• Cheng, Sylvia


    Investigator, BC Children's Hospital
    Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Hematology, Oncology & Bone Marrow Transplant, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia

    Degrees / Designations

    BHSc, MD, MScCH 

    Primary Area of Research
    Childhood Diseases
    Secondary Area(s) of Research
    Lab Phone
    Carla Willems
    Mailing Address

    BC Children's Hospital
    Room B315
    4480 Oak Street
    Vancouver, BC V6H 3V4

    Affiliate Websites
    Research Areas
    • Childhood Cancer
    • Childhood brain tumors
    • Late effects of childhood survivors of cancer
    • Clinical trials in pediatric oncology

    My primary area of interest is in the biology, management, and late effects of childhood brain and spinal cord tumors.  I participate in the Children's Oncology Group (COG), a North American multi-institutional collaboration in treatment of childhood cancer and clinical and supportive care trials. I also participate in the Canadian Pediatric Brain Tumour Consortium, where we collaborate nationally in conducting research in pediatric brain tumors. Locally, I participate in research at the clinical level where treatments, quality of life, late effects of treatments, and other clinically-related questions are evaluated.

    Current Projects

    Headstart 4
    Earlier generations of multi-center "Baby" protocols have demonstrated the feasibility of chemotherapy-only strategies for young children with newly diagnosed malignant brain tumors. The disease-free survivals attained with these regimens, however, remained worse compared to regimens that include radiation therapy. The previous generations of Headstart studies (1-3) demonstrated favourable outcomes for certain patient groups. Recent genomic advances in RNA and DNA profiling have identified four molecular subgroups of medulloblastoma that confer prognosis. However, all the analyses to date have been conducted on patients where the majority received radiation therapy. Therefore, the primary aims of Headstart 4 is to determine prospectively, in a randomized fashion, whether there is a difference in event-free and overall survival in those who receive a dose-intensive tandem consolidation vs. single consolidation in high risk patients with medulloblastoma and embryonal CNS tumors based on prospective molecular risk stratification.

    International DIPG Registry
    Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) is a devastating brainstem tumor that occurs in young children. Despite attempts of novel therapeutics or conventional radiation therapy, the prognosis remains dismal. Therefore, the primary aim of the DIPG Registry is to collaborate with all pediatric centers internationally to form a clinical, radiological, and tissue repository for the basis of a platform to provide collaborative efforts and research to occur in an extremely rare disease.

    Delayed Diagnosis of CNS Tumors in Children
    Central nervous system (CNS) tumors in chidlren account for a quarter of all cancers in children but diagnosis is often delayed as symptoms are not specific and more benign conditions are more common. Furthermore, the diagnosis of CNS tumors necessittes a comprehensive clinical history and complete examination in addition to advanced imaging. Delay in diagnosis of CNS tumors in children can be devastating for families and clinicians and time to diagnosis is critical in an effort to provide the best surgical and non-surgical care. Despite ample research and improvements in quality and access to diagnostic imaging, time to diagnosis in children has been less than optimal with reports of 5-8 months from time of symptom presentation to diagnosis. Therefore, we hope to retrospectively evaluate the time to diagnosis of CNS tumors in children in British Columbia with the aim of developing an algorithm and educational tools to aid health care providers in management prospectively.

    Selected Publications

    Goldman RD, Cheng S, Cochrane DD.: Improving diagnosis of pediatric central nervous system tumours: aiming for early detection. CMAJ. 2017;189(12):E459-E463. PMID: 27895146

    Cheng S, Kilday JP, Laperriere N, Janzen L, Drake J, Bouffet E, Bartels U.:Outcomes of children with central nervous system germinoma treated with multi-agent chemotherapy followed by reduced radiation. Journal of Neurooncology .2016;127(1):173-80. PMID: 26744133

    Cheng S, Rayar M, Punnett A. Do we need a formalized humanism and professionalism curriculum in pediatric hematology and oncology training? Pediatric Blood and Cancer 2015;62(11):2062

    Cheng S, Hawkins C, Taylor MD, Bartels U. Pathological fiindings of a Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma following treatment with Rapamycin. Pediatric Neurology 2015;53(3):238-242

    Cheng S, Pole J, Sung L. Early deaths in pediatric acute leukemia: a population-based study. Leukemia and Lymphoma 2014 Jul;55(7):1518-22

    Sung L, Alibhai SM, Ethier MC, Teuffel O, Cheng S, Fisman D, Regier DA. Discrete choice experiment produced estimates of acceptable risk of therapeutic options in cancer patients with febrile neutropenia. The Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2012; 65(6):627-34

    Teuffel O, Cheng S, Ethier MC, Diorio C, Martino J, Mayo C, Wing R, Sung L, Alibhai SM. Health-related quality of life anticipated with different management strategies for febrile neutropenia in adult cancer patients. Support Care Cancer 2012; 20(11):2755-64

    Cheng S, Teuffel O, Ethier M, Diorio C, Martino J, Mayo C, Regier D, Wing R, Alibhai S, Sung L. Health-related quality of life anticipated with different management strategies for paediatric febrile neutropaenia. British Journal of Cancer 2011; 105(5):606-611

    Honours & Awards
    Research Group Members