Study background

The purpose of the Developing Understanding of the Environment of Disseminated Tumor Cells (DUET) study is to identify new ways of preventing breast cancer patients from dying of their disease. In particular this study is focused on understanding why some breast cancer patients go on to develop a recurrence of their cancer and others do not.

This research is done by collecting information and specimens from recently diagnosed breast cancer patients. A major focus is determining how the presence of cancer cells in bones at the time of diagnosis can contribute to the development of a cancer recurrence years later.

This study is being done in collaboration with the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of San Francisco.

Main Study Web Page here


You may be eligible to participate if you:

  • Recently diagnosed with stage I-III breast cancer
  • Will receive surgery at UW Medical Center or UW Medical Center – Northwest, Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, or Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri

What will I be asked to do?

  • Patients agree to donate a portion of their cancer tissue removed at the time of their surgery for research.
  • Patients agree to allow us to conduct a bone marrow biopsy and aspirate.
  • Patients are invited to donate a blood sample and complete a questionnaire annually for up to 9 years (providing these samples and completing these questionnaires is optional).
  • Patients consent to allow our study team to review their medical records related to their cancer diagnosis and all of the treatments they receive.
  • We offer a modest compensation at each time point for completion of study activities.

Why Be a Part of DUET?

  • Participants provide essential information to this research. The more women who accept this invitation to participate, the more we may learn about why some breast cancer survivors develop a recurrence of their cancer years after their initial diagnosis and others do not.

Important notes

  • Although the study will not benefit participants directly, we hope the information we learn will improve our knowledge about breast cancer recurrences and help future patients by, for example, providing information that will help us develop novel treatments to prevent women from dying of breast cancer.
  • Participation will not affect your medical care and is voluntary and confidential.

Coordinator contact information

“Emmy” Suleepon Uttamapinan
Phone: (314) 747- 9992

DUET Recruitment WUSM (March 2024)

Non-Hispanic White22 (84.6%)
Non-Hispanic Black3 (11.6%)
Other1 (3.8%)


Winter 2024

Funding:  Congresssionally Directed Medical Research Program Department of Defense Brease Cancer Research Program