Dr TSOI Ho, Frankie


Research Assistant Professor

  • PhD (CUHK)
Research Interest
My main research area focuses on the Molecular mechanisms of breast cancer and drug resistance.

Breast cancer is a heterogeneous and complex disease with distinct molecular subtypes, which have different pathogenic mechanisms. Currently, the treatment decision is primarily based on the expression of receptors, estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR), and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). Endocrine therapy is used specifically for ER-positive breast cancer. Although it is effective, resistance usually occurs. My research work focuses on finding ways to combat the resistance by elucidating and targeting molecular mechanisms that confer resistance to endocrine therapy. Also, we would like to identify biomarkers to predict the resistance. Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive subtype of breast cancer. Due to the lack of molecular target, systematic chemotherapy is the standard of care for TNBC, but the adverse side effect limits the treatment benefit. We aim to develop novel targeted therapies with less toxicity for TNBC to improve breast cancer management.

Research Grants

As Principal Investigator

  1. Targeting CHK2 to reduce the expression of BQ323636.1 in ER+ breast cancer to reverse tamoxifen resistance. Health and Medical Research Fund - Full Grant (2020-2022).
  2. Targeting interleukin-6 receptor in BQ323636.1 overexpressing ER+ breast cancer to reverse tamoxifen resistance. Health and Medical Research Fund - Full Grant (2019-2021).

As Co-Investigator

  1. Molecular mechanism of BQ323636.1, a novel splice variant of NCOR2 and its significance on treatment of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. General Research Fund - Full Grant (2020)
  2. The synergistic effect of ivabradine and olaparib on triple negative breast cancer. Health and Medical Research Fund - Full Grant (2020)
  3. Targeting androgen receptor in BQ323636.1 overexpressing ER+ breast cancer to overcome aromatase inhibitor resistance. Health and Medical Research Fund - Full Grant (2019)
  4. Testing Ivabradine on Patient-Derived Xenografts: A Novel Potential Targeted Treatment for Breast Cancer. Innovation and Technology Support Programme (Tier 3) (2017-2019).
  5. Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel 3 (HCN3) regulating apoptosis resistance, autophagy and cellular senescence in breast cancer: a novel potential anti-cancer target. Health and Medical Research Fund - Full Grant (2017-2019).

Selected Publications

Tsoi, H., Lok, J., Man, E.P., Cheng, C.N., Leung, M.H., You, C.P., Chan, S.Y., Chan, W.L., and Khoo, U.S. Overexpression of BQ323636.1 contributes to anastrozole resistance in AR+ve/ER+ve breast cancer. J Pathol. 2023 Oct;261(2):156-168. doi: 10.1002/path.6157.

Tsoi, H., Tsang, W.C., Man, E.P., Leung, M.H., Chan P.Y., Chan, S.Y., Chan, W.L., and Khoo, U.S. Checkpoint Kinase 2 Inhibition Can Reverse Tamoxifen Resistance in ER-Positive Breast Cancer. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022 Oct 14;23(20):12290. doi: 10.3390/ijms232012290.

Tsoi, H, Man, E.P., Chau, K.M., and Khoo, U.S.Targeting the IL-6/STAT3 Signalling Cascade to Reverse Tamoxifen Resistance in Estrogen Receptor Positive Breast Cancer. Cancers (Basel). 2021 Mar 25;13(7):1511. doi: 10.3390/cancers13071511.

Mok, K.C. *, Tsoi, H.*, Man, E.P., Leung, M.H., Chau, K.M., Wong, L.S., Chan, W.L., Chan, S.Y., Luk, M.Y., Chan, J.Y.W., Leung, J.K.M., Chan, Y.H.Y., Batalha, S., Lau, V., Siu, D.C.W., Lee, T.K.W., Gong. C., and Khoo, U.S. Repurposing hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels as a novel therapy for breast cancer. Clin Transl Med. 2021 Nov;11(11):e578. doi: 10.1002/ctm2.578. *indicates joined first authorship.

Tsoi, H., Man, E.P., Leung, M.H., Mok, K.C., Chau, K.M., Wong, L.S., Chan, S.Y., Luk, M.Y., Cheng, C.N., and Khoo, U.S. KPNA1 regulates nuclear import of NCOR2 splice variant BQ323636.1 to confer tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer. Clin Transl Med. 2021 Oct;11(10):e554. doi: 10.1002/ctm2.554.

Leung, M.H., Tsoi, H., Gong, C., Man, E.P., Zona, S., Yao, S., Lam, E.W. and Khoo, U.S. A Splice Variant of NCOR2, BQ323636.1, Confers Chemoresistance in Breast Cancer by Altering the Activity of NRF2. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Feb 26;12(3):533. doi: 10.3390/cancers12030533.

Gong, C.*, Tsoi, H.*, Mok, K.C., Cheung, J., Man, E.P.S., Fujino, K., Wong, A., Lam, E.W.F. and Khoo, U.S. Phosphorylation independent eIF4E translational reprogramming of selective mRNAs determines tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer. Oncogene. 2020 Apr;39(15):3206-3217. doi: 10.1038/s41388-020-1210-y.*indicates joined first authorship.

Gong, C., Man, E.P., Tsoi, H., Lee, T.K., Lee, P., Ma, S.T., Wong, L.S., Luk, M.Y., Rakha, E.A., Green, A.R., Ellis, I.O., Cheung, K.L. and Khoo, U.S. BQ323636.1, a Novel Splice Variant to NCOR2, as a Predictor for Tamoxifen Resistant Breast Cancer. Clin Cancer Res. 2018 Aug 1;24(15):3681-3691. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-2259.