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CLEAR Study Approved Research Projects

  • 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 over-treatment 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. 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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Freddy SitasAssociate Professor Freddy Sitas

“Many people think the only way to help research is to give a financial donation, but when it comes to a broad reaching study such as CLEAR, we’re totally reliant on the courage and goodwill of cancer patients in the community.”

Karen CanfelAssociate Professor Karen Canfell

“We have an enormous diversity of lifestyles: we can compare and get meaningful answers about the causes of cancer”