Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs
Professor of Radiation Oncology
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Clinical trials have shown a significant reduction in the risk of local recurrence of breast cancer by the addition of radiation therapy (RT) following both breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy. Despite the efficacy of this trimodality therapy, some women will develop locoregional recurrence (ie, in the breast or lymph nodes) after standard treatment and some women do not benefit from radiation. Currently there is no test that can accurately distinguish women who may need more aggressive treatment from those at sufficiently low risk. Additionally, there is no way to identify women at higher risk for early local recurrence that may most benefit from treatment intensification. Dr. Pierce’s current BCRF research aims to develop a radiation response signature that accurately identifies women likely to develop early local recurrences after radiation therapy, and those likely not to recur. Such a signature has the potential to identify patients who need treatment intensification and those who have a low risk of disease recurrence with standard therapy.
Dr. Pierce completed residency in Radiation Oncology at Pennsylvania and was a senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She joined the Department of Radiation Oncology at Michigan in 1992, where she is currently Professor of Radiation Oncology and Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs.
She has published more than 100 papers and book chapters on aspects of radiotherapy (RT) in the treatment of breast cancer, and her work has been funded by the NCI, Department of Defense Funds for Breast Cancer Research, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Komen for the Cure, BCBS of Michigan and private industry.
Her research focuses on the use of RT in the treatment of breast cancer, with emphasis upon contemporary RT treatment planning techniques, the use of RT in the presence of a breast cancer susceptibility gene, and use of radiosensitizing agents.