Associate Professor Brian Cox
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin
Head and neck cancer in New Zealand
There are several different types of cancer of the head and neck, such cancer of the tongue, parts of the mouth, and throat. Several common causes, such smoking and alcohol and associated with certain occupations, have been found for some cancers of the head and neck but for some other cancers the causes are less clear. Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection has also been identified as a contributor to some head and neck cancers but its effect on the development of cancer in the presence of other causes is not clear. HPV infection also appears to affect survival after diagnosis of some head and neck cancers. This study will elucidate the action of HPV infection on the development of head and neck cancer in the presence and absence of other causes and provide important information for the future prevention of head and neck cancer.
Dr Michelle Wilson
Cancer and Blood Directorate, Auckland DHB, Auckland
ADjuvant tislelizumab plus chemotherapy after post-operative pelvic chemoradiation in high-risk EndometriaL cancer (ADELE): a randomised phase 2 trial
Endometrial cancer is the most common gynaecological cancer in NZ with high rates in Māori and Pacific women. Hysterectomy is the standard treatment for this cancer internationally. Unfortunately, for women with advanced endometrial cancer, the cancer will come back despite having surgery, chemotherapy and radiation in 30% of women. If the cancer comes back, treatment options are limited. Better treatment is needed to stop the cancer coming back.
Targeting the immune system with immunotherapy may help treat endometrial cancer. Based on evidence from other cancers, using immunotherapy earlier may help reduce the chance of the cancer coming back. This study will combine an immunotherapy drug called tislelizumab with the standard chemotherapy and radiation treatment used in this type of cancer. We will see if we can reduce the chance of the cancer coming back and also assess if the extra immunotherapy impacts how well these women live.
This study will test for markers that may help us know which patients are most likely to benefit from immunotherapy. This will include special testing of the tumour sample from the original operation and blood tests.
This study will be opened across Australia and at multiple sites across NZ including Auckland, Wellington and Whangarei.
Dr Tristan Pettit
Children’s Haematology/Oncology Centre, Christchurch DHB, Christchurch
FaR-RMS: Frontline And Relapse study in RhabdoMyoSarcoma
Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is a rare soft tissue cancer that is most frequently diagnosed in children. Many patients with localised RMS survive after intensive treatment with chemotherapy, surgery and radiotherapy. However, if the disease spreads or is particularly aggressive, the majority of patients do not survive. The Frontline and Relapse study in RMS (FaR-RMS) has been developed by world-leading clinical researchers from the European paediatric Soft tissue Sarcoma Group, and will enrol patients across the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. FaR-RMS is a revolutionary, overarching clinical trial, designed to simultaneously examine multiple aspects of treatment to improve survival and quality of life for all RMS patients (newly-diagnosed and relapsed). Research questions include adding new agents to standard chemotherapy, extending maintenance chemotherapy, optimising radiotherapy, and identification of new genetic biomarkers. Importantly, the trial design will enable promising new agents to be rapidly incorporated as they become available, without the need to open a new trial each time. New Zealand participation in this ground- breaking international trial will offer children and adolescents the opportunity to be involved in the most comprehensive and ambitious program of research undertaken for RMS, and offers the best chance to improve outcomes for these patients.