Boussioutas Laboratory: Gastrointestinal Cancer

Research Overview

My research team investigates translational aspects of gastrointestinal oncology. My research disciplines span population health and epidemiology of gastric and colorectal cancer, integrative genomic analysis of gastric and oesophageal cancer, cell biology of invasion and metastasis with respect to the tumour microenvironment, early detection and biomarkers of gastric cancer and genetic aspects of gastrointestinal malignancies.

My team is currently engaged in a number of research areas mainly in understanding cellular and molecular aspects of upper gastrointestinal cancers like gastric cancer and oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Particular areas of research include: (a) Understanding premalignant stages of disease (intestinal metaplasia) and how they progress to cancer to allow prevention strategies; (b) Tumour microenvironment and how this influences outcomes of disease in gastric cancer; (c) Biomarkers and precision medicine to be able to discover biomarkers for screening and early detection of cancer.

I also have an interest in screening and prevention of colorectal cancer particularly in high risk populations like those patients with hereditary predisposition to colorectal cancer.


  • Natasha Di Costanzo, Research Assistant
  • Dr Rita Busuttil, Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Minyu Wang, PhD Student
  • Yu-Kuan Huang, PhD student
  • Athanasios Koulis, PhD student
  • Elise Cannan, Scholarly Selective Student


  • Dr Adam Bass, The Cancer Genome Atlas, NCI/NIH, USA
  • Professor Matthias Ernst, Olivia Newton John Cancer Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia
  • Professor Patrick Tan, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald, Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK
  • Professor Mark Jenkins, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  • Professor Jon Emery, University of Melbourne, Melbourne Australia


  • 2015-2016NHMRC Project Grant (APP1087683) Molecular epidemiology of gastric cancers
  • 2013-2017Centre for Research Excellence (APP1042021) Centre for Research Excellence for reducing the burden of colorectal c├óncer by optimising screening: evidence to clinical practice
  • 2013-2017NHMRC Project Grant PP1046425: A randomised phase III Trial of preoperative chemoradiotherapy VS preoperative chemotherapy for resectable gastric cancer
  • 2013-2015NHMRC Project Grant (APP1065303) Colorectal Cancer screening: uptake and outcomes
  • 2012-2015NHMRC Project Grant APP1030980: Establishment of a biomarker to test molecular risk of Gastric Cancer

Research Publications

  • Jayasekara H, Reece JC, Buchanan DD, et al. Risk factors for metachronous colorectal cancer following a primary colorectal cancer: A prospective cohort study. Int J Cancer 2016;139:1081-90.
  • Li J, Woods SL, Healey S, et al. Point Mutations in Exon 1B of APC Reveal Gastric Adenocarcinoma and Proximal Polyposis of the Stomach as a Familial Adenomatous Polyposis Variant. Am J Hum Genet 2016;98:830-42.
  • Chau R, Dashti SG, Ait Ouakrim D, et al. Multivitamin, calcium and folic acid supplements and the risk of colorectal cancer in Lynch syndrome. Int J Epidemiol 2016.
  • Rosty C, Clendenning M, Walsh MD, et al. Germline mutations in PMS2 and MLH1 in individuals with solitary loss of PMS2 expression in colorectal carcinomas from the Colon Cancer Family Registry Cohort. BMJ Open 2016;6:e010293.
  • Leong T, Smithers BM, Michael M, et al. TOPGEAR: a randomised phase III trial of perioperative ECF chemotherapy versus preoperative chemoradiation plus perioperative ECF chemotherapy for resectable gastric cancer (an international, intergroup trial of the AGITG/TROG/EORTC/NCIC CTG). BMC Cancer 2015;15:532.
  • Elliott TR, Rayment NB, Hudspith BN, et al. Lamina propria macrophage phenotypes in relation to Escherichia coli in Crohn's disease. BMC Gastroenterol 2015;15:75.
  • van der Post RS, Vogelaar IP, Carneiro F, et al. Hereditary diffuse gastric cancer: updated clinical guidelines with an emphasis on germline CDH1 mutation carriers. J Med Genet 2015;52:361-74.
  • Elliott TR, Hudspith BN, Rayment NB, et al. Defective macrophage handling of Escherichia coli in Crohn's disease. J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015;30:1265-74.
  • Busuttil RA, Zapparoli GV, Haupt S, et al. Role of p53 in the progression of gastric cancer. Oncotarget 2014;5:12016-26.
  • Pattison S, Mann GB, Crosthwaite G, et al. Predictors of outcome after surgery for gastric cancer in a Western cohort. ANZ J Surg 2016;86:469-74.
  • Lin SJ, Gagnon-Bartsch JA, Tan IB, et al. Signatures of tumour immunity distinguish Asian and non-Asian gastric adenocarcinomas. Gut 2015;64:1721-31.
  • Cancer Genome Atlas Research N. Comprehensive molecular characterization of gastric adenocarcinoma. Nature 2014;513:202-9.
  • Stark Z, Campbell LJ, Mitchell C, et al. Clinical problem-solving. Spot diagnosis. N Engl J Med 2014;370:2229-36.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Group Leader Professor Alex Boussioutas

Department / Centre


Unit / Centre

Boussioutas Laboratory: Gastrointestinal Cancer

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