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Tan Chin Tuan Lab of Optical Imaging and Photodynamic & Proton Therapy

​Research heads:Professor Khee Chee SOO

Dr Melvin CHUA

​​Research teams:​Dr Adelene SIM
Dr Eugenia YEO
Dr Haitao WANG
Kar Perng LOW (Lab manager)
Pek Lim CHU
Dennis POON
Dewi SUSANTI (Lab admin)
​Clinical Research Coordinators:​Enya ONG
Wai Yee WOO

​Dr Wen Long NEI (PhD)
Dr Kevin CHUA
Dr Janice TAN
Dr Kai YAO

Dr Zhongguo LIANG

Dr Guan Qiao JIN

The focus of our laboratories, which is led by two clinician-scientists, centres on four topics in two dominant cancers in Singapore—prostate cancer (3rd most common) and nasopharynx and head and neck cancers (7th most common among males). These topics are:

1) To characterise the molecular landscape of radioresistant and lethal metastatic prostate and head and neck cancers;

2) To develop novel prognostic and predictive biomarkers in these tumour types to improve clinical stratification and precise treatment matching;

3) To apply novel therapeutic strategies clinically, including proton beam therapy (PBT), photodynamic therapy (PDT), and targeted drugs/nanotherapeutics to improve the therapeutic ratio of these modalities in the management of treatment-refractory tumours; and, finally,

4) To incorporate large “–omics” datasets, including molecular (genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics), pathological, and imaging (radiomics) datasets to build robust models that can personalise risk stratification and therapies in patients with these cancers.

Our research activities are largely funded by several national-level and institutional grants, amounting to more than SGD3 mil in research funding. Of note, Prof. Soo is the Lead PI on a National-level project that is being funded by the National Research Foundation exploring the radiobiological effects of PBT.

Amongst our key discoveries in the different topics, our group has;

1) developed a novel prognostic index (PRANCIS – to personalise treatment recommendations for patients with radioresistant nasopharyngeal cancer;

2) clinically implemented PDT in a pilot cohort of patients with recurrent head and neck cancer, who have failed all other lines of treatment; and

3) harmonised two pipelines (Pyradiomics and MODDICOM) for in-depth radiomics analyses of real-time, treatment-captured, cone-beam CT images for adaptive radiotherapy planning in patients with nasopharyngeal cancer.


Selected publications:

  1. Espiritu SM, Liu L, Rubanova Y, et al. The Evolutionary Landscape of Localized
    Prostate Cancers Drives Clinical Aggression. Cell. 2018;173:1003–1013. e15.
  2. Li YQ, Tian YM, Tan SH, , et al. A Prognostic Model for Stratification of Radioresistant Nasopharynx Cancer to Curative Salvage Radiotherapy. J Clin Oncol. 2018;36:891–899.
  3. Fraser M, Sabelnykova V, Yamaguchi TN, et al. Genomic hallmarks of localized,
    non-indolent prostate cancer. Nature. 2017;541:359–364.
  4. Chua ML, Lo W, Pintilie M, et al. A Prostate Cancer “Nimbosus”: Genomic
    instability and SChLAP1 dysregulation underpins aggression of intraductal and
    cribriform sub-pathologies. Eur Urol. 2017; 72:665–674. (Accorded Platinum Priority and Cover Page of Issue)
  5. Chua ML, Wee J, Hui EP, Chan AT. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Lancet. 2016;387:1012–1024.