Collage of colorectal images

Contact

Professor Amanda Cross
amanda.cross@imperial.ac.uk

What we do

The research focus of the Cancer Screening and Prevention Research Group (CSPRG) is bowel cancer, also known as colorectal cancer. We conduct large scale observational studies and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of and mortality from bowel cancer.

Established in 2008 by the late Professor Wendy Atkin and now headed by Professor Amanda Cross, the group has extensive expertise and includes an experienced team of research epidemiologists, statisticians, clinical trial managers, data analysts and data managers.

Why it is important

In the UK, over 41,000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year and 16,000 people die from the disease. If diagnosed early, the five-year survival of bowel cancer is very high (~90% for stage 1), while a large proportion of cases can be prevented altogether.

How it can benefit patients

Through our research we hope to reduce the numbers of people receiving a diagnosis of bowel cancer and dying from this disease. Much of our work focuses on how to help make bowel cancer screening and surveillance programmes more effective and acceptable for patients, and more efficient for the NHS, and other health services internationally.

Summary of current research

FIT for Screening – FIT for Screening is a CRUK-funded double-blind, population-based, randomised controlled trial within the NHS Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (BCSP). It aims to determine whether screening with low threshold faecal immunochemical test (FIT) can reduce incidence rates of bowel cancer. The study is expected to run to 2036.

The Lynch Syndrome (LS) Registry – The LS Registry aims to create a model for the management of all patients with a high genetic risk of bowel cancer. Through the creation of a national registry of LS patients we hope to: understand how people with LS are being monitored and managed; use the registry to improve timeliness of surveillance appointments and exams for LS patients; raise awareness of LS and promote future research in these patients.

UK Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Screening Trial (UKFSST) – The UKFSST started in 1994 and is still on-going. The main aim was to examine the effect of a once-only flexible sigmoidoscopy screening exam on the future risk of developing and dying from bowel cancer. The results published in 2010 confirmed that the test was extremely effective at preventing bowel cancer and very long-lasting, and led directly to the introduction of flexible sigmoidoscopy screening into the NHS English Bowel Cancer Screening Programme. The study is in long-term follow-up of participants to determine how long the cancer preventive benefit of the test lasts.

The Intermediate Adenoma (IA) study and the All Adenomas (AA) study – The IA and AA studies aim to determine how best people with adenomas, or bowel polyps, should be monitored to protect them from bowel cancer in the future, while minimising the burden of their ‘surveillance’ exams on the NHS. The results from the IA and AA studies played a key role in the update of the 2002 UK post-polypectomy surveillance guidelines to the new 2020 guidelines, and will be vital in informing future iterations.

The Symptoms of Colorectal Cancer Evaluation Research (SOCCER) study – SOCCER is a retrospective, observational analysis using information collected on people who had symptoms suggestive of bowel cancer and had been referred by their doctor for further tests. We aimed to provide evidence to show whether flexible sigmoidoscopy is an effective and safe alternative to whole colon examinations for some people. We are continuing to analyse the study data to answer further research questions.

FIT for Follow-Up – The FIT for Follow-Up study aimed to find out whether annual Faecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) are accurate enough to replace three-yearly colonoscopy in people undergoing surveillance as a result of having a large polyp, or a few small polyps, removed at baseline colonoscopy. We are continuing to analyse the study data to answer further research questions.

Additional information

For patients

PhD students

There are four PhD students in the CSPRG. They are all investigating different aspects of optimising colorectal cancer prevention and early diagnosis by examining risk factors as well as screening and surveillance strategies.

Our researchers

Kate Wooldrage

Kate Wooldrage

Kate Wooldrage
Medical Statistician

Kevin Pack

Kevin Pack

Kevin Pack
Senior Data Clerk

Elizabeth J. Coles

Elizabeth J. Coles

Elizabeth J. Coles
Research Support Officer

PhD students

Emma Robbins

Emma Robbins

Emma Robbins

Rhea Harewood

Rhea Harewood

Rhea Harewood

Ruth Disney

Ruth Disney

Ruth Disney

Sharon Power

Sharon Power

Sharon Power