The Breast Surgical Oncology Team from NCCS consists of Drs Veronique Tan, Yong Wei Sean, Benita Tan, Preetha Madhukumar, Sim Yirong, Lim Sue Zann, Julie Liana Bte Hamzah and Tan Si Ying. As a team, we are active in both clinical and translational breast cancer research. The overarching aims are to investigate breast cancer biology and improve diagnosis, treatment and clinical outcomes. In addition, research is also actively being done in the areas of phyllodes tumours and breast sarcomas.
Ongoing clinical research includes efforts to characterise aspects of breast cancer in the Asian population. We explore the spectrum of breast cancers, from in-situ cancers (DCIS) to locally advanced cancers, and analyse special populations - such as pregnancy associated breast cancers, genetic carriers, young patients and the very elderly, to identify peculiarities and unmet needs. As NCCS treats the majority of Singapore’s breast cancers, we also actively identify factors that influence patients in treatment related decision-making, patient reported outcomes and survivorship care issues unique to the Singapore population.
Significant efforts also go to advancing loco-regional treatment of breast cancer. Examples include a Phase II trial on the use of INTRABEAM intra-operative radiotherapy for ductal carcinoma in-situ and have also embarked on a pilot study on the role and utility of the novel tracer SentiMag® for sentinel lymph node identification. A/Prof Veronique Tan was awarded the SingHealth Duke-NUS Oncology ACP Breast Cancer: Tackling Cancer Progression Grant to investigate the feasibility and accuracy of the novel SaviScout® device and the role of targeted axillary dissection for advanced-stage breast cancer patients with clinical complete nodal response post neoadjuvant systemic therapy.
On the translational research front, our clinician scientist, Clin Asst Prof Sim Yirong won the SingHealth Strategic Scientific Start up Grant to characterise the molecular profiling of breast fibroepithelial lesions. She studies the novel genomic assay as a potential adjunctive diagnostic tool, in collaboration the Department of Pathology, headed by Prof Tan Puay Hoon, and the Integrated Genomics Platform, NCCS, headed by Prof Teh Bin Tean. She is also the recipient of the NCCS Cancer Fund (Research) to study the role of inflammation and breast cancer. A/Prof Veronique Tan and A/Prof Benita Tan, together with Prof Kanaga Sabapathy received the NCCS Project Grant to investigate how the microenvironment of a breast cancer influences cancer growth. Work is also being done with Prof Ann Lee to explore the efficacy of circulatory micro-RNA signatures as non-invasive markers for breast cancer diagnosis.
In addition to the extensive successful collaborations with scientists and clinicians from various disciplines at NCCS, SGH and Duke-NUS, we also partner with other institutions both locally and overseas. These include multiple collaborations with researchers at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (NUS) to study our national breast cancer cohort epidemiology and economic dimensions; the National Technological University of Singapore (NTU) to study gene regulators in breast cancer cells; and A*STAR and Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB). Regional collaborations include the regional breast cancer survival and outcomes in partnership with the University of Malaya Medical Centre; as well as international collaborations on genomic assays with the University of Hong Kong, Koo Foundation Sun Yat-Sen Cancer Center (KFSYSCC), Taiwan, Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH), South Korea, Sanger Institute, UK and Karolinska Institute, Sweden.
The Breast Surgical Oncology Team:
Selected References (highlighted names are members of SD Breast Team):
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