Q&A: Stephen C. Rubin, MD

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Stephen C. Rubin, MD, joined Fox Chase in March as chief of gynecologic oncology. A nationally known expert in the management of ovarian cancer, Rubin’s interests include minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, hereditary ovarian cancer, and ovarian cancer clinical trials. 

Q: How did you decide on a career in gynecologic oncology?

You hear a lot about the merits of multidisciplinary cancer care, combining the various therapeutic disciplines – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Gynecologic oncology is the only true multidisciplinary cancer specialty, combining surgery and chemotherapy. We believe it allows for a higher level of continuity of care to have one physician who understands and treats both the surgical and the medical aspects of the disease.

Q: Why Fox Chase?

I’ve always had a very warm spot in my heart for Fox Chase. It’s always had the reputation of being an excellent place to work. Curiously enough, my mother was an anesthesiologist who worked here when it was called American Oncologic Hospital back in the ‘60s. I’m delighted to be here.

Q: What has been your career highlight to date?

The most important contribution I’ve made was original research that first showed that BRCA-related ovarian cancers have a better prognosis and respond better to chemotherapy than non-hereditary ovarian cancer.

“Fox Chase has a more extensive selection of clinical trials for gynecologic cancer than any other place in the region by far.”

Q: What do you hope to accomplish?

I’m going to be a principal investigator for our NCI Gynecologic Oncology Group trials. Fox Chase has a more extensive selection of clinical trials for gynecologic cancer than any other place in the region by far. Another strength we hope to continue is basic science research in gynecologic cancers. Fox Chase is one of only five institutions in the country with an NCI SPORE grant in ovarian cancer, which is a very important source of research activity for us. In addition, we plan to develop an approved fellowship training program within the next year. Nationally, there are only 45 such programs approved by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. It will take Fox Chase gynecologic oncology to the next level to have clinical services, research, and education all under one roof.

Q: Who’s on your team?

I am privileged to work with Stephanie King, Christina Chu, Cynthia Bergman, and Gina Mantia-Smaldone—arguably the most experienced team of gynecologic oncologists in the city. ■