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BCRF Grantee Since


Donor Recognition

The RGS Labs International Award

James N. Ingle, MD

Director, Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer SPORE
Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
Foust Professor of Oncology
Mayo Clinic Medical School
Rochester, Minnesota

Current Research

Dr. Ingle’s team has characterized the functional roles of the estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) variants (ERβ2-5) in breast cancer cells and demonstrated that these variants can interact with ERα and ERβ1 to potentially modify their function, which could impact on the treatment of patients. They have also analyzed ERβ1 in breast cancers from patients and identified that about one-quarter of triple negative breast cancers express ERβ1, a finding that has implications for studying the use of therapies other than chemotherapy for such patients.

Triple negative breast cancer, as many know, is an aggressive form of breast cancer for which no targeted therapies are available. As they have identified that about one-quarter of TNBC are estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) positive, Dr. Ingle’s team will study the effects of drugs directed against ERβ in both cell lines and in laboratory models. These will be the first studies to examine ERβ-targeted therapies in triple negative disease, which have the potential to identify new non-chemotherapy treatments for patients with this type of breast cancer.

Mid-Year Summary

Dr. Ingle’s recent studies have revealed that expression of estrogen receptor beta (ERβ1) in breast cancer cells and patient tumors results in improved benefits from tamoxifen therapy. However, expression of variant forms of ERβ (ERβ 2-5) actually inhibit the effectiveness of endocrine therapy and the Ingle team’s ongoing studies are aimed and further understanding the basis for this observation and developing methods to accurately identify and quantitate these variants in patient tumors. Importantly, they have now confirmed that ERβ1 is expressed in a substantial proportion (about one-quarter) of women with triple negative breast cancer and their models mimicking this form of the disease suggest that such patients may benefit from endocrine-related therapies.


Dr. James Ingle is Professor of Oncology and Foust Professor in Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. He is the leader of breast cancer research in the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center serving as Program Co-Leader of the Women's Cancer Program with responsibility for breast cancer. Dr. Ingle is Director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence. He was chair of the Breast Committee of the North Central Cancer Treatment Group for 22 years (1977-1999).

Dr. Ingle’s primary interests are pharmacogenomics and translational research involving endocrine therapy of breast cancer, and the biology of endocrine sensitivity. He has 315 peer-reviewed publications. He has served on numerous national and international bodies such as the NIH (1990, Conference Vice-Chair)) and St. Gallen (2003-2013) Consensus Conference Panels on early breast cancer, serving as Co-Chair of the 2009 St. Gallen Conference. He recently completed his service on the Breast Cancer Steering Committee of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Coordinating Center for Clinical Trials.