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NCCS cancer researchers speak at gathering of world's top scientists at AACR

The National Cancer Centre Singapore is honoured to have its researchers speak at the prestigious American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting in April. 

The AACR is the oldest and largest scientific organisation in the world focused on every aspect of high-quality innovative cancer research. The AACR Annual Meeting programme covers the latest discoveries of cancer research, from population science and prevention; to cancer biology, translational, and clinical studies; to survivorship and advocacy. It highlights the work of the best minds in research and medicine from institutions all over the world.

Professor Teh Bin Tean, Deputy Medical Director of NCCS (Research), was one of 18 researchers invited to speak at the AACR Annual Meeting 2019 Plenary Lecture. This is a tremendous honour as only scientists who are world authority in their fields are invited to give a plenary talk at the event.

There, Prof Teh shared his extensive research on cholangiocarcinoma, which is more commonly known as bile duct cancer.

Endemic in North East of Thailand and its neighbouring Laos and Cambodia due to liver-fluke infection but rare in most parts of the world, bile duct cancer is a highly lethal liver cancer accounting for 10 to 20 percent of deaths from hepatobiliary cancers. The incidence of bile duct cancer is rising worldwide. However patients diagnosed with this disease have a very poor prognosis as it is considered incurable, with no targeted treatments for it.

Prof Teh has been studying bile duct cancer for ten years. At the plenary, he shared that this cancer is associated by various risk factors, such as liver-fluke infection, that lead to changes in the biology of the patients. This means that although patients carry the same cancer type, bile duct cancer of different risk factors requires different targeted treatments.

It was discovered by Prof Teh's team and others, that aristolochic acid (AA) is potentially a new risk factor for bile duct cancer, especially in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore. AA is a natural compound used in traditional herbal medicines for numerous indications.

With an aim to find new targeted treatment strategies for this disease, Prof Teh’s team studied and identified the difference between the various risk factors at the genetic level (i.e. DNA mutations) and the epigenetic level (e.g. chemical modifications on DNA). They discovered that bile duct cancers of different risk factors were enriched in different gene mutations, which suggest different tumour development processes and thus, different treatment targets.

The profiling of genetic and epigenetics of bile duct cancers from different populations and risk factors has prepared Prof Teh's team for an umbrella trial, where they will evaluate multiple therapeutic targets within the disease.


Prof Teh Bin Tean

Deputy Medical Director, NCCS (Research)

Plenary Lecture: Genomic and Epigenomic studies of Cholangiocarcinoma in Diverse Populations.


Dr Melvin Chua

Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist, NCCS

Abstract Presentation: The role of high-dimensional profiling of the systemic immune response on optimal sequencing of radiotherapy and immune checkpoint blockade


Dr Yap Yoon Sim

Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, NCCS

Abstract Presentation: Baseline Circulating Tumour DNA Analysis in Asian Women With HR+/HER2− Advanced Breast Cancer Receiving Ribociclib + Endocrine Therapy in the Phase Ib MONALEESASIA Trial


Dr Darren Lim

Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, NCCS

Abstract Presentation: Phase II study of spartalizumab (PDR001) vs chemotherapy (CT) in patients with recurrent/metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC)


Dr Joanne Ngeow

Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, NCCS

Abstract Presentation: IL13RA2 is differentially regulated in papillary thyroid carcinoma versus follicular thyroid carcinoma