Michelle J Henderson

Children's Cancer Institute Australia, Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

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Publications (29)186.29 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: While the overall cure rate for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) approaches 90%, infants with ALL harboring translocations in the mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) oncogene (infant MLL-ALL) experience shorter remission duration and lower survival rates (~50%). Mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene are uncommon in infant MLL-ALL, and drugs that release p53 from inhibitory mechanisms may be beneficial. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of the orally available nutlin, RG7112, against patient-derived MLL-ALL xenografts. Experimental Design:Eight MLL-ALL patient-derived xenografts were established in immune-deficient mice, and their molecular features compared with B-lineage ALL and T-ALL xenografts. The sensitivity of MLL-ALL xenografts to RG7112 was assessed in vitro and in vivo, and the ability of RG7112 to induce p53, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in vivo was evaluated. Results:Gene expression analysis revealed that MLL-ALL, B-lineage ALL and T-ALL xenografts clustered according to subtype. Moreover, genes previously reported to be over-expressed in MLL-ALL, including MEIS1, CCNA1, and members of the HOXA family, were significantly up-regulated in MLL-ALL xenografts, confirming their ability to recapitulate the clinical disease. Exposure of MLL-ALL xenografts to RG7112 in vivo caused p53 up-regulation, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. RG7112 as a single agent induced significant regressions in infant MLL-ALL xenografts. Therapeutic enhancement was observed when RG7112 was assessed using combination treatment with an induction-type regimen (vincristine/dexamethasone/L-asparaginase) against an MLL-ALL xenograft. Conclusions:The utility of targeting the p53-MDM2 axis in combination with established drugs for the management of infant MLL-ALL warrants further investigation. Copyright © 2015, American Association for Cancer Research.
    Clinical Cancer Research 01/2015; 21(6). DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-14-2300 · 8.72 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Multidrug resistance protein 4 (MRP4/ABCC4), a member of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily, is an organic anion transporter capable of effluxing a wide range of physiologically important signalling molecules and drugs. MRP4 has been proposed to contribute to numerous functions in both health and disease; however, in most cases these links remain to be unequivocally established. A major limitation to understanding the physiological and pharmacological roles of MRP4 has been the absence of specific small molecule inhibitors, with the majority of established inhibitors also targeting other ABC transporter family members, or inhibiting the production, function or degradation of important MRP4 substrates. We therefore set out to identify more selective and well tolerated inhibitors of MRP4 that might be used to study the many proposed functions of this transporter. Using high-throughput screening, we identified two chemically distinct small molecules, Ceefourin 1 and Ceefourin 2, that inhibit transport of a broad range of MRP4 substrates, yet are highly selective for MRP4 over other ABC transporters, including P-glycoprotein (P-gp), ABCG2 (Breast Cancer Resistance Protein; BCRP) and MRP1 (multidrug resistance protein 1; ABCC1). Both compounds are more potent MRP4 inhibitors in cellular assays than the most widely used inhibitor, MK-571, requiring lower concentrations to effect of comparable level of inhibition. Furthermore, Ceefourin 1 and Ceefourin 2 have low cellular toxicity, and high microsomal and acid stability. These newly identified inhibitors should be of great value for efforts to better understand the biological roles of MRP4, and may represent classes of compounds with therapeutic application.
    Biochemical Pharmacology 09/2014; 91(1). DOI:10.1016/j.bcp.2014.05.023 · 5.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters play various roles in cancer biology and drug resistance, but their association with outcomes in serous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) is unknown. Methods The relationship between clinical outcomes and ABC transporter gene expression in two independent cohorts of high-grade serous EOC tumors was assessed with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, analysis of expression microarray data, and immunohistochemistry. Associations between clinical outcomes and ABCA transporter gene single nucleotide polymorphisms were tested in a genome-wide association study. Impact of short interfering RNA–mediated gene suppression was determined by colony forming and migration assays. Association with survival was assessed with Kaplan–Meier analysis and log-rank tests. All statistical tests were two-sided. Results Associations with outcome were observed with ABC transporters of the “A” subfamily, but not with multidrug transporters. High-level expression of ABCA1, ABCA6, ABCA8, and ABCA9 in primary tumors was statistically significantly associated with reduced survival in serous ovarian cancer patients. Low levels of ABCA5 and the C-allele of rs536009 were associated with shorter overall survival (hazard ratio for death = 1.50; 95% confidence interval [CI] =1.26 to 1.79; P = 6.5e−6). The combined expression pattern of ABCA1, ABCA5, and either ABCA8 or ABCA9 was associated with particularly poor outcome (mean overall survival in group with adverse ABCA1, ABCA5 and ABCA9 gene expression = 33.2 months, 95% CI = 26.4 to 40.1; vs 55.3 months in the group with favorable ABCA gene expression, 95% CI = 49.8 to 60.8; P = .001), independently of tumor stage or surgical debulking status. Suppression of cholesterol transporter ABCA1 inhibited ovarian cancer cell growth and migration in vitro, and statin treatment reduced ovarian cancer cell migration. Conclusions Expression of ABCA transporters was associated with poor outcome in serous ovarian cancer, implicating lipid trafficking as a potentially important process in EOC.
    JNCI Journal of the National Cancer Institute 06/2014; 106(7). DOI:10.1093/jnci/dju149 · 12.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ABCB1 (adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette transporter B1) mediates cellular elimination of many chemotherapeutic agents including paclitaxel, which is commonly used to treat ovarian cancer. A significant association between common single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in ABCB1 and progression-free survival has been reported in patients with ovarian cancer. Variable paclitaxel clearance due to genotype specific differences in ABCB1 activity in cancer cells and/or normal tissues may underlie the association. Using cell-based models, we evaluated the correlations between ABCB1 expression, polymorphisms, transporter activity and paclitaxel sensitivity in ovarian cancer (n = 10) and lymphoblastoid (n = 19) cell lines. Close associations between ABCB1 expression, transporter function and paclitaxel sensitivity were found in lymphoblastoid cell lines, although we could not demonstrate an association with common SNPs. In ovarian cancer cell lines, ABCB1 expression was low and the association between expression and function was lost. These results suggest that ABCB1 related survival difference in ovarian cancer patients is more likely to be due to differential whole body paclitaxel clearance mediated by normal cells rather than a direct effect on cancer cells.
    Scientific Reports 05/2014; 4:4669. DOI:10.1038/srep04669 · 5.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: ABCB1 encodes the multi-drug efflux pump P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and has been implicated in multi-drug resistance. We comprehensively evaluated this gene and flanking regions for an association with clinical outcome in epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). Methods: The best candidates from fine-mapping analysis of 21 ABCB1 SNPs tagging C1236T (rs1128503), G2677T/A (rs2032582), and C3435T (rs1045642) were analysed in 4616 European invasive EOC patients from thirteen Ovarian Cancer Association Consortium (OCAC) studies and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Additionally we analysed 1,562 imputed SNPs around ABCB1 in patients receiving cytoreductive surgery and either 'standard' first-line paclitaxel-carboplatin chemotherapy (n=1158) or any first-line chemotherapy regimen (n=2867). We also evaluated ABCB1 expression in primary tumours from 143 EOC patients. Result: Fine-mapping revealed that rs1128503, rs2032582, and rs1045642 were the best candidates in optimally debulked patients. However, we observed no significant association between any SNP and either progression-free survival or overall survival in analysis of data from 14 studies. There was a marginal association between rs1128503 and overall survival in patients with nil residual disease (HR 0.88, 95% CI 0.77-1.01; p=0.07). In contrast, ABCB1 expression in the primary tumour may confer worse prognosis in patients with sub-optimally debulked tumours. Conclusion: Our study represents the largest analysis of ABCB1 SNPs and EOC progression and survival to date, but has not identified additional signals, or validated reported associations with progression-free survival for rs1128503, rs2032582, and rs1045642. However, we cannot rule out the possibility of a subtle effect of rs1128503, or other SNPs linked to it, on overall survival.
    Gynecologic Oncology 10/2013; 131(1):8-14. DOI:10.1016/j.ygyno.2013.07.107 · 3.77 Impact Factor
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    Tony Huynh · Murray D Norris · Michelle Haber · Michelle J Henderson
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    ABSTRACT: Resistance to cytotoxic drugs is thought to be a major cause of treatment failure in childhood neuroblastoma, and members of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily may contribute to this phenomenon by active efflux of chemotherapeutic agents from cancer cells. As a member of the C subfamily of ABC transporters, multidrug resistance-associated protein MRP4/ABCC4 has the ability to export a variety of endogenous and exogenous substances across the plasma membrane. In light of its capacity for chemotherapeutic drug efflux, MRP4 has been studied in the context of drug resistance in a number of cancer cell types. However, MRP4 also influences cancer cell biology independently of chemotherapeutic drug exposure, which highlights the potential importance of endogenous MRP4 substrates in cancer biology. Furthermore, MRP4 is a direct transcriptional target of Myc family oncoproteins and expression of this transporter is a powerful independent predictor of clinical outcome in neuroblastoma. Together, these features suggest that inhibition of MRP4 may be an attractive therapeutic approach for neuroblastoma and other cancers that rely on MRP4. In this respect, existing options for MRP4 inhibition are relatively non-selective and thus development of more specific anti-MRP4 compounds should be a major focus of future work in this area.
    Frontiers in Oncology 12/2012; 2:178. DOI:10.3389/fonc.2012.00178
  • Cancer Research; 06/2012
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    Hereditary Cancer in Clinical Practice 04/2012; 10(2). DOI:10.1186/1897-4287-10-S2-A36 · 1.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background / Purpose: Neuroblastoma is one of the most challenging malignancies in childhood cancer, accounting for over 15% of paediatric oncology mortalities, despite intense multi-modal chemotherapeutic regimes. Future improvements in outcome are likely to rely on targeted agents that either reverse or bypass drug resistance mechanisms and/or improve the efficacy of currently used therapeutic agents. We previously showed that high expression of the multidrug transporter ABCC4 is prognostic of poor outcome in neuroblastoma, and that, unexpectedly, this transporter has important functions in neuroblastoma biology independent of drug efflux. Main conclusion: Transporters of the ABCC subfamily can influence biological characteristics of neuroblastoma cells, such as proliferation, motility and differentiation, enhancing their attractiveness as therapeutic targets. Additional ABCC4 siRNAs are being tested for their ability to inhibit proliferation and promote neurite formation either alone or in combination with all- trans retinoic acid (atRA).
    24th Lorne Cancer Conference 2012; 03/2012
  • Jamie I. Fletcher · Michelle Haber · Michelle J. Henderson · Murray D. Norris
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    ABSTRACT: The majority of children with high-risk neuroblastoma eventually relapse with disease refractory to treatment. Conventional chemotherapeutic approaches to high-risk neuroblastoma are at or approaching their tolerance limits, implying that future improvements in outcome for these patients are likely to come from more targeted therapies, including those that either bypass or reverse multidrug resistance. To achieve this aim, additional insights into drug resistance mechanisms are essential. Significant advances in our understanding of multidrug resistance in neuroblastoma have recently come through a combination of comprehensive patient sample studies, realistic mouse genetic models, and the development of small molecule inhibitors targeting resistance mechanisms. These combined approaches are outlined here for the drug efflux pump MRP1 and for the p14ARF-MDM2-p53 pathway. KeywordsDrug uptake-Drug efflux-ABC transporter-Solute carrier-Protein-Apoptosis
    12/2011: pages 115-123;
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    ABSTRACT: Although the prognostic value of the ATP-binding cassette, subfamily C (ABCC) transporters in childhood neuroblastoma is usually attributed to their role in cytotoxic drug efflux, certain observations have suggested that these multidrug transporters might contribute to the malignant phenotype independent of cytotoxic drug efflux. A v-myc myelocytomatosis viral related oncogene, neuroblastoma derived (MYCN)-driven transgenic mouse neuroblastoma model was crossed with an Abcc1-deficient mouse strain (658 hMYCN(1/-), 205 hMYCN(+/1) mice) or, alternatively, treated with the ABCC1 inhibitor, Reversan (n = 20). ABCC genes were suppressed using short interfering RNA or overexpressed by stable transfection in neuroblastoma cell lines BE(2)-C, SH-EP, and SH-SY5Y, which were then assessed for wound closure ability, clonogenic capacity, morphological differentiation, and cell growth. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to examine the clinical significance of ABCC family gene expression in a large prospectively accrued cohort of patients (n = 209) with primary neuroblastomas. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis and Cox regression were used to test for associations with event-free and overall survival. Except where noted, all statistical tests were two-sided. Inhibition of ABCC1 statistically significantly inhibited neuroblastoma development in hMYCN transgenic mice (mean age for palpable tumor: treated mice, 47.2 days; control mice, 41.9 days; hazard ratio [HR] = 9.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 2.65 to 32; P < .001). Suppression of ABCC1 in vitro inhibited wound closure (P < .001) and clonogenicity (P = .006); suppression of ABCC4 enhanced morphological differentiation (P < .001) and inhibited cell growth (P < .001). Analysis of 209 neuroblastoma patient tumors revealed that, in contrast with ABCC1 and ABCC4, low rather than high ABCC3 expression was associated with reduced event-free survival (HR of recurrence or death = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.4 to 4.2; P = .001), with 23 of 53 patients with low ABCC3 expression experiencing recurrence or death compared with 31 of 155 patients with high ABCC3. Moreover, overexpression of ABCC3 in vitro inhibited neuroblastoma cell migration (P < .001) and clonogenicity (P = .03). The combined expression of ABCC1, ABCC3, and ABCC4 was associated with patients having an adverse event, such that of the 12 patients with the "poor prognosis" expression pattern, 10 experienced recurrence or death (HR of recurrence or death = 12.3, 95% CI = 6 to 27; P < .001). ABCC transporters can affect neuroblastoma biology independently of their role in chemotherapeutic drug efflux, enhancing their potential as targets for therapeutic intervention.
    Journal of the National Cancer Institute 08/2011; 103(16):1236-51. DOI:10.1093/jnci/djr256 · 12.58 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 07/2011; 71(8 Supplement):954-954. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2011-954 · 9.33 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 07/2011; 71(8 Supplement):1660-1660. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2011-1660 · 9.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Increased expression of specific ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters is known to mediate the efflux of chemotherapeutic agents from cancer cells. Therefore, establishing how ABC transporter genes are controlled at their transcription level may help provide insight into the role of these multifaceted transporters in the malignant phenotype. We have investigated ABC transporter gene expression in a large neuroblastoma data set of 251 tumor samples. Clustering analysis demonstrated a strong association between differential ABC gene expression patterns in tumor samples and amplification of the MYCN oncogene, suggesting a correlation with MYCN function. Using expression profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies, we show that MYCN oncoprotein coordinately regulates transcription of specific ABC transporter genes, by acting as either an activator or a repressor. Finally, we extend these notions to c-MYC showing that it can also regulate the same set of ABC transporter genes in other tumor cells through similar dynamics. Overall our findings provide insight into MYC-driven molecular mechanisms that contribute to coordinate transcriptional regulation of a large set of ABC transporter genes, thus affecting global drug efflux.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2010; 285(25):19532-43. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M109.078584 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Jamie I Fletcher · Michelle Haber · Michelle J Henderson · Murray D Norris
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    ABSTRACT: Multidrug transporter proteins are best known for their contributions to chemoresistance through the efflux of anticancer drugs from cancer cells. However, a considerable body of evidence also points to their importance in cancer extending beyond drug transport to fundamental roles in tumour biology. Currently, much of the evidence for these additional roles is correlative and definitive studies are needed to confirm causality. We propose that delineating the precise roles of these transporters in tumorigenesis and treatment response will be important for the development of more effective targeted therapies.
    Nature Reviews Cancer 02/2010; 10(2):147-56. DOI:10.1038/nrc2789 · 37.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fully differentiated mature smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are characterized by the presence of a unique repertoire of smooth muscle-specific proteins. Although previous studies have shown myocardin to be a critical transcription factor for stimulating expression of smooth muscle-specific genes, the mechanisms regulating myocardin activity are still poorly understood. We used a yeast two-hybrid screen with myocardin as bait to search for factors that may regulate the transcriptional activity of the myocardin. From this screen we identified a HECT domain-containing protein UBR5 (ubiquitin protein ligase E3 component n-recognin 5) as a myocardin-binding protein. Previous studies have shown that HECT domain-containing proteins are ubiquitin E3 ligases that play an important role in protein degradation. UBR5 has, however, also been shown to regulate transcription independent of its E3 ligase activity. In the current study we demonstrated that UBR5 localized in the nuclei of SMCs and forms a complex with myocardin in vivo and in vitro. We also show that UBR5 specifically enhanced trans-activation of smooth muscle-specific promoters by the myocardin family of proteins. In addition, UBR5 significantly augmented the ability of myocardin to induce expression of endogenous SMC marker genes independent on its E3 ligase function. Conversely, depletion of endogenous UBR5 by small interfering RNA in fibroblast cells attenuated myocardin-induced smooth muscle-specific gene expression, and UBR5 knockdown in SMCs resulted in down-regulation of smooth muscle-specific genes. Furthermore, we found that UBR5 can attenuate myocardin protein degradation resulting in increased myocardin protein expression without affecting myocardin mRNA expression. The effects of UBR5 on myocardin requires only the HECT and UBR1 domains of UBR5. This study reveals an unexpected role for the ubiquitin E3 ligase UBR5 as an activator of smooth muscle differentiation through its ability to stabilize myocardin protein.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2010; 285(16):11800-9. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M109.079384 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Relapse following initial chemotherapy remains a barrier to survival in approximately 20% of children suffering from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Recently, to investigate the mechanism of relapse, we analysed clonal populations in 27 pairs of matched diagnosis and relapse ALL samples using PCR-based detection of multiple antigen receptor gene rearrangements. These clonal markers revealed the emergence of apparently new populations at relapse in 13 patients. In those cases where the new 'relapse clone' could be detected in the diagnosis population, there was a close correlation between length of first remission and quantity of the relapse clone in the diagnosis sample. A shorter length of time to first relapse correlated with a higher quantity of the relapsing clone at diagnosis. This observation, together with demonstrated differential chemosensitivity between sub-clones at diagnosis, indicates that relapse in ALL patients may commonly involve selection of a minor intrinsically resistant sub-clone that is undetectable by routine PCR-based methods. From a clinical perspective, relapse prediction may be improved with strategies to detect minor potentially resistant sub-clones early during treatment, hence allowing intensification of therapy. Together with the availability of relevant in vivo experimental models and powerful technology for detailed analysis of patient specimens, this new information will help shape future experimentation towards targeted therapy for high-risk ALL.
    Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.) 06/2008; 7(10):1315-20. DOI:10.4161/cc.7.10.5885 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    British Journal of Haematology 04/2008; 140(6):716-9. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2141.2007.06966.x · 4.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite a high initial response rate to first-line platinum/paclitaxel chemotherapy, most women with epithelial ovarian cancer relapse with recurrent disease that becomes refractory to further cytotoxic treatment. We have previously shown that the E3 ubiquitin ligase, EDD, a regulator of DNA damage responses, is amplified and overexpressed in serous ovarian carcinoma. Given that DNA damage pathways are linked to platinum resistance, the aim of this study was to determine if EDD expression was associated with disease recurrence and platinum sensitivity in serous ovarian cancer. High nuclear EDD expression, as determined by immunohistochemistry in a cohort of 151 women with serous ovarian carcinoma, was associated with an approximately two-fold increased risk of disease recurrence and death in patients who initially responded to first-line chemotherapy, independently of disease stage and suboptimal debulking. Although EDD expression was not directly correlated with relative cisplatin sensitivity of ovarian cancer cell lines, sensitivity to cisplatin was partially restored in platinum-resistant A2780-cp70 ovarian cancer cells following siRNA-mediated knockdown of EDD expression. These results identify EDD as a new independent prognostic marker for outcome in serous ovarian cancer, and suggest that pathways involving EDD, including DNA damage responses, may represent new therapeutic targets for chemoresistant ovarian cancer.
    British Journal of Cancer 04/2008; 98(6):1085-93. DOI:10.1038/sj.bjc.6604281 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), whose mutation causes colorectal cancers, is a key player in the Wnt signaling pathway. While the role of APC in inhibition of beta-catenin/LEF1-dependent activation of transformation-inducing genes has been intensively studied and well established, regulation of APC expression at the protein level is only partially understood. Here we report that APC is up-regulated by EDD, the mammalian orthologue of Drosophila melanogaster"hyperplastic discs" gene (hyd) that is considered to be a putative tumor suppressor. Screening of APC immunocomplexes by mass spectrometry identified EDD as a putative APC-interacting protein. Exogenously expressed and endogenous APC interacted with EDD in vivo. Indirect immunofluorescent analyses demonstrated that APC and EDD co-localized in the cytoplasm of the cell. Over-expression of EDD enhanced the protein expression level of APC and its binding partner Axin, resulting in inhibition of Wnt signaling downstream of beta-catenin. Conversely, siRNA knock-down of EDD down-regulated APC at the protein level without altering its mRNA level, causing enhanced protein expression of beta-catenin. Thus, through protein-protein interaction, EDD stabilizes APC and up-regulates APC's function to inhibit beta-catenin, suggesting that EDD could act as a colorectal tumor suppressor.
    Genes to Cells 01/2008; 12(12):1339-45. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2443.2007.01138.x · 2.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

827 Citations
186.29 Total Impact Points


  • 2007–2014
    • Children's Cancer Institute Australia
      Randwick, New South Wales, Australia
    • University of Cambridge
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010
    • University of New South Wales
      • Children’s Cancer Institute of Australia
      Kensington, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2008
    • Sydney Children's Hospital
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2002–2008
    • Garvan Institute of Medical Research
      • Cancer Research Program
      Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia