Professor Sarah Danson


Department of Oncology and Metabolism

Professor of Medical Oncology
+44 114 226 5704

Full contact details

Professor Sarah Danson
Department of Oncology and Metabolism
Room 227, Broomcross Building
Weston Park Hospital
Whitham Road
S10 2SJ

I am a Professor of Medical Oncology at the University of Sheffield and Honorary Consultant in Medical Oncology at Weston Park Hospital, Sheffield.

I qualified in 1996 from the University of Nottingham and was a Specialist Registrar and Cancer Research UK Clinical Research Fellow in Pharmacology at the Christie Hospital, Manchester before moving to Sheffield in November 2006.

Research interests

My clinical and research interests are in the treatment of melanoma and lung cancer,  and in the early clinical assessment of new anticancer agents. Sheffield is an `Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre´ and its aims are to expand the early clinical trial portfolio and produce associated translational work. I am Sheffield ECMC Lead and a member of the NIHR/CRUK Alliance steering committee. I am NIHR National Speciality Lead for Cancer: Early Phase Trials. I am principal investigator on many early phase trials.

Melanoma is on the increase and this is not all due to excess sun exposure. I chair the Sheffield Melanoma Research Group which has obtained collaborative grants. Funding was obtained from Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity to look for epidemiology and biological features of cutaneous melanoma (principal investigators: Professor Sarah Danson, Dr Angela Cox, Dr Dawn Teare, Dr Kevin Walters, Dr Andrew McDonagh, Dr David Hughes). 87 patients were enrolled into the GEMS study (Genetics and Epidemiology of Melanoma in Sheffield), which was published in Clinical Chemistry. The Weston Park Cancer Charity has also funded a grant to identify novel genes regulating the development of uveal melanoma metastases (principal investigators: Dr Karen Sisley, Professor Sarah Danson, Professor Ian Rennie). We enrol patients into clinical trials for melanoma if at all possible. I am past Chair of the Rare Tumour Group, which aims to increase trial activity in less common cancers such as melanoma. Recent studies include agents targeting VEGF (AVAST-M published in Lancet Oncology and Annabol Oncology) and MEK inhibitors (PACMEL, DOKMEK and COLUMBUS).  I am clinical supervisor for an NIHR fellow investigating the support needs of patients with melanoma. I co-supervised a CR-UK/YCR fellowship looking at JAK2 in haematological malignancies and cutaneous melanoma. I am supervising a pre-doctoral CRUK bursary on toxicities of melanoma systemic treatments. Sheffield is one of three large centres for the treatment of uveal melanoma in the UK. We were top recruiters for the SUAVE study of dacarbazine versus sunitinib in metastactic uveal melanoma and the SELPAC trial in the same disease group using the MEK inhibitor selumetinib which has activity in this tumour type which has just closed to recruitment. I am Yorkshire and Humber subspeciality lead for skin cancer with overview of the trial portfolio.

Thoracic malignancies cause major morbidity and mortality throughout the world. We undertook a collaborative study with a PhD student between the Department of Oncology and the Department of Psychology to look at the role of smoking status in attitudes to disease and treatment and Quality of Life (Chief investigators Dr Sarah Danson and Professor Christine Eiser). This was funded by WPH General Trust Funds and enrolled 296 patients with lung cancer over 3 years. I am currently supervising a CASE studentship in collaboration with AstraZeneca and Sheffield Children's Hospital looking at next generation sequencing in lung cancer. The incidences of lung cancer and mesothelioma are high in North Trent, clinical trials have been infrequent in these patient groups but we have accrued well due to a committed team of oncologists, thoracic surgeons, pathologists and radiologists. I am EORTC Co-ordinator on the SPLENDOUR study of denosumab in non-small cell lung cancer. The rapidly changing clinical portfolio for lung cancer includes trials of cytotoxic agents and novel drugs (for example HSP90 inhibitors and vaccines). I have also supervised PhD studentships on chK1 in small cell lung cancer and AURKA expression and radiosensitivity in NSCLC.


Journal articles


  • Danson SJ (2010) Targeted therapy in non-small cell lung cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Therapy UniMedScience RIS download Bibtex download
  • Danson SJ, Teare MD & Woll PJ (2008) Hereditary Tumours- From Genes to Clinical Consequences, Lung Tumours Wiley-VCH RIS download Bibtex download
  • Danson SJ (2007) Targeted therapy in non-small cell lung cancer, Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Therapy UniMedScience RIS download Bibtex download
  • Danson SJ, Blackhall F, Baka S & Ranson M (2006) Novel therapies for mesothelioma, Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Oxford University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Ranson M & Danson S (2003) Novel targeted approaches to the management of non-small cell lung cancer, Advances in Effective Management of Lung Cancer Aesculopius Medical Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Danson S, Teare MD & Woll P () Lung Tumors, Hereditary Tumors (pp. 183-192). Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA RIS download Bibtex download

Conference proceedings papers


  • Danson S (2009) Second line chemotherapy for small cell lung cancer RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

PhD Students

  • Dr Greg Wells
  • Dr Shobha Silva
  • Dr Sally Thomas ( CR-UK / YCR Fellow)
  • Miss Joanne Bird (NIHR Fellow)
  • Tom Jones
Teaching interests

My undergraduate teaching involves one to one teaching in clinic and on the ward and lecturing on the MSC in Translational Oncology course. Postgraduate interests include teaching to all grades of doctor in a wide variety of fields such as oncology (on the systemic cancer chemotherapy course), dermatology, plastic surgery and respiratory medicine.

Professional activities

Professional roles:

NIHR National Speciality Lead for Cancer: Early Phase Trials
Sheffield ECMC Lead
Deputy Director of the Sheffield Cancer Centre

I am a member of:

NCRI Skin Cancer Group
EORTC Melanoma Group
EORTC Lung Group