Professor Hisham Mehanna PhD, BMedSc, MBChB, FRCS, FRCS(ORL-HNS)

Professor Hisham Mehanna

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Chair, Head and Neck Surgery
Director, Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE)

Contact details

Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Vincent Drive
University of Birmgingham
B15 2TT

Prof Mehanna is the Chair of Head and Neck Surgery and is the Director of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE) at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.  He is a head and neck and thyroid surgeon with clinical interests in microvascular reconstructive surgery and endoscopic thyroid and parathyroid surgery.  He has a keen interest in clinical research, especially in clinical trials evaluating the efficacy and effectiveness of new interventions, therapeutic agents and biomarkers in head and neck and thyroid cancer.   He runs a research team of over 15 researchers and holds over £5.5m in grants from the Health Technology Assessment Unit, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Research and industry.

Prof Mehanna is also the Chair of the UK’s National Cancer Research Institute Head and Neck Group.He is also the Chair of the Research Committee of the British Association of Head Neck Oncologists. He serves on the Council of the Royal Society of Medicine, Laryngology Section, the Council of the International Association of Oral Oncology and was also  past Secretary of the Otorhinolaryngological Research Society.


PhD, Assessment of Quality of Life in Head and Neck Cancers.  Erasmus University 2010
FRCS Glasgow 1998
MBChB (Hons)  University of Glasgow 1994
B.Med.Sc (Hons) University of Kuwait 1990 


Hisham started his medical education in Kuwait, graduating with honours in Basic Medical Sciences in 1990. He continued his clinical undergraduate education at the University of Glasgow and the West of Scotland, graduating with honours in 1994. He undertook his general and ENT surgery specialty training in Glasgow, UK. In 2003, he undertook a fellowship in advanced head and neck and thyroid surgery with Prof Randall Morton, at the Auckland Regional Head and Neck Unit in New Zealand. He received his PhD from the University of Erasmus, Rotterdam. He holds Royal College Fellowships in General Surgery and Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery and is on the Specialist Register in the UK.

He started his consultant clinical practice in 2004 at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.   He now practices at University Hospitals Birmingham and Heart of England Foundation Trusts.


He runs two annual international postgraduate ‘Masters’ courses in head and neck surgery (one since 2004) with the top international and national speakers having lectured on the courses. He has also organised several international and national meetings including the annual scientific meetings for the Otorhinolaryngological Research Society and the British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists-Head Neck Surgeons (ENT-UK).

Postgraduate supervision

Prof. Mehanna supervises several PhD, MD and MSc students.


Professor Mehanna’s research interests concentrate on improving the outcomes and reducing the disability from head and  neck and thyroid cancer.  His main research interests focus on:


  1. Clinical trials and effectiveness of investigations and treatments of head and neck and thyroid cancer.
  2. Translational research to accelerate the  introduction of potential new therapies and surgical devices  into clinical practice. 
  3. Development and assessment of biomarker strategies to improve the selection of treatment (individualised treatment or stratified medicine).




  • He is the chief investigator of PET NECK, a multicentre RCT examining the role of PET CT in the management of advanced head and neck cancer. He led a multi-institution consortium to set up and run the trial in 53 head and neck centres around the UK. It has recruited over 560 patients to date, and is now the largest recruiting head neck study in the UK in the last 30 years.
  • Prof. Mehanna is also the chief investigator of PET NECK Collect, which is a tissue bank, funded by Cancer Research UK, and which has collected over 1500 samples to date.
  • He runs two large multicentre studies on HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer and HPV oral infection, funded by Cancer Research UK and GSK Biologicals respectively.
  • He is second investigator in a Cancer Research –UK LiNHCS trial.
  • He runs two other multicentre RCTs in the assessment of head and neck and thyroid quality of life.
  • He is also the chief investigator of a Macmillan Cancer-funded project examining a new concept in delivery of head and neck cancer care in the clinic.

Other activities

  • Chair of the National Clinical Research Institute Head & Neck Clinical Studies Group.
  • Member of the Interventional Technologies Advisory Panel of the Health Technology Assessment Unit.
  • Past Honorary Secretary of the Otorhinolaryngological Research Society
  • Chair of the Continuing Postgraduate Development Committee of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists-Head Neck Surgeons (ENT-UK, the professional body of ENT surgeons)
  • Chair of the Research Committee of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists (the professional body of head and neck clinicians in the UK).


Mehanna H, Ang KK (eds). (Dec 2012). Management of recurrence in head and neck cancer. USA, Thieme.

Mehanna H et al (2012) Salivary gland swellings.  BMJ;345:e6794. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e6794.

Rainsbury JW et al (2012) Prognostic biomarkers of survival in oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: Systematic review and meta-analysis.  Head Neck. 2012 Sep 20. doi: 10.1002/hed.22950.

Nankivell PCet al (2012) Validation of tissue microarrays in oral epithelial dysplasia using a novel virtual-array technique. J Clin Pathol. 2012 Aug 22

Mehanna HM et al. Investigating the thyroid nodule.BMJ. 2009 Mar 13;338:b733. doi: 10.1136/bmj.b733.

Smith VE et al. PTTG-Binding Factor (PBF) Is a Novel Regulator of the Thyroid Hormone Transporter MCT8. Endocrinology. 2012 Jul;153(7):3526-36.

Jones et al. The TCUKIN Consortium, Tomlinson I, Carvajal-Carmona LG.Thyroid cancer susceptibility polymorphisms: confirmation of loci on chromosomes 9q22 and 14q13, validation of a recessive 8q24 locus and failure to replicate a locus on 5q24. J Med Genet. 2012 Mar;49(3):158-163.