School of Medicine
  • Print

Biological assessment – part of a novel tool to optimise treatment of primary breast cancer in older women

Project fact file

Mr Kwok-Leung Cheung and Dr Andrew Green
School / Division
Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine / Division of Cancer and Stem Cells
Breast cancer geriatric oncology tumour biology
Fee band
High cost laboratory-based research
Date posted
November 2017

Project description

The majority of breast cancers occur in older women. While surgery is normally the standard primary treatment in those with early primary disease, non-operative treatments (e.g. primary endocrine therapy) may be very good alternatives due to frailty, co-morbidities limiting their life expectancy, and various psychosocial considerations. A recent Cochrane review of randomised trials shows no significant difference in the overall survival of older women treated by either surgery or primary endocrine therapy. Furthermore, approximately 40% of older women with primary breast cancer in the UK were found to have received primary endocrine therapy in a national audit. A large scale clinical trial aiming to recruit 1,200 patients in the UK to compare these two approaches in a randomised controlled fashion was closed prematurely due to poor recruitment. Despite having an important health problem now and in the foreseeable future, the population concerned is underserved and under-researched.

There is currently a research programme on various (clinical, biological and psychosocial) aspects of early primary breast cancer in older women, led by Mr KL Cheung, Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Medical Sciences and Graduate Entry Medicine, School of Medicine. The team includes collaborators from the School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham, our NHS partners, and also Nottingham Trent University and USA.

This project will specifically aim to develop a tool to allow assessment of the biology of primary breast cancer in older women in order to determine the optimal treatment. It will be based on laboratory work handling tumour samples in 1,700+ older women with follow-up up to 37 years, as well as bioinformatics principles in data analysis.

The successful applicant will be jointly supervised by Mr Cheung and Dr A Green from the Division of Cancer and Stem Cells.

Applicants must meet the minimum academic and English requirements (7 in IELTs..if the applicant does not hold a current IELTS test of 7, they could be given an offer with the condition that they attend a pre-sessional English course at CELE). They should be able to conduct translational research spending a significant amount of time in the laboratory, and in the process of carrying out the research, are able to work with hospital staff as appropriate.

For further information or informal enquiries please e-mail with CV to: .




School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

Contacts: Please see our 'contact us' page for further details