Prof David Thomas

Director - The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Division Head - Cancer, Lab Head - Genomic Cancer Medicine

I am an NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Director of The Kinghorn Cancer Centre and Head of the Cancer Division of the Garvan Institute in NSW.

I undertook my medical training at the University of Melbourne (1982-88), followed by post-graduate training as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in medical Oncology (awarded 1997). I undertook my doctoral studies at the University of Melbourne, and was awarded my PhD in 1997.

I undertook post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School (1998-2000), before moving back to Melbourne to set up my own laboratory, initially at St Vincent’s Hospital (2001-3), then at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre (2002-2014).

I was the founding Chair of the Australasian Sarcoma Study Group (2007-11), and am currently a board member and Deputy Chair. I was the Director of the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer program, onTrac@PeterMac (2005-10). 

Research Interests

Somatic and germline cancer genomics, with a focus on sarcomas and cancer in young adults
Animal models of osteosarcoma

Awards and Honours

2016- NHMRC Principal Research Fellow
2012-2015 NHMRC Senior Research Fellow Level B
2011 - Victorian Cancer Agency, Clinician Researcher Fellowship
Western Australian Cancer Council visiting fellow
2009 - NHMRC Ten of the Best. Fellowship elected as one of the 10 best NHMRC investments for 2009
2008 - Sam Sciacca Visiting Fellow, Queensland Cancer Council
Associate Professor with title of Principal Research Fellow, University of Melbourne
2007-10 - Victorian Cancer Agency, Clinician Researcher Fellowship
2006-10 - Edna and Murray Dunn Award
2003-4 - Puzey fellowship, University of Melbourne
2003-7 - RD Wright NHMRC Career Development Award
2002 - Arnott Fellowship, Royal Australasian College of Physicians
2000 - John Taplin Fellow, Harvard Medical School
1998-2002 - Neil Hamilton Fairley National Health and Medical Research Council Fellowship


1997 - Doctorate of Philosophy (University of Melbourne)
1997 - Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians
1988 - Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (University of Melbourne)

Selected Publications

Takeda K, Nakayama M, Hayakawa Y, Kojima Y, Ikeda H, Imai N, Ogasawara K, Okumura L, Thomas DM and Smyth MJ. IFNγ- is required for cytotoxic T cell-dependent cancer genome immunoediting. Nat Commun 2017; 8:14607.

McBride KA, Ballinger ML, Schlub TE, Young MA, Tattersall MH, Kirk J, Eeles R, Killick E, Walker LG, Shanley S, Thomas DM and Mitchell G. Psychosocial morbidity in TP53 mutation carriers: is whole-body cancer screening beneficial? Fam Cancer 2017; 10.1007/s10689-10016-19964-10687.

Peng G, Bojadzieva J, Ballinger ML, Li J, Blackford AL, Mai PL, Savage SA, Thomas DM, Strong LC and Wang W. Estimating TP53 Mutation Carrier Probability in Families with Li-Fraumeni Syndrome Using LFSPRO. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2017; 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-1116-0695.

Ballinger ML, Goode DL, Ray-Coquard I, James PA, Mitchell G, Niedermayr E, Puri A, Schiffman JD, Dite GS, Cipponi A, Maki RG, Brohl AS, Myklebost O, Stratford EW, Lorenz S, Ahn S-M, Ahn J-H, Kim JE, Shanley S, Beshay V, Lor Randall R, Judson I, Seddon B, Campbell IG, Young M-A, Sarin R, Blay J-Y, O'Donoghue SI, Thomas DM and for the International Sarcoma Kindred Study. Monogenic and polygenic determinants of sarcoma risk: an international genetic study. Lancet Oncol 2016; 17:1261-1271.

Ballinger ML, Thomas DM and for the International Sarcoma Kindred Study. Sarcoma and germ-line DICER1 mutations - Authors' reply. Lancet Oncol 2016; 17:e471.

Burgess A, Chia KM, Haupt S, Thomas D, Haupt Y and Lim E. Clinical overview of MDM2/X-targeted therapies. Front Oncol 2016; 6:7.

Doble B, John T, Thomas D, Fellowes A, Fox S and Lorgelly P. Cost-effectiveness of precision medicine in the fourth-line treatment of metastatic lung adenocarcinoma: An early decision analytic model of multiplex targeted sequencing. Lung Cancer 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2016.1005.1024.

Gaston CL, Grimer RJ, Parry M, Stacchiotti S, Dei Tos AP, Gelderblom H, Ferrari S, Baldi GG, Jones RL, Chawla S, Casali P, LeCesne A, Blay JY, Dijkstra SP, Thomas DM and Rutkowski P. Current status and unanswered questions on the use of Denosumab in giant cell tumor of bone. Clin Sarcoma Res 2016; 6:15.

Kager L, Whelan J, Dirksen U, Hassan B, Anninga J, Bennister L, Bovee JV, Brennan B, Broto JM, Brugieres L, Cleton-Jansen AM, Copland C, Dutour A, Fagioli F, Ferrari S, Fiocco M, Fleuren E, Gaspar N, Gelderblom H, Gerrand C, Gerss J, Gonzato O, van der Graaf W, Hecker-Nolting S, Herrero-Martin D, Klco-Brosius S, Kovar H, Ladenstein R, Lancia C, LeDeley MC, McCabe MG, Metzler M, Myklebost O, Nathrath M, Picci P, Potratz J, Redini F, Richter GH, Reinke D, Rutkowski P, Scotlandi K, Strauss S, Thomas D, Tirado OM, Tirode F, Vassal G and Bielack SS. The ENCCA-WP7/EuroSarc/EEC/PROVABES/EURAMOS 3rd European Bone Sarcoma Networking Meeting/Joint Workshop of EU Bone Sarcoma Translational Research Networks; Vienna, Austria, September 24-25, 2015. Workshop Report. Clin Sarcoma Res 2016; 6:3.

McBride KA, Hallowell N, Tattersall MH, Kirk J, Ballinger ML, Thomas DM, Mitchell G and Young MA. Timing and context: important considerations in the return of genetic results to research participants. J Community Genet 2016; 7:11-20.

McBride KA, Schlub TE, Ballinger ML, Thomas DM and Tattersall MH. International survey of awareness of genetic risk in the clinical sarcoma community. Asia Pac J Clin Oncol 2016; 12:133-142.

Ngiow SF, Loi S, Thomas D and Smyth MJ. Mouse Models of Tumor Immunotherapy. Adv Immunol 2016; 130:1-24.

Rebbeck TR, Friebel TM, Mitra N, Wan F, Chen S, Andrulis IL, Apostolou P, Arnold N, Arun BK, Barrowdale D, Benitez J, Berger R, Berthet P, Borg A, Buys SS, Caldes T, Carter J, Chiquette J, Claes KB, Couch FJ, Cybulski C, Daly MB, de la Hoya M, Diez O, Domchek SM, Nathanson KL, Durda K, Ellis S, Embrace, Evans DG, Foretova L, Friedman E, Frost D, Ganz PA, Garber J, Glendon G, Godwin AK, Greene MH, Gronwald J, Hahnen E, Hallberg E, Hamann U, Hansen TV, Hebon, Imyanitov EN, Isaacs C, Jakubowska A, Janavicius R, Jaworska-Bieniek K, John EM, Karlan BY, Kaufman B, Investigators K, Kwong A, Laitman Y, Lasset C, Lazaro C, Lester J, Loman N, Lubinski J, Manoukian S, Mitchell G, Montagna M, Neuhausen SL, Nevanlinna H, Niederacher D, Nussbaum RL, Offit K, Olah E, Olopade OI, Park SK, Piedmonte M, Radice P, Rappaport-Fuerhauser C, Rookus MA, Seynaeve C, Simard J, Singer CF, Soucy P, Southey M, Stoppa-Lyonnet D, Sukiennicki G, Szabo CI, Tancredi M, Teixeira MR, Teo SH, Terry MB, Thomassen M, Tihomirova L, Tischkowitz M, Toland AE, Toloczko-Grabarek A, Tung N, van Rensburg EJ, Villano D, Wang-Gohrke S, Wappenschmidt B, Weitzel JN, Zidan J, Zorn KK, McGuffog L, Easton D, Chenevix-Trench G, Antoniou AC and Ramus SJ. Inheritance of deleterious mutations at both BRCA1 and BRCA2 in an international sample of 32,295 women. Breast Cancer Res 2016; 18:112.

Thomas DM and Ballinger ML. Diagnosis and management of hereditary sarcoma. Recent Results Cancer Res 2016; 205:169-189.

Vargas AC, Selinger C, Satgunaseelan L, Cooper WA, Gupta R, Stalley P, Brown W, Soper J, Schatz J, Boyle R, Thomas DM, Tattersall MH, Bhadri VA, Maclean F, Bonar SF, Scolyer RA, Karim RZ, McCarthy SW, Mahar A and O'Toole SA. Atypical EWSR1 FISH signal patterns in bone and soft tissue tumours: diagnostic experience with 135 cases. Histopathology 2016; doi: 10.1111/his.13031.

Willis AM, Smith SK, Meiser B, Ballinger ML, Thomas DM and Young MA. Sociodemographic, psychosocial and clinical factors associated with uptake of genetic counseling for hereditary cancer: a systematic review. Clin Genet 2016; doi: 10.1111/cge.12868.

Wong SQ, Fellowes A, Doig K, Ellul J, Bosma T, Irwin D, Vedururu R, Tan AY-C, Weiss J, Chan KS, Lucas M, Thomas DM, Dobrovic A, Parisot JP and Fox SB. Assessing the clinical value of targeted massively parallel sequencing in a longitudinal, prospective population-based study of cancer patients. Brit J Cancer 2015; 112:1411-1420.

Thomas DM, James PA and Ballinger ML. Clinical implications of genomics for cancer risk genetics. Lancet Oncol 2015; 16:e303-308.

Thomas DM and Ballinger ML. Etiologic, environmental and inherited risk factors in sarcomas. J Surg Oncol 2015; 111:490-495.

Thomas DM. The growing problem of benign connective tissue tumours. Lancet Oncol 2015; 16:879-880.

Mirabello L, Koster R, Moriarity BS, Spector LG, Meltzer PS, Gary J, Machiela MJ, Pankratz N, Panagiotou OA, Largaespada D, Wang Z, Gastier-Foster JM, Gorlick R, Khanna C, Caminada de Toledo SR, Petrilli AS, Patino-Garcia A, Sierrasesumaga L, Lecanda F, Andrulis IL, Wunder JS, Gokgoz N, Serra M, Hattinger C, Picci P, Scotlandi K, Flanagan AM, Tirabosco R, Fernanda Amary M, Halai D, Ballinger ML, Thomas DM, Davis S, Barkauskas DA, Marina N, Helman L, Otto GM, Becklin KL, Wolf NK, Weg MT, Tucker M, Wacholder S, Fraumeni JF, Jr., Caporaso NE, Boland JF, Hicks BD, Vogt A, Burdett L, Yeager M, Hoover RN, Chanock SJ and Savage SA. A genome-wide scan identifies variants in NFIB associated with metastasis in patients with osteosarcoma. Cancer Discov 2015; 5:920-931.

Chantrill LA, Nagrial AM, Watson C, Johns AL, Martyn-Smith M, Simpson S, Mead S, Jones MD, Samra JS, Gill AJ, Watson N, Chin VT, Humphris JL, Chou A, Brown B, Morey A, Pajic M, Grimmond SM, Chang DK, Thomas D, Sebastian L, Sjoquist K, Yip S, Pavlakis N, Asghari R, Harvey S, Grimison P, Simes J, Biankin AV, Australian Pancreatic Cancer Genome Initiative and the Individualized Molecular Pancreatic Cancer Therapy Trial Management Committee of the Australasian Gastrointestinal Trials Group. Precision medicine for advanced pancreas cancer: the Individualized Molecular Pancreatic Cancer Therapy (IMPaCT) Trial. Clin Cancer Res 2015; 21:2029-2037.

Ballinger ML, Mitchell G and Thomas DM. Surveillance recommendations for patients with germline TP53 mutations. Curr Opin Oncol 2015; 27:332-337.

Ashley D, Simes J, Thomas DM, Gore L, Carter R, Zalcberg J, Otmar R and Savulescu J. Accepting risk in the acceleration of drug development for rare cancers. Lancet Oncol 2015; 16:e190-194.

Wong SQ, Li J, Tan AY, Vedururu R, Pang JM, Do H, Ellul J, Doig K, Bell A, MacArthur GA, Fox SB, Thomas DM, Fellowes A, Parisot JP, Dobrovic A and Cohort C. Sequence artefacts in a prospective series of formalin-fixed tumours tested for mutations in hotspot regions by massively parallel sequencing. BMC Med Genomics 2014; 7:23.

McBride KA, Ballinger ML, Killick E, Kirk J, Tattersall MH, Eeles RA, Thomas DM and Mitchell G. Li-Fraumeni syndrome: cancer risk assessment and clinical management. Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2014; 11:260-271.

Lewin J, Khamly K, Young R, Mitchell C, Hicks R, Toner G, Ngan S, Chander S, Powell G, Herschtal A, te Marvelde L, Desai J, Choong P, Stacker S, Achen M, Ferris N, Fox S, Slavin J, Binko J and Thomas DM. A phase Ib/II translational study of sunitinib with neoadjuvant radiotherapy in soft-tissue sarcoma. Br J Cancer 2014; 111:2254-2261.

Kansara M and Thomas DM. RB1-mediated cell-autonomous and host-dependent oncosuppressor mechanisms in radiation-induced osteosarcoma. Oncoimmunology 2014; 3:e27569.

Kansara M, Teng M, Smyth MJ and Thomas DM. Translational biology of osteosarcoma. Nat Rev Cancer 2014; 14:722-735.

Garsed DW, Marshall OJ, Corbin VDA, Hsu A, Di Stefano L, Schröder J, Li J, Feng Z-P, Kim BW, Kowarsky M, Lansdell B, Brookwell R, Myklebost O, Meza-Zepeda L, Holloway AJ, Pedeutour F, Choo KHA, Damore MA, Deans AJ, Papenfuss AT and Thomas DM. The architecture and evolution of cancer neochromosomes. Cancer Cell 2014; 26:653-667.

Kansara M, Leong HS, Lin DM, Popkiss S, Pang T, Garsed D, Walkley C, Cullinane C, Ellul J, Hicks R, Haynes N, Kuijjer M, Cleton-Jansen AM, Hinds PW, Smyth MJ, Thomas DM. Immune response to RB1-regulated senescence radiation-induced osteosarcoma formation. J Clin Invest 2013; 123:5351-5360.

Kansara M, Tsang M, Kodjabachian L, Sims NA, Trivett MK, Ehrich M, Dobrovic A, Slavin J, Choong PF, Simmons PJ, Dawid IB and Thomas DM. Wnt inhibitory factor 1 is epigenetically silenced in human osteosarcoma, and targeted disruption accelerates osteosarcomagenesis in mice. J Clin Invest 2009; 119:837-851.

Bleyer A, Barr R, Hayes-Lattin B, Thomas D, Ellis C, Anderson B, Biology, Clinical Trials Subgroups of the USNCIPRGiA and Young Adult O. The distinctive biology of cancer in adolescents and young adults. Nat Rev Cancer 2008; 8:288-298.

Thomas DM, Johnson SA, Sims NA, Trivett MK, Slavin JL, Rubin BP, Waring P, McArthur GA, Walkley CR, Holloway AJ, Diyagama D, Grim JE, Clurman BE, Bowtell DD, Lee JS, Gutierrez GM, Piscopo DM, Carty SA and Hinds PW. Terminal osteoblast differentiation, mediated by runx2 and p27KIP1, is disrupted in osteosarcoma. J Cell Biol 2004; 167:925-934.

Thomas DM, Carty SA, Piscopo DM, Lee JS, Wang WF, Forrester WC and Hinds PW. The retinoblastoma protein acts as a transcriptional coactivator required for osteogenic differentiation. Mol Cell 2001; 8:303-316.

Prof David Thomas