Cancer Division


Group lead
Professor Robert Brown
+44 (0)20 7594 1804

Clinical areas

What we do

Our research focuses on epigenetic mechanisms in cancer and the effect of DNA damage and repair on the epigenome. We are evaluating epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation and histone marks, as biomarkers of cancer risk, prognosis and treatment outcomes. We facilitate development of approaches to reverse epigenetic silencing and improve effectiveness of current therapies.  

Why it is important

Epigenetic mechanisms are an important driver of tumour progression and acquisition of drug resistance leading to treatment failure. By understanding the basis of such epigenetic drivers we aim to identify ways to improve stratification of patients for the best treatments and discover novel approaches to treating cancer. In particular, approaches to overcome or prevent drug resistance.

How it can benefit patients

Patient stratification based on integrating epigenetic biomarkers with other types of biochemical, histological and imaging biomarkers will give clinicians and patients better insight into choice of treatment options and uncover novel approaches to improving the treatment of cancer.

Summary of current research    

  • DNA methylation as prognostic and predictive biomarker of chemotherapy and surgery in ovarian cancer
  • Detection of methylated DNA in circulating tumour DNA
  • Novel epigenetic editing approaches to overcoming drug resistance using CRISPR
  • Role of DNA methylation in immune responses
  • Development of novel histone methyltransferase inhibitors and their use in overcoming drug resistance
  • Role of epigenetic regulation of WNT signalling in ovarian cancer
  • Involvement of DNA damage and repair in epigenetic change
  • Role of bivalent histone marks in drug resistance


Clinical trials

  • SCOTROC studies with SGCTG
  • OCAC studies

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. 

Current PhD students:

  • Kayleigh Davis

Our researchers