,  Casadei S, Lee MK, Pennil CC, Nord AS, Thornton AM, Roeb W, Agnew KJ, Stray SM, Wickramanayake A, Norquist B, Pennington KP, Garcia RL, King MC, Swisher EM. Mutations in 12 genes for inherited ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal carcinoma identified by massively parallel sequencing. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA Nov 2011;108(44):18032-7. PMID: 22006311
*This work was selected as the Genome Advance of the Month, National Human Genome Research Institute, Jan 2012

Press JZ, Reyes M, Pitteri AJ, Garcia RL, Goff BA, Hanash S, Swisher EM. Microparticles from ovarian carcinomas are shed into ascites and promote cell migration. Int J Gynecol Cancer May 2012;22(4):546-52 PMID: 22315094

Pennington KP, Swisher EM.  Hereditary ovarian cancer: Beyond the usual suspects. Gynecol Oncol 2012;124(2):347-53 PMID: 22264603

Vogel TJ, Stoops K, Bennett RL, Miller M, Swisher EM. A self-administered family history questionnaire improves identification of women who warrant referral to genetic counseling for hereditary cancer risk. Gynecol Oncol June 2012;125(3):693-8 PMID: 22446623

Pennington KP, Walsh T, Lee M, Pennil C, Novetsky AP, Agnew KJ, Thorton A, Garcia R, Mutch D, King MC, Goodfellow P, Swisher EM. BRCA1, TP53 and CHEK2 germline mutations in uterine serous carcinoma. Cancer July 2012;119(2):332-8. PMID: 22811390

Wickramanayake A, Bernier G, Pennil C, Casadei S, Agnew KJ, Stray SM, Mandell J, Garcia RL, Walsh T, King MC, Swisher E. Loss of function germline mutations in RAD51D in women with ovarian carcinoma. Gynecol Oncol Dec 2012;127(3):552-5.  PMID: 22986143

Powell CB, Swisher EM, Cass I, McLennan J, Norquist B, Garcia RL, Lester J, Karlan BY, Chen L. Long-term follow up of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with unsuspected neoplasia identified at risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy.  Gynecol Oncol Feb 2013;129(2):364-71.

Norquist BM, Pennington KP, Agnew KJ, Harrell MI, Pennil CC, Lee MK, Casadei S, Thornton AM, Garcia RL, Walsh T, Swisher EM. Characteristics of women with ovarian carcinoma who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations not identified by clinical testing. Gynecol Oncol Mar 2013;128(3):483-7. PMID: 23262210

Pennington KP, Wickramanayake A, Norquist BM, Pennil CC, Garcia RL, Agnew KJ, Taniguchi T, Welcsh P, Swisher EM. 53BP1 expression in sporadic and inherited ovarian carcinoma: Relationship to genetic status and clinical outcomes. Gynecol Oncol Mar 2013;128(3):493-9. PMID: 23246380

Appointments & Practice Locations

UW Medical Center 8SE Oncology
Cascade Tower, 8th floor
1959 NE Pacific Street
Seattle, WA 98195

Appointments:   206.598.8300