Search
What are you looking for?
Start main content

Press Releases

Press Releases

https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cuhk-unravels-the-whole-genome-of-nasopharyngeal-cancer-a-great-leap-forward-in-personalized-medicine-development
https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cuhk-unravels-the-whole-genome-of-nasopharyngeal-cancer-a-great-leap-forward-in-personalized-medicine-development

CUHK Unravels the Whole Genome of Nasopharyngeal Cancer A Great Leap Forward in Personalized Medicine Development

Researchers of the Faculty of Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) conducted a systematic study to unravel the whole genome of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).  The groundbreaking findings will facilitate the prognosis assessment as well as the development of personalized medicine for NPC patients.  The findings have been published in the leading international scientific journal Nature Communications.

 

NPC is a common type of cancer in Hong Kong and in other parts of Southern China.  It is one of the most aggressive head and neck cancers and frequently metastasizes to distant lymph nodes and organs. According to the Hong Kong Cancer Registry[1], there are more than 800 new local cases of NPC every year.  NPC is characterized by the infection of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV).  Due to the intrinsic invasiveness and asymptomatic nature of the disease, 60% to 70% of NPC patients are diagnosed with advanced diseases with poor outcome.

 

Lack of comprehensive genomic data of NPC

To determine the genomic landscape of EBV-positive NPC, researchers of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK analysed the tumour specimens derived from over 100 NPC patients in 2015 to 2016.  The median age of the subjects is 49 years old and more than 70% of them are male.  They performed whole-exome sequencing on the specimens and some cases were subjected to further whole-genome sequencing.  The researchers identified a higher degree of somatic mutation and structural variation in NPC than previously recognized.  They also discovered several novel genomic events that facilitate NPC growth such as the inactivating mutation in regulatory proteins of the inflammation pathway ‘NF-κB’.

 

Prof. Anthony Tak Cheung CHAN, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology and Director of Sir YK Pao Centre for Cancer at the Hong Kong Cancer Institute at CUHK, stated, ‘The scarcity of NPC genomic data hinders the understanding of NPC biology and disease progression, thus physicians have difficulty to tailor-make treatments for patients to achieve optimal effectiveness.’

 

Genomic landscape of the largest EBV-positive NPC cohort studied

Microdissection (a technique where a microscope is used to assist dissection) was performed on all specimens.  Researchers extracted DNA from the tissues and performed whole-exome sequencing.  Since exome makes up only 1% of the genome, some of the cases were subjected to further whole-genome sequencing in order to reveal more genomic data.

 

Prof. TO Ka Fai, Chairman and Professor, Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, said, ‘Here we report the genomic landscape of the largest cohort of micro-dissected EBV-positive NPC as published to date by performing whole-exome sequencing.  It is also the first published systematic study to unravel the whole genome of NPC.  The comprehensive genomic data enables the discovery of novel and key targets and biomarkers of NPC.’ 

 

NPC genomics facilitates personalized medicine development and prognosis assessment

Findings of the study showed that the rate of somatic mutation and structural variation of NPC is substantially higher than that reported previously.  One of the implications of this discovery is that it may explain why the clinical efficacy of immune inhibitors or targeted therapy varies among different NPC patients.  It also revealed that many of the NPC cases displayed activation of the inflammation pathway NF-κB as a result of somatic inactivating mutations in the NF-κB regulatory proteins.  

 

Prof. LO Kwok Wai, Professor, Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, added, ‘This study demonstrated how NPC genomics can potentially inform therapy.  It may help doctors to assess patient’s prognosis after receiving a certain kind of therapy.  It also highlights the importance of targeting activated NF-κB signaling in NPC patients with somatic defects in NF-κB regulators, envision that NF-κB inhibitors could be potentially used as new therapeutics for NPC patients.’

 

Dr. HUI Pun, Clinical Associate Professor (honorary), Department of Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, concluded, ‘The clinical researchers at CUHK have been conducting new drug studies and some patients have been benefited in the clinical trials.  The aim of developing personalized medicine is to enrich these clinical studies. Based on the novel genomic discoveries in NPC, we are developing a novel biomarker panel to help select the right patient for the right treatment, and testing new drugs against these new genetic targets so as to benefit more cancer patients.’

 

[1]Hong Kong Cancer Registry http://www3.ha.org.hk/cancereg/default.asp

 

CUHK research team conducted a systematic study to unravel the whole genome of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The groundbreaking findings will facilitate the development of personalized medicine. (From left) Prof. LO Kwok Wai, Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Faculty of Medicine; Prof. Anthony CHAN, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology at CUHK; Prof. TO Ka Fai, Chairman of the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Faculty of Medicine; and Dr. HUI Pun, Clinical Associate Professor (honorary), Department of Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine.

CUHK research team conducted a systematic study to unravel the whole genome of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The groundbreaking findings will facilitate the development of personalized medicine. (From left) Prof. LO Kwok Wai, Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Faculty of Medicine; Prof. Anthony CHAN, Li Shu Fan Medical Foundation Professor of Clinical Oncology at CUHK; Prof. TO Ka Fai, Chairman of the Department of Anatomical and Cellular Pathology, Faculty of Medicine; and Dr. HUI Pun, Clinical Associate Professor (honorary), Department of Clinical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine.

Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patient Mr Tsui hopes that the research team could base on the NPC genomics study results to help patients select the right treatments so as to benefit more cancer patients.

Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patient Mr Tsui hopes that the research team could base on the NPC genomics study results to help patients select the right treatments so as to benefit more cancer patients.

(1st from left) Prof. LO Kwok Wai states that the recent study demonstrated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) genomics may help doctors to assess patient’s prognosis after receiving a certain kind of therapy. It also highlights the importance of targeting activated NF-κB signaling in NPC patients with somatic defects in NF-κB regulators, envision that NF-κB inhibitors could be potentially used as new therapeutics for NPC patients.

(1st from left) Prof. LO Kwok Wai states that the recent study demonstrated nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) genomics may help doctors to assess patient’s prognosis after receiving a certain kind of therapy. It also highlights the importance of targeting activated NF-κB signaling in NPC patients with somatic defects in NF-κB regulators, envision that NF-κB inhibitors could be potentially used as new therapeutics for NPC patients.

More Press Releases

A CUHK-led International Study Demonstrates Immune-checkpoint Inhibitor Is Effective in Patients with Advanced Nasopharyngeal Cancer

A CUHK-led International Study Demonstrates Immune-checkpoint Inhibitor Is Effective in Patients with Advanced Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Research
CUHK to Commence the Next-Generation Clinical Trials of CAR-T Cell Therapy for Haematological Malignancy

CUHK to Commence the Next-Generation Clinical Trials of CAR-T Cell Therapy for Haematological Malignancy

Research
CUHK Uncovers Novel Immune Escape Mechanism of Cancer Opening Up New Direction for Cancer Immunotherapy

CUHK Uncovers Novel Immune Escape Mechanism of Cancer Opening Up New Direction for Cancer Immunotherapy

Research
CUHK Research Receives Recognitions by Top Medical Journals

CUHK Research Receives Recognitions by Top Medical Journals

Awards and honors
CUHK Completes a 20,000-person Plasma DNA Screening Study of Nasopharyngeal Cancer, and Finds a Dramatic Shift to Early Stage Cancers

CUHK Completes a 20,000-person Plasma DNA Screening Study of Nasopharyngeal Cancer, and Finds a Dramatic Shift to Early Stage Cancers

Research
CUHK Uncovers a New Strategy to Turn “Cold” Liver Tumour “Hot” Leading to an Effective and Durable Combined Immunotherapy

CUHK Uncovers a New Strategy to Turn “Cold” Liver Tumour “Hot” Leading to an Effective and Durable Combined Immunotherapy

Research
CUHK Uncovers How Immune Cells Turn Bad A New Hope for Kidney Patients

CUHK Uncovers How Immune Cells Turn Bad A New Hope for Kidney Patients

Research
CUHK in collaboration with West China School of Medicine co-Led World’s First-in-human Clinical Trial using CRISPR technology for lung cancer Confirmed gene-edited T-Cell Therapy is Safe and Feasible in Treatment of Advanced NSCLC

CUHK in collaboration with West China School of Medicine co-Led World’s First-in-human Clinical Trial using CRISPR technology for lung cancer Confirmed gene-edited T-Cell Therapy is Safe and Feasible in Treatment of Advanced NSCLC

Research
CUHK Receives an International Cancer Care Team Award Nominated by Patients

CUHK Receives an International Cancer Care Team Award Nominated by Patients

Awards and honors
CUHK-led Global Study Sees Improvement in Overall Survival in Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer

CUHK-led Global Study Sees Improvement in Overall Survival in Patients with Advanced Lung Cancer

Research
CUHK Study Proves Ablative Chemoembolization Doubles the Progression-Free Survival for Liver Cancer Patients

CUHK Study Proves Ablative Chemoembolization Doubles the Progression-Free Survival for Liver Cancer Patients

Research
CUHK-led Research Confirms Novel Targeted Therapy Doubles the Effectiveness of Current Standard Treatment for ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

CUHK-led Research Confirms Novel Targeted Therapy Doubles the Effectiveness of Current Standard Treatment for ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

Research
CUHK Launches Territory-wide Screening Study for Early Detection of Nasopharynx Cancer Now Recruiting 20,000 Citizens to Join

CUHK Launches Territory-wide Screening Study for Early Detection of Nasopharynx Cancer Now Recruiting 20,000 Citizens to Join

Research
CUHK Study Finds Half of Childhood Cancer Survivors Used Complementary and Alternative Medicine

CUHK Study Finds Half of Childhood Cancer Survivors Used Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Research
Professor Tony Mok Recognised as a Giant of Cancer Care  for His Remarkable Contribution in Advancing Global Healthcare in Lung Cancer

Professor Tony Mok Recognised as a Giant of Cancer Care for His Remarkable Contribution in Advancing Global Healthcare in Lung Cancer

Awards and honors
A Joint Study by CUHK, PolyU and Western Sydney University Discovers how the Nervous System of Human Runners Generates More Energetically Efficient Running Forms

A Joint Study by CUHK, PolyU and Western Sydney University Discovers how the Nervous System of Human Runners Generates More Energetically Efficient Running Forms

Research
Insights into B-cells and GPR18 Gene Expression by CU Medicine team  Improve Prediction of Survival in Multiple Cancer Types

Insights into B-cells and GPR18 Gene Expression by CU Medicine team Improve Prediction of Survival in Multiple Cancer Types

Research
CUHK Study Discovers Brain Circuitry That Generates Behavioural Responses to Stress Provide a Basis for Probing Abnormal Repetitive Behaviour Exhibited in Brain Disorders

CUHK Study Discovers Brain Circuitry That Generates Behavioural Responses to Stress Provide a Basis for Probing Abnormal Repetitive Behaviour Exhibited in Brain Disorders

Research
CU Medicine Team Discovers a Novel Prognostic Biomarker for a Doubled Survival in Head and Neck Cancer

CU Medicine Team Discovers a Novel Prognostic Biomarker for a Doubled Survival in Head and Neck Cancer

Research
CUHK Successfully Conducts Asia-Pacific’s First Hybrid Operating Room Non-invasive Bronchoscopic Microwave Ablation to Treat Lung Cancer

CUHK Successfully Conducts Asia-Pacific’s First Hybrid Operating Room Non-invasive Bronchoscopic Microwave Ablation to Treat Lung Cancer

Surgical advancement
李嘉誠基金會啟動《愛能助》兒童癌症項目 資助兒童罕見癌症 (Chinese version only)

李嘉誠基金會啟動《愛能助》兒童癌症項目 資助兒童罕見癌症 (Chinese version only)

Donation
Professor Tony MOK Honoured with the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award Recognising His Global Leadership in Defining Lung Cancer Treatment Standard

Professor Tony MOK Honoured with the ESMO Lifetime Achievement Award Recognising His Global Leadership in Defining Lung Cancer Treatment Standard

Awards and honors
CUHK Launches Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme Providing Free Screening to 10,000 HK Residents to Study Links with Obesity

CUHK Launches Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme Providing Free Screening to 10,000 HK Residents to Study Links with Obesity

Health Campaign
CUHK Study Sees Increasing Global Incidence of Colorectal Cancer Among Younger People

CUHK Study Sees Increasing Global Incidence of Colorectal Cancer Among Younger People

Research
CUHK Pioneers Early Lung Cancer Treatment with Hybrid Operating Room Image Guided Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy

CUHK Pioneers Early Lung Cancer Treatment with Hybrid Operating Room Image Guided Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy

Surgical advancement
CUHK-HKU Study on Multi-gene Mutation-Drug Matching for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients Providing Free Pharmacogenomic Analysis for 100 Patients in Hong Kong

CUHK-HKU Study on Multi-gene Mutation-Drug Matching for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients Providing Free Pharmacogenomic Analysis for 100 Patients in Hong Kong

Research
CUHK’s Gerald Choa Neuroscience Centre Unveils Mystery of How Brain Learns Motor Skills

CUHK’s Gerald Choa Neuroscience Centre Unveils Mystery of How Brain Learns Motor Skills

Research
The 7th Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population: ‘Palliative Care in the Community’

The 7th Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population: ‘Palliative Care in the Community’

Symposium
CUHK Joint Research Sets a New Global Direction for Lung Cancer Treatment Molecular Targeted Therapy Proved more Effective in Treating Patients with ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

CUHK Joint Research Sets a New Global Direction for Lung Cancer Treatment Molecular Targeted Therapy Proved more Effective in Treating Patients with ALK-Positive Lung Cancer

Research
CUHK Succeeded in Animal Study and Clinical Case of Percutaneous Nanoknife New Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment

CUHK Succeeded in Animal Study and Clinical Case of Percutaneous Nanoknife New Breakthrough in Cancer Treatment

Research
CUHK Opens Phase I Clinical Trial Centre To Step Up New Drug Development in Hong Kong

CUHK Opens Phase I Clinical Trial Centre To Step Up New Drug Development in Hong Kong

Research
CUHK Discovers Innovative ‘Flow Diverters’ (Pipeline) as Effective Treatment for Cerebral Aneurysms in Asia’s First Clinical Study in Collaboration with Seven Medical Centres

CUHK Discovers Innovative ‘Flow Diverters’ (Pipeline) as Effective Treatment for Cerebral Aneurysms in Asia’s First Clinical Study in Collaboration with Seven Medical Centres

Research
CUHK and HKU Host the 5th Annual Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population

CUHK and HKU Host the 5th Annual Palliative Care Symposium for Health Care Workers in Chinese Population

Symposium
CUHK Pioneers Innovative Computer Assisted Tumor Surgery for Bone Cancer Patients

CUHK Pioneers Innovative Computer Assisted Tumor Surgery for Bone Cancer Patients

Surgical advancement
Bowel Cancer Will Become Top Cancer in Hong Kong CUHK Introduces Colon Pill Camera to Prevent Bowel Cancer

Bowel Cancer Will Become Top Cancer in Hong Kong CUHK Introduces Colon Pill Camera to Prevent Bowel Cancer

Surgical advancement
CUHK and US Experts Collaborate to Provide Clinical Genetic Training to Set up The Territory's First One-Stop Outpatient Genetic Clinic

CUHK and US Experts Collaborate to Provide Clinical Genetic Training to Set up The Territory's First One-Stop Outpatient Genetic Clinic

International collaboration
CUHK Proves a Non-invasive Technology Can Successfully Cure Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation

CUHK Proves a Non-invasive Technology Can Successfully Cure Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformation

Clinical service
The Chinese University of Hong Kong Nethersole School of Nursing hosts the Fifth Pan-Pacific Nursing Conference and Seventh Nursing Symposium on Cancer Care

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Nethersole School of Nursing hosts the Fifth Pan-Pacific Nursing Conference and Seventh Nursing Symposium on Cancer Care

Symposium
Predicting Your Colorectal-polyp Risk with CUHK Colorectal-polyp Prediction Index (CU-CPI)

Predicting Your Colorectal-polyp Risk with CUHK Colorectal-polyp Prediction Index (CU-CPI)

Clinical service

Our Expert List

Many experts under the Faculty of Medicine are available for media interview.
Please click here for the expert list or contact us.