Cancer cells


Group lead
Dr Rohini Sharma
+44 (0)20 3313 3057

Related themes

Disease areas

In the media

Dr Pinato speaks about Immune-Tolerogenic Pathways in Primary and Metastatic HCC

What we do

Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is the 3rd most lethal solid tumour worldwide. 80% of hepatocellular tumours arise as part of a continuum where chronic liver disease culminates into malignant transformation through fibrosis. Our group, known as the Liver Cancer Study Group is dedicated to the study of the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis and molecular progression of HCC with the aim of providing novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.

Why it is important

The vision guiding our group is to facilitate the development of precision anticancer medicine using HCC, a disease where such approach has not been reached yet, as a translational paradigm. The clinical and molecular heterogeneity of HCC is recognised as major unmet needs in the management of HCC, a disease where molecular stratification is currently not practicable in clinic and has impacted on the development of new therapies.

How it can benefit patients

An improved molecular and clinical understanding of how HCC evolves is highly important to understand how novel therapies might be beneficial in the management of patients with HCC. 

Summary of current research

  • Identification of novel biomarkers to predict the clinical course of the disease.
  • Evaluation of the role of innate and adaptive immunity as a prognostic marker and therapeutic target in HCC.
  • Epithelial to mesenchymal transition as a molecular driver of progression and drug-resistance in HCC.
  • Circulating free DNA as a novel biomarkers to allow for the diagnosis and therapeutic monitoring of HCC.
  • Intratumor heterogeneity of primary and metastatic HCC.



External group members

  • Jessica Howell - Consultant Hepatologist, Austin Medical Centre, Australia 
  • Ramya Ramaswami, Biostatistician, New England Journal of Medicine


For patients

For patient-related information please see:

PhD students

When we have funding for PhD studentships, we advertise them through central channels such as Find a PhD. Information is also available on the Surgery and Cancer study page. If no studentships are currently advertised, please get in touch with the group lead with proposed project titles to discuss further. 

Our researchers