Richard (Dick) P Hill

Richard (Dick) P Hill, PhD

Radiation is one of the primary modalities for the treatment of localized cancer and a number of factors can influence the response of tumours and surrounding normal tissues to such treatment. These factors, which can be specific to the individual tumour or normal tissue and to their environment, can vary from patient to patient. One part of the research in my laboratory focuses on understanding how these factors control tumour and normal tissue response to radiation treatment in individual patients.

Our current work involves:
  • Examination of hypoxia in human tumours with a focus on cancer of the cervix and soft tissue sarcoma
    In these studies we are collaborating with the clinical groups at the Princess Margaret Hospital in examining methods to measure hypoxia in tumours in relation to their value as predictors of treatment outcome.
  • Studies of the cellular radiosensitivity of normal human fibroblasts from skin in vivo
    These studies are focusing on the use of assays of fibroblast response to irradiation as a possible local dosimeter following accidental exposure to irradiation.
  • Examination of the sensitivity of lung tissue to different volumes of irradiation
    These studies in rat and mouse lungs are investigating mechanisms associated with the response of the lung to radiation damage (believed to be associated with the induction of a localized but prolonged inflammatory response), which can result in deleterious effects both inside and outside the radiation field.
The second major focus of our research is the spread of cancer from its initial site of growth to other locations in the body (metastasis), which is a major factor influencing the likelihood of successful treatment. The formation of metastasis by tumour cells is thought to be dependent on the expression of specific phenotypes by individual tumour cells. Our research is examining metastatic phenotypes that are expressed only transiently and that may be induced by exposure of tumour cells to conditions, such as hypoxia, which occur in the tumour microenvironment. Recent clinical results have suggested that tumours that contain substantial hypoxic regions may be more likely to form metastases. We have found in animal model systems that exposure to hypoxia, both in vitro and in vivo, can cause transient increases in the metastatic potential of tumour cells and that exposure to transient hypoxic episodes may be particularly important for this increased metastatic potential. We are examining the effect of hypoxic exposure in modifying the expression of genes likely to be associated with the cancer stem cell phenotype, metastasis and tumour progression. Recent studies by our clinical collaborators have identified elevated levels of interstitial fluid pressure, a characteristic of many tumours, as another factor that may affect metastasis. We are developing animal models to investigate the mechanisms responsible for this effect.

Related Links

Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 25;:
Marie-Egyptienne DT, Chaudary N, Kalliomäki T, Hedley DW, Hill RP
Br J Cancer. 2016 Nov 22;:
Chaudary N, Pintilie M, Hedley D, Hill RP, Milosevic M, Mackay H
Clin Cancer Res. 2016 Oct 3;:
Chaudary N, Pintilie M, Jelveh S, Lindsay P, Hill RP, Milosevic M
Br J Radiol. 2016 Aug 2;:20160474
Hill RP
Recent Results Cancer Res. 2016;198:25-44
Woodward WA, Hill RP
Neoplasia. 2016 Jun;18(6):347-55
Tan Q, Wang M, Yu M, Zhang J, Bristow RG, Hill RP, Tannock IF
Oncotarget. 2016 May 29;
Lohse I, Rasowski J, Cao P, Pintilie M, Do T, Tsao MS, Hill RP, Hedley DW
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Sep 18;
Milosevic MF, Townsley CA, Chaudary N, Clarke B, Pintilie M, Fan S, Glicksman R, Haider M, Kim S, MacKay H, Yeung I, Hill RP, Fyles A, Oza AM
Semin Radiat Oncol. 2015 Oct;25(4):260-72
Hill RP, Bristow RG, Fyles A, Koritzinsky M, Milosevic M, Wouters BG
Br J Cancer. 2015 Sep 1;
Dhani NC, Serra S, Pintilie M, Schwock J, Xu J, Gallinger S, Hill RP, Hedley DW

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Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto
Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto