Breast cancer

Why we focus on breast cancer

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, with over 55,000 new cases diagnosed in the UK each year. Recent molecular analysis has revealed that the traditional, morphological categorisation has underestimated the variety of breast cancer types which exist. Many of these molecular subtypes vary in terms of their clinical behaviour (such as the tendency to metastasise) and their responses to therapy. Expanding on these initial studies offers great hope in terms of being able to predict tumour behaviour and patient outcome with greater accuracy, and also for the development of novel therapies targeted specifically against particular subtypes.

What we do
  • Engage in a variety of investigations which range in scope from basic molecular biology through to epidemiological studies on incidence and types of cancer in different patient and ethnic groups
  • Maintain a breast cancer tissue bank which is unique in including isolated and characterised cell populations from different tumours
  • Identify genetic variations that predispose to lobular carcinoma in situ or ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and establish which genetic changes cause these pre-malignant lesions to progress
  • Examine the role of the microenvironment in modifying breast cancer behaviour, focusing specifically on transition of pre‑invasive DCIS to invasive disease
  • Lead on several international trials in breast cancer prevention, which have been pivotal in the introduction of new prevention regimes for breast cancer patients, including the introduction of the aromatase inhibitor, anastrazole.
Major Funders
  • Association for International Cancer Research
  • Breast Cancer Now
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Medical Research Council
Key Publications

Image credit: Breast cancer cell. Credit: Anne Weston, Francis Crick InstituteCC BY-NC