• MFT - Nightingale Centre, Wythenshawe Hospital
• The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
• Oglesby Cancer Research Building
• MFT - Saint Mary’s Hospital
• The University of Manchester

Breast cancer research is a multi-disciplinary research group with pre-clinical and clinical projects ongoing across multiple NHS trusts and laboratories based both at the Oglesby building in Withington and the Oxford Road campus of The University of Manchester.  It has a rich history, given that Manchester is where the first breast cancer patients in the world were treated with Stilbestrol (1940s), Tamoxifen (1960s) and Fulvestrant (1990s) at the world renowned Christie Hospital. 

All basic and translational research projects are coordinated through the Manchester Breast Centre. The Manchester Breast Centre (MBC) comprises 25 principal and associate research academics, and includes both the Prevent Breast Cancer’s Nightingale Centre, home to Greater Manchester’s breast screening programme, and the Breast Cancer Now Research Unit. Formed in 2005, the MBC researchers have strengths within basic and discovery science and innovative clinical approaches to breast cancer prevention, risk assessment, early diagnosis and world-first trials using molecularly targeted agents.

Groups at The University of Manchester explore various aspects of breast biology, including the extracellular matrix, integrin signalling and Notch/Wnt signalling. Others have interests in stem cell biology and bone metastasis. Within imaging, our researchers are developing biomarkers of breast density and texture to assist in risk stratification, and are working on computer-aided detection of breast cancer.

Clinical research spans from improving risk assessment and screening programmes for those at increased risk of the disease to surgical trials and patient-centred studies into breast reconstruction. It also addresses diet-based and lifestyle approaches to prevention complement trials of pharmacological methods, alongside investigation of new preoperative/neoadjuvant therapies and adjuvant therapies in DCIS and invasive disease. Our researchers are also driving novel clinical trials that match the tumour genomic mutations to bespoke molecular targeted agents in The Christie clinical trials unit.


  • How do breast cancer stem cells interact with metastatic sites in the body, such as the bone, to allow them to seed a new tumour? (Lead: Rob Clarke)
  • How can we predict which women will benefit from breast cancer chemoprevention drugs? (Lead: Gareth Evans)
  • Can ulipristal acetate can be used for breast cancer chemoprevention? (Lead: Sacha Howell)
  • What are the immunological effects of Avelumab and Aspirin in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer? (Lead: Anne Armstrong)
  • How is CBF-beta is involved in breast cancer spread? (Lead: Paul Shore)
  • How can functional proteomics contribute to precision medicine for breast cancer metastasis? (Lead: Chiara Francavilla)
  • What is the role of P-Rex1 and Rac1b in breast cancer? (Lead: Ahmet Ucar)
  • How do we target the procoagulant systemic and tumour environment in breast cancer? (Lead: Cliona Kirwan)


A comparison of five methods of measuring mammographic density: a case-control study.​
Astley SM, Harkness EF, Sergeant JC, Warwick J, Stavrinos P, Warren R, Wilson M, Beetles U, Gadde S, Lim Y, Jain A, Bundred S, Barr N, Reece V, Brentnall AR, Cuzick J, Howell T, Evans DG.
Breast Cancer Res. 2018 Feb 5;20(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s13058-018-0932-z.

Use of Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Mammographic Density Plus Classic Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Risk Prediction.
van Veen EM, Brentnall AR, Byers H, Harkness EF, Astley SM, Sampson S, Howell A, Newman WG, Cuzick J, Evans DGR.
JAMA Oncol. 2018 Apr 1;4(4):476-482. doi: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2017.4881.

Cellular mechano-environment regulates the mammary circadian clock.
Yang N, Williams J, Pekovic-Vaughan V, Wang P, Olabi S, McConnell J, Gossan N, Hughes A, Cheung J, Streuli CH*, Meng Q-J*
Nature Communications  2017  8: :14287

The impact of a panel of 18 SNPs on breast cancer risk in women attending a UK familial screening clinic: a case-control study
Evans DG, Brentnall A, Byers H, Harkness E, Stavrinos P, Howell A; FH-risk study Group., Newman WG, Cuzick J. 
J Med Genet  2017  54(2)  111-113

Results from the BRIOS randomised trial. 
Potter S, Wilson RL, Harvey J, Holcombe C, Kirwan CC.
Lancet Oncol. 2017 Apr;18(4):e189

Patient-derived Mammosphere and Xenograft Tumour Initiation Correlates with Progression to Metastasis.
Eyre R, Alférez DG, Spence K, Kamal M, Shaw FL, Simões BM, Santiago-Gómez A, Sarmiento-Castro A, Bramley M, Absar M, Saad Z, Chatterjee S, Kirwan C, Gandhi A, Armstrong AC, Wardley AM, O'Brien CS, Farnie G, Howell SJ, Clarke RB.
J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2016 Dec;21(3-4):99-109. 


Clinical Oncology

Medical Oncology

Medical Genetics




  • Michelle Harvie


  • Gemma Findlay
  • Vicky Lau
  • Alison Musson
  • Paula Potter

Trial coordination and project management

  • Anna Clarke
  • Amy Kavanagh
  • Charlotte Stockton-Powdrell
  • Emma Thorpe