Setsuko K Chambers, MD

Director of Women's Cancers
Bobbi Olson Endowed Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research
Professor and Director of Gynecologic Oncology
Vice Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The University of Arizona
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-0950
(520) 626-8574
Patient Appointments: 
(520) 626-9285
Professional Bio: 

As a nationally recognized physician-scientist elected to the IOM, Dr. Chambers has expertise spanning very basic thorough translational research, clinical trials including investigator-initiated clinical trials, to active clinical care. She has directed a laboratory devoted to understanding the molecular basis for breast and ovarian cancer metastasis and initiation for over 2 decades. Her laboratory continues to study UTR regulators of gene expression, including RNA binding proteins and miRNAs. Her breast cancer research focuses on the interactions within the tumor microenvironment (TME) which enable breast cancer cells to metastasize and thrive in bone, and to cause bone destruction. 

In ovarian cancer, Dr. Chambers focuses on the parameters in the TME which regulate metastatic ovarian cancer implantation, growth, and invasion, as well as an increasing focus on TME influence on tumor initiation in the fallopian tube. She is the team leader within the Clinical Protocol and Data Monitoring unit of the University of Arizona Cancer Center for gynecologic oncology trials, which includes cooperative group (NRG/GOG-partners primarily, with SWOG in the past), industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated trials.  These trials include those which focus on early detection, biomarker identification, quality of life, as well as those with therapeutic intent. Collectively, she can best be described as a serious translational scientist.

Dr. Chambers has leadership roles in several contexts, in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology as Vice Chair and Section Head of Gynecologic Oncology as well as in the Cancer Center, as Director of Women’s Cancers. After 5 years, she has recently stepped down as co-leader of the Cancer Biology Program, one of 4 major programs in our NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center. During that time, Dr. Chambers helped successfully compete for the CCSG renewal. She established in 2006 and served as PI of the Cancer Center tumor biorepository (wherein Gynecology Oncology is responsible for 39% of total accruals), and developed the High Risk Clinic for women at risk for breast and ovarian cancer in 2004.

As a translational scientist, Dr. Chambers also has reviewed or continues to review grants for a number of national entities, including the NIH, DOD, and others. In particular, she has been asked to serve on multiple NIH SPORE review panels starting in 2008. She has recently become co-founding Editor-in-Chief for a new open access journal: American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Obstetrics and Gynecology.

As an educator, Dr. Chambers also has extensive experience mentoring gynecologic oncology fellows, residents, students, and post-doctoral fellows.  During her tenure at Yale, she helped direct and mentor 15 fellows in her role as Director of gynecologic oncology fellowship research, then Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program.  In 2004, Dr. Chambers joined the faculty at the University of Arizona where she continues to actively mentor faculty, residents, post-docs, and undergraduate students in her laboratory, in the clinical setting, and through her leadership positions.

Dr. Chambers served as an advisory external site visitor for the NICHD sponsored WRHR career development program, as well as on several review committees for mentored grants. 

Dr. Chambers received her BS and MD degrees from Brown University. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Yale University. She remained at Yale as a member of the faculty until 2004. During her tenure at Yale, she was Director of the Gynecologic Oncology fellowship program and, until recently, was the only woman professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Throughout her career, Dr. Chambers has served on many national and regional committees, grant review panels and study sections. She is an examiner for the American Board of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and has served as President of the New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists. She has authored over 80 peer reviewed publications and chapters.

Dr. Chambers is one of the few gynecologic oncologist physician-scientists in the country, active as both a researcher and clinical gynecologic oncologist, evaluating oncology patients at The University of Arizona Cancer Center. Her research laboratory, which is funded by both the National Cancer Institute and Department of Defense, is devoted to understanding the molecular basis for breast and ovarian cancer invasion and metastasis.

Dr. Chambers moved to Tucson to become director of the newly created Division of Women's Cancers at The University of Arizona Cancer Center. Her current role is to develop a comprehensive Women's Cancers program, encompassing both research and clinical practice in the areas of breast and gynecologic cancers. Her multidisciplinary division is comprised of gynecologic oncologists, surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and translational and basic science researchers. Collectively, these experts seek to deliver exemplary, cutting-edge care to women throughout the Southwest who either have cancer or are at risk for developing this disease.

Gynecologic Oncology

Clinical Information

Clinical Focus: 
Ovarian Cancers
High-Risk Cancer Screening
Complicated Gynecologic Surgery
Rare, Unusual Cancers
Uterine, Cervical, Vaginal, Vulvar Cancers
Gestational Trophoblastic Disease
Second Opinions
Disease or Clinical Specialty: 
Cervical Cancer
Endometrial Cancer
Ovarian Cancer
Uterine Cancer
Vaginal Cancer
Vulvar Cancer

Research Information

Research Program: 
Cancer Biology
Member Status: 
Research Member
Year of Membership Acceptance: 
Disease Oriented Team: 
University of Arizona
Research Focus: 
  • CSF-1 and its role in neoplastic progression of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Androgens and neoplastic transformation of normal ovarian surface epithelium
  • The c-fms proto-oncogene and breast cancer invasiveness
Selected Publications: 

Dr. Chambers' NCBI bibliography

  1. Chambers SK, Kacinski BM, Ivins CM, Carcangiu ML.  Overexpression of epithelial CSF-1 and CSF-1 receptor: a poor prognostic factor in epithelial ovarian cancer; contrasted to a protective effect of stromal CSF-1.  Clin Cancer Res.  1997;3:999-1007.
  2. Chambers SK, Chambers JT, Schwartz PE , Kohorn EI, Lorber MI, Handschumacher RE, Pizzorno G. Pharmacokinetic and phase I trial of intraperitoneal carboplatin and cyclosporine A in refractory gynecologic cancer patients. J Clin Oncol. 1997;15:1945-1952.
  3. Chambers SK , Ivins CM, Kacinski BM, Hochberg RB. An unexpected effect of glucocorticoids on stimulation of c-fms proto-oncogene expression in choriocarcinoma cells expressing little glucocorticoid receptor. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004;190:974-85.
  4. Tangir J, Bonafe N, Gilmore-Hebert M, Chambers SK . SGK-1, a potential regulator of c-fms related breast cancer aggressiveness. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2004;21:477-483.
  5. Toy EP, Bonafe N, Savlu A, Zeiss C, Zheng W, Flick M, Chambers SK . Correlation of tumor phenotype with c-fms proto-oncogene expression in an in vivo intraperitoneal model for experimental human breast cancer metastasis. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2005;22(1):1-9.
  6. Bonafe N, Gilmore-Hebert M, Folk NL, Azoudi M, Zhou Y, Chambers SK . Gyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate dehydrogenase binds to the AU-rich 3' untranslated region of colony-stimulating factor-1 messenger RNA in human ovarian cancer cells: possible role in colony-stimulating factor-1 posttranscriptional regulation and tumor phenotype. Cancer Res. 2005 May 1;65(9):3762-3771.
  7. Chambers SK . Systematic lymphadenectomy in advanced epithelial ovarian cancer: two decades of uncertainty resolved. J Natl Cancer Ins. 2005; 97(8):548-549.
  8. Fadare O, Liang SX, Ulukus EC, Chambers SK, Zheng W. Putative Precursors of endometrial clear cell carcinoma. Am J Surg Pathol 30(12):1519-1530, 2006.
  9. Zheng W, Liang SX, Yi X, Ulukus EC, Davis JR, Chambers SK. Occurrence of endometrial glandular dysplasia precedes uterine papillary serous carcinoma. Int J Gynecol Pathol 26(1):38-52, 2007.
  10. Zhou Y, Yi X, Stoffer JB, Bonafe N, Gilmore-Hebert M, McAlpine J, Chambers SK. The multifunctional protein glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase is both regulated and controls CSF-1 mRNA stability in ovarian cancer. Mol Cancer Res 6(8):1375-84, 2008. NIHMSID 72748.
  11. Yi X, Zhou Y, Zheng W, Chambers SK. HuR expression in the nucleus correlates with high histologic grade and poor disease-free survival in ovarian cancer. In press, Aust NZ J Obstet Gynaecol 49(1), 2009
  12. Woo HH, Zhou Y, Yi X, David CL, Zheng W, Li R, Gilmore-Hebert, M, Kluger HM, Ulukus EC, Baker T, Stoffer JB, Chambers SK. Regulation of non AU-rich element containing c-fms proto-oncogene expression by HuR in breast cancer. Oncogene 28:1176-86, 2009.
  13. Toy EP, Azodi MA, Folk NL, Zito CM, Zeiss CJ, Chambers SK. Enhanced ovarian cancer tumorigenesis and metastasis by the macrophage colony stimulating factor (CSF-1). Neoplasia 11(2):136-144, 2009.
  14. Chambers SK, Clouser MC, Baker AF, Roe DJ, Cui H, Brewer MB, Hatch KD, Gordon MS, Janicek MF, Isaacs JD, Gordon AN, Nagle RB, Wright HM, Cohen JL, Alberts DS.  Overexpression of tissue VEGF-A may portend an increased likelihood of progression in a phase II trial of bevacizumab and erlotinib in women with resistant ovarian cancer.  Clin Cancer Res 16(21):5320-8, 2010.
  15. Hess LM, Chambers SK, Hatch K, Hallum A, Janicek M, Buscema J, Borst M, Calley C, Slayton L, Chongpison Y, Alberts DS.  Pilot study of prospective identification of changes in cognitive function during chemotherapy treatment for advanced ovarian cancer. J Support Oncol 8:252-8, 2010.
  16. Toy EP, Lamb T, Azodi M, Roy WJ, Woo HH and Chambers SK.  Inhibition of the c-fms proto-oncogene autocrine loop and tumor phenotype in glucocorticoid stimulated human breast carcinoma cells.  Breast Cancer Res Treat, DOI 10.1007/s10549-010-1247-7 (published on line ahead of print 10 November 2010).
  17. Woo HH, Yi X, Lamb T, Menzl I, Baker T, Shapiro DJ, Chambers SK.  Post-transcriptional suppression of proto-oncogene c-fms expression by vigilin in breast cancer.  Mol Cell Biol 31(1):215-25, 2011. Epub 2010 Oct 25.
  18. McCaffrey R, Bahtiyar M, Kohorn EI, Chambers JT, Schwartz PE, Chambers SK.  Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Chemotherapy of Cervical Cancer: Mature Results of the Phase II PBM-PFU Protocol.  Int H Gynecol Cancer 21(3); 535-544, 2011.
  19. Lin J, Yi X, Zhang Z, Zhuang Z, Li J, Chambers SK, Kong B, Zheng W. Prohibitin as a novel target protein of luteinizing hormone in ovarian epithelial carrcinogenesis.  Neoplasm 58(2); 104-109, 2011.
  20. Li J, Abushahin N, Pang S, Xiang L, Chambers SK, Fadare O, Kong B, Zheng W. Tubal origin of “ovarian” low-grade serous carcinoma. Modern Pathol, 1-12, 2011 (published on line ahead of print doi:10.1038/modpathol.2011.106.
  22. Chambers SK and Hess LM. Ovarian Cancer Prevention. In Alberts, Hess (Eds), Fundamentals of Cancer Prevention, Second Edition, Springer-Verlag: Heidelberg, pgs 447-473, 2008.
  23. Garcia FA and Chambers SK. Endometrial Cancer Prevention. In Alberts, Hess (Eds), Fundamentals of Cancer Prevention, Second Edition, Springer-Verlag: Heidelberg, pgs 475-494, 2008.
  24. Hess LM, Chambers SK, Alberts DS. Role of intraperitoneal chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. In: DeVita, Lawrence, and Rosenberg (eds), Principles and Practice of Oncology Updates, Eighth edition, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, New York, NY, Vol 22(5): 1-8, 2008.
  25. Clouser M, Hess LM, Chambers SK. Biomarker Targets and Novel Therapeutics. In M.S. Stack, D.A. Fishman (Eds), Ovarian Cancer, Cancer Treatment and Research 149, chapter 4, Springer, New York, NY, US, 2009.
  26. Chamber SK. Role of CSF-1 in the progression of ovarian cancer. Future Oncol, October 2009
Collaborative Research: 

Collaborative work with Patrick W. Mantyh, Professor, Pharmacology, University of Arizona, on the molecular targeting of breast cancer bone pain and metastasis.

Collaborative work with Roy R. Parker, PhD, Regents Professor and Howard Hughes Investigator, Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Arizona, Joan A. Steitz, PhD, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, and Imed Gallouzi, PhD, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, McGill University on post-transcriptional gene regulation, 3' UTR RNA binding proteins.

Collaborative work with Wenxin Zheng, MD, Professor of Pathology, Director of Molecular Pathology, now at University of Arizona, on the molecular pathogenesis of uterine papillary serous carcinoma, and on the hormonal etiology of ovarian cancer.

Professional Information

Positions and Honors: 
2009 Member, Institute of Medicine
2008, 2009 NIH SPORE study section ad-hoc reviewer
2008 America’s Top Doctors for Cancer
2007-2010 Council member, American Gynecologic and Obstetrical Society
2007-2008 Best Doctors in America
2005-2006 Best Doctors in America
2005 NIH Tumor Microenvironment study section ad-hoc reviewer
2005 Bobbi Olson Endowed Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research
2004-2005 Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM), AAMC
2002-2009 NIH-R01CA097347
2002-2006 DOD 17-02-1-0633 Award
2001 New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists, President
2000 NCI, Ad-hoc reviewer, Special Emphasis Panel, Insight Award-Stamp Out Breast Cancer
1999-present Oral Board Examiner, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
1999-2005 Department of Defense Study Section Reviewer for the Ovarian, Breast, and Prostate Cancer Research Programs
1999-2001 Mary Kay Ash Foundation Award
1996-1999 New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists, Secretary/Treasurer
1995-2002 NIH-R29 Award
1993-1996 NIH-KO8-Award
1993-1995 NIH-R55 Award
1990-1993 NIH-RO3-HD Award
1988-1990 Reproductive Scientist Development Program Award from NICHD and ACOG

Ongoing Awards:

Cancer Center Core Grant, Alberts (PI)
My role is as the program co-leader for the Cancer Biology and Genetics Program.

Better than Ever Women's Cancers Research Grant
A model for human breast cancer-inducted bone pain, Chambers and Mantyh (co-PIs)
The major goal of the project is to develop the first in vivo model for bone pain from human breast cancer metastasis.

5R01 CA115780
Diagnosis of ovarian cancer by confocal microscopy, Gmitro (PI)
The major goals of the project are to develop novel imaging technology of ovarian and tubal epithelium, and apply these to a feasibility study of normal, high risk, and malignant ovaries and fallopian tubes at the time of surgery. My role as co-PI is in the clinical trial.

Better than Ever Women's Cancers Research Grant
Androgens and the development of ovarian cancer, Chambers (PI)
07/04-present (clinical trial component ongoing)
The major goal is to perform a phase II biomarker trial of anti-androgen in women at risk for ovarian cancer.

10-093-26-11 (Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma, Inc., Protocol 2866 US-001) Chambers (Site PI of phase 1b)
Open-Label, Multicenter Phase 1 Study of Anti-Heparin-Binding Epidermal Growth Factor-Like Growth Factor (HB-EGF) Monoclonal Antibody KHK2866 as Monotherapy in Subjects with Advanced Solid Tumors and in Combination with Chemotherapy for Epithelial Ovarian, Extra-Ovarian Primary Peritoneal, or Fallopian Tube Cancer

10-0805-11 (Endocyte protocol EC-FV-06), Chambers (Site PI)
A Randomized Double-Blind Phase 3 Trial Comparing EC145 and Pegylated Liposomal Doxorubicin (PLD/Doxil/Caelyx) in Combination versus PLD in Participants with Platinum-resistant Ovarian Cancer

Gynecologic Oncology Group Affiliate, Chambers (PI)
Affiliate of Roswell Park Cancer Institute Site, to open and accrue on clinical trials for gynecologic cancer patients, 2009-present.

Investigator initiated trial (Cephalon), Chambers (PI)
Phase II trial of Bendamustine in women with refractory ovarian cancer, open April 2009-present.

Investigator initiated trial (Lilly), Chambers (PI)
Phase I open label trial of Alimta plus cisplatin and paclitaxel given intraperitoneally as first line treatment for women with stage III ovarian cancer, open October 2007-present.

Investigator initiated trial, Chambers (PI)
Prospective Phase IIb study of effect of flutamide taken for 6 weeks on expression of potential biomarkers of flutamide action in ovaries of women at increased risk for ovarian cancer, January 2005-present.  Initial funding Better than Ever Women's Cancers Research Grant.

Other Experience and Professional Memberships/Affiliations: 


  • Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, 1995 Scientific Program Committee.
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 1996 Task Force on strengthening basic research in academic departments.
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Program Committee, 1997-1998, 2001, 2002, Senior Reviewer 2001, 2005, 2008.
  • New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists, Secretary-Treasurer, 1996-1999.
  • New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists, President-Elect, 2000.
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Session Chair, Invited Lectures, March 2000.
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Nominating Committee, 2000.
  • New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists, President, 2001.
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Membership Committee, 2002-2005.
  • Faculty, ACOG course “Controversies in Gynecology”, February 2002, Los Cabos, Mexico.
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation, Nominating Committee, 2003.
  • Faculty, ACOG course “Controversies in Gynecology”, June 2003, Victoria, British Columbia.
  • Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, 2002, 2003, Candidate and Fellow Career Development Forum; Mentoring on Grantsmanship
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology, Scientific Program Committee, 2003-2005.
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation, 2004 Program Committee Subsection Member.
  • American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, member 2003.
  • American Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Foundation (AAOGF) Endowment Fund Committee, member 2004-2007; second term 2007-2010.
  • Faculty, ACOG course “Controversies in Gynecology”, December 2004, Chicago, IL.
  • Faculty, Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, Miami, FL, March 2005, post-graduate course “Molecular Biology for Dummies.”
  • Faculty, ACOG course “Gynecologic Oncology for the Generalist”, May 2005, San Francisco, CA.
  • Faculty, ACOG course “Gynecologic Oncology for the Generalist”, May 2006, Washington, DC.
  • Course Director, 37th Annual Tucson Seminar, ‘Focus on Women’s Cancers’, January 2006, Tucson, AZ.
  • Course Director, 37th Annual Tucson Seminar, ‘Focus on Women’s Cancers, Nursing Conference’, January 2006, Tucson, AZ.
  • Course Director, ACOG course “Gynecologic Oncology for the Generalist”, 2007-2009 (gave this up).
  • American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society, Council, 2007-2010.
  • Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, abstract reviewer, 2007.
  • Southwest Oncology Group, Gynecology Committee member, 2007-present. • Gynecologic Oncology Group, affiliate site Principal Investigator, 2008-present.


  • American Society of Clinical Oncology (1987)
  • American Association for Cancer Research (1988)
  • American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (Junior Fellow 1981 Fellow 1989)
  • American Medical Women's Association (1990)
  • New England Association of Gynecologic Oncologists (1989)
  • Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (1990)
  • International Gynecologic Cancer Society (1991)
  • Society for Gynecologic Investigation (1993)
  • American Gynecological and Obstetrical Society (AGOS, 2003)
  • Gynecologic Oncology Group (2003), Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG,  2007)
Board Certifications & Licenses: 
  • Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners, 1981
  • Board Certified, American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, 1987
  • Board Certified, American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, 1988
  • Recertification, American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Gynecologic Oncology, 1997,  2007, 2008, 2009 

Academic Information

Yale University School of Medicine - Gynecologic/Oncology, 1986
Yale-New Haven Hospital - Obstetrics/Gynecology, 1984
Medical School: 
Brown University Program in Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island - MD, 1980
Undergraduate School: 
Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island - BS Biology, 1977