Academic Pathology

Image of Ian Ellis

Ian Ellis

Professor of Cancer Pathology, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences



Professor Ian O. Ellis has been involved in the practice of pathology for over thirty years and has an international reputation in clinical and translational research in breast disease, particularly classification of breast cancer and evaluation of prognostic factors. Author of over 600 peer reviewed scientific publications, chapters in medical textbooks and specialist textbooks in pathology and an experienced lecturer being a founder member of the faculty of the Nottingham International Breast Education Centre. He is a Fellow and a past Specialty Advisor of The Royal College of Pathologists, past President of the Pathological Socity of Great Britain and Ireland, Past Chairman of the UK National Co-ordinating Committee for Breast Pathology, Past President of the International Society of Breast Pathology, past Councilor of The European Society of Mastology, Steering Committee Member of The European Group for Breast Screening Pathology and past Chairman of the Breast Pathology Working Group of the European Society of Pathology. He has acted as an advisor to theDoH, UICC, WHO and IARC. He is founder of PathLore and Medical Director of Source Bioscience.

Research Summary

The Nottingham/Tenovus Breast Cancer Research Group at Nottingham City Hospital has a longstanding research interest and international track record in classification of breast cancer diagnosis of… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

The Nottingham/Tenovus Breast Cancer Research Group at Nottingham City Hospital has a longstanding research interest and international track record in classification of breast cancer diagnosis of breast disease, evaluation of prognostic factors in breast cancer and understanding of the mechanisms governing hormone response in breast cancer. We have developed a histological grading system, which has become the international gold standard for histological classification (WHO, UICC, EU and UK). The Nottingham Prognostic Index, also developed by the group, is regarded as the most effective system for clinical decision support in routine clinical management. These systems are largely based on morphological assessment of tumour tissue sections and are subject to problems of interobserver variation. As a consequence our group have examined a wide range of potential objective prognostic markers and have over the last 5 years been exploring the hypothesis that a novel classification of breast cancer based on phenotypic and molecular genetic characteristics will provide a more robust system for classification and therapeutic decision-making. This hypothesis has been confirmed in principle with recognition of novel classes of breast cancer defined through their protein expression characteristics. Further studies are in place to identify and examine the influence of novel proteins identified in this context.

Current studies include:

1) Use of tissue array technology to allow immunophenotypic characterisation of protein expression of a large series of approximately 2000 breast cancer cases from the Nottingham Tenovus Breast Cancer series. This will provide a baseline data set of known and important proteins expressed in breast cancer, the frequency of their expression and their associations. The hypothesis being that breast cancer exhibits a number of distinct phenotypes which are related to different differentiation pathways from stem cell to normal adult cell types and which are influential on tumour behaviour.

2) Molecular genetic analysis of specific lesions with a pure histological morphology using array comparative genomic hybridisation (CGH), CISH and immunocytochemical protein expression analysis.

3) A proteomic and molecular approach to characterisation of breast tumours

4) Mechanisms of hormone response and resistance in breast cancer

5) Examination of expression of each member of the Type 1 growth factor family in a large series of breast cancer cases examining the clinical effect of co expression of receptors and ligands.

Group resources include expertise in

Histology / Morphological assessment of tissue

Image analysis


Laser microdissection

Future Research

Aspects of breast cancer biology, pathology, molecular genetics, morphology, diagnosis, classification and behaviour

Academic Pathology

The University of Nottingham
School of Medicine, Queen's Medical Centre
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

telephone: +44 (0)115 969 1169