Nick Pavlakis

May 2021: Research Update

Upper and Lower GI Working Parties

We are pleased to welcome 18 new members to our Working Parties. Thanks to the breadth of applications received to join the working parties, shared positions and consultant roles have been created. These roles provide flexibility between two AGITG members to share one position, enable greater input from all disciplines, and provide increased opportunities for members to be involved in the development of AGITG research.

New Upper GI Working Party members:

  • Samantha Barbour, radiation oncologist, Qld
  • Nick Clemons, translational scientist, Vic
  • Milton Kirkwood, consumer advisory panel member, NSW
  • Shehara Mendis, medical oncologist, Vic
  • Marjan Naeini, bioinformatician, Qld (consultant)
  • Sweet Ping Ng, radiation oncologist, Vic
  • Tom Sutherland, radiologist, Vic (consultant)

New Lower GI Working Party members:

  • Joanne Bowen, translational scientist, SA
  • Jeff Cuff, consumer advisory panel member, NSW
  • Kirsten Gormly, radiologist, SA (consultant)
  • Sophie Hogan, dietitian, NSW
  • Michael Jones, radiation oncologist, Tas
  • Marjan Naeini, bioinformatician, Qld (consultant)
  • Tim Price, medical oncologist, SA
  • Jessica Roydhouse, psycho-oncology, Tas
  • Stephen Smith, lower GI surgeon, NSW
  • Sina Vantandoust, medical oncologist, SA
  • Simon Wilkins, translational, Vic
  • Deborah Wright, lower GI surgeon, NZ



Coffs Harbour Health Campus has become the first site to be activated on the INTEGRATE IIb study. Congratulations to everyone involved in the study for achieving this great milestone. 

The purpose of INTEGRATE II was to determine whether regorafenib improved overall survival for people with advanced gastro-oesophageal cancer. INTEGRATE IIb will determine whether a combination of regorafenib and the immunotherapy treatment nivolumab is more effective than standard chemotherapy for these patients.

“Extremely promising results have been seen in an early trial with regorafenib and nivolumab, so we will be testing this treatment combination in a larger randomised trial to give authors a better chance at having their loved ones survive their stomach cancer diagnosis and have better treatment options available for those diagnosed in the future,” says Study Chair Professor Nick Pavlakis.

Learn more about INTEGRATE IIb



Patient enrolment just reached the 50% milestone in the DYNAMIC-Rectal trial, which is analysing the presence of circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) in the bloodstreams of patients with locally advanced rectal cancer treated with curative intent.

Study Chair, Associate Professor Jeanne Tie, hopes the trial will demonstrate the usefulness of ctDNA blood tests in deciding which patient will or will not require chemotherapy after rectal cancer surgery. “We are hoping this helps avoid over-treatment of patients with unnecessary chemotherapy and identify those patients at high risk of recurrence who actually need chemotherapy treatment,” says Associate Professor Tie.

If DYNAMIC-Rectal is successful, then there is greater potential for ctDNA analysis to one day become incorporated into patients’ standard of care.

Learn more about DYNAMIC-RECTAL


OXTOX trial

The OXTOX colorectal cancer trial is now open at its third site, Nepean Cancer Centre, and the site has enrolled its first patient.

OXTOX aims to improve quality of life and increase survival rates for people with colorectal cancer. It will help address the main reason why patients are unable to complete their desired chemotherapy treatments with oxaliplatin – due to a side effect called chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN).

Ibudilast, a drug currently available in Japan, could be the key to changing this. The OXTOX trial will investigate whether taking ibudilast during treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer can enable patients to have more chemotherapy before needing their doses to be lessened due to the impact of peripheral neuropathy.

“If the results of this trial are positive, it has the potential to improve patients’ quality of life and maybe even improve their survival if it means they’re able to get the desired dose of chemotherapy in. So we’re very grateful to the community for the opportunity to be able to do that,” Study Chair Professor Janette Vardy says.

OXTOX is currently open at Concord Cancer Centre, Orange Hospital and Nepean Cancer Centre, with 90 participants expected to join the study overall.

Learn more about OXTOX


Trials closing to enrolment soon

ASCOLT, a phase IV trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of adjuvant aspirin 200 mg versus placebo 200mg and to determine if it can improve disease-free survival and overall survival in patients with resected Dukes C or high-risk Dukes B colorectal cancer.

MONARCC, Aarandomised phase 2 study of panitumumab monotherapy and panitumumab plus 5 fluorouracil as first line therapy for RAS and BRAF wild type metastatic colorectal cancer. Patient enrolment closing 30 June 2021.

NABNEC, a randomised phase II trial of patients with grade 3 neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) aiming to determine the safety and efficacy of carboplatin plus nab-paclitaxel in comparison with carboplatin plus etoposide. Patient enrolment closing 31 December 2021. 


View all AGITG open trials.