Dr Sarah Bowden BSc (Hons) PhD

Dr Sarah Bowden

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
CRCTU Director of Operations, Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit

Contact details

Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit
Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Sarah Bowden is the Director of Operations at the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU) at the University of Birmingham.

She has a specific interest in cancer clinical trials research and is co-author on 7 clinical trial publications.


  • PhD Clinical Chemistry, 1994
  • BSc (Hons) Biological Sciences, 1990


Sarah Bowden is the Director of Operations at the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU) at the University of Birmingham.

She graduated with a Biological Sciences degree from Leicester University in 1990. She obtained her PhD from the University of Birmingham in 1994 while working as a Research Associate at the Wolfson Laboratories, Queen Elizabeth Hospital. In 1994 she moved to the Department of Anatomy, University of Birmingham where she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow studying cell cycle division. In February 1998 she joined the CRCTU as a Trial Coordinator coordinating a national, multicentre, phase III, trial called SECRAB which was designed to determine the optimal sequence of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in patients with early breast cancer. Subsequently she has coordinated a number of investigational medicinal product, multicentre, phase III, breast cancer trials. In 2003 she was promoted to Senior Trial Coordinator managing a portfolio of breast cancer trials and the staff working on those projects.

In April 2009 she was promoted to Assistant Director of Operational Issues.

In October 2013 she was appointed as Director of Operations being responsible for the management of more than 180 members of staff as well as playing a key role in the strategic development of the unit. In addition, she continues to play an active role in the development and management of the unit’s breast, head and neck, skin and supportive care cancer research portfolios.


Cancer clinical trials

Sarah Bowden has contributed to the design, set-up and/or management of the following trials:

  • ABC Adjuvant Breast Cancer trial
  • aTTom adjuvant Tamoxifen Treatment Offer more?
  • LORIS The Low Risk DCIS trial
  • NEAT National Epirubicin Adjuvant Trial
  • NEAT-A National Epirubicin Adjuvant Trial – Accelerated
  • ROSCO Response to Optimal Selection of neo-adjuvant Chemotherapy in Operable breast cancer:
  • SECRAB Sequencing of Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy in Adjuvant Breast cancer
  • SPOT Squamous cell carcinoma Prevention in Organ transplant recipients using Topical treatments: a feasibility study
  • TACT2 Trial of Accelerated Chemotherapy
  • UKMCC-01 A Phase II Study of Pazopanib in Metastatic Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Other activities

Sarah Bowden has oversight of more than 120 academic clinical trials within the CRCTU. She plays a key role in the strategic development of the unit and leads the New Business Team helping investigators turn their ideas for a clinical trial into reality.

Sarah is a member of a number of clinical trials committees and working groups locally and nationally including the University of Birmingham Clinical Trials Oversight Committee, the Birmingham Research Training Collaborative (BRTC) Operational Committee, the Trials Units Operational Leads Committee, the Cancer Research UK International Sponsorship and Contracts Working Group and the Clinical Trials Training Sub-group. She takes a lead on pharmacovigilance training within the BRTC as well as teaching on clinical trial oversight and management.


  • Provenzano E, Vallier A-L, Champ R, Walland K, Bowden S, Grier A, Fenwick N, Abraham J, Iddawela M, Caldas C, Hiller L, Dunn J, and Earl HM (2013) A Central Review of Histopathology Reports after Breast Cancer Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy in the Neo-tAnGo Trial. BJC: 108, 866–872
  • Earl HM, Hiller L, Dunn JA, Vallier A, Bowden SJ, Jordan SD, Blows F, Munro A, Bathers S, Grieve R, Spooner DA, Agrawal R, Fernando I, Brunt AM, O’Reilly SM, Crawford SM, Rea DW, Simmonds P, Mansi JL, Stanley A, McAdam K, Foster L, Leonard RCF, Twelves CJ, Cameron D, Bartlett JMS, Pharoah P, Provenzano E, Caldas C, and Poole CJP for the NEAT Investigators and the SCTBG (2012) Adjuvant Epirubicin followed by Cyclophosphamide, Methotrexate and Fluorouracil (CMF) versus CMF in early breast cancer: Results with over seven years median follow-up from the randomised phase III NEAT/BR9601 trials. BJC: 107(8):1257-67
  • Pettit L, Hartley A, Bowden SJ, Mehanna H, Glaholm J, Cashmore J, Sanghera P.(2011) Variation in volume definition between UK head and neck oncologists treating oropharyngeal carcinoma. Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 23(9):654-655
  • Daley AJ, Bowden SJ, Rea DW, Billingham L, Carmicheal AR (2008) What advice are oncologists and surgeons in the United Kingdom giving to breast cancer patients about physical activity? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5: 46-58
  • Donnelly P, Hiller H, Bathers S, Bowden S, Coleman R (2007) Questioning Specialists’ attitudes to breast cancer follow-up in primary care. Annals of Oncology, 18: 1467–1476.
  • Bowden SJ, Fernando IN & Burton A (2006) Delaying radiotherapy for the delivery of adjuvant chemotherapy in the combined modality treatment of early breast cancer: Is it disadvantageous and could combined treatment be the answer? Clinical Oncology 18 (3) 247-256.
  • Dunne FP, Bowden SJ, Brown JS, Ratcliffe WA & Browne RM (1994) Parathyroid hormone related protein (PTHrP) in oral squamous carcinomas invading the mandible. Journal of Clinical Pathology, 48: 300-303.
  • Emly JF, Gregory J, Bowden SJ, Ahmed A, Whittle MJ, Rushton DI & Ratcliffe WA (1994) Immunohistochemical localisation of parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) in human term placenta. Placenta, 15: 653-660.
  • Bowden SJ, Emly JF, Hughes SV, Powell G, Ahmed A, Whittle MJ, Ratcliffe JG & Ratcliffe WA (1994) Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) in human term placenta and membranes. Journal of Endocrinology, 142: 217-224.
  • Ratcliffe WA, Bowden SJ, Dunne FP, Hughes S, Emly J, Baker JT, Pye JK & Williams CP (1994) Expression and processing of parathyroid hormone-related protein in a pancreatic endocrine cell tumour associated with hypercalcaemia. Clinical Endocrinology, 40: 679-686.
  • Hutchesson ACJ, Hughes SV, Bowden SJ & Ratcliffe WA (1994) In vitro stability of endogenous parathyroid hormone-related protein in blood and plasma. Annals of Clinical Biochemistry, 31: 35-39.
  • Bowden SJ, Hughes SV & Ratcliffe WA (1993) Molecular forms of parathyroid hormone-related protein in tumours and biological fluids. Clinical Endocrinology, 38: 287-294.
  • Emly JF, Ratcliffe WA, Green E, Bowden SJ, Heath DA, Blight A, Hughes S & Ratcliffe JG (1992) Immunochemical characterisation of parathyroid hormone-related protein from tumour and non-tumour cells. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1180: 58-64.
  • Ratcliffe WA, Bowden SJ, Emly J, Hughes S & Ratcliffe JG (1992) Production and characterisation of monoclonal antibodies to the mid-region 37-67 sequence of parathyroid hormone-related protein. Journal of Immunological Methods, 146: 33-42

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