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Dr Ellen Copson


Associate Professor in Medical Oncology, Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology

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Dr Copson specialises in the medical treatment of early and advanced breast cancer. 

Her research interests focus on host factors which influence outcomes of breast cancer treatment, including:

  • Body composition patterns and nutritional factors

  • Physical activity in cancer patients

  • Ethnicity and socio-economic factors

  • Germline genomic factors

Dr Copson is lead oncologist of the CANDO3 study of body composition and chemotherapy toxicity and the POSH UK cohort study of young breast cancer patients. She is also principle investigator for a number of observational and interventional clinical trials in early and advanced breast cancer and clinical advisor to several cancer survivorship studies.

Landmark publications:

COVID-19 prevalence and mortality in patients with cancer and the effect of primary tumour subtype and patient demographics: a prospective cohort study. Lee LYW, Cazier JB, Starkey T, Briggs SEW, Arnold R, Bisht V…..; UK Coronavirus Cancer Monitoring Project Team. Lancet Oncol. 2020 Aug 24:S1470-2045(20)30442-3. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30442-3

Cancer survivorship, excess body fatness and weight-loss intervention-where are we in 2020? Anderson AS, Martin RM, Renehan AG, Cade J, Copson ER, Cross AJ, Grimmett C, Keaver L, King A, Riboli E, Shaw C, Saxton JM; UK NIHR Cancer and Nutrition Collaboration (Population Health Stream). Br J Cancer. 2021 Mar;124(6):1057-1065. doi: 10.1038/s41416-020-01155-2. Epub 2020 Nov 25.PMID: 3323531

Predictors of weight gain in a cohort of premenopausal early breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. Gandhi A, Copson E, Eccles D, Durcan L, Howell A, Morris J, Howell S, McDiarmid S, Sellers K, Gareth Evans D, Harvie M. Breast. 2019 Jun;45:1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2019.02.006

A systematic review of the safety and efficacy of aerobic exercise during cytotoxic chemotherapy treatment. Cave J, Paschalis A, Huang CY, West M, Copson E, Jack S, Grocott MPW. Support Care Cancer. 2018 Jun 24. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4295-x. [Epub ahead of print] Review.

Germline BRCA mutation and outcome in young-onset breast cancer (POSH): a prospective cohort study. Copson ER, Maishman TC, Tapper WJ, Cutress RI, Greville-Heygate S, Altman DG, …., Eccles DM. Lancet Oncol. 2018 Feb;19(2):169-180

Obesity and the outcome of young breast cancer patients in the UK: the POSH study. Copson ER, Cutress RI, Maishman T, Eccles BK, Gerty S, Stanton L, Altman DG, Durcan L, Wong C, Simmonds PD, Jones L, Eccles DM; POSH Study Steering Group. Ann Oncol. 2015 Jan;26(1):101-12.

Ethnicity and outcome of young breast cancer patients in the United Kingdom: the POSH study. Copson E, Maishman T, Gerty S, Eccles B, Stanton L, Cutress RI, Altman DG, Durcan L, Simmonds P, Jones L, Tapper W; POSH study steering group, Eccles D. Br J Cancer. 2014; 110 (1): 230-241. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.650.

Major grants:

2021-2023: Astra-Zeneca research grant. CI. POSH extended follow-up study. £200,000.

2021-2026: NIHR HTA. ENDONET. Co-applicant.  Endocrine v Neo-adjuvant Endocrine Therapy in primary breast cancer. £2.6 million

2019-2023 North-West Cancer Research Fund. Co-applicant. PRIMROSE-C Study. A prospective study of the genomic landscape of brain metastasis secondary to breast cancer utilising cell-free DNA derived from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). £254,000

2018-2023 World Cancer Research Fund. Lead oncologist. Body composition and chemotherapy toxicity in women with early breast cancer. £294221.

Impact examples:

  • Chair of the World Cancer Research Fund Global Cancer Survivorship expert panel

  • Co-chair of the NCRI breast cancer working group on lifestyle interventions.

  • Cancer lead of the Central and South Central Genomic Laboratory Hub and co-chair of Wessex Genomic Tumour Board

  • Cancer lead for GeNotes (Health Education England online genomics educational resource)

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