Charles Lu

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States

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Publications (66)456.48 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Surgery remains the most important effective treatment for differentiated (DTC) and medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). Radioactive iodine (RAI) is another important treatment but is reserved only for DTC whose disease captures RAI. Once patients fail primary therapy, observation is often recommended, as most DTC and MTC patients will have indolent disease. However, in a fraction of patients, systemic therapy must be considered. In recent decades 4 systemic therapies have been approved by the United States FDA for DTC and MTC. Sorafenib and lenvatinib are approved for DTC and vandetanib and cabozantinib for MTC. Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare and rapidly progressive form of thyroid cancer with a very high mortality rate. Treatment of ATC remains a challenge. Most patients are not surgical candidates at diagnosis due to advanced disease. External beam radiation and radiosensitizing radiation are the mainstay of therapy at this time. However, exciting new drugs and approaches to therapy are on the horizon but it will take a concerted, worldwide effort to complete clinical trials in order to find effective therapies that will improve the overall survival for this devastating disease.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America
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    ABSTRACT: Background A questionnaire-based study was conducted to assess long-term patient reported outcomes (PROs) following definitive IMRT-based treatment for early stage carcinomas of the tonsillar fossa. Methods Participants had received IMRT with or without systemic therapy for squamous carcinoma of the tonsillar fossa (T1-2 and N0-2b) with a minimum follow-up of 2 years. Patients completed a validated head and neck cancer-specific PRO instrument, the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory-Head and Neck module (MDASI-HN). Symptoms were compared between treatment groups of interest and overall symptom burden was evaluated. Results Of 139 participants analyzed, 51% had received ipsilateral neck IMRT, and 62% single modality IMRT alone (no systemic therapy). There were no differences in mean severity ratings for the top-ranked individual symptoms or symptom interference for those treated with bilateral versus ipsilateral neck IMRT alone. However, 40% of those treated with bilateral versus 25% of those treated with ipsilateral neck RT alone reported moderate-to-severe levels of dry mouth (p = 0.03). Fatigue, numbness/tingling, and constipation were rated more severe for those who had received systemic therapy (p < 0.05 for each), but absolute differences were small. Overall, 51% had no more than mild symptom ratings across all 22 symptoms assessed. Conclusions The long-term patient reported symptom profile in this cohort of tonsil cancer survivors treated with definitive IMRT-based treatment showed a majority of patients with no more than mild symptoms, low symptom interference, and provides an opportunity for future comparison studies with other treatment approaches.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Radiotherapy and Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: We evaluate outcomes and survival of patients treated for locally advanced larynx cancer with non-surgical larynx preservation (LP). Methodology: We retrospectively reviewed patients treated with LP for AJCC stage III/IV larynx cancer between 1983 and 2013. We used Cox proportional hazards modeling to determine disease control and overall survival (OS) for patients treated with various chemotherapy/radiotherapy combinations. Results: 354 patients were included; 71% were men and median age was 60 years. The majority were T3 (81%) and of supraglottic origin (70%). The 5- and 10-year rates of OS were 58% and 34%; laryngectomy free survival (LFS), 48% and 26%; LRC, 72% and 70%; and freedom from distant metastasis (FDM), 88% and 83%, respectively. 4 treatment cohorts were identified: concurrent chemo-RT (CRT, 33%), induction chemotherapy followed by RT (induction-RT, 19%), induction chemotherapy followed by CRT (induction-CRT, 11%), and RT-alone (37%) with median follow-up of 71, 140, 49, and 135 months for surviving patients in the four cohorts, respectively. In multivariate analysis, induction-CRT cohort had better laryngectomy free survival (LFS) compared to induction-RT (HR 0.4, P=.003), CRT (HR 0.4, P=.003), and RT-alone (HR 0.3, p < .0001). Likewise, induction-CRT cohort had better OS compared to induction-RT (HR 0.5, P=.02), CRT (HR 0.4, P=.004), and RT-alone (HR 0.3, p < 0001). Conclusion: All three chemotherapy treated cohorts had better outcomes than RT-alone. The newest and least common induction-CRT cohort had the most favorable outcomes compared to other strategies. Longer follow up and additional investigation is needed to confirm this and identify the most appropriate selection criteria for this strategy
    No preview · Conference Paper · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction: Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer-related morbidity and mortality. Unfortunately, patients with NSCLC have relatively poor survival rates compared with patients diagnosed with most other types of cancer. Accordingly, managing physical and mental health symptoms are important treatment goals. In the current investigation, we sought to determine whether individual socioeconomic status (SES; as indexed by level of education), racial/ethnic minority status, and hospital type (public versus tertiary care center) were associated with NSCLC cancer patients' depressive severity. Importantly, we investigated whether NSCLC patients' individual SES was more or less prognostic of their depressive severity compared with minority status and the hospital context where they received treatment. Methods: Patients scheduled for chemotherapy were assessed for depressed mood by the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Data were collected at baseline and at approximately 6, 12, and 18 weeks. Results: NSCLC patients with less education had more depressive severity than those with more education. Treatment setting and minority status were not associated with depressive severity. The interaction between education level and treatment setting predicting depressive severity was not significant, suggesting that the association between education level and depressive severity did not differ by treatment setting. Conclusion: Our study brings heightened awareness to the substantial, persistent SES differences that exist in depressive severity among late-stage NSCLC patients. Furthermore, these findings seem to persist, regardless of minority status and whether the patient is treated at a public hospital or tertiary cancer center.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Journal of thoracic oncology: official publication of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives. Radiation therapy (RT), with or without chemotherapy, can cause significant acute toxicity among patients treated for head and neck cancer (HNC), but predicting, before treatment, who will experience a particular toxicity or symptom is difficult. We created and evaluated 2 multivariate models and generated a nomogram to predict symptom severity during RT based on a patient-reported outcome (PRO) instrument, the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory-Head and Neck Module (MDASI-HN). Study Design. This was a prospective, longitudinal, questionnaire-based study. Setting. Tertiary cancer care center. Subjects and Methods. Subjects were 264 patients with HNC (mostly oropharyngeal) who had completed the MDASI-HN before and during therapy. Pretreatment variables were correlated with MDASI-HN symptom scores during therapy with multivariate modeling and then were correlated with the composite MDASI-HN score during week 5 of therapy. Results. A multivariate model incorporating pretreatment PROs better predicted MDASI-HN symptom scores during treatment than did a model based on clinical variables and physician-rated patient performance status alone (Akaike information criterion = 1442.5 vs 1459.9). In the most parsimonious model, pretreatment MDASI-HN symptom severity (P < .001), concurrent chemotherapy (P = .006), primary tumor site (P = .016), and receipt of definitive (rather than adjuvant) RT (P = .044) correlated with MDASI-HN symptom scores during week 5. That model was used to construct a nomogram. Conclusion. Our model demonstrates the value of incorporating baseline PROs, in addition to disease and treatment characteristics, to predict patient symptom burden during therapy. Although additional investigation and validation are required, PRO-inclusive prediction tools can be useful for improving symptom interventions and expectations for patients being treated for HNC.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
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    ABSTRACT: Definitive radiotherapy improves locoregional control and survival in inoperable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. However, radiation-induced toxicities (pneumonitis/esophagitis) are common dose-limiting inflammatory conditions. We therefore conducted a pathway-based analysis to identify inflammation-related SNPs associated with radiation-induced pneumonitis or esophagitis. 11,930 SNPs were genotyped in 201 stage I-III NSCLC patients treated with definitive radiotherapy. Validation was performed in an additional 220 NSCLC cases. After validation, 19 SNPs remained significant. A polygenic risk score (PRS) was generated to summarize the effect from validated SNPs. Significant improvements in discriminative ability were observed by adding the PRS into the clinical/epidemiological variable-based model. We then used 277 lymphoblastoid cell-lines to assess radiation sensitivity and eQTL relationships of the identified SNPs. Three genes (PRKCE,DDX58 and TNFSF7) were associated with radiation sensitivity. We concluded that inflammation-related genetic variants could contribute to the development of radiation-induced toxicities.Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2014); Accepted article preview online 23 July 2014. doi:10.1038/clpt.2014.154.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Clinical Pharmacology &#38 Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUNDA prospective longitudinal study to profile patient-reported symptoms during radiotherapy (RT) or concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) for head and neck cancer was performed. The goals were to understand the onset and trajectory of specific symptoms and their severity, identify clusters, and facilitate symptom interventions and clinical trial design.METHODS Participants in this questionnaire-based study received RT or CCRT. They completed the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Symptom Inventory-Head and Neck Module before and weekly during treatment. Symptom scores were compared between treatment groups, and hierarchical cluster analysis was used to depict clustering of symptoms at treatment end. Variables believed to predict symptom severity were assessed using a multivariate mixed model.RESULTSAmong the 149 patients studied, the majority (47%) had oropharyngeal tumors, and nearly one-half received CCRT. Overall symptom severity (P < .001) and symptom interference (P < .0001) became progressively more severe and were more severe for those receiving CCRT. On multivariate analysis, baseline Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (P < .001) and receipt of CCRT (P < .04) correlated with higher symptom severity. Fatigue, drowsiness, lack of appetite, problem with mouth/throat mucus, and problem tasting food were more severe for those receiving CCRT. Both local and systemic symptom clusters were identified.CONCLUSIONS The findings from this prospective longitudinal study identified a pattern of local and systemic symptoms, symptom clusters, and symptom interference that was temporally distinct and marked by increased magnitude and a shift in individual symptom rank order during the treatment course. These inform clinicians about symptom intervention needs, and are a benchmark for future symptom intervention clinical trials. Cancer 2014. © 2014 American Cancer Society.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Background accurate prognostic prediction is challenging for advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients. Methods we systematically investigated genetic variants within inflammation pathway as potential prognostic markers for advanced-stage NSCLC patients treated with first-line chemotherapy. A discovery phase in 502 patients and an internal validation in 335 patients were completed at MD Anderson Cancer Center. External validation was performed in 371 patients at Harvard University. Results a missense SNP (HLA-DOB:rs2071554) predicted to influence protein function was significantly associated with poor survival in the discovery (HR:1.46, 95% CI:1.02-2.09), internal validation (HR:1.51, 95% CI:1.02-2.25), and external validation (HR:1.52, 95% CI:1.01-2.29) populations. KLRK1:rs2900420 was associated with a reduced risk in the discovery (HR:0.76, 95% CI:0.60-0.96), internal validation (HR:0.77, 95% CI:0.61-0.99), and external validation (HR:0.80, 95% CI:0.63-1.02) populations. A strong cumulative effect was observed for these SNPs on overall survival. Conclusions Genetic variations in inflammation-related genes could have potential to complement prediction of prognosis.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2014 · Clinical Pharmacology &#38 Therapeutics
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    ABSTRACT: Telomere dysfunction is a crucial event in malignant transformation and tumorigenesis. Telomere length in peripheral blood leukocytes has been associated with lung cancer risk, but the relationship has remained controversial. In this study, we investigated whether the association might be confounded by study of different histological subtypes of lung cancer. We measured relative telomere lengths in patients in a large case-control study of lung cancer and performed stratified analyses according to the two major histological subtypes (adenocarcinoma [AC] and squamous cell carcinoma [SCC]). Notably, AC patients had longer telomeres than controls, whereas SCC patients had shorter telomeres compared to controls. Long telomeres were associated with increased risk of AC, with the highest risk associated with female sex, younger age (<60 years) and lighter smoking (30 pack-years). In contrast, long telomeres were protective against SCC, particularly in male patients. Our results extend the concept that telomere length affects risk of lung cancer in a manner that differs with histological subtype.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Cancer Research

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer Research

  • No preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor (TGF) -β1 signaling is involved in cancer-cell metastasis. We investigated whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at TGFβ1 were associated with overall survival (OS) and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with definitive radiotherapy, with or without chemotherapy. We genotyped TGFβ1 SNPs at rs1800469 (C-509T), rs1800471 (G915C), and rs1982073 (T+29C) by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism in blood samples from 205 NSCLC patients who had had definitive radiotherapy at one institution in November 1998-January 2005. We also tested whether the TGF-β1 rs1982073 (T+29C) SNP affected the migration and invasion of A549 and PC9 lung cancer cells. Median follow-up time for all patients was 17 months (range, 1-97 months; 39 months for patients alive at the time of analysis). Multivariate analysis showed that the TGFβ1 rs1800469 CT/CC genotype was associated with poor OS (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.463 [95% confidence interval {CI} = 1.012-2.114], P = 0.043) and shorter DMFS (HR = 1.601 [95% CI = 1.042-2.459], P = 0.032) and that the TGFβ1 rs1982073 CT/CC genotype predicted poor DMFS (HR = 1.589 [95% CI = 1.009-2.502], P = 0.046) and poor brain MFS (HR = 2.567 [95% CI = 1.155-5.702], P = 0.021) after adjustment for age, sex, race, performance status, smoking status, tumor histology and volume, stage, receipt of concurrent radiochemotherapy, number of chemotherapy cycles, and radiation dose. Transfection with TGFβ1+29C (vs. +29T) stimulated the migration and invasion of A549 and PC9 cells, suggesting that TGFβ1+29C may be linked with increased metastatic potential. TGFβ1 genotypes at rs1800469 and rs1982073 could be useful for predicting DMFS among patients with NSCLC treated with definitive radiation therapy. These findings require validation in larger prospective trials and thorough mechanistic studies.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: To identify the genetic factors that influence overall survival in never smokers who have non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), we performed a consistency meta-analysis study utilizing genome-wide association approaches for overall survival in 327 never smoker NSCLC patients from the MD Anderson Cancer Center and 293 cases from the Mayo Clinic. We then performed a two-pronged validation of the top 25 variants that included additional validation in 1,256 NSCLC patients from Taiwan and assessment of expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) and differential expression of genes surrounding the top loci in 70 tumors and matched normal tissues. A total of 94 loci were significant for overall survival in both MD Anderson and Mayo studies in the consistency meta-analysis phase, with the top 25 variants reaching a p-value of 10-6. Two variants of these 25 were also significant in the Taiwanese population: rs6901416 (HR:1.44, 95%CI:1.01-2.06) and rs10766739 (HR:1.23, 95%CI:1.00-1.51). These loci resulted in a reduction in median survival time of at least 8 and 5 months in three populations, respectively. An additional six variants (rs4237904, rs7976914, rs4970833, rs954785, rs485411, and rs10906104) were validated through eQTL analysis that identified significant correlations with expression levels of six genes (LEMD3, TMBIM, ATXN7L2, SHE, ITIH2, and NUDT5, respectively) in normal lung tissue. These genes were also significantly differentially expressed between the tumor and normal lung. These findings identify several novel, candidate prognostic markers for NSCLC in never smokers, with eQTL analysis suggesting a potential biological mechanism for a subset of these observed associations.
    No preview · Article · May 2013 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) have been found to be significant predictors of clinical outcomes such as overall survival (OS), but the effect of demographic and clinical factors on the prognostic ability of PROs is less understood. Several PROs derived from the 12-item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-12) and M. D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI) were investigated for association with OS, with adjustments for other factors, including performance status. Methods: A retrospective analysis was performed on data from 90 patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. Several baseline PROs were added to a base Cox proportional hazards model to examine the marginal significance and improvement in model fit attributable to the PRO: mean MDASI symptom interference level; mean MDASI symptom severity level for five selected symptoms; SF-12 physical and mental component summaries; and the SF-12 general health item. Bootstrap resampling was used to assess the robustness of the findings. Results: The MDASI mean interference level had a significant effect on OS (p = 0.007) when the model was not adjusted for interactions with other prognostic factors. Further exploration suggested the significance was due to an interaction with performance status (p = 0.001). The MDASI mean symptom severity level and the SF-12 physical component summary, mental component summary, and general health item did not have a significant effect on OS. Conclusions: Symptom interference adds prognostic information for OS in advanced lung cancer patients with poor performance status, even when demographic and clinical prognostic factors are accounted for.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Quality of Life Research

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Oct 2012
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    ABSTRACT: We adopted a two-stage study design to screen 927 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in 73 apoptotic-pathway genes in a case-control study and then performed a fast-track validation of the significant SNPs in a replication population to identify sequence variations in the apoptotic pathway modulating lung cancer risk. Fifty-five SNPs showed significant associations in the discovery population comprised of 661 lung cancer cases and 959 controls. Six of these SNPs located in three genes (Bcl-2, CASP9 and ANKS1B) were validated in a replication population with 1154 cases and 1373 controls. Additive model was the best-fitting model for five SNPs (rs1462129 and rs255102 of Bcl-2, rs6685648 of CASP9 and rs1549102, rs11110099 of ANKS1B) and recessive model was the best fit for one SNP (rs10745877 of ANKS1B). In the analysis of joint effects with subjects carrying no unfavorable genotypes as the reference group, those carrying one, two, and three or more unfavorable genotypes had an odds ratio (OR) of 2.22 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08–4.57, P = 0.03], 2.70 (95% CI = 1.33–5.49; P = 0.006) and 4.13 (95% CI = 2.00–8.57; P = 0.0001), respectively (P for trend = 6.05E-06). The joint effect of unfavorable genotypes was also validated in the replication population. The SNPs identified are located in or near key genes known to play important roles in apoptosis regulation, supporting the strong biological relevance of our findings. Future studies are needed to identify the causal SNPs and elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2012 · Carcinogenesis

  • No preview · Conference Paper · Jun 2012
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor suppressor gene TUSC2/FUS1 (TUSC2) is frequently inactivated early in lung cancer development. TUSC2 mediates apoptosis in cancer cells but not normal cells by upregulation of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. No drug strategies currently exist targeting loss-of-function genetic abnormalities. We report the first in-human systemic gene therapy clinical trial of tumor suppressor gene TUSC2. Patients with recurrent and/or metastatic lung cancer previously treated with platinum-based chemotherapy were treated with escalating doses of intravenous N-[1-(2,3-dioleoyloxy)propyl]-N,N,N-trimethylammonium chloride (DOTAP):cholesterol nanoparticles encapsulating a TUSC2 expression plasmid (DOTAP:chol-TUSC2) every 3 weeks. Thirty-one patients were treated at 6 dose levels (range 0.01 to 0.09 milligrams per kilogram). The MTD was determined to be 0.06 mg/kg. Five patients achieved stable disease (2.6-10.8 months, including 2 minor responses). One patient had a metabolic response on positron emission tomography (PET) imaging. RT-PCR analysis detected TUSC2 plasmid expression in 7 of 8 post-treatment tumor specimens but not in pretreatment specimens and peripheral blood lymphocyte controls. Proximity ligation assay, performed on paired biopsies from 3 patients, demonstrated low background TUSC2 protein staining in pretreatment tissues compared with intense (10-25 fold increase) TUSC2 protein staining in post-treatment tissues. RT-PCR gene expression profiling analysis of apoptotic pathway genes in two patients with high post-treatment levels of TUSC2 mRNA and protein showed significant post-treatment changes in the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Twenty-nine genes of the 82 tested in the apoptosis array were identified by Igenuity Pathway Analysis to be significantly altered post-treatment in both patients (Pearson correlation coefficient 0.519; p<0.01). DOTAP:chol-TUSC2 can be safely administered intravenously in lung cancer patients and results in uptake of the gene by human primary and metastatic tumors, transgene and gene product expression, specific alterations in TUSC2-regulated pathways, and anti-tumor effects (to our knowledge for the first time for systemic DOTAP:cholesterol nanoparticle gene therapy). ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00059605.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · PLoS ONE

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Cancer Research
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    ABSTRACT: Detection of early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is commonly believed to be incidental. Understanding the reasons that caused initial detection of these patients is important for early diagnosis. However, these reasons are not well studied. We retrospectively reviewed medical records of patients diagnosed with stage I or II NSCLC between 2000 and 2009 at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center. Information on suggestive LC-symptoms or other reasons that caused detection were extracted from patients' medical records. We applied univariate and multivariate analyses to evaluate the association of suggestive LC-symptoms with tumor size and patient survival. Of the 1396 early stage LC patients, 733 (52.5%) presented with suggestive LC-symptoms as chief complaint. 347 (24.9%) and 287 (20.6%) were diagnosed because of regular check-ups and evaluations for other diseases, respectively. The proportion of suggestive LC-symptom-caused detection had a linear relationship with the tumor size (correlation 0.96; with p<.0001). After age, gender, race, smoking status, therapy, and stage adjustment, the symptom-caused detection showed no significant difference in overall and LC-specific survival when compared with the other (non-symptom-caused) detection. Symptoms suggestive of LC are the number one reason that led to detection in early NSCLC. They were also associated with tumor size at diagnosis, suggesting early stage LC patients are developing symptoms. Presence of symptoms in early stages did not compromise survival. A symptom-based alerting system or guidelines may be worth of further study to benefit NSCLC high risk individuals.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · PLoS ONE

Publication Stats

3k Citations
456.48 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2001-2015
    • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
      • Department of Thoracic Head Neck Medical Oncology
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 2007
    • University of Houston
      Houston, Texas, United States
    • Beijing Cancer Hospital
      Peping, Beijing, China