Cabrini Research Week, 7-11 October 2019, showcased the latest and best research from across the Cabrini Institute, including presentations from local and international guest speakers.

Colorectal cancer research was a key feature of Cabrini Research Week. Ms Karen Oliva, Data Manager at the Cabrini Monash University Department of Surgery was awarded the Best Cancer Poster Prize, proudly sponsored by MPCCC for the third year running, for her poster titled, ‘Influence of primary site on metastatic distribution and survival of early-stage colorectal cancer.’

Ms Oliva studied 1500 episodes of colorectal cancer to evaluate if the primary location of colorectal tumours influences the likelihood of tumour recurrence, and can predict where in the body they will occur.  Her findings demonstrated that the initial colorectal tumour location can indeed be used in this way.

“These are significant findings because we’ve seen an increase in early detection thanks to effective campaigns around screening for colorectal cancer, but we need to keep a close eye on patients at high risk of developing metastatic tumours after surgery,” Ms Oliva said.

“This research presents one way of determining who those patients are, which creates an opportunity for robust investigation to potentially identify early recurrence and to consider alternative treatment for this high-risk group,” Ms Oliva said.

Dr Rebekah Engel won the award for Best Presentation with her project ‘Using patient-derived organoids to predict treatment outcomes in rectal patients’.

Other topics covered during Cabrini Research Week included engaging consumers effectively in research, using shared-care models to treat cancer-related depression, and improving survivorship care through exercise and nutrition.

Cabrini Research Week is an annual event and will be held again in late 2020. Researchers interested in submitting a research poster or abstract for a presentation should contact Claire Turner on