Alan M. Nichol, BASc MD CCFP FRCPC

Clinical Associate Professor
University of British Columbia (UBC)

Active Staff: Radiation Oncologist
British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA)- Vancouver Centre

Director of Central Nervous System (CNS) Radiation Oncology
BCCA-Vancouver Centre*

City: Vancouver
Hospital Authority: Provincial Health Services

Address: BCCA-VCC
600 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E6


Phone: 604.877.6000      Fax: 604.877.0505
Clinical Office Phone: 604.877.6046

Major Clinical Focus – Neuro-oncology, Radiotherapy for Breast Cancer

• Doctor of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada, 1993
• Bachelor of Applied Science (Engineering Physics), University of British Columbia, Canada, 1990

• Diplomate (Radiation Oncology), American Board of Radiology, United States, 2004
• Clinical Fellowship (Radiation Oncology), University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
• UBC Residency (Radiation Oncology), Fellow of The Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 1999-2003
• Dalhousie University Residency (Family Practice), The College of Family Physicians Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1993-1995

Biographic Summary (Background, Academic Interests and Activities, Clinical Activities)

I care for patients with brain tumours and breast cancer. I am involved in the teaching of medical students and radiation oncology residents, as well as graduate students in Medical Physics. I am presently Principal Investigator of two clinical trials at the BC Cancer Agency. One is a pilot study to determine the feasibility of a phase III study comparing whole brain radiotherapy to volumetric modulated arc therapy to deliver focal radiotherapy for patients with to 1-10 brain metastases ( The other is a pilot study of a new technology for detecting cancer DNA in blood to screen for multiple cancers at once ( The technology can detect 96 common cancer mutations. The study cohort will consist of 1000 participants recruited from the BC Generations Project. Participants with positive test results will be evaluated by an oncologist and imaged with 5-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography. The hope is that the blood test will detect occult, curable cancers. The aim of the study is to determine the rate of true positive and false positive test results. With this information, a larger, more definitive screening study could be designed.

(* = Principal Supervisor or  first author)

  1. Hsu F, De Caluwe A, Anderson D, Nichol A, Toriumi T, Ho C. EGFR mutation status on brain metastases from non-small cell lung cancer. Lung Cancer 2016;96:101-7.
  2. Lo A, Howard AF, Nichol A, Hasan H, Martin M, Heran M, Goddard K. A cross-sectional cohort study of cerebrovascular disease and late effects after radiation therapy for craniopharyngioma. Pediatric Blood and Cancer 2016;63:786-93.
  3. Nichol A, Ma R, Hsu F, Gondara L, Carolan H, Olson R, Schellenberg D, Germain F, Cheung A, Peacock M, Bergman A, Vollans E, Vellani R, McKenzie M. Volumetric radiosurgery for one to ten brain metastases: a multi-centre, single-arm, phase 2 study. Int J Rad Onc Biol Phys 2016;94:312-21.
  4. Lo, A. Lo AC, Truong PT, Wai ES,Nichol A, Weir L, Speers C, Hayes MM, Baliski C, Tyldesley S. Population-based analysis of the impact and generalizability of the NSABP-B24 study on endocrine therapy for patients with ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast. Ann Onc 2015;26:1898-903.
  5. Hsu F, Nichol A, Ma R, Kouhestani P, Toyota B, McKenzie M. Stereotactic radiosurgery for metastases in eloquent central brain locations. The Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences 2015;42:333-7.
  6. Peterson D,Truong PT, Parpia S, Olivotto IA, Berrang T, Kim DH, Kong I, Germain I, Nichol A, Akra M, Roy I, Reed M, Fyles A, Trotter T, Perera F, Balkwill S, Lavertu S, Elliott E, Julian JA, Levine MN, Whelan TJ; RAPID trial investigators. Predictors of adverse cosmetic outcome in the RAPID trial: an exploratory analysis. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Apr 1;91(5):968-76
  1. Chan E, Woods R, Virani S, Speers C, Wai E, Nichol A, McBride M, Tyldesley S. Long-term mortality from cardiac causes after adjuvant hypofractionated versus conventional radiotherapy for localized left-sided breast cancer. Radiother Oncol 2015;114:73-8.
  2. Ma L, Nichol A, Hossain S, Wang B, Petti P, Vellani R, Higby C, Ahmad S, Barani I, Shrieve D, Larson D, Sahgal A. Variable dose interplay effects across radiosurgical apparatus in treating multiple brain metastases. Int J Comput Assist Radiol Surg. 2014 April 20. [PMID: 24748208: 2014 April 20: Epub ahead of print].
  3. Lo A, Howard F, Nichol A, Sidhu K, Abdulsatar F, Hasan H, Goddard K. Long-term outcomes and complications in patients with craniopharyngioma: the BC Cancer Agency experience. Int J Rad Oncol Biol Phys. 2014;88:1011-8.
  4. Chan E, Woods R, McBride M, Virani S, Nichol A, Speers C, Wai E, Tyldesley. Adjuvant hypofractionated versus conventional whole breast radiotherapy for early-stage breast cancer: long-term hospital related morbidity from cardiac causes. Int J Rad Oncol Biol Phys. 2014;88:786-92.
  1. Davidson A, Chia S, Olson R,Nichol A, Speers C, Coldman AJ, Bajdik C, Woods R, Tyldesley  Stage, treatment and outcomes for patients with breast cancer in British Columbia in 2002: a population-based cohort study. CMAJ Open. 2013 Nov 7;1(4):E134-41.
  1. *Kosztyla R, Chan E, Hsu F, Wilson D, Ma R, Cheung A, Moiseenko V, Zhang S, Benard F, Nichol A. High-grade glioma radiotherapy target volumes and patterns of failure obtained from MRI and 18F-FDOPA PET delineations from multiple observers. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013:87:1100-6.
  2. Hsu F, Kouhestani P, Ngyuen S, Cheung A, McKenzie M, Ma R, Toyota B, Nichol A. Population-based outcomes of boost versus salvage radiosurgery for brain metastases after whole brain radiotherapy. Radiotherapy & Oncology. 2013;108(1):128-31.
  3. *Kim JO, Ma R, Akagami R, McKenzie M, Johnson M, Gete E, Nichol A. Long-term outcomes of fractionated stereotactic radiation therapy for pituitary adenomas at the BC Cancer Agency. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013;87(3):528-33.
  4. Olivotto IA, Whelan TJ, Parpia S, Kim DH, Berrang T, Truong P, Kong I, Cochrane B, Nichol A, Roy I, Germain I, Akra M, Reed M, Fyles A, Trotter T, Perera F, Beckham W, Levine M, Julian J. Interim cosmetic and toxicity results from RAPID: A randomized trial of accelerated partial breast irradiation using 3D conformal external beam radiation therapy. J Clin Oncol. 2013;31(32):4038-45
  5. Chin E, Loewen SK, Nichol A, Otto K. 4D VMAT, gated VMAT, and 3D VMAT for stereotactic body radiation therapy in lung. Phys Med Biol. 2013;58:749-70.
  6. Karam I, Hamilton S, Nichol A, Woods R, Speers C, Kennecke H, Tyldesley S.  Population-based outcomes after brain radiotherapy in patients with brain metastases from breast cancer in the pre-trastuzumab and trastuzumab eras. Radiat Oncol. 2013;8:12.
  7. Owen D, Tyldesley S, Alexander C, Speers C, Truong P, Nichol A, Wai E. Outcomes in patients treated with mastectomy for ductal carcinoma in situ. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2013;85(3):e129-34.
  8. Panet-Raymond V, Ansbacher W, Zavgorodni S, Bendorffe B, Nichol A, Truong PT, Beckham W, Vlachaki M. Coplanar versus noncoplanar intensity-modulated radiation Therapy (IMRT) and volumetric-modulated arc therapy treatment planning for fronto-temporal high-grade glioma. J Appl Clin Med Phys. 2012;13:3826.
  9. Herbert C, Nichol A, Olivotto I, Weir L, Woods R, Speers C, Truong P, Tyldesley S. The impact of hypofractionated whole breast radiotherapy on local relapse in patients with grade 3 early breast cancer: a population-based cohort study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;82:2086-92.
  10. Vesprini D, Catton C, Jacks L, Lockwood G, Rosewall T, Bayley A, Chung P, Gospodarowicz M, Menard C, Miloseic M, Nichol A, Skala M, Warde P, Bristow R. Inverse relationship between biochemical outcome and acute toxicity after image-guided radiotherapy for prostate cancer. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012;83:608-16.
  11. Olson R, Nichol A, Caron N, Olivotto I, Speers C, Chia S, Davidson A, Coldman A, Bajdik C, Tyldesley S. Effect of community population size on breast cancer screening, stage distribution, treatment use and outcomes. Can J Public Health. 2012;103:46-52.
  12. Karam I, Nichol A, Woods R, Tyldesley S. Population-based outcomes after whole brain radiotherapy and re-irradiation in patients with metastatic breast cancer in the trastuzumab era. Radiat Oncol. 2011;6:181.
  13. *Nichol A, Yerushalmi R, Tyldesley S, Lesperance M, Bajdik C, Speers C, Gelmon K, Olivotto I. A case-match study comparing unilateral to synchronous bilateral breast cancer outcomes. J Clin Oncol. 2011;29:4763-8.
  14. Berrang T, Olivotto I, Kim D, Nichol A, Cho J, Mohamed I, Parhar T, Wright J, Truong P, Tyldesley S, Sussman J, Wai E, Whelan T. Three-year outcomes of a Canadian multicenter study of accelerated partial breast irradiation using conformal radiation therapy. Int J Rad Onc Biol Phys. 2011;81:1220-7.
  15. *Goulart J, Truong P, Woods Ryan, Speers C, Kennecke H, Nichol A. Outcomes of node-negative breast cancer 5 cm and larger treated with and without post-mastectomy radiotherapy. Int J Rad Onc Biol Phys. 2011;80:758-64.


* The British Columbia Cancer Agency (BCCA)-Vancouver Centre (VC) is the largest academic cancer centre for the BCCA, located in downtown Vancouver and treating about one third of the radiation oncology cancer patients in the Province of BC. Over 4360 cancer patients are seen each year in the radiation oncology department. There are 20 Radiation Oncology (RO) physician faculty with full disease site specialization and clinical programs of excellence, 2 General Practice (Internist) Oncology Physicians, 3 Clinical Fellows and 10 RO residents. The BCCA-Vancouver Centre also has 17 physicists and a graduate training program in physics, 15 nurses, >60 radiation therapists clerks, secretaries and many others within radiation oncology. General capabilities include 9 Linacs (including Truebeam), 1 cobalt, VMAT (first developed in the BCCA-VC), IMRT, SBRT, IGRT, HDR and LDR brachytherapy suites, and Protons (at the TRIUMF centre). The Vancouver Centre radiation oncology department conducts all levels of research (basic, translational, clinical, population), and is the main educational institution in BC for the training of graduate (residents) and undergraduate (medical) students. The interdisciplinary Radiation Oncology team is part of the even larger multidisciplinary and provincial teams.