Lester J Peters

University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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Publications (83)401.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the relationship between hypoxia, human papillomavirus (HPV) status and outcome in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Patients with stage III and IV head and neck squamous cell carcinoma treated on phase I and II chemoradiation trials with 70-Gy radiation combined with tirapazamine/cisplatin or cisplatin/fluorouracil (5FU), hypoxic imaging using [18F]-misonidazole positron emission tomography and known HPV status (by p16 immunohistochemistry) were included in this sub-study. Separate analyses were conducted to consider the impact of tirapazamine on HPV-negative tumours in the phase II trial. Both p16-positive oropharyngeal tumours and p16-negative head and neck squamous cell carcinoma tumours had a high prevalence of tumour hypoxia; 14/19 (74%) and 35/44 (80%), respectively. The distribution of hypoxia (primary, nodal) was similar. On phase II, trial patients with p16-negative hypoxic tumours had worse loco-regional control with cisplatin and 5FU compared with tirapazamine and cisplatin (P < 0.001) and worse failure-free survival (hazard ratio = 5.18; 95% confidence interval, 1.98-13.55; P = 0.001). Only 1 out of 14 p16-positive patients on the phase II trial experienced loco-regional failure. Hypoxia, as assessed by [18F]-misonidazole positron emission tomography, is frequently present in both p16-positive and negative head and neck cancer. Further research is required to determine whether hypoxic imaging can be used to predict benefit from hypoxia-targeting therapies in patients with p16-negative tumours.
    Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology 02/2014; 58(1):89-97. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To compare nodal response rates following chemoradiotherapy in patients with p16+ and p16- oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). Patients with node-positive OPSCC treated at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre on the published phase I-III tirapazamine trials were identified. All patients had conventional assessment (clinical examination (CA), CT and/or MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) at both baseline and 2-4 months post-treatment. There were 30 p16+ and 18 p16- patients, the former group having significantly higher stage nodal disease (P = 0.016). The mean overall reduction in nodal size at post-treatment assessment was similar in p16+ and p16- patients (78% vs. 75%), and no statistically significant difference in nodal complete response (CR) rates was detected by either CA (50% vs. 39%, P = 0.35) or PET/PET-CT (93% vs. 83%, P = 0.19). PET was significantly more accurate in determining the true nodal CR rate in both groups, with a negative predictive value of 96%. Nodal response rates following chemoradiotherapy appear to be similar in p16+ and p16- patients when assessed by either CA or PET/PET-CT. However, higher nodal CR was seen in PET/PET-CT compared with CA in both groups. Metabolic imaging is more accurate than CA in assessing nodal response post-treatment.
    Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology 06/2013; 57(3):364-72. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The primary purpose of this study was to review the efficacy of unilateral treatment of lateralized tonsil primaries, in particular whether laterality of the primary is a more powerful determinant of contralateral neck failure than advanced ipsilateral nodal classification. METHODS: A retrospective study of all patients with tonsillar cancer treated with curative intent between January 1990 and December 2002 was performed. RESULTS: There were 167 patients, 76% men, median age 58 years, 86% current or ex-smokers. The majority of patients (58%) had stage IV disease. Five-year local, nodal, locoregional, and distant failure rates were 14%, 4%, 18%, and 8%, respectively. Of the 58 patients treated unilaterally, 33% had N2a, N2b, or N3 nodal disease. There were no contralateral nodal failures in the unilaterally treated group. CONCLUSION: These results support the potential use of unilateral radiation therapy (RT) for lateralized tonsil primaries even with advanced ipsilateral nodal disease. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2013.
    Head & Neck 06/2013; · 2.83 Impact Factor
  • Chen Liu, June Corry, Lester Peters
    Head & Neck 02/2013; · 2.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: To investigate the tolerability and feasibility of induction gemcitabine and carboplatin chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy with concurrent cisplatin in patients with locally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-eight patients with previously untreated non-keratinising nasopharyngeal carcinoma, with stage IIb to IV disease were enroled to receive three cycles of carboplatin AUC 5 and gemcitabine 1g/m(2) day 1 and 8 every 21-days, followed by 70Gy of radiotherapy with concurrent cisplatin 20mg/m(2)/day for 5days of weeks 1, 4 and 7. RESULTS: 26/28 (93.0%) patients received all three cycles of induction chemotherapy. All 27 patients who commenced chemoradiotherapy received 70Gy in 35 fractions of radiotherapy with at least two cycles of concurrent cisplatin. The three-year time to locoregional failure rate was 92.9% (95% CI: 75.5-98.2%) and the three-year overall survival rate was 89.3% (95% CI: 71.6-96.5%). Induction chemotherapy was well tolerated with 5/28 (17.9%) patients experiencing grade 3 non-haematological toxicities and no reported episodes of febrile neutropenia or grade 4 toxicity. For the 27 patients who received radiotherapy, no acute grade 4 radiation toxicities and only 2/27 (7.4%) late grade 4 radiation adverse events were observed. CONCLUSION: The use of induction carboplatin and gemcitabine followed by chemoradiotherapy is feasible, with acceptable toxicity, and is a promising regimen for the treatment of locally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
    Oral Oncology 01/2013; · 2.70 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Clinical Oncology 01/2013; · 18.04 Impact Factor
  • Lester Peters, Danny Rischin
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 04/2012; 30(15):1741-3. · 18.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ataxia-Telangiectasia-Mutated (ATM) gene loss has been associated with poor prognosis and treatment resistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). We investigated the relationship between ATM loss detected by fluorescence in-situ hybridisation (FISH) with patient outcome, and its relationship with Human Papillomavirus (HPV)/p16(INK4A) status. Copy number of the ATM gene and chromosome 11 were determined by FISH and HPV status was determined using p16(INK4A) immunohistochemistry in 87 paraffin embedded tumour samples from patients with HNSCC treated with chemoradiation at a single institution. ATM loss was correlated with patient outcome as both a continuous and dichotomous variable. Of 73 evaluable patients, 44 (60.3%) demonstrated loss of the ATM gene. There was no correlation between ATM loss (defined as a mean ratio of ATM: chromosome 11<0.75) and overall survival (OS, p=0.67) or time to locoregional failure (TTLRF, p=0.72). Similarly, when evaluated as a continuous variable there was no significant relationship between ATM loss and patient outcome (OS, p=0.89; TTLRF, p=0.21). No significant relationship was found between p16(INK4A) status and ATM loss, for patient outcome. We found 35.6% (n=26) of patients demonstrated polysomy of chromosome 11 (defined as the presence of a mean >2.5 copies of chromosome 11) which was significantly associated with p16(INK4A) negative status (p=0.0004), but did not influence outcome. ATM loss is a frequent event in HNSCC, however it does not impact outcome after treatment with chemoradiation. Polysomy of chromosome 11 was significantly associated with p16(INK4A) negative status but also lacks prognostic significance.
    Oral Oncology 03/2012; 48(8):698-702. · 2.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a hypoxia-induced secreted protein that binds to cMet and regulates interleukin (IL)-8 expression. We evaluated the role of circulating HGF and IL-8 as prognostic and predictive factors for efficacy of tirapazamine (TPZ), a hypoxic cell cytotoxin. Patients with stages III to IV head and neck cancer were randomized to receive radiotherapy with cisplatin (CIS) or CIS plus TPZ (TPZ/CIS). Eligibility for the substudy included plasma sample availability for HGF and IL-8 assay by ELISA and no major radiation deviations (N = 498). Analyses included adjustment for major prognostic factors. p16(INK4A) staining (human papillomavirus surrogate) was carried out on available tumors. Thirty-nine patients had hypoxia imaging with (18)F-fluoroazomycin arabinoside ((18)FAZA)-positron emission tomography. Elevated IL-8 level was associated with worse overall survival (OS) irrespective of treatment. There was an interaction between HGF and treatment arm (P = 0.053); elevated HGF was associated with worse OS in the control but not in the TPZ/CIS arm. Similar trends were observed in analyses restricted to p16(INK4A)-negative patients. Four subgroups defined by high and low HGF/IL-8 levels were examined for TPZ effect; the test for interaction with arm was P = 0.099. TPZ/CIS seemed to be beneficial for patients with high HGF and IL-8 but adverse for low HGF and high IL-8. Only HGF correlated with (18)FAZA tumor standard uptake value. IL-8 is an independent prognostic factor irrespective of treatment. There is an interaction between HGF and treatment arm. Certain subgroups based on IL-8/HGF levels seemed to do better with TPZ/CIS while others did worse, highlighting the complexity of hypoxia targeting in unselected patients.
    Clinical Cancer Research 03/2012; 18(6):1798-807. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High plasma osteopontin (OPN) levels have been reported to be an adverse prognostic factor in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC), correlate with tumor hypoxia, and be predictive of benefit from hypoxia-targeted therapy. We sought to confirm the prognostic and predictive significance of OPN in patients treated on a large international trial. Patients with stage III/IV HNSCC were randomized to receive definitive radiotherapy concurrently with cisplatin or cisplatin plus the hypoxic cell cytotoxin, tirapazamine (TPZ). Eligibility criteria for this prospective substudy included plasma sample availability for OPN assay by ELISA and absence of major radiation therapy deviations (N = 578). OPN concentrations were analyzed for overall survival (OS) and time to locoregional failure (TTLRF), adjusting for known prognostic factors. Additional analysis was carried out in patients with available tumor p16(INK4A) staining status. The median OPN level was 544 ng/mL (range: 7-2,640). High OPN levels were not associated with worse OS (relative HR, 1.03 for highest tertile) or TTLRF (relative HR 0.91 for highest tertile). There was no interaction between OPN and treatment arm for OS or TTLRF (P = 0.93 for OS; P = 0.87 for TTLRF). For the highest tertile the 2-year OS was 66% on control arm and 67% on TPZ arm (HR = 1.11, P = 0.67). Similarly for p16(INK4A) negative patients in the highest tertile, the 2-year OS was 61% on control arm and 63% on TPZ arm (HR = 1.05, P = 0.86). We found no evidence that high plasma OPN levels were associated with an adverse prognosis in HNSCC, or were predictive of benefit with hypoxia targeting therapy.
    Clinical Cancer Research 11/2011; 18(1):301-7. · 7.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human papilloma virus (HPV) infection is a powerful prognostic biomarker in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Increased epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene copy number and protein expression have been reported to be negative predictors of outcome. This study examined the relationship between HPV status, EGFR gene copy number, EGFR protein expression, and clinical outcome in HNSCC patients treated with chemoradiation. HPV status was determined using p16(INK4A) immunohistochemistry (IHC), EGFR gene copy number was evaluated with FISH, and EGFR protein expression by IHC in 212 subjects. EGFR FISH was positive in 41 of 204 (20%) patients and was negatively correlated with failure-free survival (FFS; HR = 1.84, P = 0.027) and overall survival (OS; HR = 1.78, P = 0.082). For p16(INK4A), 85 of 200 (42.5%) patients were found to be p16 positive, including 75 of 131 (57%) with oropharyngeal cancer. Patients with p16-positive oropharyngeal cancer had significantly improved FFS (HR = 0.28, P < 0.001) and OS (HR = 0.31, P = 0.002). Only 2 of 126 (1.6%) oropharyngeal cancer patients were found to be p16+/EGFR FISH+. EGFR IHC was positive in 81 of 93 (87%) of patients and was associated with poorer FFS (HR = 1.98, P = 0.35) and OS (HR = 2.52, P = 0.22). Increased EGFR gene copy number is largely restricted to p16(INK4A)-negative oropharyngeal cancer. Although p16(INK4A) and EGFR FISH are both predictive of outcome in univariate analyses, only p16(INK4A) remains independently predictive. Knowledge of HPV and EGFR status can have implications for treatment options and prognosis in HNSCC.
    Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers &amp Prevention 04/2011; 20(6):1230-7. · 4.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of positron emission tomography/computerised tomography (PET/CT) as an adjunct to conventional imaging (CI) in the management of nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) both for initial staging and assessment of post-treatment response. All NPC cases referred to the Peter MacCallum Centre for Metabolic Imaging between January 2002 and December 2007 were identified. In patients undergoing initial staging, any differences between the pre-PET/CT management plan based on CI and that following performance of the PET/CT scan were noted. Clinical impact was scored using the Centre's published criteria: 'high' if PET/CT changed the primary treatment modality or intent, 'medium' if treatment modality was unchanged but the radiotherapy technique or dose was altered, and 'low' if there was no change in treatment modality or intent. Patients undergoing PET/CT following definitive treatment were scored according to whether or not they achieved a complete metabolic response. Forty-eight patients underwent a staging PET/CT. The clinical impact was high in 8%, medium in 25% and low in 66% of patients. Twenty-one patients were scanned for post-treatment response. PET/CT was less frequently equivocal than MRI (3 vs 8/21). A complete metabolic response on PET/CT was associated with a 93% negative predictive value for subsequent recurrence. PET/CT is a valuable staging tool for the detection of occult metastatic disease and defining the extent of neck nodal disease. Post-treatment, a complete metabolic response on PET/CT has a very high negative predictive value with fewer equivocal results than MRI.
    Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology 04/2011; 55(2):199-205. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this paper was to review the results of primary non-surgical treatment with the aim of larynx preservation for loco-regionally advanced larynx cancer (LALC). All patients with LALC presenting between January 2002 and December 2006 who were selected for primary non-surgical treatment were included in this study. There were 60 patients, 48% with stage III and 52% with stage IV disease. The median follow-up of living patients was 41 months. Larynx preservation with local disease control was achieved in 83% and 77% of patients at 3 and 5 years, respectively. Failure-free survival at 3 and 5 years was 66% and 59%, respectively, and overall survival was 67% and 45%, respectively. All patients with larynx preservation had a functional voice. Two patients became feeding tube dependant. Thirty-nine percent of all deaths were unrelated to LALC. Primary non-surgical treatment achieves high rates of larynx preservation with a low rate of severe complications but overall survival remains disappointing.
    Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology 04/2011; 55(2):229-35. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To determine the prognostic importance of p16 and human papillomavirus (HPV) in patients with oropharyngeal cancer treated on a phase III concurrent chemoradiotherapy trial. Patients with stage III or IV head and neck squamous cell cancer were randomly assigned to concurrent radiotherapy and cisplatin with or without tirapazamine. In this substudy, analyses were restricted to patients with oropharyngeal cancer. p16 was detected by immunohistochemistry, and HPV was detected by in situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction. Slides were available for p16 assay in 206 of 465 patients, of which 185 were eligible, and p16 and HPV were evaluable in 172 patients. One hundred six (57%) of 185 were p16-positive, and in patients evaluable for both p16 and HPV, 88 (86%) of 102 p16-positive patients were also HPV-positive. Patients who were p16-positive had lower T and higher N categories and better Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status. p16-positive tumors compared with p16-negative tumors were associated with better 2-year overall survival (91% v 74%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.36; 95% CI, 0.17 to 0.74; P = .004) and failure-free survival (87% v 72%; HR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.74; P = .003). p16 was a significant prognostic factor on multivariable analysis (HR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.21 to 0.96; P = .04). p16-positive patients had lower rates of locoregional failure and deaths due to other causes. There was a trend favoring the tirapazamine arm for improved locoregional control in p16-negative patients (HR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.09 to 1.24; P = .13). HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer is a distinct entity with a favorable prognosis compared with HPV-negative oropharyngeal cancer when treated with cisplatin-based chemoradiotherapy.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 09/2010; 28(27):4142-8. · 18.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To report the impact of radiotherapy quality on outcome in a large international phase III trial evaluating radiotherapy with concurrent cisplatin plus tirapazamine for advanced head and neck cancer. The protocol required interventional review of radiotherapy plans by the Quality Assurance Review Center (QARC). All plans and radiotherapy documentation underwent post-treatment review by the Trial Management Committee (TMC) for protocol compliance. Secondary review of noncompliant plans for predicted impact on tumor control was performed. Factors associated with poor protocol compliance were studied, and outcome data were analyzed in relation to protocol compliance and radiotherapy quality. At TMC review, 25.4% of the patients had noncompliant plans but none in which QARC-recommended changes had been made. At secondary review, 47% of noncompliant plans (12% overall) had deficiencies with a predicted major adverse impact on tumor control. Major deficiencies were unrelated to tumor subsite or to T or N stage (if N+), but were highly correlated with number of patients enrolled at the treatment center (< five patients, 29.8%; > or = 20 patients, 5.4%; P < .001). In patients who received at least 60 Gy, those with major deficiencies in their treatment plans (n = 87) had a markedly inferior outcome compared with those whose treatment was initially protocol compliant (n = 502): -2 years overall survival, 50% v 70%; hazard ratio (HR), 1.99; P < .001; and 2 years freedom from locoregional failure, 54% v 78%; HR, 2.37; P < .001, respectively. These results demonstrate the critical importance of radiotherapy quality on outcome of chemoradiotherapy in head and neck cancer. Centers treating only a few patients are the major source of quality problems.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 06/2010; 28(18):2996-3001. · 18.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Promising results in a randomized phase II trial with the hypoxic cytotoxin tirapazamine (TPZ) combined with cisplatin (CIS) and radiation led to this phase III trial. Patients with previously untreated stage III or IV (excluding T1-2N1 and M1) squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx, or larynx were randomly assigned to receive definitive radiotherapy (70 Gy in 7 weeks) concurrently with either CIS (100 mg/m(2)) on day 1 of weeks 1, 4, and 7 or CIS (75 mg/m(2)) plus TPZ (290 mg/m(2)/d) on day 1 of weeks 1, 4, and 7 and TPZ alone (160 mg/m(2)/d) on days 1, 3, and 5 of weeks 2 and 3 (TPZ/CIS). The primary end point was overall survival (OS). The planned sample size was 850, estimated to result in 334 deaths, which would provide 90% power to detect a difference in 2-year survival rates of 60% v 70% for CIS versus TPZ/CIS, respectively (hazard ratio = 0.69). Eight hundred sixty-one patients were accrued from 89 sites in 16 countries. In an intent-to-treat analysis, the 2-year OS rates were 65.7% for CIS and 66.2% for TPZ/CIS (TPZ/CIS--CIS: 95% CI, -5.9% to 6.9%). There were no significant differences in failure-free survival, time to locoregional failure, or quality of life as measured by Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Head and Neck. We found no evidence that the addition of TPZ to chemoradiotherapy, in patients with advanced head and neck cancer not selected for the presence of hypoxia, improves OS.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 06/2010; 28(18):2989-95. · 18.04 Impact Factor
  • June Corry, Lester J Peters, Danny Rischin
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    ABSTRACT: The intensity of contemporary treatment for locally advanced head and neck cancer is at the upper limit of human tolerance of acute toxicities. While impressive gains in locoregional control have been achieved, improvements in overall survival have been more modest. We hypothesise that unrecognised sequelae of highly toxic contemporary treatments substantially contribute to patient mortality. This possibility provides motivation to investigate reducing treatment intensity in selected patients with locally advanced head and neck cancer. With the demonstration of a good prognosis among subgroups of patients with head and neck cancer, major improvements in the technical delivery of radiotherapy, and further research into relevant factors in survivorship, we may be able to improve overall survival of patients with locally advanced disease without further increasing, and possibly reducing, treatment intensity.
    The Lancet Oncology 03/2010; 11(3):287-91. · 25.12 Impact Factor
  • Fuel and Energy Abstracts 01/2009; 75(3).
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    ABSTRACT: Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) tubes have largely replaced nasogastric tubes (NGT) for nutritional support of patients with head and neck cancer undergoing curative (chemo)radiotherapy without any good scientific basis. A randomized trial was conducted to compare PEG tubes and NGT in terms of nutritional outcomes, complications, patient satisfaction and cost. The study was closed early because of poor accrual, predominantly due to patients' reluctance to be randomized. There were 33 patients eligible for analysis. Nutritional support with both tubes was good. There were no significant differences in overall complication rates, chest infection rates or in patients' assessment of their overall quality of life. The cost of a PEG tube was 10 times that of an NGT. The duration of use of PEG tubes was significantly longer, a median 139 days compared with a median 66 days for NGT. We found no evidence to support the routine use of PEG tubes over NGT in this patient group.
    Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology 11/2008; 52(5):503-10. · 0.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the incidence of isolated nodal failure in patients with N2/3 disease who achieved a complete clinical and radiological response (CR) at 12 weeks postchemoradiation, when no planned neck dissection was performed. We analyzed the nodal response and subsequent neck control of 102 patients with initial N2/3 disease treated on the Trans Tasman Radiation Oncology Group 98.02 study. With a median 4.3 years follow-up, the patterns of first failure in the CR patients were local 4%, local and nodal 2%, distant 28%, and locoregional plus distant (within 1 month) 6%. There were no patients who had only neck failure. Patients in this trial with N2/3 disease who obtained a clinical and radiological complete response to chemoradiation had a zero incidence of isolated neck failure without a planned neck dissection. The continued use of planned neck dissections in this patient subset cannot be justified.
    Head & Neck 07/2008; 30(6):737-42. · 2.83 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
401.42 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2007–2013
    • University of Melbourne
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 1997–2013
    • Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
      • • Division of Haematology and Medical Oncology
      • • Centre for Molecular Imaging
      • • Department of Medical Oncology
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  • 2012
    • Stanford University
      • Department of Radiation Oncology
      Stanford, CA, United States
  • 2010
    • The Princess Margaret Hospital
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2001
    • Radiation Oncology Victoria
      Melbourne, Victoria, Australia