Dr. David Huntsman (MD, FRCPC, FCCMG) is the Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Professor of Gynaecologc Oncology, holds the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Molecular and Genomic Pathology, and is a Professor in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynaecology at UBC. He is also the co-Founder and Director of OVCARE, BC's multidisciplinary gynecologic cancer research team. 

Dr. Huntsman’s early research has provided most of the data that underpins the current management of hereditary gastric cancer. Over the past decade, his research has led to development of predictive and prognostic tissue based cancer biomarkers for ovarian cancer and a wide variety of other tumour types. His team created a blueprint for subtype specific ovarian cancer control and have been leaders in the application of novel genomic technologies to better prevent, diagnose and treat ovarian cancer. Specifically, next generation sequencing was used to discover the key driver mutations in granulosa cell and sertoli leydig cell tumours as well as clear cell, endometrioid and small cell ovarian carcinomas. These discoveries are being translated into improved diagnostics and treatment strategies. Based on research into precursor lesions, the OVCARE team has implemented a population based prevention strategy for ovarian cancer that includes opportunistic salpingectomy and more pervasive genetic screening. Dr. Huntsman’s most recent research has focused on the cellular origins of clear cell and endometrioid ovarian carcinomas, the role of somatic mutations in the development of endometriosis and the transformation of endometriosis into these cancers. 

Collaboration and entrepreneurship are both critical ingredients of clinically relevant research. To that end Dr. Huntsman leads several Canadian and international collaborative networks and recently founded a company, Contextual Genomics, to increase the clinical and economic impact of his work.

Dr. Huntsman has been honoured with leadership and research excellence awards including the inaugural Ovarian Cancer Canada Virginia Greene Leadership Award (2011), the inaugural Ovarian Cancer Canada Karen Campbel Award for Research Excellence (2012), the Canadian Cancer Society William E. Rawls Prize (2013), the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre William Gerald Award for Translational Cancer Research and Pathology (2016), and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Aubrey T. Tingle Prize (2018). 


Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynaecology, University of British Columbia

Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Professor of Gynaecologic Oncology, University of British Columbia

Canada Research Chair in Molecular and Genomic Pathology

Director of OVCARE, Vancouver General Hospital, BC Cancer and University of British Columbia

Distinguished Scientist, Department of Molecular Oncology, BC Cancer Research Centre

Director of the Molecular Pathology Laboratory, Vancouver General Hospital

Associate Member, BC Cancer, Genome Sciences Center

Associate Member, University of British Columbia, Department of Medical Genetics

Associate Member, University of British Columbia, Department of Urologic Sciences

Associate Member, University of British Columbia, CIHR/MSFHR Bioinformatics Program

Associate Member, University of British Columbia and BC Cancer, Interdisciplinary Oncology Program

Associate Member, University of British Columbia, Genome Science and Technology Graduate Program

MD, Memorial University of Newfoundland 1988

Rotating Internship, Dalhousie University 1989

Pathology Residency, University of British Columbia 1995

Clinical Oncology and Cancer Genetics Fellowship, University of Cambridge 1999


Oncogenic Significance of Subtype Specific Mutations

The clinical behaviour and potential management strategies for ovarian cancer subtypes are shaped by anatomic and biologic considerations, with the main determinants of biology being cell context and mutation. We are building on our key ovarian cancer mutation discoveries to investigate the basis of pathogenicity with the goal of using this information to improve treatment. Due to the histogenic specificity of the phenotypes, our lab is undertaking functional studies performed model systems derived from the appropriate cells of origin.

Biologically Informed Prevention Strategies for Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancers have historically suffered from generic treatment and prevention approaches that do not account for biologic and clinical differences between subtypes and research conducted without consideration of histotype, making interpretation of results and knowledge translation challenging. Using this subtype-specific approach, one of the key areas of my research program is to prevent disease by studying precursor lesions of ovarian cancer.

Improved Diagnostics for Ovarian and Other Rare Cancers

Accurate diagnosis forms the foundation of effective cancer care. A fundamental aspect of my research is to develop effective diagnostics to guide appropriate therapies for gynaecological cancers. We were one of the original advocates of studying and treating various histological subtypes of ovarian cancer as distinct diseases, both in research and clinically. Using this research, my laboratory discovered key mutations driving several ovarian cancers and rapidly translated these findings into clinical diagnostics.

Selected Publications

Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors Synergize with Catalytic Inhibitors of EZH2 to Exhibit Antitumor Activity in Small Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type.

Molecular cancer therapeutics, 2018
Wang, Yemin, Chen, Shary Yuting, Colborne, Shane, Lambert, Galen, Shin, Chae Young, Santos, Nancy Dos, Orlando, Krystal A, Lang, Jessica D, Hendricks, William P D, Bally, Marcel B, Karnezis, Anthony N, Hass, Ralf, Underhill, T Michael, Morin, Gregg B, Trent, Jeffrey M, Weissman, Bernard E, Huntsman, David G

Molecularly Defined Adult Granulosa Cell Tumor of the Ovary: The Clinical Phenotype.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2016
McConechy, Melissa K, Färkkilä, Anniina, Horlings, Hugo M, Talhouk, Aline, Unkila-Kallio, Leila, van Meurs, Hannah S, Yang, Winnie, Rozenberg, Nirit, Andersson, Noora, Zaby, Katharina, Bryk, Saara, Bützow, Ralf, Halfwerk, Johannes B G, Hooijer, Gerrit K J, van de Vijver, Marc J, Buist, Marrije R, Kenter, Gemma G, Brucker, Sara Y, Krämer, Bernhard, Staebler, Annette, Bleeker, Maaike C G, Heikinheimo, Markku, Kommoss, Stefan, Blake Gilks, C, Anttonen, Mikko, Huntsman, David G

Small cell carcinoma of the ovary, hypercalcemic type, displays frequent inactivating germline and somatic mutations in SMARCA4.

Nature genetics, 2014
Ramos, Pilar, Karnezis, Anthony N, Craig, David W, Sekulic, Aleksandar, Russell, Megan L, Hendricks, William P D, Corneveaux, Jason J, Barrett, Michael T, Shumansky, Karey, Yang, Yidong, Shah, Sohrab P, Prentice, Leah M, Marra, Marco A, Kiefer, Jeffrey, Zismann, Victoria L, McEachron, Troy A, Salhia, Bodour, Prat, Jaime, D'Angelo, Emanuela, Clarke, Blaise A, Pressey, Joseph G, Farley, John H, Anthony, Stephen P, Roden, Richard B S, Cunliffe, Heather E, Huntsman, David G, Trent, Jeffrey M

Recurrent somatic DICER1 mutations in nonepithelial ovarian cancers.

The New England journal of medicine, 2012
Heravi-Moussavi, Alireza, Anglesio, Michael S, Cheng, S-W Grace, Senz, Janine, Yang, Winnie, Prentice, Leah, Fejes, Anthony P, Chow, Christine, Tone, Alicia, Kalloger, Steve E, Hamel, Nancy, Roth, Andrew, Ha, Gavin, Wan, Adrian N C, Maines-Bandiera, Sarah, Salamanca, Clara, Pasini, Barbara, Clarke, Blaise A, Lee, Anna F, Lee, Cheng-Han, Zhao, Chengquan, Young, Robert H, Aparicio, Samuel A, Sorensen, Poul H B, Woo, Michelle M M, Boyd, Niki, Jones, Steven J M, Hirst, Martin, Marra, Marco A, Gilks, Blake, Shah, Sohrab P, Foulkes, William D, Morin, Gregg B, Huntsman, David G

ARID1A mutations in endometriosis-associated ovarian carcinomas.

The New England journal of medicine, 2010
Wiegand, Kimberly C, Shah, Sohrab P, Al-Agha, Osama M, Zhao, Yongjun, Tse, Kane, Zeng, Thomas, Senz, Janine, McConechy, Melissa K, Anglesio, Michael S, Kalloger, Steve E, Yang, Winnie, Heravi-Moussavi, Alireza, Giuliany, Ryan, Chow, Christine, Fee, John, Zayed, Abdalnasser, Prentice, Leah, Melnyk, Nataliya, Turashvili, Gulisa, Delaney, Allen D, Madore, Jason, Yip, Stephen, McPherson, Andrew W, Ha, Gavin, Bell, Lynda, Fereday, Sian, Tam, Angela, Galletta, Laura, Tonin, Patricia N, Provencher, Diane, Miller, Dianne, Jones, Steven J M, Moore, Richard A, Morin, Gregg B, Oloumi, Arusha, Boyd, Niki, Aparicio, Samuel A, Shih, Ie-Ming, Mes-Masson, Anne-Marie, Bowtell, David D, Hirst, Martin, Gilks, Blake, Marra, Marco A, Huntsman, David G

Mutation of FOXL2 in granulosa-cell tumors of the ovary.

The New England journal of medicine, 2009
Shah, Sohrab P, Köbel, Martin, Senz, Janine, Morin, Ryan D, Clarke, Blaise A, Wiegand, Kimberly C, Leung, Gillian, Zayed, Abdalnasser, Mehl, Erika, Kalloger, Steve E, Sun, Mark, Giuliany, Ryan, Yorida, Erika, Jones, Steven, Varhol, Richard, Swenerton, Kenneth D, Miller, Dianne, Clement, Philip B, Crane, Colleen, Madore, Jason, Provencher, Diane, Leung, Peter, DeFazio, Anna, Khattra, Jaswinder, Turashvili, Gulisa, Zhao, Yongjun, Zeng, Thomas, Glover, J N Mark, Vanderhyden, Barbara, Zhao, Chengquan, Parkinson, Christine A, Jimenez-Linan, Mercedes, Bowtell, David D L, Mes-Masson, Anne-Marie, Brenton, James D, Aparicio, Samuel A, Boyd, Niki, Hirst, Martin, Gilks, C Blake, Marra, Marco, Huntsman, David G
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