David TAN

Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist, Dept of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute
Associate Professor, Dept of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS
Principal Investigator, Cancer Science Institute of Singapore


My primary clinical and research interests are in gynaecological (ovarian, cervical, endometrial) cancer and drug development. My work is focused on the development of biomarkers and novel anti-cancer therapeutic agents.


My research is focused on the development of biomarkers and novel therapeutic agents in gynaecological cancers. Gynaecological cancers represent a highly heterogenous group of diseases, with each tumour subtype harbouring specific molecular aberrations and presenting its own unique clinical challenges. Understanding the genetic and tumour microenvironmental factors that drive these cancers will be crucial for the development of new therapeutic strategies. By elucidating the genomic/ molecular profiles of gynaecological cancers using a variety of high-throughput analytic platforms, our aim is to identify aberrant molecular pathways that may potentially be exploited for therapeutic development. For example, Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) is a family of proteins involved in a number of cellular processes involving mainly DNA repair, and PARP inhibitors and DNA-damaging agents have been shown to be particularly effective in the treatment of ovarian cancers with defects in the homolgous recombination DNA repair pathway. We are currently developing biomarkers that will facilitate the identification of patients whose tumours harbour deficiencies in these DNA repair pathways.

Lab Members

Selected Publications

1. Tan DS, Bedard PL, Kuruvilla J, Siu LL, Razak AR. Promising SINEs for embargoing nuclear-cytoplasmic export as an anticancer strategy. Cancer Discov. 2014 May;4(5):527-37. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

2. David SP Tan, Rowan E Miller, Stan B Kaye. New perspectives on molecular targeted therapy in ovarian clear cell carcinoma. British Journal of Cancer. 2013 Apr 4.

3. Emma Kipps, David SP Tan, Stan B Kaye. Meeting the challenge of ascites in ovarian cancer: new avenues for therapy and research. Nature Reviews Cancer 2013 Apr;13(4):273-82. Epub 2013 Feb 21.

4. David SP Tan, Timothy A Yap, Margaret Hutka, Patricia Roxburgh, Jooern Ang, Susana Banerjee, Ewa Grzybowska, Charlie Gourley, Martin E Gore and Stan B Kaye. Implications of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations for the efficacy of paclitaxel monotherapy in advanced ovarian cancer. European Journal of Cancer 2012 Dec 19.

5. Alan Mackay, Britta Weigelt, Anita Grigoriadis, Bas Kreike, Rachael Natrajan, Roger A’Hern, David SP Tan, Mitch Dowsett, Alan Ashworth, Jorge S Reis-Filho. Microarray-based class discovery for molecular classification of breast cancer: analysis of inter-observer agreement. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2011 Apr 20;103(8):662-73.

6. David SP Tan, Marjan Iravani, W Glenn McCluggage, Maryou Lambros, Fernanda Milanezi, Alan Mackay, Charlie Gourley, Felipe C Geyer, Radost Vatcheva, Joanne Millar, Karen Thomas, Rachael Natrajan, Kay Savage, Kerry Fenwick, Alistair RW Williams, Charles Jameson, Mona El-Bahrawy, Martin Gore, Hani Gabra, Stanley B Kaye, Alan Ashworth and Jorge S Reis-Filho. Genomic analysis reveals the molecular heterogeneity of ovarian clear cell carcinomas. Clinical Cancer Research 2011 Mar 15;17(6):1521-34.

7. Britta Weigelt, Alan Mackay, Roger A’hern, Rachael Natrajan, David SP Tan, Mitch Dowsett, Alan Ashworth, and Jorge S Reis-Filho. Breast cancer molecular profiling: a retrospective analysis of molecular subtype assignment using single sample predictors. Lancet Oncology 2010 Apr;11(4):339-49.

8. David SP Tan, Maryou BK Lambros, Sydonia Rayter, Rachael Natrajan, Radost Vatcheva, Qiong Gao, Caterina Marchiò, Felipe C Geyer, Kay Savage, Suzanne Parry, Kerry Fenwick, Narinder Tamber, Alan Mackay, Tim Dexter, Charles Jameson, W Glenn McCluggage, Alistair Williams, Ashley Graham, Dana Faratian, Mona El-Bahrawy, Adam J Paige, Hani Gabra, Martin E Gore, Marketa Zvelebil, Christopher J Lord, Stanley B Kaye, Alan Ashworth, Jorge S Reis-Filho. PPM1D is a potential therapeutic target in ovarian clear cell carcinomas. Clinical Cancer Research. 2009 Apr 1;15(7):2269-80.

9. Rachael Natrajan, Maryou B Lambros, Socorro María Rodríguez-Pinilla, Gema Moreno-Bueno, David SP Tan, Caterina Marchio, Radost Vatcheva, Sydonia Rayter, Betania Mahler-Araujo, Laura G Fulford, Daniela Hungermann, Alan Mackay, Anita Grigoriadis, Kerry Fenwick, Narinder Tamber, David Hardisson, Andrew Tutt, Jose Palacios, Christopher J Lord, Horst Buerger, Alan Ashworth and Jorge S Reis-Filho. Tiling path genomic profiling of grade III invasive ductal breast cancers. Clinical Cancer Research. 2009 Apr 15;15(8):2711-22.

10. David SP Tan, Christian Rothermundt, Karen Thomas, Elizabeth Bancroft, Rosalind A Eeles, Susan Shanley, Audrey Ardern-Jones, Andrew Norman, Stanley B Kaye, Martin E Gore. The “BRCAness” Syndrome in Ovarian Cancer: a case-control study describing the clinical features and outcome of patients with epithelial ovarian cancer associated with BRCA 1/2 mutations. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2008 Dec 1;26(34):5530-6.