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Katherine L. Nathanson, MD

Katherine L. Nathanson, MD Physician

Professor of Medicine Professor of Genetics

Languages spoken:

  • French

Dr. Nathanson is a Penn Medicine employed physician.

Patient Satisfaction Ratings

Patient Rating Breakdown

The Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to the care provider related questions shown below from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Patients that are treated in outpatient or hospital environments may receive different surveys, and the volume of responses will vary by question.

Responses are measured on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best score.

The comments are submitted by patients and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of Penn Medicine.

Overall Ratings

Clinical Specialties


  • Medical Genetics

Programs & Centers:

Board Certification:

  • Medical Genetics, 1999

Clinical Expertise:

  • Acoustic Neuromas
  • Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome
  • Cancer Genetic Testing
  • Genetic and Rare Diseases Treatments and Procedures
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Skin Disorders
  • Genetic Testing
  • Hereditary Cancer Syndrome
  • Hereditary Papillary Renal Cancer
  • Klinefelter Syndrome (XXY Syndrome)
  • Li-Fraumeni Syndrome (LFS)
  • Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1)
  • Paragangliomas
  • Pheocromocytoma
  • Schwannomatosis
  • Tuberous Sclerosis
  • Von Hippel Lindau Syndrome (VHL)

Practice Locations and Appointments

Insurance Accepted

  • Aetna US Healthcare
  • Cigna
  • Cigna HealthSpring
  • CVS Health
  • Devon Health Services (Americare)
  • Gateway Health Plan
  • Geisinger Health Plan
  • HealthAmerica / HealthAssurance, a Coventry Plan
  • HealthPartners
  • HealthPartners Medicare
  • HealthSmart
  • Highmark Blue Shield
  • Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey
  • Humana / Choicecare
  • Independence Blue Cross (Keystone East)
  • Intergroup
  • Keystone First
  • Multiplan
  • NJ Medicaid
  • NJ Qualcare
  • Oxford Health Plan
  • PA Medicaid
  • PA Medicare
  • Preferred Health Care/LGH
  • Rail Road Medicare / Palmetto GBA
  • Remedy Partners at Penn Medicine
  • Tricare
  • United Healthcare
  • UnitedHealthcare Community Plan
  • US Family Health Plan

Education and Training

Medical School: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Residency: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Fellowship: Children's Hospital of Philadelphia


AACR-Kure It Grant for Kidney Cancer Research Scientific Review Committee, National ACMGE Milestones Working Group for Medical Genetics, National American Association for Cancer Research, National American Association for the Advancement of Science , National American College of Medical Genetics , National American College of Physicians , National American Society for Clinical Investigation, National American Society for Human Genetics, National Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, International Breast Cancer Information Core Steering Committee , National Cancer Research UK (UK), International Cancer Research UK, International Cancer Working Group, PhenX Project (sponsored by NHGRI), National Department of Defense Breast Cancer, National Department of Defense Breast Cancer, National Genesis Oncology Trust, New Zealand , International Genome Quebec, International Hidary Foundation-MRA Team Science Awards for Acral Melanoma Genomics, International Lance Armstrong Foundation Study Section, National Melanoma Research Breakthrough Consortium, National Melanoma Research Foundation , National Movember GAP5 Translational Research Steering Committee (Testicular Cancer), International National Cancer Institute Blue Ribbon Panel Working Group - Tumor Evolution and Progression, National National Cancer Institute, Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group (R21), National National Institutes of Health, Cancer Biomarker Study Section, National National Institutes of Health, Cancer Genetics Study Section, National National Institutes of Health, Cancer Genetics Study Session, National National Institutes of Health, Intramural Site Visit Review, National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Laboratory of Translational Genomics , National National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute Loan Repayment Program Study Section , National National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Intramural Site Visit Review, Cancer and Inflammation Program, National National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, National National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Special Emphasis Panel/Scientific Review Group P20/U54, National National Institutes of Health, NHGRI Special Emphasis Panel ZHG1 HGR-N (J1), T32 review, National Selected for AAMC Mid-Career Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar, Austin TX, National Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grants Program, National TCGA Pheochromocytoma/Paraganglioma Disease Working Group, National TCGA Testicular Germ Cell Tumor Working Group, National Cancer Institute , National Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance, National UK Medical Research Council, International VA MERIT Review - Special Emphasis - Research on Clinical Application of Genetics, National

Hospital Affiliation

Dr. Nathanson is a Penn Medicine employed physician.

Hospital Privileges:

  • Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania: Has privileges to treat patients in the hospital.


Description of Research Expertise:

Dr. Nathanson’s research focuses on the genetics of human cancer, both germline changes which confer susceptibility to cancer and somatic genetic changes associated with outcome.

Her research projects fall into several areas:

1) Identification and characterization of germline genetic changes associated with breast cancer susceptibility. These projects utilize two sample sets, a large clinical database of high risk breast cancer patients and a case-control study of white and black patients with breast cancer. Currently the projects in the laboratory focus on resequencing of BRCA1-associated genes as candidate breast cancer susceptibility genes in patients with high risk breast cancer and studying copy number variation as associated with potential susceptibility to high risk breast cancer in families with multiple cases of breast cancer.

2) Identification of genetic changes associated with testicular cancer susceptibility in case-control sample set. Dr. Nathanson recently completed a successful genome wide association study in testicular cancer, and is in the process of designing and doing a number of follow-up studies.

3) Identification of somatic genetic markers in melanoma as determinants of response to therapy. The projects in the laboratory focus on several aspects of melanoma genetics including genotyping patients to determine targeted therapy selection, using genetics and genomics to sub-set melanomas, as well as understand response to therapy, and identify novel genes important in melanoma progression.

Selected Publications:

Balmaña J, Nathanson K, Offit K, Robson M, Domchek S: Reply to R. Nussbaum et al and J. Dolinsky et al. J Clin Oncol : 2017.

Walker LC, Marquart L, Pearson JF, Wiggins GA, O'Mara TA, Parsons MT; BCFR., Barrowdale D, McGuffog L, Dennis J, Benitez J, Slavin TP, Radice P, Frost D; EMBRACE., Godwin AK, Meindl A, Schmutzler RK; GEMO Study Collaborators., Isaacs C, Peshkin BN, Caldes T, Hogervorst FB; HEBON., Lazaro C, Jakubowska A, Montagna M; KConFab Investigators., Chen X, Offit K, Hulick PJ, Andrulis IL, Lindblom A, Nussbaum RL, Nathanson KL, Chenevix-Trench G, Antoniou AC, Couch FJ, Spurdle AB: Evaluation of copy-number variants as modifiers of breast and ovarian cancer risk for BRCA1 pathogenic variant carriers. Eur J Hum Genet 25 (4): 432-438,2017.

Fishbein L, Leshchiner I, Walter V, Danilova L, Robertson AG, Johnson A, Lichtenberg TM, Murray BA, Ghayee HK, Else T, Ling S, Jefferys SR, de Cubas AA, Wenz B, Korpershoek E, Amelio AL, Lakowski J, Rathmell WK, Gimenez-Roqueplo A-P, Giordano TJ, Asa SL, Tischler AS, The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network, Pacak K, Nathanson KL*, Wilkerson MD*: Comprehensive molecular characterization of pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma. Cancer Cell 31 (2): 181-193,2017.

Maxwell KN, Domchek SM, Nathanson KL, Robson ME: Population frequency of germline BRCA1/2 mutations. J Clin Oncol 34 (34): 4183-4185,2016.

Narayan V, Gunnarsson O, Hwang WT, Squillante CM, Nathanson KL, Stadtmauer EA, Vaughn DJ. : Risk-Stratified Initial Salvage Therapy for Relapsed or Refractory Metastatic Germ Cell Tumors. Clin Genitourin Cancer. 14 (6): 524-529,2016.

George E, Kim H, Krepler C, Wenz B, Makvandi M, Tanyi JL, Brown E, Zhang R, Brafford P, Jean S, Mach RH, Lu Y, Mills GB, Herlyn M, Morgan M, Zhang X, Soslow R, Drapkin R, Johnson N, Zheng Y, Cotsarelis G, Nathanson KL, Simpkins F: A patient-derived-xenograft platform to study BRCA-deficient ovarian cancers. JCI Insight 2 (1): e89760,2017.

Hamdi Y, Soucy P, Kuchenbaeker KB, Pastinen T, Droit A, Lemaçon A, Adlard J, Aittomäki K, Andrulis IL, Arason A, Arnold N, Arun BK, Azzollini J, Bane A, Barjhoux L, Barrowdale D, Benitez J, Berthet P, Blok MJ, Bobolis K, Bonadona V, Bonanni B, Bradbury AR, Brewer C, Buecher B, Buys SS, Caligo MA, Chiquette J, Chung WK, Claes KB, Daly MB, Damiola F, Davidson R, De la Hoya M, De Leeneer K, Diez O, Ding YC, Dolcetti R, Domchek SM, Dorfling CM, Eccles D, Eeles R, Einbeigi Z, Ejlertsen B; EMBRACE., Engel C, Gare: Association of breast cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with genetic variants showing differential allelic expression: identification of a modifier of breast cancer risk at locus 11q22.3. Breast Cancer Res Treat 161 (1): 117-134,2017.

Krepler C, Xiao M, Samanta M, Vultur A, Chen HY, Brafford P, Reyes-Uribe PI, Halloran M, Chen T, He X, Hristova D, Liu Q, Samatar AA, Davies MA, Nathanson KL, Fukunaga-Kalabis M, Herlyn M, Villanueva J: Targeting Notch enhances the efficacy of ERK inhibitors in BRAF-V600E melanoma Oncotarget 7 (44): 71211-71222,2016.

Narayan V, Gunnarsson O, Hwang WT, Squillante CM, Nathanson KL, Stadtmauer EA, Vaughn DJ: Risk-stratified initial salvage therapy for relapsed or refractory metastatic germ cell tumors Clin Genitourin Cancer 14 (6): 524-529,2016.

Balmaña J, Digiovanni L, Gaddam P, Walsh MF, Joseph V, Stadler ZK, Nathanson KL, Garber JE, Couch FJ, Offit K, Robson ME, Domchek SM: Conflicting interpretation of genetic variants and cancer risk by commercial laboratories as assessed by the Prospective Registry of Multiplex Testing. J Clin Oncol 34 (34): 4071-4078,2016.

Academic Contact Info

421 Curie Blvd
University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: (215) 662-4740
Patient appointments: 800-789-7366 (PENN)

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