Brendan PANG

My research interests lie in the development and clinical validation of novel biomarker assays using molecular platforms. I first forayed into cancer research when I trained under the mentorship of Professor Manuel Salto-Tellez. I furthered my training in molecular pathology as a visiting scholar at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre’s (UPMC) Molecular Anatomic Pathology (MAP) laboratory, Presbyterian Hospital, under Dr Marina Nikiforova, where we co-authored a paper on the novel use of COLD-PCR for the detection of low prevalence IDH1 mutant alleles in human glioma FFPE samples. On my return to Singapore, I have had research collaborations with the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS) and other PIs from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and CSI on a wide variety of projects involving the morpho-molecular evaluation of novel biomarkers in a variety of solid tumours for their predictive and prognostic significance.

There is a trend in the treatment of cancer from an approach in which the tissue of origin and the histology were the guiding principles for the choice of therapy, toward a strategy in which knowledge of oncogenic mutation is used to select patients for treatment with highly selective drugs. This shift was enabled firstly, by the emergence of DNA sequencing technologies for the identification of recurrent mutations in a variety of cancers. Secondly, the development of highly selective inhibitors of the products of genes that are activated by these frequent genomic alterations. Genotype-directed therapy holds great promise for the treatment of cancer, but crosstalk between signalling pathways often confounds simple genotype-drug response relationships. To deliver on the promise of precision medicine, a coordinated effort is needed to make a comprehensive inventory of the many signalling feedback circuits that exist in cancer cells that thwart the efficacy of single targeted agents. My research collaborations are geared toward the discovery and validation of novel predictive biomarkers, that I hope will appropriately direct us toward hitherto unknown but effective ways to use targeted agents in combination, to overcome intrinsic and acquired drug resistance. In all my collaborations, I offer my morphological expertise in interpreting biomarker localization in cancer versus non cancer cells in a variety of solid tumours, as well as ethically sanctioned curatorship of archival patient samples from my parent Department of Pathology at NUHS. We leverage on the automation of IHC and ISH staining and interpretation, using high efficiency and throughput methods for data generation and interpretation such as the Bondmax, the Ariol and the soon to be acquired Vectra, as well as tissue microarrays made from archival tissue blocks from the Department of Pathology. When these become seamlessly integrated and merged with basic functional studies, response data from clinical trials and meaningful bioinformatics analysis, we come closer to the realization of true translational cancer research.

Selected Publications:

  1. van Grieken NC, Aoyma T, Chambers PA, Bottomley D, Ward LC, Inam I, Buffart TE, Das K, Lim T, Pang B, Zhang SL, Tan IB, Carvalho B, Heideman DA, Miyagi Y, Kameda Y, Arai T, Meijer GA, Tsuburaya A, Tan P, Yoshikawa T, Grabsch HI. KRAS and BRAF mutations are rare and related to DNA mismatch repair deficiency in gastric cancer from the East and the West: results from a large international multicentre study. Br J Cancer. 2013 Apr 16;108(7):1495-501. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.109. Epub 2013 Mar 19.
  2. Pang B, Durso MB, Hamilton RL, Nikiforova MN. 12A novel COLD-PCR/FMCA assay enhances the detection of low-abundance IDH1 mutations in gliomas. Diagn Mol Pathol. 2013 Mar;22(1):28-34. doi: 10.1097/PDM.0b013e31826c7ff8
  3. Pang B, Matthias D, Ong CW, Dhewar AN, Gupta S, Lim GL, Nga ME, Seet JE, Qasim A, Chin TM, Soo R, Soong R, Salto-Tellez M.The positive impact of cytological specimens for EGFR mutation testing in non-small cell lung cancer: a single South East Asian laboratory’s analysis of 670 cases.Cytopathology. 2012 Aug; 23(4):229-36.
  4. Pang B, Ong CW, Chong ML, Muliana-Ismail T, Soong R, Salto-Tllez M.KRAS mutation analysis in a complex molecular diagnostic referral practice: the need for test redundancy Pathology. 2012 Dec;44(7):655-7. doi: 10.1097/PAT.0b013e328359d5a
  5. Tay CM, Ong CW, Lee VK, Pang B. KIT gene mutation analysis in solid tumours: biology, clinical applications and trends in diagnostic reporting.Pathology. 2013 Feb;45(2):127-37. doi: 10.1097/PAT.0b013e32835c7645
  6. Pang NK, Nga ME, Chin SY, Ismail TM, Lim GL, Soong R, Salto-Tellez M. KRAS and BRAF mutation analysis can be reliably performed on aspirated cytological specimens of metastatic colorectal carcinoma. Cytopathology. 2011 Dec;22(6):358-64. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.2010.00812.x.
  7. Pang NK, Chin SY, Nga ME, Chang AR, Ismail TM, Omar SS, Charlton A, Salto-Tellez M. Comparative validation of c-kit exon 11 mutation analysis on cytology samples and corresponding surgical resections of gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Cytopathology. 2009 Oct;20(5):297-303. Epub 2009 Jan 21.
  8. Dettmer M, Hench J, Pang B, Willi N, Cathomas G. Rhabdoid large cell carcinoma of lung, with illustrative immunohistochemical and molecular findings. Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol. 2012 May;20(3):208-13. doi: 10.1097/PAI.0b013e31823d8121
  9. Ku CS, Wu M, Cooper DN, Naidoo N, Pawitan Y, Pang B, Iacopetta B, Soong R. Technological advances in DNA sequence enrichment and sequencing for germline genetic diagnosis. Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2012 Mar;12(2):159-73
  10. Soon WW, Miller LD, Black MA, Dalmasso C, Chan XB, Pang B, Ong CW, Salto-Tellez M, Desai KV, Liu ET. Combined genomic and phenotype screening reveals secretory factor SPINK1 as an invasion and survival factor associated with patient prognosis in breast cancer. EMBO Mol Med. 2011 Aug;3(8):451-64. doi:10.1002/emmm.201100150.
Name Brendan PANG Nghee Kheem
Affiliations Principal Associate, Cancer Science Institute
NUS Consultant, Department of Pathology, National University Hospital
Clinical Assistant Professor, Clinician-Educator Tract, Department of Pathology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University Singapore
Laboratory (Section) Director, Diagnostic Molecular Oncology Centre, Department of Pathology, National University Health System
Email patpnkb[at]nus.edu.sg

Education

Institute Degree (if applicable) Year(s)
Royal College of Pathologists, United Kingdom FRCPath 2009
National University of Singapore MBBS 2003

Professional Experience

Consultant, Department of Pathology, National University Hospital 2012 – present
Laboratory Section Director, Diagnostic Molecular Oncology Centre, Department of Pathology, National University Health System 2011 – present
Fellowship in Molecular Anatomic Pathology (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) 2010 – 2011
Associate Consultant, Department of Pathology, National University Hospital 2009 – 2011
Registrar, Department of Pathology, National University Hospital 2006 – 2009