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Head And Neck cancer network for Genetics, Observational oUtcomes, and Toxicities: A combined AMP-PEL and ON-PROSTinitiative

Project 1: GENE-SMOKE:

Genetics of Smoking Outcomes and Knowledge Effects  

Project 2: GENE-LAST:

Genetics of Long and Short-term Toxicities

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What is HANG-OUT?

HANG-OUT is a newly formed research network that leverages on the fact that the head and neck clinical and research group at Princess Margaret has a unique place in the world, because it is one of the few institutions in the world that has comprehensive clinical, epidemiological, serologic, germline, tumour molecular, radiologic, toxicity, treatment and survival data. HANG-OUT is apply named as a place where University Health Network/Princess Margaret Cancer Centre investigators “hang-out” with each other and with collaborators from around the world, and benefits from rich interdisciplinary:


  1. Anthology of Outcomes (led by Drs. Sophie Huang and Brian O’Sullivan)

  2. Translational head and neck program led by Dr. Scott Bratman (formerly Fei-Fei Liu) with functional management from the G. Liu laboratory (this overlaps with ON-PROST)

  3. Surgical Oral Cavity Database (led by Drs. David Goldstein and Ali Hosni

As a result, Princess Margaret has been able to collaborate internationally and has joined three large international consortia:


  1. VOYAGER (human papillomaVirus, Oral & oropharYngeal cAncer, GEnomics, and suRvival), which focuses on the impact of HPV serology, germline and tumour genomics on risk and outcome of head and neck cancers, with participation from UK Head and Neck 5000 (Bristol, UK), IARC (International Agency for Research in Cancer, Lyon, France), University of Pittsburgh, University of North Carolina, and University of Tennessee at Memphis, in addition to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. There is overlap with both ON-PROST and AMP-PEL programs.


    2. INHANCE(INternational Head And Neck Cancer Epidemiology consortium), a consortium of many dozens of studies with interest in both epidemiologic risk and outcomes in head and neck cancer. There is overlap with ON-PROST and AMP-PEL programs.


    3.RGC (RadioGenomics Consortium), a consortium focused on the effects of genetics and genomics on radiotoxicity and radiation-related outcomes. There is overlap with both ON-PROST and AMP-PEL programs.


HANG-OUT also leverages experience with a Canadian long-term collaboration between Drs. Liu at Princess Margaret and Drs. Meyer and Bairati from CHUQ in Quebec City (Laval University), a collaboration that only recently ended after a decade, two grants and more than a half dozen collaborative publications, as a result of the retirements of Drs. Meyer and Bairati. The legacy of this collaboration has been publicly available anonymized data in a genome-wide analysis that any researcher can access through this link [please email to REQUEST FOR DEIDENTIFIED DATA].


An additional five-centre collaboration was formed under the laboratory of G. Liu (Toronto), with participation from Halifax (Dr. Stephanie Snow), Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta (Drs. Matthew Parliament, Karen Chu, Desiree Hao), and British Columbia (Dr. Winson Cheung formerly of Vancouver, BC) that examined oropharyngeal cancer incidence trends by imputed HPV status.


New collaborations are being developed with:


1. Drs. Debbie Saunders and Michael Conlon at Sudbury’s (Ontario) Health Sciences North Cancer Program, who themselves have an exciting program that includes head and neck cancer genetics and the genetics of smoking cessation.


2. Canadian Cancer Trials Group (HN.6 collaboration)


3. Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre’s Drs. Tony Eskander and Trung Le in the areas of ICES (Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences) analyses and Ototoxicity prevention trials


4. Several head and neck cancer groups from the Netherlands, one involving cisplatin-renal toxicities (Dr. Anke-Hilse Maitland van der Zee, Amsterdam Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam), and a second with head and neck cancer ototoxicity (with Andrew Hope at Princess Margaret and the Netherlands Cancer Institute and the Head and Neck Cancer Radiation Group at Amsterdam Medical Centre).

Currently there are two active projects:


  1. GENE-SMOKE: Genetics of smoking outcomes and knowledge effects, a collaboration within our Toronto group, VOYAGER Consortium, and Washington University’s smoking cessation research group, headed by Laura Bierut and Li-Shiun Chen.There are plans for future collaborations with the Sudbury team on applying these data to the patient setting


  1. GENE-LAST: Genetics of long and short term toxicity, an internal Princess Margaret initiative with future plans to collaborate with the RGC and Amsterdam Medical Centre and the Netherlands Cancer Institute (the latter co-led with Dr. Andrew Hope).




Please review the following articles for details of available data.

Article #1: 27173062

Article #2: 23169318

Article #3: 22076708

Article #4: 22009713


Note that this is not a curated dataset, and only minimal annotations have been included, as per requirements of the Quebec research ethics boards such that there is no further aftive with linkage to identifiable data. Thus, this is a true anonymized dataset. Data are being held as a requirement of publication of the genome wide association data and the US National Cancer Institute funding policy. If you desire access to this anonymized dataset, please email and summarize your research question, hypothesis, background/rationale, and analytical methods in under 1-2 pages.

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