Urological Malignancies

Prostate and renal cancers are key contributors of cancer related death and morbidity. Early detection and optimal primary treatment improves cure rates and reduces progression to metastasis in both cancer types. Our Clinicians and scientists have developed closely integrated multi-disciplinary research themes including; exploring new markers and imaging for early detection, better modelling of early disease biology, improved methods of risk stratification and novel therapeutic window studies alongside standard clinical treatments. This work is significantly enhanced by our large well annotated bio-repository and high volume urological cancer practice in Addenbrookes.

Advances in Cambridge in prostate and renal cancer science

Programme Contacts

University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
Department of Medical Genetics

Selected publications

Prostate Cancer Research in Cambridge

We are a UK centre for major national and international studies including ProtecT, CANCAP (lead) VoxTox (lead), ICGC (major contributor), PRACTICALS, MOVEMBER, Genomic England, STAMPEDE, RADICALS, PACE, and NIHR IHC. In the last 5 years the prostate research group has together published over 200 papers and initiated 8 translational investigator led studiesThe current research focus in Cambridge is on improving the management and outcomes of men presenting with non-metastatic prostate cancer (over 80% of all diagnosis). To feed into this programme, we have critical strengths in a number of areas:

1. Extensive network of academic research. Cambridge benefits from a vibrant web of cross-collaborative research across the CCC and wider university campus. This encompasses diverse disciplines including pathology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, chemistry, oncology, urology, radiology, epidemiology, engineering, mathematics and computational biology.

2. Excellent clinical care. This is illustrated by the CAMPARI concept, which is a multi-disciplinary group of NHS and academic clinicians as well as allied health professionals with a common goal of improving patient care. This initiative stretches from first presentation, accurate biopsies, precise risk stratification, delivery of state-of-the-art treatment (image guided radiotherapy, robotics, brachytherapy, tailored active surveillance, chemotherapy) as well as excellent patient support. Prostate cancer is strongly associated with age. Collaborative research has identified over 73 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or small mistakes in the genetic code, associated with prostate cancer. We are testing how to use these SNPs to identify high risk populations when screening for prostate cancer.

3. Cutting edge imaging. The strength of our integrated imaging capabilities has spread across diagnosis and clinical delivery and into the research arena. This is highlighted by a number of very successful collaborative studies based on MR imaging including the CHIRRP, DMAPS and PAART studies. This is now being extended to new innovative modalities (PET acetate and hyperpolarised C13) with a focus on detecting lethal cancers.

4. Novel diagnosticsCambridge is also leading in using innovative diagnostics (e.g. introduction of the Uro-Nav biopsy system) and in house development of a novel device for low morbidity, local anaesthetic transperineal biopsies (CAMPROBE). In addition we have established a pipeline of studies exploring new serological assays and biomarkers for detection of lethal cancers working in tandem with image-guided biopsies.

5. Better understanding of disease epidemiology. We have undertaken studies revealing demographic changes in the presentation and treatment of prostate cancer through close working with Public Health England and the cancer registries (assembling cohort data from >20,000 men with longitudinal follow up). More recently this work has resulted in the derivation of a new clinical risk model using data from 10,000 UK men, which outperforms the NICE criteria in predicting cancer specific mortality at diagnosis. Our on-going work will deliver individualised risk prediction and treatment stratification tools through a combination of optimal clinical classification and molecular subtyping .

6. Innovative combinatorial therapies. We have established a platform for window studies to investigate new drug agents in combination with standard therapies. This is exemplified by the currently accruing Astra Zeneca supported CANCAP series of neo-adjuvant studies. In addition, Cambridge leads research in radiotoxicity and technical radiotherapy (VoxTox), which is uncovering new methods to reduce morbidity and side effects for patients.

7. World-class tissue and bio-resource. We have built up (and are continuing to accrue) a large urological bio-repository (Cambridge Urological Bio-repository), which holds tissue (diagnostic and surgical) as well as bio-samples from over 3500 men at different stages and treatments for prostate cancer. All these men have detailed clinical annotation and meticulous follow up. This repository has allowed Cambridge to be a leader in a number of ground-breaking studies, which have elucidated new molecular classifications and predictive markers of outcome.

Cambridge Renal Cancer (CamRenCan) Research

The Cambridge Renal Cancer Group (CamRenCan) is a collaboration of basic and translational scientists together with clinicians working synergistically towards the common goal of improving outcomes of patients with renal cancer via multimodal research strategies. The Centre runs internationally recognised programmes in the genetics of the disease and the metabolic consequences of those genetic abnormalities, in understanding tumour biology and in the treatment of resulting malignancies.

1. Molecular mechanisms of renal cancer progression. Several large­scale resequencing efforts have characterized the genomic landscapes of renal cancer. Unlike in many other cancer types, however, few actionable genetic alterations have been identified. Experimental approaches are thus needed for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of renal cancer progression. CamRenCan harbours several world­class research groups that focus on functional analysis of renal cancer in a wide range of model systems and experimental areas, such as metabolomics, functional genetics, drug development and stem cell biology. This work is intimately linked with the analysis of clinical renal cancer cohorts, for which genetically and pathologically well­characterised patient­donated cancer tissue with high fidelity clinical information is essential. We are also continuously developing new renal cancer models for functional biology. The aim of this work is to identify novel molecular dependencies in renal cancer for further translational development.

2. Identification of kidney cancer at a curable stage. We seek to improve identification of patients with curable, early stage renal cancer before this progresses to lethal disease. A key aspect of this approach is the improved delineation of which small renal masses are malignant rather than benign (~30% cases), this is currently challenging on standard imaging approaches and hence many patients are exposed to potentially unnecessary surgery. Furthermore, we need to better understand which small renal cancers have the potential for rapid progression and requireIn this work patients with hereditary renal cancer and hence established tumourigenic genetic mutations will be studied (via CCC medical and surgical renal genetics clinics) together with those patients with sporadic disease. Using experimental radiology, circulating tumour DNA, metabolomics and cell of origin studies these lesions will be better delineated than is currently possible leading to a rapid improvement in patient care.

3. Optimal management of patients with high risk initially localised renal cancers.In this theme of work, we aim to improve identification of the patients with highrisk renal cancer who will relapse after nephrectomy for whom there are currently limited curative treatment options available. We seek to identify the therapies to which such patients would benefit from. Successful adjuvant treatment of RCC would make a substantial impact on the burden of the disease. No adjuvant therapy has been proven to date and trials take a decade or more from concept to result. It is therefore a priority for the CamRenCan to consider ways to accelerate progress in adjuvant trials. CamRenCan is working with the MRC to develop a multiarm, multistage design to maximise clinical trial design efficiency. This study together with others being developed from within CamRenCan form the backbone to this theme. Using blood, urine, stool and tissue samples donated by patients in these trials we will be well placed to develop predictive assays of response and identification of residual or recurrent disease. tumour biology and in the treatment of resulting malignancies.  Using blood, urine, stool and tissue samples donated by patients in these trials we will be well placed to develop predictive assays of response and identification of residual or recurrent disease.

Principal investigators and consultants

  • All members
  • Group leaders
  • Clinical consultants
University of Cambridge
Department of Public Health and Primary Care
My research has focused on discovery of genetic risk factors of prostate cancer through genome-wide association studies and fine-mapping. I...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Medicine
The main goal of the Ashcroft laboratory is to understand the key cellular mechanisms involved in oxygen sensing and hypoxia signalling in...
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Department of Radiology
(tbc)
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Interests based around improving radiotherapy and chemoradiotherapy in head and neck and urological cancers, develpoing technical...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Biochemistry
Tom Blundell's research combines structural biology, structural bioinformatics and structure-guided drug discovery. Most of his work has...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Urology
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
1. radiogenomics 2. computational radiotherapy 3. advanced radiotherapy techniques
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Babraham Institute
Our lab has a long-standing interest in how PI3K signalling translates extracellular stimuli to different biological responses.The isoforms...
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University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Biochemistry, Department of Surgery, School of Clinical Medicine
Wellcome Trust CRUK Gurdon Institute
Addenbrooke's Hospital NHS Trust
Wellcome Trust PhD Fellow...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Public Health and Primary Care
Strangeways Research Laboratory
My main research area is genetic susceptibility to cancer, with particular emphasis on breast and prostate cancer. I also have particular...
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University of Cambridge, AstraZeneca, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
I am a clinical trialist interested in developing new treatments for advanced disease, identifying and managing those at risk of disease....
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Department of Oncology
Strangeways Research Laboratory
Our research is focused in the identification of common genetic variation associated with disease through Genome-wide association studies...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Dr Kate Fife is a consultant clinical oncologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge where she was appointed in 2001. Together with Prof...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Engineering
I work in large area electronics and MEMS devices, with a particular focus on acoustic wave devices using thin film piezoelectrics. There...
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University of Cambridge
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Department of Urology
Vincent Gnanapragasam is a University Lecturer and Consultant Urologist at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrookes Hospital with a...
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Department of Medicine
Supervisor Prof Margaret Ashcroft. Disruption of hypoxia response pathways in renal cancer and how these can be harnessed to develop new...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Surgery
Prostate cancer is the commonest male malignancy in the UK (35,000 new cases/year). Despite treatment including surgery, many patients will...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Cambridge
School of Clinical Medicine, Department of Surgery
Renal cancer is the eighth most common malignancy and the third most common urological cancer in the UK. I'm interested in the management...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Dr Hughes-Davies studied medicine at Oxford University. After three years of training in general medicine at the Hammersmith and Middlesex...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Cambridge
Department of Surgery, School of Clinical Medicine
CRUK Cambridge Institute
Spatiotemporal manipulation of autophagy during prostate homeostasis and tumorigenesis
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Urology
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Radiology
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Percutaneous image guided tumour ablation and endovascular drug delivery.
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University of Cambridge
Department of Surgery
CRUK Cambridge Institute
Cambridge University Hospitals
I am an NIHR Clinical Lecturer within the University of Cambridge department of surgery and am completing my training in urological surgery...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Medical Genetics
Eamonn Maher is Professor of Medical Genetics and Genomic Medicine and Head of the Department of Medical Genetics. Prior to taking up this...
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Department of Oncology
CRUK Cambridge Institute, Hutchison MRC Research Centre
Early Detection Programme, Urological Malignacies Programme
Integrating cancer genomics, epigenetics, bioinformatics and circulating tumour DNA analysis. Working together with collaborators to...
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
We are interested in better understanding the biological processes that contribute to renal cancer development and progression by...
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University of Cambridge
School of Clinical Medicine, Department of Medicine
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Honorary Consultant, CUH FT
Oxygen sensing and renal diseases All metazoans have a powerful control system based on hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), which regulates...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
Dr Mazhar was a Medical Undergraduate at the University of Oxford and completed his Clinical Training in London. He undertook Specialist...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Medical Oncology
I am investigating the functional importance of novel mutations in cell cycle control genes in renal cancer.
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University of Cambridge
Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute
Research title: Estrogen receptor beta is an important modulator of prostate carcinogenesis. Adam is a registrar in urological surgery. He...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University of Cambridge
Department of Oncology
My research interests are: Early phase clinical trials (phase I/II) and Urological malignancy (prostate cancers). My research is centered...
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Department of Surgery
Screening for renal cancer
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Oncology
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University of Cambridge
Department of Medical Genetics
Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
My research focusses on the function of the PKD1 gene family. Mutations in PKD1 cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Urology
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University of Cambridge
Department of Medical Genetics
Overall, kidney cancers are the eighth most common cancer and the incidence of the most common form (renal cell carcinoma, RCC) has been...
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Babraham Institute
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University of Cambridge, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Surgery
I am an academic urological surgeon with clinical and research expertise in kidney cancer. I coordinate the Cambridge Renal Cancer...
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Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Department of Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering
An oncologist specialising in breast, colon and urological cancers, including the treatment of patients with chemotherapy, biological...
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Radiological assessment of prostatic osseous metastases. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy. Early detection of prostate cancer...
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University of Cambridge
MRC Cancer Unit
Hutchison MRC Research Centre
The majority of cancer-related deaths result from the spread of cancer to secondary organs in a phenomenon called metastasis. Recent...
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Responsible for providing the histopathological support and tissue sampling for all research projects of the urological academic study...
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University of Cambridge
Department of Medical Genetics
My research is involved in the identification of previously unknown genetic factors that appear to predispose to renal cell carcinoma (RCC...
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