Corey Speers

Corey Speers, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System
2215 Fuller Rd
Ann Arbor, MI 48105


Our laboratory research includes nomination and validation of expression-based signatures to predict patients that need treatment intensification and signatures to identify patient who will not need further adjuvant therapy for breast cancer.  Moreover, our translational work has credentialed a number of novel targets for the treatment of estrogen and progesterone receptor-negative, HER2-negative “triple-negative” breast cancer, a particularly aggressive and difficult to treat form of breast cancer.  As PI or co-Investigator on several university-, industry-, private foundation- and NIH-funded grants, we remain active in the radiation and breast cancer research arena by looking for more effective, targeted therapies for women with breast cancer.  These targeted therapies include PARP-inhibitors, BET bromodomain inhibitors, and androgen receptor antagonists as agents for radiosensitization.  We have also utilized kinome screens to identify novel targets for the treatment of aggressive breast cancers, including triple-negative breast cancer.  Finally, we are also interested in the mechanisms of treatment resistance that include modulation of breast tumor initiating cells and understanding novel layers of cancer biology, including the role of long non-coding RNA in triple-negative breast cancer.

Areas of Interest

  • Breast cancer- clinical and scientific interest include using genomic and proteomic approaches to identify women who are at high risk for breast cancer recurrence and who may benefit from treatment intensification. Interests also include molecularly based signatures to identifying women who are cured after breast conserving surgery and who may not require adjuvant radiation.
  • Radiation therapy for breast cancer- Interest includes identifying novel molecular targets for chemo‐ and radio-sensitization in women with triple‐negative or basal‐like breast cancer, including those molecules critical for maintaining breast cancer stem cells.
  • Radiation therapy for prostate cancer- Interest includes the identification of molecular targets relevant for the systemic progression and radiation sensitization of prostate cancer.

Clinical Interests

Avoiding the over- and under- treatment of:

  • Women with breast cancer
  • Men with prostate cancer

Honors & Awards

  • Selected for the Frank Limpert Clinical Scholar Career Development Award, 2017
  • Selected as the Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar from the Taubman Institute, 2016
  • Awarded Roentgen Resident/Fellow Research Award for outstanding research, 2015
  • Awarded Young Oncologist Essay Award and Oral presentation, American Radium Society 96th Annual Meeting, 2014
  • Awarded the 2014 ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award in memory of Evelyn H. Lauder, 2014
  • ASTRO Annual Meeting Abstract Award, Basic Science Abstract Award Winner in Biology, oral presentation, 2014 Best of ASTRO meeting selection, 2014
  • “Best of ASTRO” selection, for abstract: Maternal Embryonic Leucine Zipper Kinase (MELK): A Novel Target for Radiosensitization That is Independently Prognostic in Triple-Negative Breast Cancers; presented at Best of ASTRO meeting, Oct 17-18th, Miami, FL, 2014
  • AACR Scholar-in-Training Award, 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 2013
  • Awarded Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Research & Education Foundation' Resident Research Grant, 1 year award. Principal Investigator: C. Speers, 2013
  • Selected as a B. Leonard Holman Research Pathway Fellow by the American Board of Radiology.  Pathway allows for 21 months of protected research time to promising young physician scientists, 2012
  • Invited platform speaker, Era of Hope Biannual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, 2008



  • MD, Baylor College of Medicine, 2010
  • PhD, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, 2009. Thesis: Identification of Novel Targets for the Treatment of Estrogen Receptor-Negative Breast Cancer
  • BS, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, Medical Microbiology, Minors in German and Chemistry, 2002


  • Medical License, State of Michigan


Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg Emerging Scholar of the Taubman Institute Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg
(Corey Speers, PI) 01/2017-12/2021. $200,000 ($50,000)

Frank Limpert Clinical Scholar Career Development Award Dr. Frank Limpert
(Corey Speers, PI) 01/2017-12/2017. $50,000

Breast Cancer Cell Sensitivity To Radiotherapy In The Presence Of Targeted Therapies and Predictors of Early vs.Late Response Breast Cancer Research Fdn- 16-PAF07572
Co-I with Effort (Lori Pierce, PI) 10/2016-09/2017. $250,000 ($250,000)

Breast Cancer Cell Sensitivity To Radiotherapy In The Presence Of Targeted Therapies Susan G. Komen for the Cure- 17-PAF00558
Co-I with Effort (Lori Pierce, PI) 07/2016-03/2018. $375,000 ($200,000)

Androgen receptor blockade as a novel radiosensitization strategy in AR-positive, triple-negative breast cancer
Astellas Pharma US, Inc. through a consortium with Medivation, Inc.- 14-PAF05472
(Corey Speers, PI) 07/2015-02/2018. $91,442 ($78,949)

Published Articles or Reviews

  • Speers C, Liu M, Zhao S, Evans J, Pierce LJ, Feng F, Maternal embryonic leucine zipper kinase (MELK) is a novel radioresistance gene and a biomarker of radioresistance in human breast cancer.  Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Aug 15;21(16):3667-77. PMID: 27225691
  • C. Speers*, S. Zhou*, M. Liu, H. Bartelink,  LJ Pierce, FY Feng, Development and validation of a novel radiosensitivity signature in human breast cancer.  Clin Cancer Res. 2015 Apr 22. pii: clincanres.2898.2014.
  • C Speers*, F.Y. Feng*, M Liu, W Jackson, D Moon, J Rinkinen, K Wilder-Romans, R Jagsi, L.J. Pierce. Intratreatment increases in PARP1 activity predict radiosensitization with PARP1 inhibition in breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014 Aug;147(1):81-94.
  • Yashar S. Niknafs, Sumin Han, Teng Ma, Corey Speers, Joe Evans, Anton Poliakov, James Rae, Daniel Hayes, Rohit Malik, Udit Singhal, Rolf, Cenk, George, Felix Feng, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, An estrogen regulated long non-coding RNA mediates breast cancer progression and tamoxifen resistance, Nature Communications, Nat Commun. 2016 Sep 26;7:12791. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12791. PMID: 27666543
  • SG Zhao, S. Laura Chang, DE Spratt, N Erho, M Yu, HA Ashab, M Alshalalfa, C Speers, SA Tomlins, E Davicioni, AP Dicker, PR Carroll, MR Cooperberg, SJ Freedland, R. J Karnes, A Ross, EM Schaeffer, RB Den, PL Nguyen, FY Feng, A 24-gene Predictor of Response to Post-operative Radiation Therapy in Prostate Cancer, Lancet Oncology, 2016 Oct 12. pii: S1470-2045(16)30491-0. PMID: 27743920

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