Professor Hemant Kocher

Professor of Liver and Pancreas Surgery
Group Leader, Research Theme Lead

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Research Focus

I am a surgeon-scientist. My clinical research interests include tissue banking, clinical trials, innovative surgical techniques, epidemiology, meta-analysis and patient care pathways. My translational research interests include pancreatic cancer stroma and tumour-stroma cross-talk including cell signalling, adhesion, metastasis, invasion leading to innovative therapies and novel biomarkers.

Key Publications

Phase I clinical trial repurposing all-trans retinoic acid as a stromal targeting agent for pancreatic cancer. Nat Commun (2020) 11(1):4841. PMID: 32973176 

Anti-stromal treatment together with chemotherapy targets multiple signalling pathways in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. J Pathol (2016) 239(3):286-96. PMID: 27061193

Activated pancreatic stellate cells sequester CD8(+) T cells to reduce their infiltration of the juxtatumoral compartment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Gastroenterology (2013). 145(5):1121-32. PMID: 23891972

Retinoic acid-induced pancreatic stellate cell quiescence reduces paracrine Wnt-β-catenin signaling to slow tumor progression. Gastroenterology (2011) 141(4):1486-97. PMID: 21704588

Major Funding
Other Activities
  • National Cancer Intelligence Network (Upper GI and Pancreas)
  • Cancer Study group of British Society of Gastroenterology
  • Chairman Scientific Advisory Board, Pancreatic Cancer Action UK (charity)
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Committee, Worldwide Cancer Research
  • Member, Medical Advisory Committee, Pancreatic Cancer UK MDT co-Lead: Barts and the London HPB MDT

Biobanking Director:

Clinical trials:

My translational research interests include stromal biology of pancreatic cancer, biomarker discovery, and investigations into liver metastasis and duodenal cancers (UKDCSG). My clinical interests include clinical trials and epidemiology in patients with hepato-biliary-pancreatic disorders, surgical development, innovative surgical techniques, risk-assessment and quality improvement. My clinical practice is at the Barts and the London HPB Centre at the Royal London Hospital of Barts Health NHS Trust. My recent work according to research areas is listed below:

Stromal biology of pancreatic cancer

Inter- and intra-tumoral heterogeneity in cancer-associated fibroblasts of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Neuzillet C, Tijeras-Raballand A, Ragulan C et alJ Pathol (2018) 248(1):51-65. PMID: 30575030

Stromal SPOCK1 supports invasive pancreatic cancer growth. Veenstra VL, Damhofer H, Waasdorp C, Steins A, Kocher HM, Medema JP, van Laarhoven HW, Bijlsma MF. Mol Oncol (2017) 11(8):1050-1064. PMID: 28486750

PAK4 interacts with p85 alpha: implications for pancreatic cancer cell migration. King H, Thillai K, Whale A, Arumugam P, Eldaly H, Kocher HM, Wells CM. Sci Rep (2017) 7:42575. PMID: 28205613

Expression of polymeric immunoglobulin receptor and stromal activity in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Arumugam P, Bhattacharya S, Chin-Aleong J, Capasso M, Kocher HM. Pancreatology (2017) 17(2):295-302. PMID: 28173980

Biomarker discovery

PET-PANC: multicentre prospective diagnostic accuracy and health economic analysis study of the impact of combined modality 18fluorine-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose positron emission tomography with computed tomography scanning in the diagnosis and management of pancreatic cancer. Ghaneh P, Hanson R, Titman A et alHealth Technol Assess (2018) 22(2) 1-114. PMID: 29402376

ADAM12 is a circulating marker for stromal activation in pancreatic cancer and predicts response to chemotherapy. Veenstra VL, Damhofer H, Waasdorp C et alOncogenesis (2018) 7(2) 87. PMID: 30442938

Predicting complications in hepatic resection for colorectal liver metastasis: the lymphocyte-to-monocyte ratio. McCluney SJ, Giakoustidis AA, Segler A et al. ANZ J Surg (2018) 88(2) E782-E786. PMID: 30014560

Neutrophil: Lymphocyte ratio as a method of predicting complications following hepatic resection for colorectal liver metastasis. McCluney SJ, Giakoustidis A, Segler A et alJ Surg Oncol (2018) 117(2) 1058-1065. PMID: 29448304


The Pancreatic Expression Database: 2018 update. Marzec J, Dayem Ullah AZ, Pirrò S, Gadaleta E, Crnogorac-Jurcevic T, Lemoine NR, Kocher HM, Chelala C. Nucleic Acids Res (2018) 46(D1):D1107-D1110. PMID: 29059374

Pancreatic cancer tissue banks: where are we heading? Balarajah V, Ambily A, Dayem Ullah AZ, Imrali A, Dowe T, Al-Sarireh B, Abu Hilal M, Davidson BR, Soonawalla Z, Metcalfe M, Chin Aleong JA, Chelala C, Kocher HM. Future Oncol (2016) 12(23):2661-2663. PMID: 27541064

Model systems

Pancreatic Cancer Organotypic Models. Coetzee A, Grose R, Kocher H. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol (2019) 10.1007/82_2019_155. PMID: 30790075

Clinical guidelines

Recommendations from the United European Gastroenterology evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis and therapy of chronic pancreatitis. Dominguez-Munoz JE, Drewes AM, Lindkvist B, Ewald N, Czakó L, Rosendahl J, Löhr JM; HaPanEU/UEG Working Group. Pancreatology (2018) 18(8):847-854. PMID: 30344091

Unravelling the pharmacologic opportunities and future directions for targeted therapies in gastro-intestinal cancers part 2: Neuroendocrine tumours, hepatocellular carcinoma, and gastro-intestinal stromal tumours. Neuzillet C, de Mestier L, Rousseau B et alPharmacol Ther (2018) 181(2) 49-75. PMID: 28723416

Unravelling the pharmacologic opportunities and future directions for targeted therapies in gastro-intestinal cancers Part 1: GI carcinomas. Neuzillet C, Rousseau B, Kocher H, Bourget P, Tournigand C. Pharmacol Ther (2017) 174:145-172. PMID: 28223233

United European Gastroenterology evidence-based guidelines for the diagnosis and therapy of chronic pancreatitis (HaPanEU). Löhr JM, Dominguez-Munoz E, Rosendahl J, Besselink M, Mayerle J, Lerch MM, Haas S, Akisik F, Kartalis N, Iglesias-Garcia J, Keller J, Boermeester M, Werner J, Dumonceau JM, Fockens P, Drewes A, Ceyhan G, Lindkvist B, Drenth J, Ewald N, Hardt P, de Madaria E, Witt H, Schneider A, Manfredi R, Brøndum FJ, Rudolf S, Bollen T, Bruno M; HaPanEU/UEG Working Group. United European Gastroenterol J (2017) 5(2):153-199. PMID: 28344786 

Clinical care and patient pathways

Factors affecting length of stay after percutaneous biliary interventions. Roy M, Kyaw Tun J, Banerjee A et al. Br J Radiol (2019) 92(1096):20180814. PMID: 30359118

Solid pseudopapillary tumour of the pancreas: clinicopathological analysis. McCluney S, Wijesuriya N, Sheshappanavar V et al. ANZ J Surg (2018) 88(9):891-895. PMID: 29316119

Complications of biliary-enteric anastomoses. Kadaba RS, Bowers KA, Khorsandi S, Hutchins RR, Abraham AT, Sarker SJ, Bhattacharya S, Kocher HM. Ann R Coll Surg Engl (2017) 99(3):210-215. PMID: 27659373

Role of laparoscopy in hepatobiliary malignancies. Arumugam P, Balarajah V, Watt J, Abraham AT, Bhattacharya S, Kocher HM. Indian J Med Res (2016) 143(4):414-9. PMID: 27377496

Epidemiological studies

Resection rate, hospital procedure volume and survival in pancreatic cancer patients in England: Population-based study, 2005-2009. Coupland VH, Konfortion J, Jack RH, Allum W, Kocher HM, Riaz SP, Lüchtenborg M, Møller H. Eur J Surg Oncol (2016) 42(2):190-6. PMID: 26705143

Outcome after surgical resection for duodenal adenocarcinoma in the UK. Solaini L, Jamieson NB, Metcalfe M, Abu Hilal M, Soonawalla Z, Davidson BR, McKay C, Kocher HM; UK Duodenal Cancer Study Group. Br J Surg (2015) 102(6):676-81. PMID: 25776995

Time and deprivation trends in incidence of primary liver cancer subtypes in England. Konfortion J, Coupland VH, Kocher HM, Allum W, Grocock MJ, Jack RH. J Eval Clin Pract (2014) 20(4):498-504. PMID: 24902884

Other Activities

NHS roles:      

External roles:


Major Funding
  • 2019-2022 - Medical Research Council, 'Dissecting the role of extra centrosomes-induced exosome secretion in PDAC microenvironment'
  • 2019-2024 - Medical Research Council, 'Phase IIb randomised clinical trial repurposing ATRA as a stromal targeting agent in a novel drug combination for pancreatic cancer (STAR-PAC2),' £1,417,355
  • 2019-2022- Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund, ‘The role of T-cells within tertiary lymphoid structures of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma,’ £197,313
  • 2018-2021 - Cancer Research UK, 'Anti-tumour specificity and functionality of monoclonal antibodies derived from single lesional B cells from ectopic germinal centres in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma'
  • 2016-2019 - Medical Research Council, 'Development of an effective therapeutic regimen for treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer using a novel immunotherapeutic agent,' £577,000
  • 2005-2010 - NIHR Trainees Coordinating Centre (Leeds), 'The role of tumour cell and stromal cell interactions in modulating the invasive behaviour of pancreatic cancer,' £874,000
Recent Publications

PRIME-HCC: phase Ib study of neoadjuvant ipilimumab and nivolumab prior to liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma Pinato DJ, Cortellini A, Sukumaran A et al. BMC Cancer (2021) 21(7)

Non-coding RNAs in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma: New approaches for better diagnosis and therapy Mortoglou M, Tabin ZK, Arisan ED et al. Translational Oncology (2021) 14(7)

COVID-19 in patients with hepatobiliary and pancreatic diseases: A single-centre cross-sectional study in East London Dayem Ullah AZM, Sivapalan L, Kocher HM et al. BMJ Open (2021) 11(7)

Centrosome amplification mediates small extracellular vesicle secretion via lysosome disruption Adams SD, Csere J, D'angelo G et al. Current Biology (2021) 31(7) 1403-1416.e7

Dissecting FGF Signalling to Target Cellular Crosstalk in Pancreatic Cancer Carter EP, Coetzee AS, Tomas Bort E et al. Cells (2021) 10(7)

CEACAM7 is an effective target for CAR T-cell therapy of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma Raj D, Nikolaidi M, Garces I et al. Clinical Cancer Research (2021) 27(7) 1538-1552

Impact of SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic on Pancreatic Cancer Services and Treatment Pathways: United Kingdom Experience McKay SC, Pathak S, Wilkin RJW et al. Hepato Pancreato Biliary (2021) (10)

Molecular profiling of ctDNA in pancreatic cancer: Opportunities and challenges for clinical application Sivapalan L, Kocher HM, Ross-Adams H et al. Pancreatology (2021) 21(7) 363-378

The accuracy of pre-operative (P)-POSSUM scoring and cardiopulmonary exercise testing in predicting morbidity and mortality after pancreatic and liver surgery: A systematic review Dutton J, Zardab M, De Braal VJF et al. Annals of Medicine and Surgery (2021) 62(7) 1-9

Preoperative nasopharyngeal swab testing and postoperative pulmonary complications in patients undergoing elective surgery during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. COVIDSurg Collaborative Br J Surg (2021) 108(2) 88-96

For additional publications, please click here

Postdoctoral Researchers
Dr Dayem Ullah, Dr Francesca Delvecchio, Dr Michelle Goulart, Dr Abigail Coetzee

PhD Students
Mr Vickna Balarajah, Mr Abhirup Banerjee, Mr Gabriel Agguire, Ms Rachel Fincham, Dr Mohammed Zardab, Dr Konstantinos Stasinos, Ms Lavanya Sivapalan, Ms Minal Patel

Tissue Bank staff
Mr Ajith Vajrala,  Ms Christine Hughes, Ms Rhiannon Roberts, Mr Ahmet Imrali, Ms Amina Saad


I joined the Barts Cancer Institute in February 2005 with the award of National Clinician Scientist Fellowship by the National Institute of Health Research (UK). I completed my MD (Res) at King's College London and general surgical and HPB Surgery training in South-East Thames. I qualified with numerous distinctions, awards and scholarships from University of Mumbai in 1993. I finished my surgical training in Mumbai (KEM Hospital) in 1996, leading to a best thesis award for MS (General Surgery).