University Staff

Dr. David W. CHAN hong kong university logo queen mary hosipital logo

Dr. David W. CHAN (陳衛博士)

Assistant Professor
BSc; MPhil (HK); PhD (Monash)
  • location
    Rm 748, Laboratory Block, LKS Faculty of Medicine, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam
  • telephone
    (852) 3917 9367
  • facsimile
    (852) 2816 1947
  • HKU Scholars Hub
Research Interests

My main research interests include functional characterization of tumor suppressors and oncogenes in both genetic and epigenetic fields and delineation of the related cellular signaling pathways associated with cancer cell biology. I have particularly focused in cancer cell metabolism and interactions between cancer cells and tumor microenvironment in tumorigenesis, chemoresistance and metastasis of ovarian cancers. These studies give a better insight into the molecular mechanisms of tumor development and tumor progression of ovarian cancers. Our laboratory has established omental conditioned media (OCM) which in addition to the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) and other omics platforms to delineate the underlying mechanisms and to identify targets in association with clinical obstacles of ovarian cancers. These studies will provide a scientific basis for developing novel diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions for improving treatment outcome of ovarian cancer patients.



  • Sun J, Cai X, YUNG MMH, Zhou W, Li J, Zhang Y, Li Z, Liu SS, Cheung AN, Ngan HYS, Li Y, Dai Z, Kai Y, Tzatsos A, Peng W, Chan DW*, Zhu W*. miR-137 mediates the functional link between c-Myc and EZH2 that regulates cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer. Oncogene 2019 Jan;38(4):564-580. (* Co-corresponding author)

  • Yao KM, Ngan AWL, Tsui M, So HF, Leung WY, and Chan DW. Novel nuclear partnering role of EPS8 with FOXM1 in regulating cell proliferation. Frontiers  Oncol 2019 March 9: 154.

  • Wong JH, Sze SC*, Ng TB*, Cheung RC, Zhang KY*, Xiuli Dan, Chan YS, Cho WC, Ng CC, Waye MM, Liang W, Zhang J, Yang J, Ye X, Lin J, Ye X, Wang H, Liu F, Li G, Chan DW*, Ngan HY*, Tse TF*, and Chan H.. Apoptosis and anti-cancer drug discovery: the power of medicinal fungi and plants. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 2018 25(40) 5615 - 5626. (* Co-corresponding author)

  • Ying L., Yan F., Meng Q., Yu L., Yuan X., Gantier M.P., Williams B.R., Chan D.W., Shi L., Tu Y., Ni P., Wang X., Chen W., Zang X., Xu D. and Hu Y., PD-L1 expression is a prognostic factor in subgroups of gastric cancer patients stratified according to their levels of CD8 and FOXP3 immune markers, OncoImmunology. Taylor & Francis, 2018, 7: e1433520. (Publication No. : 284378)

  • Xiang L., Jiang W., Ye S., He T., Pei X., Li J., Chan D.W., Ngan H.Y.S., Li F., Tao P., Shen X., Zhou X., Wu X., Yang G. and Yang H., ERBB2 mutation: A promising target in non-squamous cervical cancer, Gynecologic Oncology. 2018. No. : 284014)

  • Sun J., Cai X., Yung M.H., Zhou W., Li J., Zhang Y., Li Z., Liu S., Cheung A.N.Y., Ngan H.Y.S., Li Y., Dai Z., Kai Y., Tzatsos A., Peng W., Chan D.W. and Zhu W., miR-137 mediates the functional link between c-Myc and EZH2 that regulates cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer, Oncogene. Springer Nature Limited, 2018. (Publication No. : 290017)

  • LEUNG L.L., Yung M.H., Ngan H.Y.S. and Chan D.W., Study of hedgehog signaling in cervical cancer, ESMO Open. BMJ, 2018, 3: A89-A89. (Publication No. : 295865)

  • CHEN K., Liu X., MAK S.L., Yung M.H., Leung T.H.Y., Xu D., Ngu S.F., Chan K.K.L., Yang H.J., Ngan H.Y.S. and Chan D.W., Methylation-associated silencing of miR-193a-3p promotes ovarian cancer aggressiveness by targeting GRB7 and MAPK/ERK pathways , Theranostics. 2018, 8: 423-436. (Publication No. : 284013)

  • Wong J.H., Sze S.C.W., Ng T.B., Cheung R.C.F., Tam C., Zhang K.Y., Dan X., Chan Y.S., Cho W.C.S., Ng C.C.W., Waye M.M.Y., Liang W., Zhang J., Yang J., Ye X., Lin J., Ye X.J., Wang H., Liu F., Chan D.W., Ngan H.Y.S., Sha O., Li G., Tse R., Tse T.K. and Chan H., Apoptosis and anti-cancer drug discovery: the power of medicinal fungi and plants, In: Atta-ur-Rahman, FRS, Current Medicinal Chemistry. Bentham Science, 2017, 24: E-pub Abstract Ahead of Print.

  • CHEN K., Ngan H.Y.S. and Chan D.W., Methylation-associated silencing of miR-193a-3p promotes ovarian cancer aggressiveness via targeting GRB7, Cancer Research. 2017, 77: LB-324-LB-324.

  • Mak CS, Yung MMH, Hui LMN, Leung LL, Liang R, Chen KM, Liu SS, Qin Y, Leung THY,  Lee KF, Chan KKL, Ngan HYS and Chan DW*  Dysregulation of miR-141/KLF12/Sp1/survivin signaling promotes anoikis resistance in ovarian cancer metastatic progression. Mol Cancer 2017 16(1):1-17.

  • Yan F., Ying L., Li X., Qiao B., Meng Q., Yu L., Yuan X., Ren S.T., Chan D.W., Shi L., Ni P., Wang X., Xu D. and Hu Y. Overexpression of the transcription factor ATF3 with a regulatory molecular signature associates with the pathogenic development of colorectal cancer. Oncotarget. 2017 8(29):47020-47036.

  • Leung THY, Tang HWM, Siu MKE, Chan DW, Chan KKL, Cheung ANY and Ngan HY. HPV-E6 protein enriches the CD55(+) population in cervical cancer cells promoting radio-resistance and cancer aggressiveness. J. Pathol. 2017 244(2):151-163.

  • Ying L, Yan F, Meng Q, Yuan XL, Yu L, Williams BR, Chan DW, Shi L, Tu Y, Ni P, Wang XF, Xu D and Hu Y. Understanding immune phenotypes in human gastric disease tissues by multiplexed immunohistochemistry. J Translational Medicine. 2017 15(1):206.

  • Chan D.Y.L., Lam K.K.W., Lau E.Y.L, Yeung W.S.B., Ng E.H.Y., Human varicella zoster virus is not present in the semen of a man affected by chickenpox during the in vitro fertilisation of his wife. Andrologia. 2017 Jul 3. doi: 10.1111/and.12822.

  • Chan D.W., Hui W.W., Wang J.J., Yung M.H., Hui M.N., Qin Y.I.M.I.N.G., LIANG R., Leung T.H.Y., Xu D., Chan K.K.L., Yao K.M., Tsang B.K. and Ngan HYS, DLX1 acts as a crucial target of FOXM1 to promote ovarian cancer aggressiveness by enhancing TGF-β/SMAD4 signaling, Oncogene. 2017 Mar;36(10):1404-1416.

  • Mak CS, Yung MM, Hui LM, Leung LL, Liang R, Chen K, Liu SS, Qin Y, Leung TH, Lee KF, Chan KK, Ngan HY, Chan DW. MicroRNA-141 enhances anoikis resistance in metastatic progression of ovarian cancer through targeting KLF12/Sp1/survivin axis. Mol Cancer. 2017 Jan 17;16(1):11. doi: 10.1186/s12943-017-0582-2.

  • Chan D.W., Hui W.W., Wang J.J., Yung M.H., Hui M.N., Qin Y.I.M.I.N.G., LIANG R., Leung T.H.Y., Xu D., Chan K.K.L., Yao K.M., Tsang B.K. and Ngan H.Y.S., DLX1 acts as a crucial target of FOXM1 to promote ovarian cancer aggressiveness by enhancing TGF-β/SMAD4 signaling, In: Drs. Douglas Green and Justin Stebbing , Oncogene. UK, Macmillan Publishers Limited, 2016, 36: 1404-1416.

  • CHEN R., Ngan H.Y.S. and Chan D.W., The roles of AMPK and TAK1/NF-kB signaling cascade in governing cancer cell aggressiveness in omental microenvironemnt, European Journal of Cancer. 2016, 61: S165-S166

  • Yung MH, Ross FA, Hardie DG, Leung TH, Zhan JB, Ngan HYSand Chan DW*.  Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) extract functions as a natural AMPK activator and synergistically enhances cisplatin cytotoxicity in ovarian cancer cells. Integrat Cancer Ther. 2016 15(3):376-89. (The most read paper in 2015/16) * (Corresponding author)

  • Yung MH, Ngan HYS and Chan DW*.  Targeting AMPK signaling in combating ovarian cancers: Opportunities and Challenges. Acta Biochimica et Biophysica Sinica. 2016 48(4):301-17.

  • Cai PC, Shi L, Liu VW, IJ Liu, Leung TH, Chan KK, Yao KM, Ngan HYS* and Chan DW*.  TAK1 promotes ovarian cancer aggressiveness through activation of NF-κB signal pathway. Oncotarget 2014 5(17):7549-62. (* Co-corresponding author)

  • Chan KKL, Leung TH, Chan DW, Wei N, Lau GT, Liu SS, Siu MK, and Ngan HY.  Targeting estrogen receptor subtypes in ovarian cancer. J. Endocrinol2014 221(2):325-36.

  • Liu MX, Siu MMK, Liu SS, JW Yam and Ngan HYS*and Chan DW*. Epigenetic silencing of miR-199b-5p is associated with chemoresistance of ovarian cancer through activation of JAG-1/NOTCH signaling cascade. Oncotarget 20145(4):94-958. (* co-corresponding author)

  • Liu X, Siu KY, Liu S, Yam JWP, Ngan HYS and Chan DW. Epigenetic silencing of microRNA-199b-5p is associated with acquired chemoresistance via activation of JAG1-Notch1 signaling in ovarian cancer. Oncotarget 2014, 5: 944–958.

  • Li C, Liu VWS, Chiu PM, Yao KM, Ngan HYS and Chan DW. Reduced expression of AMPK-beta1 during tumor progression enhances the oncogenic capacity of advanced ovarian cancer. Molecular Cancer 2014, 13: 49.

  • Chan KKL, Leung THY, Chan DW, Wei N, Lau TY, Liu S, Siu KY and Ngan HYS. Targeting estrogen receptor subtypes (ERalpha and ERbeta) with selective ER modulators in ovarian cancer. Journal of Endocrinology 2014, 221: 325-336.

  • Cai C, Shi L, Liu VWS, Tang WM, Liu J, Leung THY, Chan KKL, Yam JWP, Yao KM, Ngan HYS and Chan DW. Elevated TAK1 augments tumor growth and metastatic capacities of ovarian cancer cells through activation of NF-κB signaling. Oncotarget 2014, 5: 7549-62.

  • Kwan HT, Chan DW, Cai PC, Mak CS, Yung MM, Leung TH, Wong OG, Cheung AN, Ngan HY. AMPK activators suppress cervical cancer cell growth through inhibition of DVL3 mediated Wnt/β-catenin signaling activity. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53597. [PubMed]

  • Leung TH, Wong SC, Chan KK, Chan DW, Cheung AN, Ngan HY.The interaction between C35 and ΔNp73 promotes chemo-resistance in ovarian cancer cells. Br J Cancer. 2013 Aug 20;109(4):965-75. [PubMed]

  • Yung MM, Chan DW, Liu VW, Yao KM, Ngan HY. Activation of AMPK inhibits cervical cancer cell growth through AKT/FOXO3a/FOXM1 signaling cascade. BMC Cancer. 2013 Jul 3;13:327. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-13-327. [PubMed]

  • Chan DW, Hui WY, Cai C, Liu X, Yung MH, Mak SL, Leung THY, Chan KKL, Ngan HYS. Targeting GRB7/ERK/FOXM1 Signaling Pathway Impairs Aggressiveness of Ovarian Cancer Cells. PLoS ONE. 2012, 7: e52578. [PubMed]

  • Chan DW, Mak CS, Leung TH, Chan KK, Ngan HY. Down-regulation of Sox7 is associated with aberrant activation of Wnt/b-catenin signaling in endometrial cancer. Oncotarget. 2012 Dec;3(12):1546-56. [PubMed]

  • Chan DW, Ngan HYS. The potential molecular therapeutic approach in targeting ovarian clear cell carcinoma, Gynecology & Obstetrics. OMICS Group, 2012, 2: 1000e103. 

  • Fung FK, Chan DW, Liu VW, Leung TH, Cheung AN, Ngan HY. Increased expression of PITX2 transcription factor contributes to ovarian cancer progression. PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e37076. [PubMed]

  • Li C, Liu VW, Chiu PM, Chan DW, Ngan HY. Over-expressions of AMPK subunits in ovarian carcinomas with significant clinical implications. BMC Cancer. 2012 Aug 16;12:357. [PubMed]

  • Liu X, Chan DW, Ngan HYS. Mechanisms of Chemoresistance in Human Ovarian Cancer at a Glance. Gynecology & Obstetrics. 2012; 2:1000e104. [PubMed]

  • Chan DW, Liu VW, Leung LY, Yao KM, Chan KK, Cheung AN, Ngan HY. Zic2 synergistically enhances Hedgehog signalling through nuclear retention of Gli1 in cervical cancer cells. J Pathol. 2011 Dec;225(4):525-34. [PubMed]

  • Lok GT, Chan DW, Liu VW, Hui WW, Leung TH, Yao KM, Ngan HY. Aberrant activation of ERK/FOXM1 signaling cascade triggers the cell migration/invasion in ovarian cancer cells. PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23790. [PubMed]

  • Wang Y, Chan DW, Liu VWS, Chiu PM, Ngan HYS. Differential functions of growth factor receptor-bound protein 7 (GRB7) and its variant GRB7v in ovarian carcinogenesis, Clinical Cancer Research 2010;16:2529-39. [PubMed]

  • KY Tse, VW Liu, DW Chan, PM Chiu, KF Tam, KK Chan, XY Liao, Cheung AN, HY Ngan. Epigenetic alteration of the Metallothionein 1E gene in human endometrial carcinomas. Tumour Biol 2009; 30: 93 - 99

  • Chan DW, Yu SY, Chiu PM, Yao KM, Liu VW, Cheung AN, Ngan HY. Over-expression of FOXM1 transcription factor is associated with cervical cancer progression and pathogenesis. J Pathol. 2008 Jul;215(3):245-52. [PubMed]

  • Chan DW, Liu VW, Tsao GS, Yao KM, Furukawa T, Chan KK, Ngan HY. Loss of MKP3 mediated by oxidative stress enhances tumorigenicity and chemoresistance of ovarian cancer cells. Carcinogenesis. 2008 Sep;29(9):1742-50.  [PubMed]

Research Grants
  • University-Industry Collaboration Programme, the Innovation and Technology Commission, (Hong Kong) 2019-2021, Using Genome-wide DNA Methylome Profiling to Analyze Cisplatin-resistance in Human Ovarian Cancers. (HK$3,725,364)
    Principal Investigator: Dr David W. Chan
  • Science, Technology and Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality – Basic Research Programme (Mainland China) 2018-2020, The significance of lipid metabolism in peritoneal metastases of ovarian cancer BCL2A1 (CNY 500,000) (~HK$581,700 based on 1 CNY = 1.1634 HKD)
    Principal Investigator: Dr. David W. Chan
  • Health and Medical Research Fund (Hong Kong) 2016-2018,Functional characterization of the MAP30 protein from bitter melon (Momordica charantia) in combating ovarian cancer oncogenesis and chemoresistance (13142271) (HK$ 1,197,160)
    Principal Investigator: Dr. David W. Chan
  • General Research Fund (Hong Kong) 2015-2018, The functional role of Hsa-miR-141 in metastatic development of ovarian cancer cells” (17115115) (HK$ 1,344,714)
    Principal Investigator: Dr David W. Chan
  • National Natural Science Foundation of China (Mainland China) 2015-2018, The mechanism and significance of ovarian cancer cells in modulating of AMPK an TAK1/NF-kB signaling cascade in omental metastasis. General Program (81472721) (CNY 750,000) (~HK$872,550 based on 1CY = 1.1634 HKD)
    Principal Investigator: Dr David W. Chan
  • General Research Fund (Hong Kong) 2013-2016, Functional significance of TAK1-mediated NFB signaling in omental metastasis of ovarian cancer. (HKU 761213M) (HK$1,039,239)
    Principal Investigator: Dr David W. Chan
  • General Research Fund (Hong Kong) 2011-2014, The functional impact of AMP-activated protein kinase gamma-2 (AMPK-2) subunit expression on AMPK activity and oncogenesis in ovarian cancer. (HKU 760511M) (HK$ 1,020,000)
    Principal Investigator: Dr David W. Chan
  • Hong Kong Cancer Fund 2018-2020. Affordable Multi-gene Mutation-Drug Matching for Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients in Hong Kong (HKD 1,000,000)
  • General Research Fund (Hong Kong) 2014-2017, Elucidating the nuclear function of EPS8/EPS8L2: Crosstalk with FOXM1 and regulation of cancer cell proliferation and migration/invasion (17125214) (HKD 904,952)
    Co-Investigator: Dr. David W. Chan
  • Research Fund for the Control of Infectious Diseases (Hong Kong) 2006-2008, Characterization of the roles of hepatitis B virus X protein in liver cancer. (05050022) (HK$ 800,000)
    Co-Investigator: Dr. David W. Chan
  • Study on the pathogenesis of SARS coronavirus by establishing transgenic mouse lines expressing SARS-CoV viral proteins 2003-2004. (HK$ 50,000)
Editorial Board Membership
  • 2014-present PLOS ONE: Editorial Board member
  • 2015-present Frontiers of Pharmacology of Anti-Cancer Drugs: Editorial Board member
  • 2016-present Journal of Ovarian Research: Associate Editor
  • 2016-present Cancer Medicine: Editorial Board Member
Postgraduate supervision

a) Current students

  • Mr Huogang Wang (MPhil)
  • Miss Long Runying (PhD)
  • Miss Mo Yulan (PhD)
  • Miss Wang Xueyu (PhD)
  • Miss Xuen Yang, Olivia (PhD)
  • Miss Zhan Shijie (PhD)

b) Graduated students

  • Dr Cai Chun Hui, Patty (PhD)
  • Dr Chen Kangmei, Carmen (PhD)
  • Dr Chen Run, Rain (PhD)
  • Dr Leung Li Leanne (PhD)
  • Dr. Li Cuilan (PhD)
  • Dr Liang Rui (PhD)
  • Dr Liu Xin, Michelle (PhD)
  • Dr Mak Sze Ling, Celia (PhD)
  • Dr Wang Yajun (PhD)
  • Dr Yung Ming Ho, Mingo (PhD)
  • Miss Fung Cho Wai (MPhil)
  • Mr Fung Khe Cheong, Frederic (MPhil)
  • Miss Hui Wing Yee, Winnie (MPhil)
  • Miss Kwan Hoi Tung, Virginia (MPhil)
  • Miss Li Yuk Wan, Winnie (MPhil)
  • Miss Liu Jing (MPhil)
  • Miss Lok Tsz Mei, Gabriel (MPhil)
  • Miss Tang Wai Man, Hermit (MPhil)
  • Miss To Man Yan (MPhil)
  • Miss Yu Yee Man, Sandy (MPhil)