Dr. Lickley's primary research interest is in the conduct of breast cancer prevention trials. She is the principal investigator at Women's College for the first and second Breast Cancer Prevention Studies (BCPT and STAR) under the auspices of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP). BCPT randomized women to Tamoxifen (a selective estrogen receptor modulator or SERM) versus placebo and showed that Tamoxifen reduced the incident cases of breast cancer by nearly 50 per cent. STAR compared 2 SERMS, Tamoxifen and Raloxifene, which were equivalent in terms of breast cancer reduction but Raloxifene had fewer adverse effects. Dr. Lickley is currently also principal investigator at Women's College Hospital for the Breast Cancer Prevention Study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute of Canada (ExCel). This study is comparing the aromatase inhibitor, Exemestane, to placebo and accrual is ongoing. Dr. Lickley also looks forward to opening the new NSABP Breast Cancer Prevention Study. She works closely with clinicians at the Henrietta Banting Breast Cancer Centre.
Dr. Lickley is also part of a research team looking at clinical-pathological and molecular biology interactions in breast cancer. Together with Dr. Maureen Trudeau, she is completing a long-term study "Ten Year Survivors of Breast Cancer: At What Cost in Human and Physician Terms." Dr. Lickley, together with Dr. Kathleen Pritchard was instrumental in setting up the Henrietta Banting Breast Cancer database, now under the leadership of Dr. Steven Narod.
Dr. Lickley's earlier studies were carried out in collaboration with Dr. Mladen Vranic in the physiology department and examined metabolic and hormonal responses to stress.