Breast Cancer Study

The Breast Cancer Genome-Guided Therapy (BEAUTY) study is designed to help researchers better understand why standard chemotherapy eradicates breast cancer in some women but fails in others. The long-term goal is to enable individualized treatment for each woman with breast cancer by using the genetic information found in blood samples and tumor biopsies to predict the most effective therapies.

Beauty combines three components of cancer care and research:

  • Chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy). Treating the tumor with chemotherapy prior to surgery allows the patient and physician to evaluate the response of the tumor to the chemotherapy delivered. The response information guides further management decisions. This is considered a standard of care for most breast cancers in which the oncologist would recommend chemotherapy.
  • Genomic sequencing. Genomics tools analyze blood cells and tumor cells, identifying genetic markers and vulnerabilities that may be targeted with drugs.
  • Creation of mouse avatars. Xenografting patients' breast cancers in laboratory mice allows for the immortalization of the breast cancer. The goal is to use patients' living breast cancer tissue to test the effectiveness of new drugs without exposing patients to the side effects of investigational drugs.

Results from the Beauty study may be applied to other malignancies, including solid tumors and hematologic malignancies.


Study participants have their biopsies, imaging and breast surgery done at Mayo Clinic and are monitored by a Mayo Clinic medical oncologist and breast surgeon.

Eligible participants are women who:

  • Have been recently diagnosed with invasive breast cancer
  • Have been identified as candidates for chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant therapy)
  • Have a tumor 1.5 centimeters or larger and no cancer elsewhere (except possibly in lymph nodes)
  • Are not pregnant or breast-feeding

Participants can continue to be seen by their local oncologist and undergo chemotherapy at home, if preferable. Local providers can manage chemotherapy and any side effects. Alternatively, chemotherapy can be delivered at Mayo Clinic if patients prefer.

Participants in the study are seen at Mayo Clinic at three time points: when joining the study, after 12 weeks of chemotherapy and for surgery. Biopsies and breast-imaging scans are performed before and after the first 12 weeks of chemotherapy. Participants are required to have their breast surgery at Mayo, where any residual breast cancer tissue is collected.

The tissue collected during biopsies and surgery is analyzed to identify gene alterations and used to establish the mouse avatars with a goal to identify targeted treatments. Tissue is preserved for ongoing research.

After surgery, participants are followed carefully for any recurrence for the next five years.


Patients and referring physicians can contact our Beauty study coordinators for more information:

You can also contact the Center for Individualized Medicine for information on other studies and trials.

Support this study

Generous donors and benefactors make this study possible. Your gift supports research in breast cancer, genomics and xenografting.

You can direct your gift to laboratory research, clinical care or genomic sequencing. Your support helps the Beauty study team determine how the principles of individualized medicine can improve care and outcomes for women with breast cancer.

Support individualized medicine