Dr Yuk Ting Ma MBChB (hons), MRCP, PhD

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Senior Clinical Lecturer in Hepatobiliary Oncology

Contact details

Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Yuk Ting Ma is a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Hepatobiliary Oncology in the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy and an Honorary Consultant in Hepatobiliary Oncology at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.

Her research is focussed on understanding how epigenetic therapies may be used to reverse resistance to chemotherapy and also in understanding the immune responses following treatment in hepatobiliary cancers.


  • PhD, University of Birmingham - 2011
  • MRCP (UK) - 2003
  • MBChB (hons), University of Birmingham - 2000


Yuk Ting studied Medicine at the University of Birmingham, graduating with honours in 2000. She undertook general medical training in Birmingham gaining Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians in 2003. She then undertook specialist training in Medical Oncology in the West Midlands region and was awarded a CRUK Clinical Research Training Fellowship in 2005.

Her PhD investigating smoking- and viral-induced epigenetic changes in cervical epithelia was supervised by Professor Paul Murray and the late Professor Ciaran Woodman, in the University of Birmingham. In 2012, Yuk Ting was appointed as a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Hepatobliary Oncology at the University of Birmingham, and as an Honorary Consultant in Hepatobiliary Oncology at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust.


Postgraduate supervision

Yuk Ting has supervised the laboratory projects of a number of BMedSci students

If you are interesting in studying any of these subject areas please contact Dr Yuk Ting Ma directly, or for any general doctoral research enquiries, please email mds-gradschool@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


The development of resistance to cytotoxic or targeted therapy in a cancer patient greatly limits the effectiveness of available anticancer therapies. A variety of mechanisms of resistance have been identified including enhanced drug metabolism, drug efflux from cancer cells and activation of alternative survival pathways. Recently dynamic chromatin modifications have been identified as a key determinant in the maintenance of subpopulations of cancer cells with high-level resistance to cytotoxic therapy. Dr Ma’s research focuses on understanding how epigenetic drugs may be used to reverse chemotherapy resistance.

Recent experimental studies have also shown that epigenetic drugs can have potent immunomodulating effects and Yuk Ting is also studying the immune responses in patients following treatment, and ultimately whether this may be modulated with epigenetic drugs.

Other activities

  • Member of the NCRI Upper GI CSG


Recent publications


Rannikko, JH, Verlingue, L, De miguel, M, Pasanen, A, Robbrecht, D, Skytta, T, Iivanainen, S, Shetty, S, Ma, YT, Graham, DM, Arora, SP, Jaakkola, P, Yap, C, Xiang, Y, Mandelin, J, Karvonen, MK, Jalkanen, J, Karaman, S, Koivunen, JP, Minchom, A, Hollmén, M & Bono, P 2023, 'Bexmarilimab-induced macrophage activation leads to treatment benefit in solid tumors: The phase I/II first-in-human MATINS trial', Cell Reports Medicine, vol. 4, no. 12, 101307. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrm.2023.101307

Ghaneh, P, Palmer, D, Cicconi, S, Jackson, R, Halloran, CM, Rawcliffe, C, Sripadam, R, Mukherjee, S, Soonawalla, Z, Wadsley, J, Al-Mukhtar, A, Dickson, E, Graham, J, Jiao, L, Wasan, HS, Tait, IS, Prachalias, A, Ross, P, Valle, JW, O'Reilly, DA, Al-Sarireh, B, Gwynne, S, Ahmed, I, Connolly, K, Yim, K-L, Cunningham, D, Armstrong, T, Archer, C, Roberts, K, Ma, YT, Springfeld, C, Tjaden, C, Hackert, T, Büchler, MW & Neoptolemos, JP 2023, 'Immediate surgery compared with short-course neoadjuvant gemcitabine plus capecitabine, FOLFIRINOX, or chemoradiotherapy in patients with borderline resectable pancreatic cancer (ESPAC5): a four-arm, multicentre, randomised, phase 2 trial', The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 157-168. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(22)00348-X

Mosconi, C, O’Rourke, J, Kloeckner, R, Sturm, L, Golfieri, R, Celsa, C, Fateen, W, Odisio, BC, Garanzini, EM, Peck-Radosavljevic, M, Borghi, A, Ma, YT, Stoehr, F, Bettinger, D, Giuffrida, P, Aithal, GP, Lin, Y-M, Spreafico, C, Giampalma, E, Johnson, P & Cucchetti, A 2023, 'Textbook Outcome After Trans-arterial Chemoembolization for Hepatocellular Carcinoma', Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 449-459. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00270-023-03375-4

BILCAP study group 2022, 'Long-Term Outcomes and Exploratory Analyses of the Randomized Phase III BILCAP Study', Journal of Clinical Oncology , vol. 40, no. 18, pp. 2048-2057. https://doi.org/10.1200/JCO.21.02568

Löffler, MW, Gori, S, Izzo, F, Mayer-Mokler, A, Ascierto, PA, Königsrainer, A, Ma, YT, Sangro, B, Francque, S, Vonghia, L, Inno, A, Avallone, A, Ludwig, J, Alcoba, DD, Flohr, C, Aslan, K, Mendrzyk, R, Schuster, H, Borrelli, M, Valmori, D, Chaumette, T, Heidenreich, R, Gouttefangeas, C, Forlani, G, Tagliamonte, M, Fusco, C, Penta, R, Iñarrairaegui, M, Gnad-Vogt, U, Reinhardt, C, Weinschenk, T, Accolla, RS, Singh-Jasuja, H, Rammensee, H-G & Buonaguro, L 2022, 'Phase I/II Multicenter Trial of a Novel Therapeutic Cancer Vaccine, HepaVac-101, for Hepatocellular Carcinoma', Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 28, no. 12, pp. 2555-2566. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-4424

Razak, RA, Fletcher, P, Kunene, V & Ma, YT 2021, 'Association of gastric acid suppression and sorafenib efficacy in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma', Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 169-173. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCG.0000000000001375

Childs, A, Zakeri, N, Ma, YT, O’Rourke, J, Ross, P, Hashem, E, Hubner, RA, Hockenhull, K, Iwuji, C, Khan, S, Palmer, DH, Connor, J, Swinson, D, Darby, S, Braconi, C, Roques, T, Yu, D, Luong, TV & Meyer, T 2021, 'Biopsy for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma: results of a multicentre UK audit', British Journal of Cancer, vol. 125, no. 10, pp. 1350-1355. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01535-2

Lamarca, A, Palmer, DH, Wasan, HS, Ross, PJ, Ma, YT, Arora, A, Falk, S, Gillmore, R, Wadsley, J, Patel, K, Anthoney, A, Maraveyas, A, Iveson, T, Waters, JS, Hobbs, C, Barber, S, Ryder, WD, Ramage, J, Davies, LM, Bridgewater, JA & Valle, JW 2021, 'Second-line FOLFOX chemotherapy versus active symptom control for advanced biliary tract cancer (ABC-06): a phase 3, open-label, randomised, controlled trial', The Lancet Oncology, vol. 22, no. 5, pp. 690-701. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(21)00027-9

Virtakoivu, R, Rannikko, JH, Viitala, M, Vaura, F, Takeda, A, Lönnberg, T, Koivunen, J, Jaakkola, P, Pasanen, A, Shetty, S, Jonge, MJAD, Robbrecht, D, Ma, YT, Skyttä, T, Minchom, A, Jalkanen, S, Karvonen, MK, Mandelin, J, Bono, P & Hollmen, M 2021, 'Systemic blockade of Clever-1 elicits lymphocyte activation alongside checkpoint molecule downregulation in patients with solid tumors: results from a phase I/II clinical trial', Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 27, no. 15, pp. 4205-4220. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-20-4862

Sagar, VM, Herring, K, Curbishley, S, Hodson, J, Fletcher, P, Karkhanis, S, Mehrzad, H, Punia, P, Shah, T, Shetty, S & Ma, YT 2021, 'The potential of PIVKA-II as a treatment response biomarker in hepatocellular carcinoma: a prospective United Kingdom cohort study', OncoTarget, vol. 12, no. 24, pp. 2338-2350. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.28136

Johnson, PJ, Dhanaraj, S, Berhane, S, Bonnett, L & Ma, YT 2021, 'The prognostic and diagnostic significance of the neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio in hepatocellular carcinoma: a prospective controlled study', British Journal of Cancer, vol. 125, no. 5, pp. 714-716. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41416-021-01445-3

Hashimoto, A, Sarker, D, Reebye, V, Jarvis, S, Sodergren, MH, Kossenkov, A, Sanseviero, E, Raulf, N, Vasara, J, Andrikakou, P, Meyer, T, Huang, K-W, Plummer, R, Chee, CE, Spalding, D, Pai, M, Khan, S, Pinato, DJ, Sharma, R, Basu, B, Palmer, D, Ma, Y-T, Evans, J, Habib, R, Martirosyan, A, Elasri, N, Reynaud, A, Rossi, JJ, Cobbold, M, Habib, NA & Gabrilovich, DI 2021, 'Upregulation of C/EBPα Inhibits Suppressive Activity of Myeloid Cells and Potentiates Antitumor Response in Mice and Patients with Cancer', Clinical Cancer Research, vol. 27, no. 21, pp. 5961-5978. https://doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-21-0986

Ma, YT 2020, 'MTL-CEBPA, a Small Activating RNA Therapeutic Up-Regulating C/EBP-α, in Patients With Advanced Liver Cancer: A First-In-Human, Multi-Centre, Open-Label, Phase I Trial', Clinical Cancer Research.

Kalisvaart, M, Broadhurst, D, Marcon, F, Pande, R, Schlegel, A, Sutcliffe, R, Marudanayagam, R, Mirza, D, Chatzizacharias, N, Abradelo, M, Muiesan, P, Isaac, J, Ma, YT, Mcconville, C & Roberts, K 2020, 'Recurrence patterns of pancreatic cancer after pancreatoduodenectomy: systematic review and a single-centre retrospective study', HPB : the official journal of the International Hepato Pancreato Biliary Association, vol. 22, no. 9, pp. 1240-1249. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hpb.2020.01.005

Review article

Lawson, A, Kamarajah, SK, Parente, A, Pufal, K, Sundareyan, R, Pawlik, TM, Ma, YT, Shah, T, Kharkhanis, S, Dasari, BVM & Sahin, I (ed.) 2023, 'Outcomes of Transarterial Embolisation (TAE) vs. Transarterial Chemoembolisation (TACE) for Hepatocellular Carcinoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis', Cancers, vol. 15, no. 12, 3166. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers15123166

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