Breast cancer research | Chris O'Brien Lifehouse


Research Highlights

Chris O’Brien Lifehouse’s breast cancer research programme helps our patients to access cutting edge treatments that deliver the best possible outcomes.

The breast cancer multidisciplinary team encompasses specialist breast cancer surgeons, pathologists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who collaborate in breast cancer research. A recent study from the group exemplifies the multidisciplinary research done by this group and the longstanding collaboration with The Kinghorn Cancer Centre/ Garvan Institute Breast Cancer Research Group. Local recurrence and distant failure after adjuvant radiation therapy for breast cancer remain significant clinical problems, incompletely predicted by conventional clinicopathologic markers. The expression of putatice microRNA biomarkers were assessed in a contemporary, prospectively collected series of 458 patients treated with radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery. Biomarkers of DNA repair and cell cycle control can identify patients at high risk of treatment failure (local recurrence) in those receiving radiation therapy for early breast cancer in independent cohorts. These should be further investigated prospectively, especially TOP2A and SKP2, for which targeted therapies are available.

This year has been highly productive with regards to setting up new breast cancer research projects in particular with regard to clinical care of breast cancer patients. The group has commenced a pivotal study looking at the assessment of skin flap viability by a new technology, laser assisted indocyanine green angiography (SPY). This study examines how the SPY assessment impacts a surgeon’s decision making in breast reconstruction surgery. The breast cancer research group is also working on projects as diverse as the use of new radiology techniques in breast cancer surgery, the use of different dressings and a study assessing radiology findings in Breastscreen patients and the association with pre-cancerous lesions.


  1. An update in breast cancer screening and management

Sanjay Warrier · Grace Tapia · David Goltsman · Jane Beith

Article · Dec 2015 · Women s Health (Med Onc and Breast)

  1. PDL1 expression in triple-negative breast cancer is associated with tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes and improved outcome

Rhiannon K Beckers · Christina I Selinger · Ricardo Vilain · Jason Madore · James S Wilmott · Kate Harvey · Anne Holliday · Caroline L Cooper · Elizabeth Robbins · David Gillett · […] · Sanjay Warrier · Harriet E Gee · Charles Chan · Anna McLean · Emily Walker · Catriona M McNeil · Jane M Beith · Alexander Swarbrick · Richard A Scolyer · Sandra A O’Toole ·


Article · Nov 2015 · Histopathology (Med Onc and Breast)

  1. microRNA-related DNA repair/cell-cycle genes independently associated with relapse following radiotherapy for early breast cancer

Harriet E. Gee · Francesca M. Buffa · Adrian L. Harris · Joanne M. Toohey · Susan L. Carroll · Caroline L. Cooper · Jane Beith · Catriona McNeil · Hugh Carmalt · Cindy Mak · Sanjay Warrier · Anne Holliday · Christina Selinger · Rhiannon Beckers · Catherine Kennedy · Peter Graham · Alexander Swarbrick · Ewan K.A. Millar · Sandra A. O’Toole · Timothy Molloy


Article · Sep 2015 · International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics (Med Onc and Breast and Rad Onc)

  1. Bilateral prophylactic mastectomy in Australia: Time for a rethink?
  2. Hwang · S. Warrier · C. Mak · H. Carmalt

Article · Jun 2015 · The Breast

  1. Geospatial variability of breast cancer according to age: the royal prince Alfred experience
  2. Goltsman · S. Warrier · E. Bruce · C. Mak · H. Carmalt

Article · Jun 2015 · The Breast

  1. A novel method of analyzing and initiating a targeted intervention for populations at risk of late-stage breast cancer
  2. Goltsman · S. Warrier · E. Bruce · C. Mak · H. Carmalt

Article · Jun 2015 · The Breast

  1. Positive anterior margins in breast conserving surgery: Does it matter?: A systematic review of the literature

S.C. Ang · G. Tapia · E.J. Davidson · B. Kahramangil · C. Mak · H. Carmalt · S. Warrier

Article · Jun 2015 · The Breast

  1. Phyllodes tumour with heterologous sarcomatous differentiation: Case series with literature review

Sanjay Warrier · Sang Y. Hwang · Keagan Gibbings · Hugh Carmalt · Sandra O’Toole

  1. ASCT2/SLC1A5 controls glutamine uptake and tumour growth in triple-negative basal-like breast cancer. van Geldermalsen M, Wang Q, Nagarajah R, Marshall AD, Thoeng A, Gao D, Ritchie W, Feng Y, Bailey CG, Deng N, Harvey K, Beith JM, Selinger CI, O’Toole SA, Rasko JE, Holst J. Oncogene. 2015 Oct 12. doi: 10.1038/onc.2015.381. (Med Onc and Breast)
  2. 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


2016                       National Breast Cancer Foundation Practitioner Fellowship $700 000 for 4 years

2016                       NHMRC Project Grant Mechanistic and functional analysis of the Id4 proto-oncogene in breast cancer CIA Swarbrick, CIB Carroll, CIC Cowley, CID O’Toole

2014                       Translating genomics into health outcomes: a genomic cancer medicine program. CI’s: Thomas DM, Simes J, Cowley M, Dinger M, Epstein R, Goldstein D, Goodwin A, Horvath LG, Jacobs C, Kirk J, Lee C, Mann G, Marshall G, Meiser B, Meldrum C, Newson A, Orchard P, O’Toole SA, Roscioli T, Sjoquist K, Spigelman A

Funding Source: NSW Office for Health and Medical Research

Years covered: 2014-2018

Amount: AU $7 000 000

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