Prue Francis has been appointed to the position of Honorary Clinical Professor in the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Francis is a breast cancer clinician researcher committed to improving the outcomes and care for patients with early and advanced breast cancer through clinical trials, associated translational research and education.
She studied medicine at the University of Melbourne and discovered research through a summer vacation project after second year. Midway through her medical degree she undertook a one-year Bachelor of Medical Science research degree that led to an invited presentation at the University of Melbourne Dean’s Lecture Series.
Prue first worked at Peter MacCallum in Little Lonsdale Street as a registrar but completed medical oncology training in the USA, where she spent four years at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
In 1994 she returned to Australia, appointed as a Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne and at St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne.
Prue was the first female medical oncologist to work at Peter Mac. Since 2003, she has been our Clinical Lead of Breast Medical Oncology.
Prue has focused much of her research on randomized phase III breast cancer trials that have included prospective tissue collection for future translational studies.
Some of the most important translational research from these trials has been conducted by colleagues in the Research Division at Peter Mac, with pivotal translational research findings published up to two decades after initial patient randomization commenced.
From 2017-2021 Prue chaired the Scientific Advisory Committee of Breast Cancer Trials Australia & New Zealand (ANZBCTG), the largest clinical trials cooperative group in Australia, having previously been the Deputy Chair since 2012.
She is a member of three high profile breast cancer groups that publish and influence international treatment guidelines – Advanced Breast Cancer (ABC) International Consensus Panel, St. Gallen Primary Breast Cancer International Consensus Panel and Steering Committee of Early Breast Cancer Trialists’ Collaborative Group (EBCTCG).
Prue has four publications in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), including two first author and one as senior author.
Her 2018 first author original article was allocated 16 pages in NEJM and reported improved outcomes including survival in premenopausal early breast cancer with the addition of ovarian suppression to adjuvant endocrine treatment with tamoxifen in the randomized SOFT trial that Prue developed and led internationally.
She chairs the international Steering Committee for the SOFT and TEXT trials. These phase 3 trials in total randomized almost 6,000 premenopausal women with early hormone-receptor positive breast cancer, through international intergroup collaboration and are considered practice changing.
Prue has numerous publications in high impact oncology journals, including 13 publications in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (IF = 45) and 16 publications in Annals of Oncology (IF = 33).
She has been a Chief Investigator on 12 NHMRC project grants (total $14.582 million) and a range of other national and international grants.
In 2015 she was awarded the Medical Oncology Group of Australia (MOGA) Cancer Achievement Award and in 2019 she was appointed a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health Sciences.