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Associate Professor Tan Poh Lin

Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS)

Senior Consultant, Department of Paediatrics, NUH

Clinical Director, Paediatric Oncology and Blood / Marrow Transplantation (BMT) Programme [FACT accredited programme], NUHS

Associate Programme Director (Paediatric Residency), NUHS


Associate Professor Tan Poh Lin graduated with MBBS (S’pore) in 1992 and Master of Medicine in Paediatrics (S’pore) in 1996. She is a registered specialist in Paediatric Medicine, Singapore Medical Council, practising paediatric haematology and oncology. Her main practice is in the field of haematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) using donor types such as human leucocyte antigen (HLA) matched, HLA mismatched, related (including haploidentical) and unrelated donors. Some examples of HCT that A/Prof Tan is experienced in are bone marrow transplant, peripheral blood stem cell transplant and umbilical cord blood transplant. She is experienced in tailoring therapy that best serve the patient’s unique medical needs within the context of mainstream therapy.

HCT is a potential cure for childhood cancers including certain high risk leukaemia (e.g. acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia, juvenile myelomonocytic leukaemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, chronic myeloid leukaemia, therapy-related acute leukaemia) and solid tumours (e.g. Medulloblastoma, Neuroblastoma, Ewing Sarcoma, Rhabdomyosarcoma). HCT is also a curative treatment option for specific blood disorders including congenital anaemia, transfusion-dependent Thalassaemia, bone marrow failure syndromes (e.g. Fanconi Anemia, Dyskeratosis Congenita, Diamond Blackfan Anaemia or Pure Red Cell Aplasia, severe idiopathic aplastic anaemia), primary immunodeficiency diseases (e.g. Severe Combined Immune Deficiency, Chronic Granulomatous Disease, Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, Natural Killer Cell Deficiency or Haemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis) and rare genetic diseases such as Cerebral Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD) and Hurler’s Syndrome if diagnosed early.

A/Prof Tan is experienced in the use of adoptive transfer of immune cells such as Natural Killer and T cells that can be given before or after HCT to rescue patients with cancer progression or relapse. She champions a multidisciplinary survivorship programme that focuses on primary and secondary diseases surveillance as well as quality of life of patients. She has a special interest in developing expertise in Adolescent and Young Adult oncology (AYA) to fill current gaps in the care of this special group of patients.

A/Prof Tan believes that the cure of catastrophic or any disease needs to be managed in the context of holistic care with emphasis on good symptom(s) control throughout the illness and thoughtful recovery support for re-integration back to society. She works with an excellent team of paediatricians with various specialties, nurses, social workers and allied health personnel towards delivering the best of such care.

A/Prof Tan believes that teaching (patients, parents and next generation of doctors), good clinical and translational research as well as clinical medicine are inseparable entities and excellent health care must be delivered in a collaborative and coordinated effort. She serves in various teaching capacities within and out of the NUHS campus. A/Prof Tan also serves as the Chair of the Viva-Asia Blood & Marrow Transplant Consortium, a voluntary organisation of paediatric stem cell transplant experts from ASEAN and the region, working towards improving the practice of HCT. She hopes to improve the health of every child and family who entrust themselves to our team.


Education and Fellowships

  • MBBS (NUS, Singapore 1992)
  • MMED (Paediatrics, NUS 1996)


Specialty Interests

  • Paediatric Blood / Marrow Transplant & Cell Therapy
  • Paediatric Haematology-Oncology
  • Paediatric Immunodeficiency Diseases & HLH


Selected Publications

  1. Santhanam H, Ong JS, Shen L, Tan PL, Koh PL (2017). Risk Factors for Mortality in Asian Children Admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit after Haematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, 46(2):44-49.
  2. Lim JW, Yeap FS, Chan YH, Yeoh AE, Quah TC, Tan PL (2017). Second Malignant Neoplasms in Childhood Cancer Survivors Treated in a Tertiary Paediatric Oncology Centre. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, 46(1):11-19.
  3. Hong C, Tang KS, Villegas M, Tan PL (2016). Case report: An unusual presentation of oral acute graft-versus-host-disease in a haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipient. Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology, 121(3):e51-3. doi: 10.1016/j.oooo.2015.12.004
  4. Liu ID, Tan PL, Tan CX, Isa MS, Lau PY, Yeo WS, . . . Ng SB (2015). Metachronous B-cell and T-cell post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders with features of chronic active Epstein-Barr virus infection. American Journal of Hematology, 90(10):E204-5. doi: 10.1002/ajh.24122
  5. Tan PL, Lim LM, Khanlian C, Villegas MS (2014). A Single Center Experience of Cytomegalovirus Infections in Asian Pediatric Patients Undergoing Allogeneic Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant for Leukemia in Singapore. Transplant infectious disease an official journal of the Transplantation Society, 16(4):556-60. doi: 10.1111/tid.12238
  6. Chen J, Lee V, Luo CJ, Chiang AK, Hongeng S, Tan PL, . . . Okamoto Y (2013). Allogeneic stem cell transplantation for children with acquired severe aplastic anaemia: a retrospective study by the Viva-Asia Blood and Marrow Transplantation Group. British Journal of Haematology, 162(3):383-91. doi: 10.1111/bjh.12405
  7. Lee AJ, Wu J, Villegas MS, Shek LP, Lee BW, Tan PL (2012). Stem Cell Transplantation for Primary Immunodeficiency Disease: Experience of a Singapore Hospital. The World Allergy Organization Journal, 5(3):41-4. doi: 10.1097/WOX.0b013e31824af5e3
  8. Verneris MR, Eapen M, Duerst R, Carpenter PA, Burke MJ, Tan PL, . . . Davies SM. Reduced-intensity conditioning regimens for allogeneic transplantation in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation: journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 16(9):1237-44. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2010.03.009
  9. Tan PL, Wagner JE, Auerbach AD, Defor TE, Slungaard A, Macmillan ML (2006). Successful engraftment without radiation after fludarabine-based regimen in Fanconi anemia patients undergoing genotypically identical donor hematopoietic cell transplantation. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 46(5):630-6.
  10. Tan PL, Verneris MR, Charnas LR, Reck SJ, van Burik JA, Blazar BR. Outcome of CNS and pulmonary enteroviral infections after hematopoietic cell transplantation. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 45(1):74-5.


Selected Abstracts (Scientific Presentations)

  1. PL Tan, M Villegas, TG Soh, A Kumar, C Dhamne, K Francisco, F Yeap, M Kimpo, A Yeoh, TC Quah (2017, March). Tolerability and responses to ex-vivo IL2 activated NK cells from haploidentical parental donors in paediatric patients with refractory leukaemia/lymphoma. Paper presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Marseilles, FR.
  2. M Villegas, TG Soh, A Yeoh, TC Quah, PL Tan (2017, March). Graft versus host disease in paediatric haematological malignancies receiving best unrelated donor BMT compared to ex-vivo T cell depleted haploidentical stem cell transplant. Paper presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Marseilles, FR.
  3. C Dhamne, F Yeap, TG Soh, M Villegas, A Yeoh, TC Quah, . . . PL Tan (2017, March). Rapid immune reconstitution post CD45RA depleted HSCT leads to better engraftment, reduced risks of viral infections and superior graft versus leukaemia effects. Paper presented at the 43rd annual meeting of the European Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Marseilles, FR. 
  4. F Yeap, K Francisco, M Villegas, PL Tan (2016, August). Higher incidence of cytokine release syndrome in haploidentical stem cell transplant in children with non-malignant diseases but no graft versus host disease. Paper presented at the meeting of International Congress of Immunology, Melbourne, AU.
Updated as of 10 July 2017