Endocrine Cancer Research Group

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Group leader: Professor Chris McCabe

Clinical leader: Dr Kristien Boelaert


The McCabe group focuses on basic and clinical aspects of thyroid disease and endocrine cancer. Specifically, we are engaged in cell, animal model (mouse) and human investigations into the actions of the proto-oncogenes PTTG and PBF in thyroid cancer and goitre, and in PBF function in breast, head and neck and colorectal cancer.

Current Projects

  • Improving radioiodine treatment of thyroid cancer. The efficacy of radioiodine treatment is central to clinical outcome in thyroid cancer. We are exploring a new way of modulating the ability of thyroid cells to uptake radioiodine.
  • The role of PTTG and PBF in genomic stability and DNA repair in thyroid cancer. The thyroid gland is sensitive to ionising radiation. Meanwhile, we have shown that PBF binds p53 and alters its functions. Therefore we are manipulating PBF and p53 in vitro and in vivo and examining responses to DNA damage.
  • PBF regulation of cell invasion and metastasis in thyroid and breast cancer. Having been the first to report that PBF induces cell invasion in breast cancer, we are investigating its role in migration, metastasis and invadopodia function.
  • Radioiodine treatment of breast cancer. We are manipulating PBF phosphorylation status to alter radioiodine uptake into breast cancer cells.
  • PTTG and PBF in head and neck cancer. In collaboration with Professor Hisham Mehanna we are mapping the expression and function of PTTG and PBF in oropharyngeal cancer.
  • The first reported mutation of the proto-oncogene PBF; its influence in thyroid cancer. The first de novo mutation of PBF has recently appeared within the COSMIC database; we are determining whether this experiment of nature has aetiological significance.
  • Molecular Genetic Investigation and Functional Analysis of non-RET Familial Medullary Thyroid Cancer. We are testing the functional significance of a novel mutation detected in a patient with MTC.

Recent Publications


Principal Investigators
Professor Chris McCabe - Schoool of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Dr Kristien Boelaert - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine

Postdoctoral Researchers
Dr Martin Read - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Dr Vicki Smith - School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Rachel Watkins
Mr Neil Sharma

PhD/MD Students
Vikki Poole - MRC DTG PhD Student
Bhavika Modasia - Wellcome Trust PhD Student
Perkin Kwan - Wellcome Trust PhD Student
Waraporn Imruetaicharoenchoke - Siriraj Medical School, Bangkok, PhD Student