Torsten Nielsen

Dr. Torsten Nielsen is a clinician-scientist pathologist based at Vancouver General Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency, working to translate molecular research findings into clinical care for cancer.

Born and raised in North Vancouver, he trained at several institutions in North American and Europe before starting his own laboratory and clinical practice at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2003. Nielsen was involved in some of the world’s first genome-wide studies of musculoskeletal tumors (sarcomas), work which has led to the development of several new diagnostic tests, clinical trials of targeted therapies, and breakthroughs in understanding the biology of fusion gene sarcomas affecting young adults. He has also worked to translate the molecular profiles of breast cancer into practical clinical tests that may help women avoid ineffective treatments by more carefully targeting their therapies to the molecular subtype of their tumor.

Nielsen is a member of clinical trial groups in Canada and the USA, and is also helping train a new generation of clinician-scientists in his capacity as associate director of the UBC MD/PhD Program.

Recent Publications

Prat A, Cheang MC, Martín M, Parker JS, Carrasco E, Caballero R, Tyldesley S, Gelmon K, Bernard PS, Nielsen TO, Perou CM. Prognostic significance of progesterone receptor-positive tumor cells within immunohistochemically defined luminal a breast cancer. J Clin Oncol. 2013 Jan 10;31(2):203-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.43.4134. Epub 2012 Dec 10. (PubMed abstract)

Chia SK, Bramwell VH, Tu D, Shepherd LE, Jiang S, Vickery T, Mardis E, Leung S, Ung K, Pritchard KI, Parker JS, Bernard PS, Perou CM, Ellis MJ, Nielsen TO. A 50-gene intrinsic subtype classifier for prognosis and prediction of benefit from adjuvant tamoxifen. Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Aug 15;18(16):4465-72. Epub 2012 Jun 18. (PubMed abstract)

Su L, Sampaio AV, Jones KB, Pacheco M, Goytain A, Lin S, Poulin N, Yi L, Rossi FM, Kast J, Capecchi MR, Underhill TM, Nielsen TO. Deconstruction of the SS18-SSX fusion oncoprotein complex: insights into disease etiology and therapeutics. Cancer Cell. 2012 Mar 20;21(3):333-47. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2012.01.010. (PubMed abstract)

Cheang MC, Voduc KD, Tu D, Jiang S, Leung S, Chia SK, Shepherd LE, Levine MN, Pritchard KI, Davies S, Stijleman IJ, Davis C, Ebbert MT, Parker JS, Ellis MJ, Bernard PS, Perou CM, Nielsen TO. Responsiveness of intrinsic subtypes to adjuvant anthracycline substitution in the NCIC.CTG MA.5 randomized trial. Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Apr 15;18(8):2402-12. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-2956. Epub 2012 Feb 20. (PubMed abstract)

Dowsett M, Nielsen TO, A’Hern R, Bartlett J, Coombes RC, Cuzick J, Ellis M, Henry NL, Hugh JC, Lively T, McShane L, Paik S, Penault-Llorca F, Prudkin L, Regan M, Salter J, Sotiriou C, Smith IE, Viale G, Zujewski JA, Hayes DF; International Ki-67 in Breast Cancer Working Group. Assessment of Ki67 in breast cancer: recommendations from the International Ki67 in Breast Cancer working group. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011 Nov 16;103(22):1656-64. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djr393. Epub 2011 Sep 29. (PubMed abstract)