AO Project

OCTANE 2.0 – serial liquid biopsies and radio-genomics to identify early markers of adaptive resistance or relapse

About our Project:

Molecular profiling is the testing of cancer cells for genetic mutations. By understanding specific mutations in a given patient’s cancer, clinicians will be better equipped to predict tumour behaviour and then select individualized therapies for each patient. Molecular profiling early in the course of treatment may also allow for more efficient screening of patients for clinical trials with matched targeted therapies.

The Ontario-wide Cancer TArgeted Nucleic acid Evaluation (OCTANE) study is an Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR)-supported initiative that provides next generation sequencing (NGS)-based molecular profiling at multiple Ontario cancer centres, including the Juravinski Cancer Centre, London Health Sciences Centres, The Ottawa Hospital, Kingston General Hospital and the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. OCTANE 1.0 enrolled more than 4,000 patients with advanced cancers at seven academic hospitals in Ontario for genomic testing, or analysis of specific DNA mutations in their cancers. These analyses were used to inform the patient’s oncologists on recommended drug treatments. 

OCTANE 2.0 will build upon this successful Ontario-wide network to develop computational tools to more accurately predict whether drug treatments will be effective and identify patients at increased risk of relapse. OCTANE 2.0 will sequence the entire DNA from tumour and normal cells, and assess the presence and quantity of RNA, the molecule that carries the message between DNA and proteins in cancer cells, from selected patients enrolled in OCTANE 1.0. Scans performed during a patient’s routine care will be gathered and specific features of these scans (radiomics) extracted to build computational models that combine this genomic and imaging data. OCTANE 2.0 will also enroll 650 patients across Ontario with specific cancer types and collect i) serial blood samples during treatment or follow-up to evaluate circulating tumour DNA (small fragments of DNA from cancer cells shed into the bloodstream); ii) CT or MRI scans used to monitor their treatment; and iii) biopsies if their cancer relapses or progresses.


This project aims to integrate molecular data with imaging data to aid development of computational tools and predictive models for aiding clinical decision making.

Project Impact:

If successful, these prediction models may be used to more accurately predict whether drug treatments are likely to be effective and to identify patients at increased risk for relapse, so patients can be given the best treatment option. 


Celeste Yu
Program Manager, OCTANE 2.0

Project team 

Dr. Philippe Bedard

Dr. Benjamin Haibe-Kains