Dorothy Keefe

Professor Dorothy Keefe

Professor of Cancer Medicine

Adelaide Medical School

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences


Professor Keefe is the CEO of Cancer Australia, and an honorary Clinical Professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Adelaide. She has had a long career as a Medical Oncologist, and Professor of Cancer Medicine.Her areas of expertise include gastrointestinal toxicity of cancer treatment, Supportive Care in Cancer more broadly, Medical Leadership and Health Reform, and she has published extensively in the Supportive Care literature. She has a long-standing commitment to the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC), and is a past-president. All her work is focused on improving outcomes for patients .

Professor Keefe is the Interim Director of the SA Cancer Service, Professor of Cancer Medicine at the University of Adelaide, and a Senior Medical Oncologist at Royal Adelaide Hospital. She is a Past-President of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC).
Dorothy Keefe graduated in Medicine from the University of London in 1986, migrated to Australia and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP) in 1996. She received her Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Adelaide in 1999, for a thesis entitled ‘The effect of cytotoxic chemotherapy on the mucosa of the small intestine’.
Professor Keefe’s research interest is in toxicity of cancer treatment, particularly mucositis and how it links to other toxicities. Her laboratory work investigates chemotherapy and radiotherapy-induced whole gut damage, and the efficacy of new agents in prevention and treatment. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications in this area.
In the 2013 Queen’s Birthday Honours Professor Keefe received the Public Service Medal for “outstanding service in the areas of Public Health, Medical Research and Oncology”. And in 2014 she received the MASCC Distinguished Service Award for “longstanding, devoted and exemplary service to MASCC”.
She has recently completed a Master’s of Science (MSc) in Medical Leadership at Birbeck College, University of London and her thesis was titled “Using Clinical Leadership to Drive Success in Making the ‘Case for Change’ for Healthcare Reform: A Case Study from the South Australian Transforming Health Program.

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  • Appointments

    Date Position Institution name
    2019 - 2019 Professor of Cancer Medicine University of Adelaide
    2014 - 2017 Clinical Ambassador SA Health
    2011 - 2015 Service Director SA Cancer Service SA Health
    2010 - 2011 Regional Clinical Director Adelaide Health Service Cancer Services
    2009 - 2013 Chair South Australian Cancer Clinical Network, SA Health
    2007 - 2010 Clinical Director Royal Adelaide Hospital
    2007 - 2009 Chair MBBS Curriculum Committee (Operations) University of Adelaide
    2007 - 2009 Deputy Chair South Australian Cancer Clinical Network
    2006 - 2008 Chair MBBS Curriculum Committee University of Adelaide
    2006 - 2007 Interim Clinical Director Royal Adelaide Hospital
    2005 - 2007 Associate Professor in Oncological Medicine The University of Adelaide
    2001 Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist Royal Adelaide Hospital
    2000 - 2004 Clinical Senior Lecturer University of Adelaide
    1999 - 2002 Consultant Medical Oncologist (Access appointment) Queen Elizabeth Hospital
    1999 - 2001 Associate Specialist Queen Elizabeth Hospital
    1996 - 2000 Consultant Medical Oncologist Royal Adelaide Hospital
    1996 - 1999 Clinical Lecturer University of Adelaide
    1996 - 1997 Anti-Cancer Foundation Research Associate Queen Elizabeth Hospital
    1995 - 1998 Gastroenterology Research Fellow Queen Elizabeth Hospital
    1992 - 1994 Medical Oncology/Haematology Registrar Queen Elizabeth Hospital
    1989 - 1992 Basic Physician Trainee Queen Elizabeth Hospital
    1988 - 1988 Senior House Officer Royal Cornwall Hospital
    1987 - 1988 Medical Officer/Watch Officer Britain Australia Bicentennial Schooner Trust
    1986 - 1987 Medical and Surgical House Officer Royal Cornwall Hospital
  • Awards and Achievements

    Date Type Title Institution Name Country Amount
    2014 Award MASCC Distinguished Service Award Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer
    2013 Honour Public Service Medal Queen's Birthday Honour Australia
    2009 Fellowship Woman of Achievement Award Royal College of Physicians (London) United Kingdom
    1998 Award Clinical Research Prize Queen Elizabeth Hospital Research Day Australia
    1993 Award Clinical Research Prize Queen Elizabeth Hospital Research Day Australia
    1993 Award Best Physician Trainee Queen Elizabeth Hospital Australia
  • Education

    Date Institution name Country Title
    2016 Birkbeck College UK Masters of Science (MSc) Medical Leadership
    1999 University of Adelaide Australia Doctor of Medicine
    1985 University of London UK Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS)
Date Project/ No. Investigators Funding Body Amount
2014

Role of Inflammatory Signalling on Burden of Illness in Mucositis.

Keefe D, Gibson R, Bowen J & Coller J TRIAD $12,000
2014

Prevention of dacomitinib induced diarrhoea by targeting chloride secretion.

Bowen J & Keefe D. Pfizer $80,000
2014

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute – SAHMRI. Innovative Cancer Imaging and Therapeutics Facility.

C Mulligan, T Hughes, A Zannettino, S Gronthos, D White, D Keefe, T Mondo, D Roder, W Tilley, T Price and P MacKenzie ACRF $1.8M
2014

Cancer Data and Aboriginal Disparities – CANDAD. Development and testing of an integrated cancer monitoring and surveillance system for Aboriginal People in South Australia.

A Brown, D, Rodda, M Cargo, D Keefe, M Eckert, G Farshid NHMRC $1,034,270
2013

Studies on the effect of Enteragam on gastrointestinal mucositis.

D Keefe & E Bateman. Entera Health $100,000
2013

Protecting tissues from chemotherapy.

Callen D, Keefe D, Neilsen P, Smid S NHMRC $565,847
2012

Study into effect of Elsiglutide on gastrointestinal mucositis

 Keefe, Bowen, Stringer and Bateman Helsinn Healthcare $130,000
2012

Identification Of Biomarkers Of Response And Toxicity To Chemoradiotherapy For Oesophageal Tumours

D Watson, D Keefe, D Hussey and J Bowen NHMRC $481,175
2012

A Nanostructured Drug Delivery Approach for Improved Colorectal Cancer Therapy.

C Prestidge, B Boyd & D Keefe NHMRC  $541,010
2012

Cyclotherapy: a promising new approach to prevent the side effects of chemotherapy.

P M Neilsen & D M K Keefe RAH Research Committee $35,000
2010

Improving colorectal cancer therapy using a novel nanotechnology-based delivery system.

C Prestidge, B Boyd, MP Brown, D Keefe, A Davey Cancer Council SA $110,000
2010

Oral Mucositis Risk and Multicyle Chemotherapy: do multiple cycles multiply risk

L Elting, S Sonis and D Keefe NIDCR $150,000
2010

CCRE in Oral Health, University of Adelaide

M Bartold, J Spencer, G Townsend, K Roberts-Thompson & D Keefe NHMRC $2.5m
2009

Studies of Nutritional Supplements as prevention/treatment for gastrointestinal toxicity of chemotherapy

   Nestec $250,000
2008

Investigation of probiotic VSL #3 in DA rat model of mucosal injury.

  VSL Pharma $100,000
2009

Faecal microflora and circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines: key elements to chemotherapy- induced diarrhoea.

R Gibson, J Bowen, A Stringer, R Logan and D Keefe. Cancer Australia $75, 000
2008

Characterisation of Tyrosine Kinase inhibitor-induced gastrointestinal toxicity

D Keefe & F Boyle GSK $620, 000
2008

Distiller image analysis software and server

Tilley, Owens, Norman, Findlay, Keefe NHMRC equipment grant $52,000
2007

Automated image analysis system for the high throughput immuno-histochemical analysis of clinical and experimental samples.

Tilley, Owens, Norman, Findlay, Keefe & al NHMRC equipment grant $100,695.83
2007

Triad Mucositis Burden of Illness Study: Chronic mucosal injury study

Elting, Keefe & Sonis Amgen Inc. USD $900,000
2006

Triad Mucositis Burden of Illness Study: Acute mucosal injury cohort expansion

Elting, Keefe & Sonis Amgen Inc. USD $609,000
2006

Chemotherapy-induced diarrhoea: Characterisation of mechanism

D Keefe The Cancer Council South Australia $70,500
2006

Oral mucositis: clinical presentation, histological features and pro-inflammatory cytokine expression

R Logan, R Gibson, D Keefe & S Sonis Australian Dental Research Foundation Inc. (ADRF) $3000
2005

Assessment of an oral supplement in adult cancer patients with mucositis.

R Butler, P Bardy, T Price, J Davidson, D Keefe & J Webster Biotechnology Innovation Fund (BIF) Grant $490,000
2005

Triad Mucositis Burden of Illness Study

Elting, Keefe & Sonis Amgen Inc. USD $3,600,000
2005

Triad Mucositis Burden of Illness Study: project scoping study

Elting, Keefe & Sonis Amgen Inc. US$ 100,000
2005

Investigation of Probiotic effect on mucositis in the DA rat

D Keefe: Joint venture with Professor Claudio de Simone VSL $30,000
2004

Studies to investigate CG53135 for mucositis treatment in the DA rat mammary adenocarcinoma (DAMA) model

D Keefe Curagen USD$300, 000
2004

Oral Mucositis in humans

D Keefe RAH Research Fund $15,000
2003

Studies of KGF/CPT-11 in the DAMA mucositis model

D Keefe RAHCC Internal funding $60,000
2001

Keratinocyte growth factor research in mucositis

D Keefe mgen Inc. $50,000
2001

Further studies in mucositis in rats and humans undergoing cytotoxic chemotherapy f or cancer

 D Keefe Anti-cancer Foundation $54,425
2000

Development of the DAMA model

D Keefe RAHCC Internal Funding $60,000
1999

Mucositis in the rat with breast cancer.

D Keefe The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (TQEH) Research Foundation $10,000
1999

Investigation and prevention of intestinal mucositis after chemotherapy in the rat with breast cancer

D Keefe Anti Cancer Foundation $52,000
1997

Mucositis research

 D Keefe & A Cummins B3 funding University of Adelaide $5,000
1997

Mucositis Research

D Keefe & A Cummins TQEH Research Foundation $5,400
1995

The effect of cancer and chemotherapy on nutrition, and on inducing malabsorption by an immunological mediated enteropathy

D Keefe & A Cummins. Anti-Cancer Foundation $52,000

 Teaching and Training Innovations and Materials Developed

Date Course Details
2011-2017

Chair, Board of Examiners Years 4 and 5, MBBS Curriculum, University of Adelaide

2006

Initiated and chaired the inaugural meeting of the Chairs of Australian Medical School Curriculum Committees

2005

Developed and conducted the inaugural "Exam Setting Workshop" for the Year 5 final barrier exam for the new medical school curriculum.

2004-2005

Inaugural Co-ordinating Examiner for the Year 5 final barrier exam

2003-2005

Chair of Common Program subcommittee of the MBBS Curriculum Committee.

Developed common program for new medical school curriculum

Curriculum Development 

Date Course Details
2004-2005

Member Assessment Committee, MBBS Curriculum

2004-2005

Member of Year 6 Committee

2003-2005

Member of Year 4/5 Committee

2002-2005

Member MBBS Curriculum Committee during development of new curriculum

1999

Member of Oncology Concept Mapping Group for development of Curriculum 2000

 Curriculum Review

Date Course Details
2006

Submission to the University of Adelaide review of the MBBS program on behalf of the curriculum committee

2006

Member of working group developing submission to the Australian Medical Council regarding accreditation of the University of Adelaide MBBS program. Accreditation achieved until 2011.

2005

Royal Adelaide Hospital Physicians’ Committee Curriculum Workshop. Developed and facilitated a review of medical student selection and assessment, as well as course structure, and generated a report for the University of Adelaide

Post Graduate Medical Training

Date Course Details
2006-2014

RACP State representative for assessment of overseas training in Medical Oncology

2006/2011

Re-accredited supervisor for Medical Oncology Trainees of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians

1996-2007

Long-case FRACP trial examiner, Basic Physician Trainees, RAH

1999-2006

Intern Term Supervisor, Medical Oncology

 Communication Skills Training

Date Course Title
2006

NBCC Train the Trainers workshop

Training future facilitators for communications workshops in cancer

2006

Medical Oncology Group of Australia, Trainee Communications Workshop Training Medical Oncology and Palliative Care Advanced Trainees in communication skills, and mentoring newly trained facilitators

2005

American Society for Clinical Oncology/Clinical Oncological Society of Australia (ASCO/COSA) communication skills workshop: Facilitator

Assessment 

Date Course Title
2008-2017

Chair, MBBS, Year 4/5 Board of Examiners

2007

Member of Academic Progress Review Committee Faculty of Health Sciences

2002-2006

OSCE Examiner for Medical School

2000-2010

Local Examiner for Royal Australasian College of Physicians

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  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2014 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Intestinal Microvascular Changes and Matrix Metalloproteinases in Radiotherapy-Induced Gastrointestinal Toxicity Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Romany Laura Stansborough
    2011 - 2012 Co-Supervisor The Safe Administration of Rapid Rituximab Infusion: An Evidence-Based Approach Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Siew Ping Lang
    2011 - 2016 Principal Supervisor In vitro and in vivo Models to assess the mechanism of Lapatinib - Induced Diarrhoea Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mrs Wan Nor I'zzah Wan Mohamad Zain
    2009 - 2013 Co-Supervisor The Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases and their Inhibitors in Irinotecan-Induced Oral Mucositis: An Animal Model Doctor of Clinical Dentistry Doctorate Full Time APrf Abdul Rahman Al 'Azri
    2009 - 2009 Other Contributions to the Early Diagnosis and Modern Management of Breast Cancer Doctor of Medicine Higher Doctorate Full Time Prof Gelareh Farshid
    2009 - 2014 Co-Supervisor Optimising follow-up for women after primary treatment for early breast cancer Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Dr Taryn Bessen
    2009 - 2013 Co-Supervisor Assessment of oral mucositis, oral health outcomes, and implementation of a standardized oral health care protocol for a pediatric inpatient population receiving cancer treatment. Doctor of Clinical Dentistry Doctorate Full Time Dr Akram Fareed Qutob
    2008 - 2008 Other Exploring the Collective Utility of Population-Based & Clinical Cancer Registries in Assessing Epidemiological, Treatment & Outcome Characteristics of Cancer in South Australia Doctor of Medicine Doctorate Full Time Dr Colin Glen Luke
    2008 - 2012 Co-Supervisor Chemotherapy-Induced Mucositis: The Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases and the Extracellular Matrix Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Miss Noor Al-Dasooqi
    2006 - 2009 Principal Supervisor Chemotherapy-Induced Mucositis: The Role of Gastrointestinal Microflora and Mucins in the Luminal Environment Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Andrea Marie Stringer
    2004 - 2008 Principal Supervisor Alimentary Tract Mucositis: NF-KB and Pro-Inflammatory Cytokines in the Tissues and Serum Following Chemotherapy Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Prof Richard Logan
    2002 - 2004 Principal Supervisor Chemotherapy-induced mucositis: Mechanisms of damage, time course of events and possible preventative strategies. Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Rachel Gibson
    2002 - 2006 Co-Supervisor Chemotherapy-Induced Intestinal Mucositis: The Role of Apoptosis Regulators Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time APrf Joanne Bowen
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  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2014 - ongoing Board Member Breast Cancer Network Australia Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2014 - ongoing Member Inaugural Palliative Oncology Meeting ASCO United States
    2014 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting ESMO Spain
    2014 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting MASCC United States
    2013 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting MASCC Germany
    2013 - ongoing Member SA Comprehensive Cancer Consortium Steering Committee SAHMRI Australia
    2013 - 2014 President The Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer
    2012 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting ESMO Austria
    2012 - ongoing Member Clinical Research and Drug and Device Development Pillar Committee SAHMRI Australia
    2012 - ongoing Member Beat Cancer Project Research Leadership Group SAHMRI Australia
    2011 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting MASCC Greece
    2010 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting European Society for Medical Oncology Italy
    2010 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Canada
    2010 - 2012 President The Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer
    2010 - ongoing Member Scientific Advisory Group SA Cancer Research Collaborative Australia
    2009 - 2013 Member South Australian Clinical Senate Australia
    2009 - 2011 Member Cancer Research Advisory Committee The Cancer Council South Australia Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Italy
    2008 - 2010 Vice-President The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer)
    2007 - 2010 Chair Optimising Cancer Care Subcommittee Cancer Clinical Network
    2006 - 2010 Chair Governance Subcommittee MASCC
    2006 - 2008 Member Communication Steering Committee National Breast Cancer Centre Australia
    2006 - 2008 Member Cancer Council Helpline Advisory Panel Cancer Council South Australia Australia
    2006 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/ International Society of Ocular Oncology Canada
    2005 - ongoing Member Annual Scientific Meeting The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/ International Society of Ocular Oncology Switzerland
    2005 - 2006 Member Member Workforce Subcommittee Statewide Cancer Control Plan Australia
    2004 - 2008 Member Board of Directors MASCC Australia
    2004 - 2008 Chair Mucositis Study Group MASCC Australia
    2004 - ongoing Member The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/ International Society of Ocular Oncology The Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer/ International Society of Ocular Oncology United States
    2003 - 2011 Member Board of Directors The Cancer Council South Australia Australia
    2003 - 2006 Member National Grants Steering Committee The Cancer Council Australia Australia
    2003 - 2006 Member Peter Nelson Leukemia Research Fellowship Committee
    2003 - 2006 Chair Cancer Research Advisory Committee The Cancer Council South Australia Australia
    2002 - 2006 Member Education Subcommittee Medical Oncology Group of Australia Australia
    1999 - 2001 Member Cancer Research Advisory Committee The Cancer Council South Australia Australia
  • Position: Professor of Cancer Medicine
  • Phone: 82261510
  • Email: dorothy.keefe@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8222 4358
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Royal Adelaide Hospital, floor 4
  • Org Unit: Medicine

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