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Personalised risk evaluation in DCIS: are there molecular biomarkers that can predict which DCIS are at higher risk for recurrence?

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  • Full or part time
    Dr K. Gorringe
    Prof I. Campbell
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Breast screening using mammography has seen an increased detection of not only invasive breast cancer, but also pre-invasive lesions such as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). The clinical management of DCIS is problematical due to a lack of accurate prognostic and predictive tests. If recurrence risk could be accurately estimated, those with low risk disease could be offered surgery only, and those with high risk of recurrence have excision plus radiotherapy or a full mastectomy, thus optimising patient outcomes while minimising treatment toxicity. Thus, our principal research question is: are there molecular biomarkers that can predict which DCIS are at higher risk for recurrence?

The project will involve molecular analysis of DCIS cases both with and without later recurrence to identify potential biomarkers, which may include DNA mutations, copy number changes, and gene expression. Techniques will include DNA/RNA extraction from tumour tissue, analysis by next-generation sequencing and/or a Nanostring expression assay. Analysis using in situ methods such as immunohistochemistry and FISH may also be undertaken.

The Gorringe lab focuses on cancer precision medicine: applying genomics to clinical questions in breast and ovarian cancers.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne Australia
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre is Australia’s only public hospital solely dedicated to cancer, and home to the largest cancer research group in Australia. Cancer is a complex set of diseases, and modern cancer research institutes such as Peter Mac conduct research covering a diversity of topics that range from laboratory-based studies into the fundamental mechanisms of cell growth, translational studies that seek more accurate cancer diagnosis, clinical trials with novel treatments, and research aimed to improve supportive care.
All students engaged in postgraduate studies at Peter Mac are enrolled in the Comprehensive Cancer PhD (CCPhD) program, regardless of which university they are enrolled through. The program is managed by the Sir Peter MacCallum Department of Oncology (The University of Melbourne), based at Peter Mac.

Tapping into the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience offered by the ten partners of the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) alliance, the University of Melbourne’s Comprehensive Cancer PhD Program provides a unique opportunity for multidisciplinary cancer-related PhD candidates to experience clinical and research activities across the alliance.

The Comprehensive Cancer PhD program builds on established conventional training for cancer research students providing a coordinated program of skills, research and career training in addition to usual PhD activities. The program is designed to complement existing PhD activities and provides opportunities to develop professional skills that will help candidates to fulfil their career ambitions.

Funding Notes

All PhD students at Peter Mac must have a scholarship from The University of Melbourne or through another government, trust or philanthropic organisation. Before applying for a scholarship, you must have agreed on a project with an institute supervisor.

For further information about the university application process, see:

For further information regarding scholarships (both local and international), see:
Closing dates for applications for scholarships to commence in 2019: Round 1 -31 October 2018; Round 2 - 28 Nov 2018; Round 3 - 20 Feb 2019.

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