Biological and lifestyle predictors of outcomes in people with head and neck cancer

PhD project (3/4 yr research project leading to independent research at the doctorate level)

Prof Richard Martin, Prof Andy Ness, Prof Steve Thomas

Return to list


Head and neck cancer is an important cause of mortality and morbidity [1]. In spite of improvements in diagnosis and treatment, survival remains poor [2]. People often present with advanced tumours and the risk of recurrence is high [3]. Better understanding the determinants of survival in people with head and neck cancer will improve outcome.

Aims & objectives

The aims of this project are to describe the biological and lifestyle predictors of outcomes in people with head and neck cancer in the Head & Neck 5000 cohort, and to develop a clinical prediction rule to enable more accurate prognostication.


Head and Neck 5000 (H&N5000) is a UK-wide clinical cohort study in people with head and neck cancer. To date, consent to collect longitudinal data, store samples and record linkage has been obtained from 4,700 people. Participants completed questionnaires on health and lifestyle, quality of life and sexual history and provided blood and saliva samples. The student will design a follow-up questionnaire on patient reported outcome measures. The student will also obtain information on survival and cause of death through record linkage. Data on lifestyle behaviours, metabolomic profiles of baseline blood samples and genetic data from an ongoing genome wide association study will be used to identify prognostic predictors. The student will develop a clinical prediction rule that combines these measures with clinical and pathological information to predict outcome.


1. Mehanna H,et al: Head & neck cancer--Epidemiology. BMJ 2010.
2. Mehanna H, et al: Head & neck cancer--Treatment & prognostic factors. BMJ 2010.
3. Mayne ST, et al: Alcohol & tobacco use in patients with early stage cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx. CEBP 2009

Created on Oct. 1, 2015, 9 a.m.

Edit this page