About the Program

The Women's Cancer Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is advancing the understanding of breast cancer and gynecologic cancers and improving treatment strategies for these cancers.

Research initiatives

Investigators in the Women's Cancer Program are reducing the burden and mortality of breast cancer and gynecologic cancers through four main areas of research:

  • Identifying key genetic alterations underlying women's cancers. Researchers in this area investigate genes that predispose women to developing breast cancer.
  • Defining key mediators and pathways in the biology of women's cancers. Researchers in this area investigate the biological systems that lead to the development of women's cancers.
  • Improving identification of women at increased risk. Researchers in this area investigate methods for predicting which women may be at increased risk of breast cancer or gynecologic cancers.
  • Developing and testing innovative treatment strategies for women's cancers. Researchers in this area are exploring a range of new clinical strategies for treating breast and gynecologic cancers.

The Women's Cancer Program conducts research at all three Mayo Clinic campuses — in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota.

SPORE research grants

The Women's Cancer Program also participates in two Specialized Programs of Research Excellence (SPOREs):

Program leadership

The Women's Cancer Program is directed by Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez, M.D., Amy C. Degnim, M.D., and Matthew P. Goetz, M.D.

  • Dr. Bakkum-Gamez, a gynecologic oncologist, is an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Her research interests include screening and early detection of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer. Dr. Bakkum-Gamez also focuses on prevention of ovarian cancer, fallopian tube cancer and primary peritoneal cancer, and is investigating minimally invasive surgical management of gynecologic cancers.
  • Dr. Degnim, a surgeon, is a professor of surgery in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota. Her research focuses mainly on improving the accuracy of breast cancer risk prediction, which also improves breast cancer prevention. Dr. Degnim also leads research efforts related to improving the quality of breast surgery by reducing complications of surgery. She has pioneered clinical research on breast lymphedema and clinical trials on the use of drain antisepsis techniques to reduce surgical site infection.
  • Dr. Goetz, a medical oncologist, is a professor of oncology and pharmacology in the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science in Rochester, Minnesota, and director of the Mayo Breast Cancer SPORE. He is a member of the National Cancer Institute Breast Cancer Steering Committee and the Translational Breast Cancer Steering Committee. Dr. Goetz's research focuses on estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer, the development of biomarkers and novel therapeutics for endocrine-resistant breast cancer. His work also includes several comprehensive omics cancer studies designed to prospectively identify biomarkers of response in women with advanced or metastatic breast cancer — the Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) and PROMISE studies.