Physician Photo

Elena F. Brachtel, MD

Assistant Pathologist, Massachusetts General Hospital

Assistant Professor of Pathology, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Brachtel is a specialist in breast pathology and cytopathology. She is interested in molecular features and diagnostics of breast cancer.

Department of Pathology


  • Cancer Center
  • Breast Evaluation
  • Breast Cancer
Clinical Interests
Breast pathology
Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Medical Education
MD, University of Hamburg Faculty of Medicine
Residency, Massachusetts General Hospital
Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital
Board Certifications
Anatomic Pathology, American Board of Pathology
Cytopathology, American Board of Pathology
Patient Age Group
Accepting New Patients
Accepting New Patients


Dr. Brachtel received her MD degree from the University of Hamburg Medical School, Hamburg, Germany. After her doctoral thesis under the supervision of Professor Paul Racz at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, she worked as a house officer in England in internal medicine and surgery, before entering a residency in pathology at the University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. before completing a residency in anatomic pathology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, followed by a fellowship in cytopathology. Her areas of expertise are breast pathology and cytopathology, with a special interest in digital imaging.


Dr. Brachtel's current research involves projects on the pathology of breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, 3D imaging of breast cancer, and breast cytology. She is principal investigator of the Massachusetts General Hospital site in a multicenter clinical trial to test a molecular assay for diagnosis of cancers of uncertain primary, and is collaborating in translational research. Other research interests include:

  • Involvement of the nipple in breast cancer

  • Role of BTG2 in human breast cancer

  • Digital imaging in breast cancer diagnosis

  • Pathologic changes in breast cancer after neoadjuvant chemotherapy


View my most recent publications at PubMed

  1. Corben AD, Abi Raad R, Popa I, Teo CHC, Macklin E, Koerner, FC, Taghian AG, Brachtel EF: Pathological response and long term follow-up in breast cancer patients treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy: A comparison between classifications and their practical application". Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2013 Aug;137(8):1074-82. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2012-0290-OA. PMID: 23899063
  2. Kerr SE, Schnabel CA, Sullivan PS, Zhang Y, Singh V, Carey B, Erlander M, Highsmith WE, Dry SM, Brachtel E: Multisite Validation Study To Determine Performance Characteristics of a 92-gene Molecular Cancer Classifier. Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Jul 15;18(14):3952-60. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-0920. [Epub 2012 May 30].
  3. Brachtel EF, Rusby JE, Michaelson JS, Chen LL, Muzikansky A, Smith BL, Koerner FC: Occult nipple involvement in breast cancer: clinicopathological findings in 316 consecutive mastectomy specimens. J Clin Oncol. 2009;27(30):4948-54

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Boston, MA 02114-2696

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