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Rebecca Fitzgerald

rcf 2014sm

Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald

Biography | Pubmed


Gastro-Oesophageal Cancers

Our work focuses on the early detection and treatment of cancer of the oesophagus. Oesophageal cancers are the 8th most common cancer worldwide and the 6th most common cause of cancer death with only 15% surviving 5 years. The two main subtypes of oesophageal cancer: adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) have a remarkably improved survival when diagnosed at an early stage. 


Our main research aims are to:

  • Understand the underlying clinical, genetic and cell environmental factors that lead to the conversion of a low-risk pre-malignant state into invasive cancer.

  • Find new diagnostic tools that will identify those patients who are at an increased risk of developing cancer.

  • Improve the molecular characterisation of oesophageal adenocarcinoma and identify novel approaches for tumour classification, monitoring and therapy.


We work as a highly diverse multi-disciplinary team which includes nurses, clinicians, statisticians, laboratory scientists, computational biologists, pathologists, data managers and administrators. We have a pragmatic approach to research which comes from a working knowledge of the clinical disease with the aim of translating our research findings into clinical practice.



Rebecca is interested in hearing from anyone with a clinical or scientific background interested in joining the laboratory or clinical infrastructure team at any time. Click here to contact Professor Rebecca Fitzgerald by email.


Selected Publications:

A non-endoscopic device to sample the oesophageal microbiota: a case-control study. Elliott, Daffolyn R Fels et al. The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology , Volume 2 , Issue 1 , 32 - 42

Risk stratification of Barrett's oesophagus using a non-endoscopic sampling method coupled with a biomarker panel: a cohort study. Ross-Innes, Caryn S et al. The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology , Volume 2 , Issue 1 , 23 - 31

Whole-genome sequencing of nine esophageal adenocarcinoma cell lines. Contino G, Eldridge MD, Secrier M, Bower L, Fels Elliott R, Weaver J, Lynch AG, Edwards PA, Fitzgerald RC. F1000Res. 2016 Jun 10;5:1336. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.7033.1. PMID: 27594985

Signatures of Mutational Processes and Associated Risk Factors in Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma: A Geographically Independent Stratification Strategy?Secrier M, Fitzgerald RC. Gastroenterology. 2016 Mar 24. pii: S0016-5085(16)00370-X. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2016.03.017. [Epub ahead of print] 

Autofluorescence-Directed Confocal Endomicroscopy in Combination With a Three-Biomarker Panel Can Inform Management Decisions in Barrett's Esophagus. di Pietro M, Bird-Lieberman EL, Liu X, Nuckcheddy-Grant T, Bertani H, O'Donovan M, Fitzgerald RCAm J Gastroenterol 2015 Nov;110(11):1549-58. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2015.295. Epub 2015 Sep 29.

Analysis of Dysplasia in Patients With Barrett's Esophagus Based on Expression Pattern of 90 Genes. Varghese S, Newton R, Ross-Innes CS, Lao-Sirieix P, Krishnadath KK, O'Donovan M, Novelli M, Wernisch L, Bergman J, Fitzgerald RC. Gastroenterology (2015) Nov;149(6):1511-1518.e5. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2015.07.053. Epub 2015 Aug 3.

Whole-genome sequencing provides new insights into the clonal architecture of Barrett's esophagus and esophageal adenocarcinoma. Ross-Innes CS, Becq J, Warren A, Cheetham RK, Northen H, O'Donovan M, Malhotra S, di Pietro M, Ivakhno S, He M, Weaver JM, Lynch AG, Kingsbury Z, Ross M, Humphray S, Bentley D, Fitzgerald RC; Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification (OCCAMS) Study Group; Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification OCCAMS Study Group. Nat Genet. 2015 Jul 20. doi: 10.1038/ng.3357. [Epub ahead of print]

Precision prevention of oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Vaughan TL, Fitzgerald RC. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2015 Apr;12(4):243-8. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2015.24. Epub 2015 Feb 10. Review. 

Evaluation of a minimally invasive cell sampling device coupled with assessment of trefoil factor 3 expression for diagnosing Barrett's esophagus: a multi-center case-control study.Ross-Innes CS, Debiram-Beecham I, O'Donovan M, Walker E, Varghese S, Lao-Sirieix P, Lovat L, Griffin M, Ragunath K, Haidry R, Sami SS, Kaye P, Novelli M, Disep B, Ostler R, Aigret B, North BV, Bhandari P, Haycock A, Morris D, Attwood S, Dhar A, Rees C, Rutter MD, Sasieni PD, Fitzgerald RC; BEST2 Study Group. PLoS Med. 2015 Jan 29;12(1):e1001780. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001780. eCollection 2015 Jan.

Ordering of mutations in preinvasive disease stages of esophageal carcinogenesis.Weaver JM, Ross-Innes CS, Shannon N, Lynch AG, Forshew T, Barbera M, Murtaza M, Ong CA, Lao-Sirieix P, Dunning MJ, Smith L, Smith ML, Anderson CL, Carvalho B, O'Donovan M, Underwood TJ, May AP, Grehan N, Hardwick R, Davies J, Oloumi A, Aparicio S, Caldas C, Eldridge MD, Edwards PA, Rosenfeld N, Tavaré S, Fitzgerald RC; OCCAMS Consortium; OCCAMS Consortium. Nat Genet. 2014 Aug;46(8):837-43. doi: 10.1038/ng.3013.

Amplification of TRIM44: pairing a prognostic target with potential therapeutic strategy.Ong CA, Shannon NB, Ross-Innes CS, O'Donovan M, Rueda OM, Hu DE, Kettunen MI, Walker CE, Noorani A, Hardwick RH, Caldas C, Brindle K, Fitzgerald RC. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Apr 28;106(5). pii: dju050. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju050.

The '-omics' revolution and oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Weaver JM, Ross-Innes CS, Fitzgerald RC. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Jan;11(1):19-27. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2013.150. 

Three-gene immunohistochemical panel adds to clinical staging algorithms to predict prognosis for patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma. Ong CA, Shapiro J, Nason KS, Davison JM, Liu X, Ross-Innes C, O'Donovan M, Dinjens WN, Biermann K, Shannon N, Worster S, Schulz LK, Luketich JD, Wijnhoven BP, Hardwick RH, Fitzgerald RC. J Clin Oncol. 2013 Apr 20;31(12):1576-82. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.45.9636.

Molecular imaging using fluorescent lectins permits rapid endoscopic identification of dysplasia in Barrett’s esophagus. Bird-Lieberman EL, Neves AA, Lao-Sirieix P, O’Donovan M, Novelli M, Lovat LB, Eng WS, Mahal LK, Brindle KM and Fitzgerald RC. Nat Med. 2012 Jan 15;18(2):315-21.

Integrative analysis of array-comparative genomic hybridisation and matched gene expression profiling data reveals novel genes with prognostic significance in oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Goh XY, Rees JR, Paterson AL, Chin SF, Marioni JC, Save V, O'Donovan M, Eijk PP, Alderson D, Ylstra B, Caldas C, Fitzgerald RC. Gut. 2011 Apr 12.  CLICK HERE TO VIEW A FULL PDF OF THIS PAPER 

Acceptability and accuracy of a non-endoscopic screening test for Barrett's oesophagus in primary care: cohort study. Kadri SR, Lao-Sirieix P, O'Donovan M, Debiram I, Das M, Blazeby JM, Emery J, Boussioutas A, Morris H, Walter FM, Pharoah P, Hardwick RH, Fitzgerald RC. BMJ. 2010 Sep 10;341:c4372. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A FULL PDF OF THIS PAPER

A 4-gene signature predicts survival of patients with resected adenocarcinoma of the esophagus, junction, and gastric cardia. Peters CJ, Rees JR, Hardwick RH, Hardwick JS, Vowler SL, Ong CA, Zhang C, Save V, O'Donovan M, Rassl D, Alderson D, Caldas C, Fitzgerald RC; Oesophageal Cancer Clinical and Molecular Stratification (OCCAMS) Study Group. Gastroenterology. 2010 Dec;139(6):1995-2004.e15. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A FULL PDF OF THIS PAPER

Stromal genes discriminate preinvasive from invasive disease, predict outcome, and highlight inflammatory pathways in digestive cancers. Saadi A, Shannon NB, Lao-Sirieix P, O'Donovan M, Walker E, Clemons NJ, Hardwick JS, Zhang C, Das M, Save V, Novelli M, Balkwill F, Fitzgerald RC. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2010 Feb 2;107(5):2177-82. CLICK HERE TO VIEW A FULL PDF OF THIS PAPER