Dr James Brenton

Improving ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment

Based at Cancer Research UK’s Cambridge Institute, Dr Brenton and his team are focused on ovarian cancer, the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK. Ovarian cancer survival is improving, but there’s still much more we need to do.

Ovarian cancer is a genetically complex disease – many ovarian cancers consist of a ‘patchwork’ of different cell groups with distinct mistakes in their DNA. Dr Brenton is looking for patterns of mistakes in the genetic chaos, with the goal of developing ways to tailor treatments better and identify the therapy most likely to work for each woman. 

While many ovarian cancers respond well to therapy, some of the distinct pockets of cancer cells can become resistant to treatment. Dr Brenton and his team are investigating which genetic changes help drive drug resistance. They are also studying whether DNA from cancer cells captured in a blood test can indicate how well treatment is working. 

This research could mean that women are given more effective treatments based on the faulty genes driving their disease. And studying the causes of resistance could lead to new ways to treat ovarian cancer that has come back, increasing the number of women surviving this disease.


Ovarian cancer
Biomarker research
Cancer biology

Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, Cambridge