Current positions

  • Principal Investigator, Breast Cancer & Melanoma Group, Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO)
  • Head, Breast Cancer Program, Vall d´Hebron University Hospital (HUVH)

Academic Qualifications

Dr. Saura graduated in Medicine from the University of Barcelona (UB) in 2002. From 2003 to 2007 she completed her internship in Medical Oncology at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona.


In 2007, dr. Saura obtained her Master of Advanced Studies with the project “Breast Cancer Early Detection Program in High-Risk Women: pilot breast mammography and breast magnetic resonance imaging tracking experience”, with an outstanding grade “A”. Her interest in clinical research led her to complete the Program in Clinical Effectiveness at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston in 2007. She subsequently earned her PhD in Medicine from the Universtat Autonoma of Barcelona (UAB) in 2017 with honors cum laude with the project entitled “Treatment of breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy”.

Areas of Research

Dr. Saura has participated as Principal Investigator and co-investigator in multiple clinical trials in the field of research on breast cancer driven by her interest in the development of new drugs that improve the prognosis of patients. She is currently involved in different international studies with drugs targeted against molecular targets in breast cancer. The work of dr. Saura is focused on precision medicine and she occupies a prominent position in the development of PI3K inhibitors and new anti-HER2 treatments. In the field of pregnancy-related breast cancer, she is currently leading a project on early diagnosis of breast cancer based on the presence of circulating DNA in breast milk. She is the author of multiple publications, as well as communications at different national and international congresses.


  1. Estudio para evaluar losdesenlaces del embarazo y la seguridad de la interrupción del tratamiento endocrino de mujeres jóvenes con cáncer de mama y respuesta al tratamiento endocrino que deseen quedarse embarazadas (POSITIVE).
  2. Estudio de biomarcadores circulantes en sangre en pacientes con cáncer de mama.
  3. ADN libre circulante en leche materna en la identificación precoz del cáncer de mama.
  4. Inmunoterapia contra tumores HER2 positivos.
  5. PrecIMet: precision imaging for bone metastases.
  6. Modulation of androgen receptor signaling as a therapeutic strategy for oestrogen receptor-positive metastatic breast
  7. Patient stratification based on DNA repair functionality for cancer precision medicineEstratificación de pacientes basada en la funcionalidad de la reparación del daño al ADN para la medicina personalizada contra el cáncer.
  8. Developing integrated clinical, in vivo and ex vivo platforms to understand platinum response and resistance in breast cancerDesarrollo de plataformas integradas clínicas, in vivo y ex vivo quepermitan comprender la sensibilidad y resistencia a los platinos en cáncer de mama.
  9. Validación de la expansión de linfocitos infiltrantes de tumor en condiciones GMP.
  10. Papel de las plataformas genómicas en la predicción de riesgo de recidiva en pacientes con tumores Luminales conenfermedad residual tras tratamiento neoadyuvante (estudio OMPHALOS).
  11. Nuevos factores predictivos de respuesta a terapias dirigidas y factores pronóstico en cáncer de mama con mutaciones hereditarias en BRCA1 y BRCA”: capacidad de reparación del daño en el ADN y perfil inmunológico tumoral.
  12. Personalized non-invasive T-cell therapies targeting the mutanome.
  13. AURORA Hacia el entendimiento de las alteraciones moleculares del cáncer de mama metastásico.
  14. Prevención de las recaídas mediante ejercicio, dieta y control de peso en pacientes con cáncer de mama (PREDICOP).
  15. Utilidad del ctDNA para la detección precoz de recidica en cáncer de mama RH+/HER2- mediante el seguimiento de mutaciones presentes en el tumor primario o mutaciones emergentes de ESR1.
  16. Nueva tecnología para la detección de mutaciones puntuales en el oncogen BRAF a partir de sangre periférica y su validación en muestras tisulares/tumorales en pacientes afectos de melanoma metastásico.
  17. Biopsia líquida para detección nanoplasmónica de exosomas: prediciendo respuesta a la inmunoterapia.
  18. Perfil epigenético capaz de predecir la respuesta a inmunoterapia en melanoma.
  19. 360º RESISTANCE: Aplicación de un modelo de investigación traslacional para estudiar predictores de respuesta/toxicidad, y mecanismos de resistencia en pacientes tratados con inmunoterapia.
  20. Estrategias específicas para el cerebro para mejorar la respuesta a inmunoterapia.
  21. Estudio de mecanismos de resistencia primaria y adquirida a inhibidores de “immune checkpoints.
  22. Estudio observacional descriptivo sobre las características yevolución del melanoma avanzado y metastásico en España.
  23. Búsqueda de marcadores predictores de corticoterapia en hepatitis inmunomediadas (Estudio HEPiraes).
  24. Caracterización genética de melanomas cutaneos (tumores primarios y PDX).
  25. Generation of the Melanoma Biobank.

Most relevant scientific publications

  • Modi S, Saura C, Yamashita T, Park YH, Kim SB, Tamura K, Andre F, Iwata H, Ito Y, Tsurutani J, Sohn J, Denduluri N, Perrin C, Aogi K, Tokunaga E, Im SA, Lee KS, Hurvitz SA, Cortes J, Lee C, Chen S, Zhang L, Shahidi J, Yver A, Krop I; DESTINY-Breast01 Investigators. Trastuzumab Deruxtecan in Previously Treated HER2-Positive Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2020 Feb 13;382(7):610-621. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1914510. Epub 2019 Dec 11.
  • Murthy RK, Loi S, Okines A, Paplomata E, Hamilton E, Hurvitz SA, Lin NU, Borges V, Abramson V, Anders C, Bedard PL, Oliveira M, Jakobsen E, Bachelot T, Shachar SS, Müller V, Braga S, Duhoux FP, Greil R, Cameron D, Carey LA, Curigliano G, Gelmon K, Hortobagyi G, Krop I, Loibl S, Pegram M, Slamon D, Palanca-Wessels MC, Walker L, Feng W, Winer EP. Tucatinib, Trastuzumab, and Capecitabine for HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer. N Engl J Med. 2020 Feb 13;382(7):597-609. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1914609. Epub 2019 Dec 11. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2020 Feb 6;382(6):586.
  • Prat A, Saura C, Pascual T, Hernando C, Muñoz M, Paré L, González Farré B, Fernández PL, Galván P, Chic N, González Farré X, Oliveira M, Gil-Gil M, Arumi M, Ferrer N, Montaño A, Izarzugaza Y, Llombart-Cussac A, Bratos R, González Santiago S, Martínez E, Hoyos S, Rojas B, Virizuela JA, Ortega V, López R, Céliz P, Ciruelos E, Villagrasa P, Gavilá J. Ribociclib plus letrozole versus chemotherapy for postmenopausal women with hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative, luminal B breast cancer (CORALLEEN): an open-label, multicentre, randomised, phase 2 trial. Lancet Oncol. 2020 Jan;21(1):33-43. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30786-7. Epub 2019 Dec 11.
  • Hamid O, Molinero L, Bolen CR, Sosman JA, Muñoz-Couselo E, Kluger HM, McDermott DF, Powderly JD, Sarkar I, Ballinger M, Fassò M, O’Hear C, Chen DS, Hegde PS, Hodi FS.Safety, Clinical Activity, and Biological Correlates of Response in Patients with Metastatic Melanoma: Results from Phase I trial of Atezolizumab. Clin Cancer Res. 2019 Oct 15;25(20):6061-6072. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-3488. Epub 2019 Jul 29.
  • Bellet M, Gray KP, Francis PA, Láng I, Ciruelos E, Lluch A, Climent MA, Catalán G, Avella A, Bohn U, González-Martin A, Ferrer R, Catalán R, Azaro A, Rajasekaran A, Morales J, Vázquez J, Fleming GF, Price KN, Regan MM. Twelve-Month Estrogen Levels in Premenopausal Women With Hormone Receptor-Positive BreastCancer Receiving Adjuvant Triptorelin Plus Exemestane or Tamoxifen in the Suppression of OvarianFunction Trial (SOFT): The SOFT-EST Substudy. J Clin Oncol. 2016 May 10;34(14):1584-93.
  • Bruna A, Rueda OM, Greenwood W, Batra AS, Callari M, Batra RN, Pogrebniak K, Sandoval J, Cassidy JW, Tufegdzic-Vidakovic A, Sammut SJ, Jones L, Provenzano E, Baird R, Eirew P, Hadfield J, Eldridge M, McLaren-Douglas A, Barthorpe A, Lightfoot H, O’Connor MJ, Gray J, Cortes J, Baselga J, Marangoni E, Welm AL, Aparicio S, Serra V, Garnett MJ, Caldas C. A Biobank of Breast Cancer Explants with Preserved Intra-tumor Heterogeneity to Screen AnticancerCompounds. Cell. 2016 Sep 22;167(1):260-274.e22.
  • Herrera-Abreu MT, Palafox M, Asghar U, Rivas MA, Cutts RJ, Garcia-Murillas I, Pearson A, Guzman M, Rodriguez O, Grueso J, Bellet M, Cortés J, Elliott R, Pancholi S, Baselga J, Dowsett M, Martin LA, Turner NC, Serra V. Early Adaptation and Acquired Resistance to CDK4/6 Inhibition in Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer. Cancer Res. 2016 Apr 15;76(8):2301-13.
  • Pérez-Alea M, Vivancos A, Caratú G, Matito J, Ferrer B, Hernandez-Losa J, Cortés J, Muñoz E, Garcia-Patos V, Recio JA. Genetic profile of GNAQ-mutated blue melanocytic neoplasms reveals mutations in genes linked to genomic instability and the PI3K pathway. Oncotarget. 2016 May 10;7(19):28086-95.
  • Cortés J, Saura C, Bellet M, Muñoz-Couselo E, Ramírez-Merino N, Calvo V,Pérez J, Vidal M. HER2 and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer–blocking the  right target. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2011 May;8(5):307-11.
  • Córdoba O, Llurba E, Saura C, Rubio I, Ferrer Q, Cortés J, Xercavins J. Multidisciplinary approach to breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy: Maternal and neonatal outcomes. Breast 2013 Aug;22(4):515-9.
  • Dienstmann R, Serpico D, Rodon J, Saura C, Macarulla T, Elez E, Alsina M, Capdevila J, Perez-Garcia J, Sánchez-Ollé G, Aura C, Prudkin L, Landolfi S, Hernández-Losa J, Vivancos A, Tabernero J. Molecular profiling of patients with colorectal cancer and matched targeted therapy in phase I clinical trials. Mol Cancer Ther. 2012 Sep;11(9):2062-71.
  • Rodón J, Saura C, Dienstmann R, Vivancos A, Ramón y Cajal S, Baselga J, Tabernero J. Molecular prescreening to select patient population in early clinical trials. Nat Rev Clin Oncol. 2012 Apr 3;9(6):359-66.
  • Modi S, Saura C, Henderson C, Lin NU, Mahtani R, Goddard J, Rodenas E, Hudis C, O’Shaughnessy J, Baselga J.  A multicentric trial evaluatin retaspimycin HCL (IPI-504) plus trastuzumab in patients with advanced or metastatic HER2-positive breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2013 ;139 (1):107-13
  • Saura C, Tseng LM, Chan S, Chacko RT, Campone M, Manikhas A, Nag SM, Leichman CG, Dasappa L, Fasching PA, Hurtado de Mendoza F, Symmans WF, Liu D, Mukhopadhyay P, Horak C, Xing G, Pusztai L. Neoadjuvant doxorubicin/cyclophosphamide followed by ixabepilone or paclitaxel in early stage breast cancer and evaluation of βIII-tubulin expression as a predictive marker. Oncologist. 2013;18(7):787-94.
  • Yan Y, Serra V, Prudkin L, Scaltriti M, Murli S, Rodríguez O, Guzman M, Sampath D, Nannini M, Xiao Y, Wagle MC, Wu JQ, Wongchenko M, Hampton G, Ramakrishnan V, Lackner MR, Saura C, Roda D, Cervantes A, Tabernero J, Patel P, Baselga J. Evaluation and clinical analyses of downstream targets of the Akt inhibitor GDC-0068. Clin Cancer Res. 2013  Dec 15;19(24):6976-86
  • Saura C, Bendell J, Jerusalem G, Su S, Ru Q, De Buck S, Mills D, Ruquet S, Bosch A, Urruticoechea A, Beck JT, Di Tomaso E, Sternberg DW, Massacesi C, Hirawat S, Dirix L, Baselga J. Phase Ib study of Buparlisib plus Trastuzumab in patients with HER2-positive advanced or metastatic breast cancer that has progressed on Trastuzumab-based therapy. Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Apr 1;20(7):1935-45.
  • Saura C, Garcia-Saenz JA, Xu B, Harb W, Moroose R, Pluard T, Cortés J, Kiger C, Germa C, Wang K, Martin M, Baselga J, Kim SB. Safety and efficacy of neratinib in combination with capecitabine in patients with metastatic human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2014 Nov 10;32(32):3626-33
  • Tolaney S, Burris H, Gartner E, Mayer IA, Saura C, Maurer M, Ciruelos E, García AA, Campana F, Wu B, Xu Y, Jiang J, Winer E, Krop I. Phase I/II study of pilaralisib (SAR245408) in combination with trastuzumab or trastuzumab plus paclitaxel in trastuzumab-refractory HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2015 Jan;149(1)151-61.

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Membership and service

She is a member of the Scientific Committee and Board of Directors of the cooperative breast cancer group SOLTI, a member of the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM), and a member of GEICAM (Spanish Breast Cancer Research Group) and the European and American Oncology Societies (ESMO, ASCO).