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Approved Research Projects

Posted By ccwebsite On December 9, 2013 @ 2:36 pm In | Comments Disabled

  • Analyses of Cancer Risk Factors in the CLEAR Study-  A/Prof Freddy Sitas

This proposal aims is to examine the relative importance of some of the known and emerging cancer risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use, obesity, sun exposure, sleep, diet, hormone, physical activity, infection related and cancer screening / testing activity on cancer risk, for the cancer types, collected by the CLEAR study.
Data from the completed questionnaires will be used to estimate the odds of developing each cancer type or cancer groupings, in association with each of the above-mentioned exposure. As for the cancers with limited sample sizes, namely the rarer cancers, the association by broader or clinical cancer groupings will be examined. Unconditional logistic regression will be used for the analyses, adjusting for confounding variables such as age, sex, country of birth, socioeconomic status, income and level of education attained, but also other confounders that are deemed to be important, judged on a case by case basis.

  • Exosomal ncRNAs as biomarkers for the diagnosis of Prostate Cancer - Nham Tran

One in nine men will present with prostate cancer in their lifetime.  Accurate diagnosis is key to effective patient treatment and overall survival. Some men are misdiagnosed resulting in the overtreatment of some men and inadequate treatment of men with aggressive disease, which places a great burden on the individual and health resources of a nation.
For all these reason, there is an urgent need discover robust biomarkers for prostate cancer diagnosis and prognosis. A unique set of molecules known as non‐coding RNAs (ncRNA) play a role in the development of many human cancers. The exciting news is that most of these ncRNAs can be found in the blood, urine and saliva and they may provide clues on the nature of the cancer. However, the presence and role of these circulating ncRNAs in prostate cancer remains unexplored.

This project is community focused and measures the expression of ncRNAs in various bodily fluids isolated from prostate cancer patients. NcRNAs will be assessed as potential prostate cancer biomarkers. It is anticipated that ncRNAs signatures will have the power to discriminate between indolent and aggressive prostate cancer disease, thus allowing the clinician to select the most appropriate treatment.

It is anticipated that prostate cancer ncRNA biomarker assays developed in this study will be utilised alongside the current serum PSA screening and prostate biopsy as clinical predictors of disease outcome.
Another community outcome is the strategic development of a new national non‐invasive test for the early detection of prostate cancer. Accurate Population screening in combination with subsequent correct patient prognosis and management is vital for better prostate cancer control. We predict that the development of a test for circulating prostate cancer ncRNA will promote the early diagnosis of prostate cancer and as a result reduce the numbers of men presenting with advance prostate cancer.

  • Relationship between the use of HRT and Breast Cancer Risk – Usha Salagame

There is published evidence that current use of hormone replacement therapies (HRT) leads to an increased risk of breast cancer among women using HRT.  However, hormone replacement therapy still remains an important issue in health care with divided opinion on its benefits and harms.

The PhD project will explore the extent and strength of association between HRT and breast cancer, based on data obtained from cancer patients and their healthy partners.

In particular, this PhD project will focus on information from the CLEAR Study that relates to the use of hormone replacement therapy ( HRT preparation types, duration of use and time since last use). Effects of various other factors, including physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking, migration, ethnicity, reproductive history, occupation, screening behaviour and certain dietary patterns will also be considered.

NSW has one of the most heterogeneous populations in the world. The people of NSW differ widely in their lifestyle and genetic composition. For information that is relevant to the Australian women, an understanding of the risk profile of Australian women in a local setting is required. Analysis of data collected from the NSW population through the CLEAR study is expected to provide this information.

  • Use of Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy and relative risk of Breast Cancer in the CLEAR Study – Louiza Velenztis

The proposed research has the following aims:

  • To develop validated questionnaire items to determine:To conduct a repeated population-based survey to estimate the annual prevalence of use of BHRT and trends in use in Australia over the period 2013-2015.
    • The prevalence of use of BHRT in Australia.
    • What preparations women are switching to after stopping HRT.
    • The reasons women are taking these preparations and their understanding of potential risks associated with their use.
  • To investigate demographic and lifestyle factors related to the use of BHRT
  • To estimate the number of attributable breast cancer cases from exposure to BHRT in Australia over the period 2013-2014.
  • Collaborative group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer – Karen Canfell  (Oxford Collaboration)

CLEAR Study data has been included in a worldwide pooled analysis of hormonal factors and breast cancer risk, which will provide the most comprehensive analysis ever conducted of breast cancer risk in relation to hormone replacement therapy and reproductive factors. The analysis is conducted by an international collaboration based at the University of Oxford, UK which is led by Prof. Dame Valerie Beral and Prof. Sir Richard Peto. The addition of CLEAR data to the collaborative analysis marks the first inclusion of Australian data in the international collaboration. A/Prof Karen Canfell, formerly of the CCNSW, and now at UNSW, and A/Prof Freddy Sitas, Director CCNSW Cancer Research Division, are investigators in the analysis. Results are expected in late 2013.


Completed Projects

What do cancer patients and their partners believe causes cancer? – Simon Willcox


  • To describe beliefs of cancer causation amongst Australian cancer patients and their partners.
  • To add to the knowledge base of cancer risks and ‘myths’.
  • To increase knowledge which can be used to inform cancer prevention efforts

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