Personal profile


Andrew Renehan is Professor of Cancer Studies and Surgery and leads the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) Diabesity and Cancer Research Group, studying relationships between obesity, diabetes, and anti-diabetes therapies, with cancer risk and outcomes - including clinical epidemiology and translational studies.  This group is located within the Cancer Screening and Prevention hub at the MCRC Kinnaird Road site and at the Farr Institute@HeRC at Vaughan House on the main University campus. At any one time, he has a team of 1 to 2 postgraduate fellows and 3 to 4 students working on projects in this theme. He is a founder co-chair of the Cancer Prevention Research Network; the bio-statistical lead for biomarker development in the Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology Group, CR UK Manchester Institute; current chair of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Diabetes and Cancer Study Group; co-chair of the MCRC clinical training fellowships scheme. He was one of 21 international scientists in the IARC handbook writing group on obesity and cancer in 2016.

He is honorary consultant colorectal surgeon at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust; leads on clinical research in that group and leads the Christie Surgical Oncology Research theme.  He is a core member of the Manchester Peritoneal Tumour Service - one of two nationally commissioned treatment centres for peritoneal surface malignancies.  His work is divided 50:50 between research and clinical service in a bi-weekly timetable.

Professor Renehan holds honours degrees in Dentistry from Trinity College Dublin (1986) and Medicine from the University of Manchester (1995) - gold medal for surgical finals.


Professor Renehan holds honours degrees in Dentistry from Trinity College, Dublin (1986) and Medicine from the University of Manchester - gold medal for surgical finals.  He undertook his PhD thesis on the role of IGFs in cancer in the laboratories of Professor Chris Potten, Paterson Institute for Cancer Research; Miss Sarah T O'Dwyer, Colorectal Surgery, The Christie; Professor Steve Shalet, Endocrinology, The Christie.

He was appointed a "new blood" senior lecturer in the School of Cancer Sciences and Honorary Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester in 2007 and promoted to Professor of Cancer Studies and Surgery in 2013 within the Institute of Cancer Sciences.

He held the British Travelling Fellowship (for Coloproctology) in 2009 and was the Royal College of Surgeons of England Hunterian Professor in 2011.

Research interests

Diabetes, obesity and cancer:

At the start of this research program, we undertook a seminal piece of work (not cited more than 1500 times) through a key collaboration with Prof Matthias Egger's group at the University of Bern.  We reported a systematic review and meta-analysis (224 cohort studies across 20 cancer types) using standardised approaches (Renehan et al, Lancet 2008) and quantified and ranked associations between body mass index (BMI) and cancer risk by gender.  Using these data we then showed that, for 2008, approximately 124,000 new cancers in Europe are attributable to excess body weight.  This forms the basis for cancer prevention in this field.  A new collaboration (with Dr Isabelle Soerjomataram, IARC, Lyon) with the WCRF and IARC updated these data for the global burden of cancer attributed to excess body weight, published in Lancet Oncology in 2015.


Since 2008, we have shown in collaboration with Prof Michael Leitzmann University of Regensburg Germany that (i) increases in body weight during early adulthood increases risk of incident colorectal cancer in a gender-specific pattern (ii) increased waist circumstance is associated with increased risk of incident colorectal cancer in a gender-specific pattern and in collaboration with Prof Iain Buchan, Manchester (iii) changes in BMI over time (trends) in a population can be described in terms of 'latent classes' which differ by gender.  All these observations point to the need for gender-specific and age-specific strategies to prevent obesity-related cancers.

We have written several papers on the biological mechanisms linking obesity and cancer risk.

Research from our group over the last 4 years have critically appraised the relationship between obesity and cancer outcome after the diagnosis of obesity related cancers.  For example in collaboration with Dr Emma Crosbie Manchester, we have failed to demonstrate adverse associations between BMI and survival in 2 large cohorts of women diagnosed with endometrial cancer.  This questions whether or not weight control strategies in cancer survivors can impact upon cancer mortality and recurrence in some cancer types.

Current research themes are in 2 areas (1) in collaboration with Prof Iain Buchan and Dr Matt Sperrin, we are teasing out the inter relationship between type 2 diabetes, BMI and cancer risk & outcome & (2) in collaboration with Prof Steve Williams Manchester, we are exploring new approaches through imaging to quantify ectopic body fat and how this relates to cancer risk and outcome.

Clinical studies in colorectal cancer and pelvic malignancies: I am lead for clinical research in Colorectal and Peritoneal Oncology Centre, the Christie. The workstreams reflect the clinical workload of this tertiary referral practice: management of anal cancer, outcome and quality of life following pelvic exenterative surgery, and after cytoreductive surgery for peritoneal surface malignancies.

We have extensively quantified the potential benefits of intensive follow-up after colorectal cancer, demonstrating that it is associated with improved survival. I am a member of the COLOFOL trial steering group, the largest trial in the world, in this field; due to publish results in 2017.


Supervisor for Yr 3/4 Project options

Supervisor for MRes Oncol

Academic Advisor

Clinical postgraduate:
Supervisor & Mentor for junior staff in clinical surgery
Supervisor/advisor and internal examiner  for MD / PhD students

Non-clinical postgraduate:
Creator of applied biomarker statistical course
External examiner

External examiner:

2011 - University of Aberdeen

2012 - University of Leeds

2014 - University of Liverpool

2015 – Kings College, London

My collaborations

University of Manchester

Other Universities

Memberships of committees and professional bodies

  • General Medical Council
  • Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Manchester Medical Society
  • European Association for the Study of Diabetes
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)
  • Advisory Board Member, Beating Bowel Cancer

Methodological knowledge

  • Translational cancer studies
  • Clinical and pharmaco-epidemiology
  • Systematic review and meta-analysis, including Bayesian approaches
  • Biomarker development, in particular applied bio-statistics
  • Clinical trials
  • Clinical studies in surgical oncology



Supervision information

Tyson, Margaret Qualification: MPH (Epidemiology) Thesis Title: The impact of BMI on cancer incidence in various worldwide populations in different World Bank Income Groupings Year of Award: 2009

Key achievement: Main paper in Lancet

Supervision information

Park, Ed Qualification: MD (Clinical Surgery) Thesis Title: The measurement and clinical impact of hepatic steatosis in patients undergoing resection for colorectal liver metastases  Year of Award: 2013

Key achievement: 4 papers and AUGIS oral presentation prize

Supervision information

Coe, Peter Qualification: PhD (Clinical Surgery) Thesis Title: Validation and early qualification of pancreatic fat deposition as an imaging biomarker of pancreatic cancer risk  Year of Award: 2015

Key achievement: 2 papers

Supervision information

Badrick, Ellena Qualification: PhD (Non-Clinical Statistics) Thesis Title: Exploring the complex and paradoxical relationships between Type 2 Diabetes, obesity and cancer, as a framework for risk prediction models   Year of Award: 2017

Key achievement: 2 papers; book chapter and letters

Supervision information

Sekhar, Hema Qualification: PhD (Clinical Surgery) Thesis Title: Large-scale (re)evaluation of the relationships between imaging, tumour and nodal staging and oncological outcome in patients with anal cancer  Year of Award: 2017

Key achievement: 1 main paper in Lancet Oncology, several papers in prepataion and MMS prize

Supervision information

Hashmi, Ali Qualification: MRes Oncology Thesis Title: The impact of HIV on the aetiology and treatment of anal cancer  Year of Award: 2016

Key achievement: Manuscript in preparation

Supervision information

Fish, Rebecca Qualification: PhD (Clinical Surgery) Thesis Title: Development of a core outcome set for trials of chemoradiotherapy for anal squamous cell carcinoma  Year of Award: 2018

Key achievement: 4 papers including main paper in Lancet Gastro Hepat, BJS prize and Faculty Student of the Year Award

Supervision information

Alam, Nasra Qualification: PhD (Clinical Surgery) Thesis Title: The impact of type 2 diabetes mellitus on cancer-related mortality and cancer treatment outcomes using large-scale datasets  Year of Award: Current

Key achievement: MCRC fellowship scheme, manuscripts in preparation and Letters

Supervision information

Watson, Charlotte  Qualification: PhD (Non-Clinical Statistics) Thesis Title: Adulthood BMI trajectories and cancer risk: a consortium approach to test generalisability and develop standardised methodology  Year of Award: Current

Supervision information

Parmar, Kat Qualification: MD/PhD (Clinical Surgery) Thesis Title: The role of two novel assessment tools of hepatic function and composition in the surgical treatment of colorectal liver metastases  Year of Award: Current

Key achievement: 1 paper

Supervision information

Spiller, William  Qualification: MRes Oncology  Thesis Title: The joint contribution of repeatedly measured body mass index and waist circumference to cancer incidence: insights from the EPIC-Heidelberg cohort Year of Award: Current

Supervision information

Slawinksi, Corinna  Qualification: PhD (Clinical Surgery) Thesis Title: Dose reductions, toxicities and survival in patients with excess weight undergoing adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy for colon and rectal cancers: individual patient data (IPD) secondary analyses of consortium trials and causal inference modelling  Year of Award: Current

Key achievement: MCRC fellowship scheme

Supervision information

Carragher, Fiona  Qualification: DClinSci  Thesis Title: Validating novel diagnostic tools in primary care for the early detection of symptomatic colorectal cancer Year of Award: Current

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Christabel Pankhurst Institute
  • Manchester Cancer Research Centre


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