Professor CHEUNG NY Annie

Clinical Professor A Cheung

Laurence LT Hou Professor in Anatomical Molecular Pathology

Clinical Professor

  • MBBS (HK), MD (HK), FRCPath, FHKAM (Pathology)
Research Area
To better women’s health

Clinical Service
  • Director (Molecular Pathology), University Pathology Laboratory, The University of Hong Kong
  • Pathologist in charge, Cervical Cytology Screening Laboratory, The University of Hong Kong
  • Chief of Service (Pathology), HKU-Shenzhen Hospital
  • Medical Consultant, International Academy of Cytology

Medical Education
  • Chairman, Faculty Teaching and Learning Quality Committee
  • Member, Faculty Admissions Committee

Community Services
  • President, Hong Kong College of Pathologists
  • Ex-President, Hong Kong Society of Colposcopy & Cervical Pathology
  • Advisor to Executive Board, Asian Oceania Research on Genital Infections and Neoplasia
  • Council member, International Federation for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy
  • Regional Director for Asia, World Association of Societies of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine (WASPaLM) Bureau

Research Description

Studies on gynaecological cancers

  • Molecular cytogenetic study of gynaecological tumours by chromosome in situ hybridization and comparative genomic hybridization
  • Genetic and epigenetic alterations in oncogenes involved in endometrial and ovarian carcinogenesis
  • Genetic susceptibility to gynaecological cancers including single nucleotide polymorphisms study
  • Clinico-pathological and molecular biological study of cervical cytology for cervical cancer screening
  • Role of stem cells in gynaecological cancers
  • Molecular signaling in gynaecological cancers

Studies on Gestational Trophoblastic Diseases (GTD) including hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma and placental site trophoblastic tumour

  • The role of oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes and growth factors in GTD and placenta including differential expression studies by cDNA array and suppressive subtractive hybridization
  • Epigenetic alterations in GTD
  • Clinical significance of proliferative and apoptotic activities in GTD
  • Molecular cytogenetic study of GTD by chromosome in situ hybridization, genotyping and comparative genomic hybridization
  • Mitochondrial DNA alterations in GTD
  • Role of stem cells in GTD

Major Rersearch Grants

RGC - Competitive Earmarked Research Grants

  • Stem cell related genes in gestational trophoblastic diseases (2004)
  • Akt and p21-activated kinase signaling pathways in gestational trophoblastic disease (2006)
  • VOE grant on Centre for Research into Circulating Fetal Nucleic Acids (CUHK/HKU) (2007, Co-investigator)
  • FBI-1 (Pokemon) in Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (2011)

SK Yee Foundation

  • HPV detection - an adjunct to triage of atypical cervical cytology in screening for risk of cervical cance (2006, 2009, 2011)
  • Research Fund for the Control of Infectious Diseases & Health and Health Services Research Fund

    • Cervical cancer screening by enhanced cervical cytology – Application of novel markers (2006)
      Integrated Human Papilloma Virus Analysis as Adjunct for Triage of Atypical Cervical Cytology (2007)

    Health and Medical Research Fund (HMRF)

    • p53 related proteins and gestational trophoblastic disease (2013)
    • Placental biology of Down Syndrome in relation to increased gene dosage (2013)


    With advancements in morphologic and molecular techniques in the last few decades, the contribution of pathology to modern medicine has been enormous. Identification of the causes and pathogenesis of diseases enables focused preventive measures, better prediction of prognosis and development of personalised therapy for patients. The synergistic operation of anatomical and molecular pathology, the oldest and most advanced facets of pathology, has been the pivot stone for the modern transformation of clinical practice.

    In the last decade, the incidence of “women’s cancers”, including ovarian and endometrial cancers, in Hong Kong have risen dramatically. On the other hand, while cervical cancer is a highly preventable disease, it is still a leading cause of death among Hong Kong women. Gestational trophoblastic disease, a disease that affect women of reproductive age, is locally prevalent.

    Professor Annie Cheung is a Clinical Professor at the Department of Pathology, The University of Hong Kong. She is the key pathologist for gynaecological histopathology and cytology in Queen Mary Hospital and the Pathologist in Charge of the HKU Cervical Cytology Laboratory, the first pathology laboratory in Hong Kong that is accredited by the College of American Pathologists. Professor Cheung is also the Director (Molecular Pathology) of the University Pathology Laboratory and the Chief of Service of Pathology, HKU-Shenzhen Hospital. To help patients on cancer prevention and treatment, state of the art laboratory techniques have been introduced.

    Professor Cheung’s research focus is on genetic profiling and molecular signalling pathways, aiming at investigating diagnostic and prognostic markers as well as molecular targets for better therapy of patients with gynaecological cancers.

    Professor Cheung’s research team is one of the first in the world to demonstrate the significance of genetic alterations in gestational trophoblastic disease. Significant findings in the studies of stem cell transcription factors and oncogenic signal pathways in ovarian and endometrial cancers as well as gestational trophoblastic disease have also been achieved. Her team is also successful in applying novel biomarkers for the early detection of cervical cancers.

    She was a MBBS graduate of the University of Hong Kong in 1985 and continued her studies at HKU for her MD and PhD. Professor Cheung was trained in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Queen Mary Hospital after graduation before joining the HKU Department of Pathology. She received postgraduate pathology training in the University of Manchester, UK, as well as Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, USA. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (UK) and Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (Pathology). Professor Cheung was appointed Clinical Professor in 2005.

    Professor Cheung is currently Council Member of the International Federation for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy, Regional Director for Asia in the World Association of Societies of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine Bureau, as well as Medical Consultant, International Academy of Cytology. Locally, Professor Cheung is the President of the Hong Kong College of Pathologists.

    Professor Cheung has produced more than 250 publications including book chapters, review and original research articles in peer reviewed journals, such as PNAS and Lancet. She has served as a reviewer for 25 international journals and been on the editorial board of six medical journals.

    Professor Cheung has received competitive research funding from overseas and local organisations as well as awards on education and research including the HKU University Teaching Fellow (Outstanding Teaching Award) and the Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award as well as the Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship.

    Awards and Honors
    • Best Teachers Award (Medical Society, H.K.U.S.U.) (1996)
    • Faculty Teaching Medal (2002)
    • University Teaching Fellow (2005)
    • Sir Patrick Manson Gold Medal 1998-1999 for outstanding M.D. thesis
    • Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning & Technology in 17th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning (2006)
    • Scholar-in-Training Awards for postgraduate students and fellow by the American Association for Cancer Research (2003, 2004, 2006)
    • Hong Kong West Cluster and Queen Mary Hospital Outstanding Teams Award for “Gynae-Oncology Team, QMH” (2009)
    • Best RFCID Poster Presentation Award. Health Research Symposium, organised by Food and Health Bureau, HKSAR (2010)
    • HKU Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award (2011-2012)
    • Croucher Senior Medical Research Fellowship (2014-2015)

    Selected Publications

    Researcher Profile on HKU Scholars Hub

    Click here for detail publication list on PubMed

    • Mak VC, Lee L, Siu MK, Wong OG, Lu X, Ngan HY, Wong ES, Cheung AN. Downregulation of ASPP2 in choriocarcinoma contributes to increased migratory potential through Src signalling pathway activation. Carcinogenesis. 2013 Sep;34(9):2170-7.
    • Siu MK, Kong DS, Chan HY, Wong ES, Ip PP, Jiang L, Ngan HY, Le XF, Cheung AN. Paradoxical impact of two folate receptors, FRα and RFC, in ovarian cancer: effect on cell proliferation, invasion and clinical outcome. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e47201.
    • Cheung AN, Chan KK. Perplexing hCG profile after evacuation of hydatidiform mole. Lancet. 2012 Jan 14;379(9811):98-100. Epub 2011 Nov 28.
    • Siu MK, Wong ES, Kong DS, Chan HY, Jiang L, Wong OG, Lam EW, Chan KK, Ngan HY, Le XF, Cheung AN. Stem cell transcription factor NANOG controls cell migration and invasion via dysregulation of E-cadherin and FoxJ1 and contributes to adverse clinical outcome in ovarian cancers. Oncogene. 2012 Sep 3. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.363.
    • Jiang L, Siu MK, Wong OG, Tam KF, Lu X, Lam EW, Ngan HY, Le XF, Wong ES, Monteiro LJ, Chan HY, Cheung AN. iASPP and Chemoresistance in Ovarian Cancers: Effects on Paclitaxel-Mediated Mitotic Catastrophe. Clinical Cancer Research. 2011 Nov 1;17(21):6924-6933. Epub 2011 Sep 16.
    • Siu MK, Kong DS, Chan HY, Wong ES, Ip PP, Jiang L, Ngan HY, Le XF, Cheung AN. Paradoxical impact of two folate receptors, FRα and RFC, in ovarian cancer: effect on cell proliferation, invasion and clinical outcome. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e47201.
    • Mak VC, Siu MK, Wong OG, Chan KK, Ngan HY, Cheung AN. Dysregulated stemness-related genes in gynecological malignancies. Histology and Histopathology. 2012 Sep;27(9):1121-30.
    • Wong OG, Lo CK, Chow JN, Tsun OK, Szeto E, Liu SS, Ngan HY, Cheung AN. Comparison of the GenoFlow human papillomavirus (HPV) test and the Linear Array assay for HPV screening in an Asian population. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 2012 May;50(5):1691-7.
    • Cheung AN . Molecular Targets in Gynaecological Cancer. Pathology 2007; 29(1):26-45. Review.
    • Liao XY, Xue WC, Shen DH, Ngan HY, Siu MK, Cheung AN. p63 expression in ovarian tumours: a marker for Brenner tumours but not transitional cell carcinomas. Histopathology 2007, 51(4):477-483.
    • Yang CQ, Chan KY, Ngan HY, Khoo US, Chiu PM, Chan QK, Xue WC, Cheung AN. Single nucleotide polymorphisms of follicle-stimulating hormone receptor are associated with ovarian cancer susceptibility. Carcinogenesis 2006, 27:1502.
    • Feng HC, Tsao SW, Ngan HY, Kwan HS, Shih SM, Xue WC, Chiu PM, Chan KW, Cheung AN . Differential gene expression identified in complete hydatidiform mole by combining suppression subtractive hybridization and cDNA microarray. Placenta 2006, 27:521-526.
    • Chan SF, Chan KY, Chen YX, Poon LL, Cheung AN, et al. Homozygous L-SIGN (CD209L) plays a protective role in SARS coronavirus infection. Nat Genet 2006, 38(1):38-46.
    • Feng HC, Tsao SW, Ngan HY, Xue WC, Chiu PM, Cheung AN. Differential expression of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 and ferritin light polypeptide in gestational trophoblastic neoplasia: combined cDNA suppression subtractive hybridization and microarray study. Cancer 2005, 1;104(11):2409-2416.
    • Chan QYK, Khoo US, Ngan HYS, Yang CQ, Xue WC, Chan KYK, Chiu PM, Ip PPC, Cheung AN. Single Nucleotide Polymorphism of Pi-class Glutathione-S-Transferase and Susceptibility to Endometrial Carcinoma. Clin Cancer Res2005, 11:2981-2985.
    • Shen DH, Chan KYK, Khoo US, Ngan HYS, Xue WC, Chiu PM, Ip P, Cheung AN. Epigenetic and genetic alterations of p33ING1b in ovarian cancer. Carcinogenesis 2005, 26:855-863.
    • Fong PY, Xue WC, Ngan HYS, Chan KYK, Khoo US, Tsao SW, Chiu PM, Man LS, Cheung AN. Mcl-1 expression in gestational trophoblastic disease correlates with clinical outcome: a differential expression study. Cancer 2005, 103:268-276.
    • Cheung AN , Khoo US, Lai CYL, et al. Metastatic trophoblastic disease following initial diagnosis of partial hydatidiform mole: genotyping and chromosome in situ hybridization analysis. Cancer 2004, 100:1411-1417.
    • Chiu PM, Liu WS, Ngan HYS, Khoo US, Cheung AN. Detection of mitochondrial mutations in gestational trophoblastic diseases. Hum Mutat2003, 22:177.