Dr Jacqui Shaw

ProfessorProfessor Shaw of Translational Cancer Genetics

Contact Details

  • Tel: 0116 252 3148
  • Fax: 0116 252 3274
  • Office: Department of Cancer Studies, Room 303, Level 3, Robert Kilpatrick Clinical Sciences Building, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Leicester LE2 7LX


  • BSc (Hons) II(i) Biological Sciences (Leicester)
  • PhD Molecular Genetics (Imperial College London)

Research Interests

Circulating nucleic acids for detection and monitoring of cancer

Research in my group is focussed on circulating nucleic acids for early detection and monitoring of breast cancer. In collaboration with Prof RC Coombes at Imperial College I lead an integrated programme of clinical and translational research between the two universities funded by a Cancer Research UK.  We were the first to describe molecular portraits of circulating cell-free DNA (cfDNA) using Affymetrix® SNP 6.0 Arrays and our work was published in the top-ranked journal Genome Research. The paper was recommended by Faculty 1000 (F1000) as “an example of bench to bedside science that might be useful in the risk assessment and the monitoring of cancer”.  We were able to distinguish between patients with breast cancer and healthy female controls by comparison of cfDNA profiles and we demonstrated for the first time that tumour specific changes are detectable in cfDNA a decade after treatment and during clinical remission, suggesting the patient has persistent but dormant disease. Importantly this indicates that the dormant phase of breast cancer has a genomic signature, which could be used to develop blood monitoring tests.
Our recent work has highlighted the importance of CNV as well as somatic mutations in cfDNA for monitoring tumour evolution and emergence of resistance to endocrine therapy as well as the need to consider both cfDNA and circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in clinical decision making in metastatic breast cancer.
My lab is also the cfDNA “hub” for the TRACERx national lung cancer trial. I also lead the cfDNA advisory group for the 100,000 Genomes project led by Genomics England and serve on a number of advisory boards and editorial boards of international scientific journals. To support our research we implemented Good Clinical Laboratory Practice within my research group; compliance with this QA system is essential for a laboratory engaged in translational research studies relating to clinical trials.

Clinical Trials

  • With Prof J Stebbing (PI, Imperial) and Prof RC Coombes (Imperial) The Breast Screening and Monitoring Study. CRUK.
  • With Prof RC Coombes (PI, Imperial) and Prof J Stebbing (Imperial) An Exploratory Breast Interval Study. CRUK
  • With Prof J Bliss (PI, The Institute of Cancer Research), Prof D Cameron (Edinburgh), Prof RC Coombes (Imperial). UNIRAD, an adjuvant study in 2000+ higher risk ER+ breast cancer patients. CRUK


To view Dr Shaw's publications, please use the links below:

2008     2009     2010     2011     2012     2013

Supervision of Research Students

  • Ms Nuha Al Mul, funded by the Government of Saudi Arabia.  Writing up.
  • Mr Ricky Trigg. MRC studentship, co-supervised by Prof C Pritchard, writing up.
  • Ms Basma Al Reghbi, funded by the Libyan Government. Writing up.
  • Mr Luke Martinson, CRUK Centre PhD Studentship, co-supervised by Prof Dean Fennell. Year 2.
  • Dr Nick Eastley, MD, MRC fellowship, co-supervisor with Dr Nicola Royle (Genetics).
  • Dr Mark Openshaw, MD, Hope Against Cancer Fellowship, co-supervisor with Prof Anne Thomas (Cancer Studies)

Academic Distinctions and National Profile

  • Member Irish Cancer Society’s Collaborative Cancer Research Centres (CCRC) Oversight Committee (2014 onwards).
  • Genomics England cfDNA lead (2015 onwards).
  • Member and cfDNA lead, NCRI Molecular Biomarkers Advisory Group (2015 onwards).
  • Member, Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP) Breast Cancer Consortium for the 100,000 Genome Project (2015 onwards).
  • Member, Genomics England Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GeCIP) Lung Cancer Consortium for the 100,000 Genome Project (2015 onwards).
  • Member, Council of the International Journal of experimental Pathology, February 2016 onwards.
  • Member, Breast Cancer Now Tissue bank Access Committee, February 2016 onwards.
  • Associate Editor, Oncogene, May 2016 onwards.
  • Member of the Editorial board for Kinome, 2014 onwards.
  • Hosted the NCRI and ECMC cfDNA Consensus meeting 24 November 2014: The consensus meeting was aimed at research teams in the ECMCs investigating cfDNA and included representatives from 14 of the 18 ECMCs and 4 industry partners. The aims of the day were to gain consensus on cfDNA techniques, analysis, research questions and clinical strategy and to generate a report ( see http://www.ecmcnetwork.org.uk/cfdna-consensus-meeting-and-report).
  • Member of the British Breast Group, the British Association for Cancer Research and the Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

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New: Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund



Congratulations to Dr Thangesweran Ayakannu, Dr Almahdi Jaber, Dr Jagdish Mahale, and Dr Nuha Al Mull on passing their PhD (Autumn 2016). Well done from all in the Department of Cancer Studies.

Congratulations to Dr Chinenye Iwuji who has successfully defended her PhD thesis entitled “Translating curcumin into clinical practice for treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer: the CUFOX Trial” on the 20th May. Well done from all in Cancer Studies.

Life changing results of world first blood cancer drug trial revealed

PhD student Ricky Trigg is part of the successful team to win the national business plan competition Biotechnology YES

School student embarks on science career after placement with Head of Department

Study led by Professor Karen Brown provides evidence of a nonlinear dose response for the cancer protective effects of resveratrol

Departmental Health and Wellbeing Group
Join up for a walk on the park Friday lunchtime - details here.

More information from Jenny McNair jm65@le.ac.uk

Contact Details

Department of Cancer Studies
Clinical Sciences Building
University of Leicester
Leicester Royal Infirmary
Leicester LE2 7LX

T: +44 (0) 116 252 3170
E: cancerstudies@le.ac.uk

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