The translational research and clinical practice of Judy C. Boughey, M.D., are in the field of breast cancer. Areas of specific interest include neoadjuvant chemotherapy, development of novel therapies for breast cancer, sentinel lymph node surgery, prophylactic mastectomy, and clinical trials for breast cancer and breast surgery.
- Minimizing axillary surgery for women with node-positive breast cancer. A notable area of Dr. Boughey's research focus has been the role of sentinel lymph node surgery in women with node-positive breast cancer who are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy. These women were usually treated with axillary lymph node dissection after chemotherapy. Dr. Boughey led a multicenter national study (ACOSOG-Z1071) involving 756 women across 136 institutions to evaluate the use of sentinel lymph node surgery, which paved the way to use of sentinel lymph node surgery in this patient population. Dr. Boughey is now leading the Alliance A11202 trial comparing axillary radiation to axillary surgery for women with residual node-positive disease after chemotherapy.
- Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) studies. Dr. Boughey co-leads with Matthew P. Goetz, M.D., the BEAUTY studies, which are funded by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center. The goal of BEAUTY I was to identify novel genetic alterations and changes in cancer pathways both at the time of diagnosis and after completion of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in women with high-risk breast cancer. In this study, both the host and the tumor genomes were sequenced prior to therapy, after 12 weeks of paclitaxel and at the time of surgery. BEAUTY II is currently enrolling patients with residual disease after chemotherapy to evaluate the role of abemaciclib (a CDK 4/6 inhibitor) in triple negative breast cancer.
Significance to patient care
The results of the ACOSOG-Z1071 study have changed the management of women with breast cancer. Women with node-positive disease who are treated with chemotherapy prior to surgery may now be considered for sentinel lymph node surgery. If their sentinel nodes are negative, these patients can potentially avoid the morbidity associated with axillary lymph node dissection.
A critical element of the BEAUTY studies is the development of patient-derived xenografts in which patients' tumor tissue is kept alive by implanting tumor cells into immune-compromised mice before and after chemotherapy. The use of these mouse "avatars" allows Dr. Boughey and her colleagues to quickly determine whether the genetic alterations identified by sequencing are functional, with the initial focus on studying novel drugs and drug combinations for use in women with chemotherapy resistance. The laboratory studies for BEAUTY are led by Liewei Wang, M.D., Ph.D., and Richard Weinshilboum, M.D., who also co-lead the Mayo Clinic Pharmacogenomics Research Network.
- Chair, Breast Cancer Disease-Oriented Group, Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center, 2021-present
- Chair, Section of Breast and Melanoma Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 2021-present
- Member, Board of directors, American Society of Breast Surgeons, 2019-present
- Named, W.H. Odell Professor of Individualized Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 2019-present
- Chair, Division of Surgery Research, Mayo Clinic, 2014-2021
- Vice chair for research, Department of Surgery, Mayo Clinic, 2014-2021
- Chair, Education Committee, American College of Surgeons Clinical Research Program, 2013-present
- Medical director, Surgical Clinical Research Office, Mayo Clinic, 2012-present
- Program director, Multidisciplinary Breast Pathology Fellowship, Mayo Clinic, 2008-present
- Recipient, Team Science Award, Mayo Clinic, 2019