Associated Studies

PCR4QI: Pancreatic Cancer Registry for Quality Improvement

An NHMRC project grant was awarded in 2016 to Professor Sue Evans for ‘Optimising care for patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer: a prospective cohort study’. This 5-year project will utilise the UGICR’s pancreatic cancer data and see an expansion of this module into six NSW Local Health Districts. A PhD student is studying the development, implementation and analysis of pancreatic cancer quality indicators and patient-reported outcome measures.

Principal Investigators: Prof Sue Evans (CIA), A/Prof Rachel Neale, Prof John Zalcberg, Prof David Goldstein, Prof Sally Green, Prof Neil Merrett, Prof Kate White, Prof James Kench,  A/Prof Arul Earnest, Prof Christopher Christophi, Dr Elizabeth Burmeister


A VCA project grant was awarded in 2018 for a registry-based randomised control trial (RRCT) of symptom monitoring, using patient-reported outcomes, and care-coordination integrated into clinical practice to improve health-related quality of life in patients diagnosed with pancreatic and oesophagogastric cancers. Potential participants will be recruited from eight hospitals in Victoria (including private and regional sites) identified through the UGICR.

Principal Investigators: Prof John Zalcberg (CIA), Dr Liane Ioannou, Prof Sue Evans, Prof Madeleine King, Prof Wendy Brown, Dr Daniel Croagh, A/Prof Charles Pilgrim, Prof Kate White, Prof Jennifer Philip and Prof Arul Earnest.

Associate Investigators: Dr Darshini Ayton, Prof Penelope Schofield, Prof Danny Liew, Prof Jon Emery, Dr Claudia Rutherford, Dr Ri Scarborough, Mr John Liman, Mr David Attwood, Mr Peter Bairstow, Ms Helen Farrugia, Ms Theresa Dodson, Ms Lisa Brady, and Ms Kate Furness.

For more information, please see the PROpatient website.

PhD Studies

Nadia Khan

Nadia Khan’s PhD project aims to understand how patients with pancreatic and oesophagogastric cancers are using supportive care services across Victoria, Australia. In order to achieve this aim, Nadia will analyse a set of linked Victorian healthcare datasets, including the Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry, to understand the real-world patterns of supportive care service use in this population. This analysis will be supplemented with interviews conducted with patients and their caregivers to identify opportunities for improving supportive care provision. UGICR assisted Nadia with recruiting patients for her qualitative study and provided access to data to create a linked dataset. As part of her project, Nadia has also undertaken an internship with Cancer Australia to inform the development of the National Pancreatic Cancer Roadmap.

Supervisors: Prof John Zalcberg, A/Prof Charles Pilgrim, Dr Liane Ioannou, Prof Sue Evans

Coordinating Principal Investigator: Prof Sue Evans


Tennille Lewin

Tennille is currently undertaking a research study to determine the feasibility and acceptability of the PROpatient centralised model of care coordination from the perspective of both health professionals (HPs) and patients. This is a mixed-methods study. Interviews with HPs and patients will be used to develop short surveys that had be administered to HPs’ patients (who have had the intervention) at various time points throughout the trial. To date, interviews have been conducted with 15 HPs that provide care to patients with UGI cancer from PROpatient trial sites, including representation from a range of specialties (surgery, oncology, nursing, allied health, palliative care).

Recently, Tennille completed the development of the short-item symptom reporting tool and will undertake a study to establish reliability and validation of the tool using data from the PROpatient trial.

Supervisor: Prof John Zalcberg

Coordinating Principal Investigator: Prof John Zalcberg


UGI-PROMs: Registry Based PROMs for Pancreatic Cancer

A Monash Partners Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (MPCCC) grant was awarded to pilot two complementary projects to implement real-time patient-reported outcomes measures (PROMs) and patient-reported experiences measures (PREMs)

A registry-based pilot study of real-time PROMs and PREMs in patients with pancreatic cancer. Clinicians and consumers will be consulted to inform the development and implementation of PROMs and PREMs at four MPCCC affiliated public health services.
Academic lead: Prof John Zalcberg

The development and implementation of PROMs and PREMS in a clinical setting. (Note: Part B is not being conducted by UGICR employees).
Academic lead: Prof Eva Segelov

SYMPTOM-UGI: Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer SYMPTOM Study

A collaborative project led by Professor Jon Emery from the University of Melbourne, looking at patient pathways from onset of symptoms to cancer diagnosis. Potential participants for this project will be identified through the UGICR.

Principal Investigators: Prof Jon Emery (CPI) and Prof John Zalcberg

Pancreatic Cancer Image Biobank

An AVNER Pancreatic cancer foundation funded project, established to compare the of European, North American and Australian perspectives on the resectability of non-metastatic pancreatic cancer. This project is leveraging data held by the Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry to establish a secure ‘image biobank’ containing the diagnostic CT scans of 100 patients with non-metastatic pancreatic cancer. The images will be reviewed by a group of international surgeons and radiologists who are experienced in the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer. This approach will enable us to determine and compare how different experts for different, specialties, sites and countries interpret the technical resectability of the cancer.

Principal Investigators: Prof John Zalcberg, Dr Daniel Croagh, Dr Jan Gerstenmaier, Prof Jaswinder Samra

Victorian Pancreatic Cancer Biobank

This is an investigator led study that involves individuals with a suspected diagnosis pancreatic cancer or cholangiocarcinoma. This study involves banking surgical and fine needle aspirate (FNA) samples to provide a comprehensive resource for future research into pancreatobiliary cancer genetics and personalised therapy.

Coordinating Principal Investigator: Dr Daniel Croagh

Piloting a new Radiological Synoptic Report for Classifying and Documenting Pancreatic Cancer Resectability

This pilot study involves the trial of a new synoptic radiology reporting template for review of abdominal CT scans in the context of suspected pancreatic cancer and will be conducted at two health services. The study is being led by the Southern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service in collaboration with the Northern Melbourne Integrated Cancer Service, the Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Registry, Austin Health and Alfred Health.

Coordinating Principal Investigator: Prof John Zalcberg, A/Prof Charles Pilgrim

Development and validation of registry-derived stage for pancreatic, stomach, liver, uterine and ovarian cancer: a national collaborative study

This study will develop Business Rules to enable population-based registries to assign a stage of disease at diagnosis for five types of cancers. Following development of the Business Rules, validation of the RD Stage will be tested for two cancers (pancreas and uterine cancers). This project will be undertaken using data from population-based cancer registries in each jurisdiction. This study will be undertaken over a 16-month period from August 2021 to December 2022.

Coordinating Principal Investigator: Prof Sue Evans

Optimising Nutrition In Pancreatic Cancer: Examining PERT Implementation In Australia (PAN-EXPERT)

Patients with pancreatic cancer often develop pancreatic enzyme insufficiency (PEI), a condition that can lead to malnutrition, diarrhoea, steatorrhea (oily stool), bloating, and other symptoms. The standard treatment for this condition is PERT, but evidence is unclear about whether PERT has been adequately used to manage this condition in patients. This study aims to understand how PERT is being used in patients who are at most risk of developing PEI, that is, those who have undergone surgery. It also aims to understand current management approaches of pancreatic cancer and identify opportunities for improving the quality of life of patients.

Coordinating Principal Investigator: Mr Mark Cullinan

HER2 testing in advanced gastric cancer – understanding and reducing variation in current practice to improve equity in patient outcomes

The Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA) Quality and Safety in Cancer Care Research Grant was awarded in 2021 for a retrospective cohort study, including a qualitative sub-study. The primary aims are to determine the extent to which tumours from patients with advanced or recurrent gastric cancer across major centres in Victoria are being adequately assessed for overexpression and/or amplification of HER2; and to determine the extent that standardised testing algorithms are being used to test for HER2 status. Participants from twelve hospitals across Victoria (including private and regional sites) will be identified through the UGICR.

Chief Investigators: Dr Liane Ioannou (CIA), Prof John Zalcberg, Prof Alex Boussioutas, Dr Richard Chen, A/Prof Cuong Duong, Prof Stephen Fox, Dr Marnie Graco, Dr Andrew Haydon, A/Prof Rachel Wong