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Contact Details

  Street address:
Level 11, KGV Building
Missenden Road
CAMPERDOWN NSW 2050
 
Postal address:
Post Office Box M30
Missenden Road NSW 2050

Phone: (02) 9515-6111
Fax: (02) 9515-9610

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Molecular Cancer Research

Our Research

Molecular Cancer Research, a unit based in the Dept of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology at RPA Hospital, is one of the leading groups in Australia working on the implementation of molecular testing in a wide range of cancers. Our research in lung cancer and melanoma has been influential and practice changing highlighting the use of cost effective methods to screen for actionable molecular aberrations. Other advances in a greater understanding of molecular changes in a range of cancers have been made in breast cancer, prostate cancer, head and neck cancers and gynaecological cancers among others. We are developing a particular focus on rare cancers which are currently poorly understood and often have limited effective treatment options. We hope that using advanced next generation sequencing technologies we will identify potentially treatable or diagnostically important molecular changes to ultimately improve outcome for cancer patients.

 
Molecular Cancer Research is supported by generous donations from:
 
ICAP and the O'Sullivan Family
Mr David Paradice
Mr Anton Tagliaferro (The Tag Family Foundation)
Mr Wallace Donald
The Estate of the late Kylie Sinclair
Ms Johanna Vaughan in memory of Nik Fisher

Key Achievements

  • A comprehensive study showing cost effective immunohistochemistry can be used to screen for rare lung cancer translocations - this study contributed to the current funding of testing for ALK gene rearrangement to allow lung cancer patients to access an expensive new targeted treatment Crizotinib.
  • Identification that a gene translocation in prostate cancer may contribute to treatment resistance as part of an international study published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications.
  • Identification that amplification of the MYC gene in HER2 amplified breast cancer may make these cancers even more aggressive, published in Oncogene.

 

Awards/Medals

  • The role of p16 expression in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Satgunaseelan L (DS Nelson Prize Runner Up, Pathology Update, Melbourne 2015).
  • Poster presentations for Satgunaseelan L, Gupta R, Madore J, Chia N, Lum T, Palme CE, Boyer M, Scolyer RA, Clark JR. Programmed Cell Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) Expression in Oral Cavity Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC). USCAP 2016 Annual Meeting, Seattle, USA.

Research Staff

  • Clinical Professor Sandra O'Toole
  • A/Prof Wendy Cooper
  • A/Prof Ruta Gupta
  • Dr Jerry Wei
  • Ms Cassandra Kavanagh
  • Ms Susan Wan
  • Dr Ana Cristina Vargas Calderon
  • Dr Spiridoula Kraitsek
  • Dr Jie Qian

Publications and Presentations

Publication Details:
  1. ELF5 Drives Lung Metastasis in Luminal Breast Cancer through Recruitment of Gr1+ CD11b+ Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells. Gallego-Ortega D, Ledger A, Roden DL, Law AM, Magenau A, Kikhtyak Z, Cho C, Allerdice SL, Lee HJ, Valdes-Mora F, Herrmann D, Salomon R, Young AI, Lee BY, Sergio CM, Kaplan W, Piggin C, Conway JR, Rabinovich B, Millar EK, Oakes SR, Chtanova T, Swarbrick A, Naylor MJ, O'Toole S, Green AR, Timpson P, Gee JM, Ellis IO, Clark SJ, Ormandy CJ. PLoS Biol. 2015 Dec 30;13(12):e1002330. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002330. eCollection 2015 Dec.
  2. Salivary duct carcinoma: Clinicopathologic features, morphologic spectrum, and somatic mutations. Luk PP, Weston JD, Yu B, Selinger CI, Ekmejian R, Eviston TJ, Lum T, Gao K, Boyer M, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Head Neck. 2015 Dec 24. doi: 10.1002/hed.24332. [Epub ahead of print].
  3. PDL1 expression in triple-negative breast cancer is associated with tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and improved outcome. Beckers RK, Selinger CI, Vilain R, Madore J, Wilmott JS, Harvey K, Holliday A, Cooper CL, Robbins E, Gillett D, Kennedy CW, Gluch L, Carmalt H, Mak C, Warrier S, Gee HE, Chan C, McLean A, Walker E, McNeil CM, Beith JM, Swarbrick A, Scolyer RA, O'Toole SA. Histopathology. 2015 Nov 20. doi: 10.1111/his.12904. [Epub ahead of print]
  4. MicroRNA-Related DNA Repair/Cell-Cycle Genes Independently Associated With Relapse After Radiation Therapy for Early Breast Cancer. Gee HE, Buffa FM, Harris AL, Toohey JM, Carroll SL, Cooper CL, Beith J, McNeil C, Carmalt H, Mak C, Warrier S, Holliday A, Selinger C, Beckers R, Kennedy C, Graham P, Swarbrick A, Millar EK, O'Toole SA, Molloy T. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Dec 1;93(5):1104-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2015.08.046. Epub 2015 Sep 3. PMID: 2658114.
  5. HER2 insertion YVMA mutant lung cancer: Long natural history and response to afatinib.Li BT, Lee A, O'Toole S, Cooper W, Yu B, Chaft JE, Arcila ME, Kris MG, Pavlakis N. Lung Cancer. 2015 Dec;90(3):617-9. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2015.10.025. Epub 2015 Oct 29. PMID: 26559459.
  6. Mammary analogue secretory carcinoma: an evaluation of its clinicopathological and genetic characteristics. Luk PP, Selinger CI, Eviston TJ, Lum T, Yu B, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Pathology. 2015 Dec;47(7):659-66. doi: 10.1097/PAT.0000000000000322. PMID: 26517645.
  7. MicroRNA profiling of the pubertal mouse mammary gland identifies miR-184 as a candidate breast tumour suppressor gene. Phua YW, Nguyen A, Roden DL, Elsworth B, Deng N, Nikolic I, Yang J, Mcfarland A, Russell R, Kaplan W, Cowley MJ, Nair R, Zotenko E, O'Toole S, Tan SX, James DE, Clark SJ, Kouros-Mehr H, Swarbrick A. Breast Cancer Res. 2015 Jun 13;17:83. doi: 10.1186/s13058-015-0593-0. PMID: 26070602.
  8. PD-L1 expression is a favorable prognostic factor in early stage non-small cell carcinoma. Cooper WA, Tran T, Vilain RE, Madore J, Selinger CI, Kohonen-Corish M, Yip P, Yu B, O'Toole SA, McCaughan BC, Yearley JH, Horvath LG, Kao S, Boyer M, Scolyer RA. Lung Cancer. 2015 Aug;89(2):181-8. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2015.05.007. Epub 2015 May 18. PMID: 26024796.
  9. BRAF mutations in non-small cell lung cancer. Luk PP, Yu B, Ng CC, Mercorella B, Selinger C, Lum T, Kao S, O'Toole SA, Cooper WA. Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2015 Apr;4(2):142-8. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2218-6751.2014.08.08. PMID: 25870796 Free PMC Article.
  10. The suitability of small biopsy and cytology specimens for EGFR and other mutation testing in non-small cell lung cancer. Wang S, Yu B, Ng CC, Mercorella B, Selinger CI, O'Toole SA, Cooper WA. Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2015 Apr;4(2):119-25. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2218-6751.2015.01.05.
  11. Equivocal ALK fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) cases may benefit from ancillary ALK FISH probe testing. Selinger C, Cooper W, Lum T, McNeil C, Morey A, Waring P, Amanuel B, Millward M, Peverall J, Van Vliet C, Christie M, Tran Y, Diakos C, Pavlakis N, Gill AJ, O'Toole S. Histopathology. 2015 Nov;67(5):654-63. doi: 10.1111/his.12708. Epub 2015 May 24. PMID: 25847523.
  12. ID4 controls mammary stem cells and marks breast cancers with a stem cell-like phenotype. Junankar S, Baker LA, Roden DL, Nair R, Elsworth B, Gallego-Ortega D, Lacaze P, Cazet A, Nikolic I, Teo WS, Yang J, McFarland A, Harvey K, Naylor MJ, Lakhani SR, Simpson PT, Raghavendra A, Saunus J, Madore J, Kaplan W, Ormandy C, Millar EK, O'Toole S, Yun K, Swarbrick A. Nat Commun. 2015 Mar 27;6:6548. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7548.
  13. Cell cycle marker expression in benign and malignant intraductal papillary lesions of the breast. Loh SF, Cooper C, Selinger CI, Barnes EH, Chan C, Carmalt H, West R, Gluch L, Beith JM, Caldon CE, O'Toole S. J Clin Pathol. 2015 Mar;68(3):187-91. doi: 10.1136/jclinpath-2014-202331. Epub 2014 Dec 12.
  14. Cooper, W.A., Preface—Molecular genetics of lung cancer. Translational Lung Cancer Research. 2015; 4:109.
  15. Kao, S.C., Fulham, M., Wong, K., Cooper, W., Sagong, J.O. Boyer, M. Pattison, S., Brahmbhatt, H., MacDiarmid, J., Reid, G., van Zandwijk, N. A significant metabolic and radiological response following a novel targeted microRNA-based treatment approach in malignant pleural mesothelioma. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2015; 191:1467-1469.
  16. Williams M, Kirschner MB, Cheng YY, Hanh J, Weiss J, Mugridge N, Wright CM, Linton A, Kao SC, Edelman JB, Vallely MP, McCaughan BC, Cooper W, Klebe S, Lin RCY, Brahmbhatt H, MacDiarmid J, van Zandwijk N, Reid G.  miR-193a-3p is a potential tumor suppressor in malignant pleural mesothelioma. Oncotarget. 2015; 6:23480-95.
  17. A detailed clinicopathologic study of ALK-translocated papillary thyroid carcinoma. Chou A, Fraser S, Toon CW, Clarkson A, Sioson L, Farzin M, Cussigh C, Aniss A, O'Neill C, Watson N, Clifton-Bligh RJ, Learoyd DL, Robinson BG, Selinger CI, Delbridge LW, Sidhu SB, O'Toole SA, Sywak M, Gill AJ. Am J Surg Pathol. 2015 May;39(5):652-9. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000000368. PMID: 25501013
  18. Parotidectomy: surgery in evolution. Eviston TJ, Yabe TE, Gupta R, Ebrahimi A, Clark JR. ANZ J Surg. 2015 Jul 14. doi: 10.1111/ans.13212. [Epub ahead of print]
  19. Salivary gland lesions: recent advances and evolving concepts. Gupta R, Balasubramanian D, Clark JR. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2015 Jun;119(6):661-74. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2015.02.481. Epub 2015 Mar 2. Review.
  20. Perineural invasion in oral squamous cell carcinoma: quantitative subcategorisation of perineural invasion and prognostication. Aivazian K, Ebrahimi A, Low TH, Gao K, Clifford A, Shannon K, Clark JR, Gupta R.J Surg Oncol. 2015 Mar;111(3):352-8. doi: 10.1002/jso.23821. Epub 2014 Oct 31.
  21. INPP4B is highly expressed in prostate intermediate cells and its loss of expression in prostate carcinoma predicts for recurrence and poor long term survival. Rynkiewicz NK, Fedele CG, Chiam K, Gupta R, Kench JG, Ooms LM, McLean CA, Giles GG, Horvath LG, Mitchell CA. Prostate. 2015 Jan;75(1):92-102. doi: 10.1002/pros.22895. Epub 2014 Oct 4.
  22. Extraprostatic extension (EPE) of prostatic carcinoma: is its proximity to the surgical margin or Gleason score important? Gupta R, O'Connell R, Haynes AM, Stricker PD, Barrett W, Turner JJ, Delprado W, Horvath LG, Kench JG. BJU Int. 2015 Sep;116(3):343-50. doi: 10.1111/bju.12911. Epub 2014 Dec 15.

Presentations:

Conference Papers and Presentations:

Clinical Professor Sandra O’Toole:
  1. Asia Pacific International Academy of Pathology Brisbane June 2015 – invited lecture “The Molecular Pathology of Breast Cancer”.
  2. Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) – Nov 2015, Tasmania Rare cancers: Convener and presenter Molecular pathology workshop.Invited lecture “Opportunities and Challenges of Cancer Mutation Testing”.
  3. Tumor PIK3CA genotype and prognosis: A pooled analysis of 4,241 patients (pts) with early-stage breast cancer (BC). Conference Journal of Clinical Oncology 33(suppl):516 6 May 2015. ASCO Authors: Dimitrios Zardavas, Luc Te Marvelde, Roger Milne, Heikki Joensuu, Mary Ellen Moynahan, Bryan Hennessy, Ivan Bieche, Lao H Saal, Olle Stal, Barry Iacopetta, Jeanette Dupont Jensen, Sandra O'Toole, Mattia Barbareschi, Shinzaburo Noguchi, Enrique Lerma, Qing Wang, Martine J. Piccart-Gebhart, Christos Sotiriou, Stefan Michiels, Sherene Loi.
  4. Abstract 2962: LRH-1 expression in breast cancer tissue and its association with phenotype and DNA methylation  Jia-Min Pang · Ashwini Chand · Kevin Knower · Elena Takano · David Byrne · Evelien Sprenkeler · Ramyar Molania · Ewan Millar · Soon Lee · Sandra O'Toole · Colin Clyne · Alexander Dobrovic · Stephen Fox Cancer Research 08/2015; 75(15 Supplement):2962-2962. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-2962.
  5. Article: 95P * Targeting the ASCT2 glutamine uptake and metabolism pathway in triple-negative breast cancer  M. van Geldermalsen · Q. Wang · C. G. Bailey · Y. Feng · R. Nagarajah · A. Marshall · A. Thoeng · S. O'Toole · J. E. J. Rasko · J. Holst Annals of Oncology 05/2015; 26(suppl 3):iii32-iii32. DOI:10.1093/annonc/mdv121.04 · 7.04 Impact Factor.
  6. 93P * Targeting the hedgehog signalling pathway in triple negative breast cancer . Mun Hui · Aurelie Cazet · Y. Jessica · C. Cooper · A. McFarland · R. Nair · Sandra O'Toole · Alexander Swarbrick Annals of Oncology 05/2015; 26(suppl 3):iii31-iii31. DOI:10.1093/annonc/mdv121.02 · 7.04 Impact Factor.

A/Prof Ruta Gupta:

  1. Convenor, Head and Neck Pathology session at the International Academy of Pathologists, Asia Pacific Chapter (Brisbane 2015).
  2. Invited speaker Diagnostic Surgical Pathology Course 2015
  3. Salivary gland tumours and fluorescent in situ hybridisation (Brisbane 2015, APIAP)
  4. Squamous lesions of the larynx (Cairns 2015, World Congress on Larynx Cancer)
  5. Satgunaseelan L, Virk SA, Lum T, Iyer NG, Gupta R,  Clark JR. A geographical comparison of p16 expression in squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the tongue. International Academy of Pathology Asia-Pacific Division Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane 2015.
  6. Satgunaseelan L, Virk SA, Lum T, Gao K, Clark JR, Gupta R. The role of p16 expression in the Prognostication of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC). Chris O'Brien Lifehouse Research Symposium, Sydney 2015.
  7. Satgunaseelan L, Gupta R, Madore J, Chia N, Lum T, Palme CE, Boyer M, Scolyer RA, Clark JR. Programmed Cell Death-Ligand 1 (PD-L1) Expression in Oral Cavity Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC). Chris O'Brien Lifehouse Research Symposium, Sydney 2015
  8. Luk PP, Selinger CI, Eviston TJ, Ekmejian R, Foo D, Tay J, Gao K, Ch’ng S, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Diagnostic and prognostic utility of MYB gene rearrangement detected by fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) in adenoid cystic carcinoma. International Academy of Pathology Asia-Pacific Division Annual Scientific Meeting, Brisbane 2015.
  9. Luk PP, Weston JD, Yu B, Selinger CI, Ekmejian R, Eviston TJ, Lum T, Gao K, Boyer M, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Salivary duct carcinoma: Clinicopathologic features, morphologic spectrum, and somatic mutations. Clinical Oncology Society of Australia 42nd Annual Scientific Meeting, Hobart 2015.
  10. Luk PP, Selinger CI, Eviston TJ, Ekmejian R, Foo D, Tay J, Gao K, Ch’ng S, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Diagnostic and prognostic utility of MYB gene rearrangement detected by fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) in adenoid cystic carcinoma. RCPA Pathology Update, Melbourne 2015.
  11. Luk PP, Wykes J, Selinger CI, Ekmejian R, Tay J, Gao K, Eviston TJ, Lum T, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Diagnostic and prognostic utility of Mastermind-like 2 (MAML2) gene rearrangement detected by fluorescent in-situ hybridization (FISH) in mucoepidermoid carcinoma. RCPA Pathology Update, Melbourne 2015.
  12. Luk PP, Weston JD, Yu B, Selinger CI, Ekmejian R, Eviston TJ, Lum T, Gao K, Boyer M, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Salivary duct carcinoma: Clinicopathologic features, morphologic spectrum, and somatic mutations. RCPA Pathology Update, Melbourne 2015.
  13. Luk PP, Selinger CI, Eviston TJ, Lum T, Yu B, O'Toole SA, Clark JR, Gupta R. Mammary analogue secretory carcinoma: an evaluation of its clinicopathological and genetic characteristics. RCPA Pathology Update, Melbourne 2015.
A/Prof Wendy Cooper:
  1. Mutation testing in lung cancer – bringing cancer genetic testing into clinical practice. Sydney Catalyst International Translational Cancer Research Symposium, 2015, Sydney.

Research Grants

GRANTING BODY AWARDEES PROJECT TITLE Total $$ Years
Cancer Council NSW Project Grant  Dinger CIA, O’Toole CIB, Gupta CIF Genetic stratification of highly heterogeneous tumours of the head and neck, pituitary and skull base. $360 000 over 3 years  $    360,000 2015
CI NSW Research Equipment Grant Nico van Zandwijk, Glen Reid, Ruby CY Lin, Markus Seibel, Mark Cowley, Nikola Bowden, Wendy Cooper, Steven Kao, Lisa Horvath and Derek Hart. Expanding Basic, Clinical and Functional Genomic Cancer Research at Concord Campus.  $    385,470 2015

Contact details for department

Head of Department: Professor Sandra O'Toole

Department/Unit: Molecular Cancer Research
Address:
Other
Dept of Tissue Pathology and Diagnostic Oncology Building 94 Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Camperdown NSW 2050
Telephone: (02) 9515 7182
Facsimile: (02) 9515 8405
Web: http://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/research/
Email: sandra.otoole@sswahs.nsw.gov.au