Molecular breast pathology

Lakhani Lab in the news

Dr Amy McCart Reed was recently interviewed for the ABC News program about Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer. See the article, radio story and video.

Associate Professor Pete Simpson, head of the UQCCR Cancer Genomics lab, was invited to speak at the International ILC Virtual Symposium.

This meeting brought together researchers, clinicians and lobular breast cancer advocates, and was supported by the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance. Invasive Lobular Carcinoma is the second most common type of breast cancer, and it has many unique features. Associate Professor Simpson, Dr Amy McCart Reed and Dr Jamie Kutasovic, together with Professor Sunil Lakhani, have had a longstanding interest in better understanding ILC biology and genetics, and in identifying which ILC tumours are likely to return as a metastasis. Pete gave an overview of our research, and focused on our recent studies on LobSig and also spread of ILC to gynaecological organs.

You can watch the presentation here and learn more about Invasive Lobular Carcinoma here.

Professor Lakhani is lead pathologist on the OlympiA trial, and the first round of results have been presented at the American Society of Oncology Meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The results show the benefit of including PARP inhibitor therapy for patients with an inherited mutation in BRCA1/2 and the drug reduced the risk of recurrence, second cancers and death by over 40%. More data will be emerging over the next few years.


Our research focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of breast cancer development, improving the way we predict the risk of relapse, and finding better ways to treat this disease.


Based at the UQ Centre for Clinical Research, the Brisbane Breast Bank was originally established by Professor Lakhani in 2005, with the aim of collecting a frozen tumour sample from every patient undergoing treatment at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

With financial support from UQ, QIMR Berghofer, the RBWH Foundation and Australasian Biospecimen Network, as well as the cooperation and goodwill of staff from Pathology Queensland, QML and Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, the bank has been operating for over 10 years, and has become a valuable resource for breast cancer research in Australia and abroad.

Other researchers can apply to access BBB resources, but the research is conducted on a collaborative basis, rather than as a paid service for sample provision. Conducting the research in this way enables us to be true custodians of the biospecimens and clinical data, ensuring the most efficient and meaningful use of this finite resource, and compliance with National Human Research Ethics guidelines. Requests for research collaboration and clinical samples may also come to us via National and International biobanking groups with which we are affiliated:

  • The Australian Breast Cancer Tissue Bank (ABCTB)
  • The Australasian Biospecimens Network Association (ABNA)
  • Brain Cancer Biobanking Australia (BCBA)
  • The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC)

The Brisbane Breast Bank represents critical national biomedical research infrastructure and is helping to increase the relevance of breast cancer research on an international scale.

It is now more important than ever to ensure its sustainability.

We are passionate about our research, raising awareness, and involving the community.

The Molecular Breast Pathology team values feedback from the community - we need to know if you think we are focusing on the right issues.

We hold annual consumer representative meetings to showcase our research and seek input on future endeavours, and we are committed to attending and contributing to community events that help raise awareness. We have presented on various aspects of our work at Pink Ribbon Breakfasts, Science week and School events, and breast cancer advocacy meetings. For more information, please contact us.

Useful links

To all of the patients, families, donors, doctors and other healthcare staff who have contributed to the Brisbane Breast Bank: Your support is invaluable.