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Liewei Wang, MD, PhD

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
Rochester, Minnesota

Titles and Affiliations

Professor of Pharmacology
Director of Pharmacogenomics, Translational Program

Research area

Identifying genetic markers that can help select the optimal endocrine therapy for individual patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.


While endocrine therapy has proven effective in many patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers (affecting approximately 1 million per year globally), some do not respond as well or experience such intolerable side effects that they suspend therapy. Drs. Wang and Ingle are studying the mechanisms by which a patient’s individual genetic makeup can affect tolerance and response to endocrine therapy.

Progress Thus Far

The team has made substantial progress in the understanding of the mechanisms underlying individual response to endocrine therapy such as tamoxifen, fulvestrant, and aromatase inhibitors (AIs). They have expanded their focus beyond the estrogen receptor (ER) to the androgen receptor, given the important roles of both receptors in (ER)-positive breast cancer biology and therapies.

What’s next

The team is extending its approaches to include state of the art techniques to identify genes and their functions associated with disease progression and effectiveness of therapies, such as AIs. They will build on the biomarkers they have already identified to further understand the mechanism of AI-resistance in (ER)-positive breast cancer.


Liewei Wang, MD, PhD received her medical degree from FuDan University Medical School, Shanghai, followed by a PhD in Pharmacology from the Mayo Clinic.  She trained in a leading national center for pharmacogenomics (PGx) research. Currently, Dr. Wang is Professor of Pharmacology at Mayo where she has developed a research program focused on the use of genomic technology joined with a cell-based model system and clinical samples to study mechanisms of cancer biology and drug response.

As Co-PI of the Mayo-NIH Pharmacogenomics Research Network (PGRN) grant for the past decade she has led PGx functional genomic studies of breast cancer designed to identify and understand biomarkers for response to endocrine and chemotherapy of breast cancer. Among those studies is the BCRF funded project in collaboration with Dr. James Ingle: the team discovered a series of biomarkers for endocrine response in breast cancer and are now studying the basic mechanisms associated with these biomarkers to help design better individualized endocrine therapy. She also leads a Mayo program developing new experimental models for breast and prostate cancer.

Dr. Wang has published extensively in high impact journals and has received the Astellas Award from Astellas Foundation and the 2016 Leon Goldberg Early Investigator Award from the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Dr. Wang is a member of the Mayo-NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chair of Pharmacology in the department of Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Director of the Pharmacogenomics Program of the Mayo Center for Individualized Medicine.

BCRF Investigator Since


Donor Recognition

The Delta Air Lines Award

Areas of Focus

Treatment Tumor Biology


James N. Ingle, MD, PhD

Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
Rochester, Minnesota