Ontario-wide Cancer Targeted Nucleic Acid Evaluation

Expanding the capacity for clinical Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) testing for advanced solid tumour patients across Ontario

About Our project

Molecular profiling is the testing of cancer cells for genetic mutations. Understanding specific mutations in a patient’s cancer can help doctors identify which drug treatments are mostly likely to be effective. The Ontario-wide Cancer Targeted Nucleic Acid Evaluation (OCTANE) is an ongoing prospective study, co-supported by OICR and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, that provides next generation sequencing (NGS)-based molecular profiling at multiple Ontario cancer hospitals, including the Juravinski Cancer Centre, London Health Sciences Centre, The Ottawa Hospital Regional Cancer Centre, Kingston General Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Archival tumour and blood samples for circulating free DNA are collected from all patients and stored in a biorepository at the Ontario Tumour Bank. 

Results from the NGS testing are used to inform treatment with approved drugs (if appropriate) or allow patients to enroll in clinical trials testing new cancer drugs. An ongoing research subproject involves whole exome and transcriptome sequencing at the PM-OICR Translational Genomics Laboratory (TGL) for patients whose tumours do not have “clinically actionable” mutations identified from a large NGS panel clinical test. We plan to expand NGS capacity with larger gene testing panels through collaboration with commercial partners; increase the number of participating hospitals; link OCTANE testing results to ongoing new drug clinical trials across the province; track how oncologists use OCTANE testing results to influence drug treatments and outcome; and enable data sharing with other cancer researchers to advance patient care.



Our objectives to enhance the OCTANE infrastructure are to: 

  1. Expand genomic testing and transition to large clinical NGS panel testing (>150 genes) to identify clinically actionable SNVs, indels, amplifications, and gene fusions for all patients; 

  2. Increase the number of participating sites adding 2-3 new OCTANE clinical testing laboratories and cancer hospitals across Ontario by 2021; 

  3. Link to genomically-driven clinical trials by identifying patients with specific genomic variants that can be matched to approved targeted therapies through the national Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Group CAPTUR basket trial; 

  4. Evaluate the clinical impact of genomic testing by i) surveying how testing results were used to inform treatment decisions for individual patients, and ii) linking to Ontario administrative databases for drug treatments and patient outcomes; 

  5. Share data with international repositories including ongoing transfer of OCTANE genomic and clinic data to AACR GENIE public database (Princess Margaret only), and contribution of OCTANE cases with extended NGS testing and clinical data collection to the ICGC-ARGO Project.

Project Impact

OCTANE is a province-wide collaboration that provides opportunities for cancer patients to have molecular characterization of their cancers linked to access to novel drug treatments, enhances the capacity for NGS testing in clinical laboratories across the province, and collects clinically annotated blood and tumour samples for future research. It is a critically important project that has achieved significant impact in engaging Ontario centres in precision medicine.

Collaborate with Us

We welcome collaborations with cancer researchers across Canada and internationally.

Our Team

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Celeste Yu

  • Program Manager, PM

Our Research Output

Event Dates:

Zoom, Toronto, Ontario