Professional background

Professional background:

I am the clinical lead and consultant clinical oncologist for lung cancer at UCLH, and the lead consultant clinical oncologist in head and neck cancer.

My oncology training was at The Royal Marsden and The Middlesex/University College Hospital. My research (MD), sponsored by Cancer Research UK, and based at The Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, looked at hypoxia (low oxygen levels) in cancer and how this could be mapped histologically and using Blood Oxygen Level Dependent Magnetic Resonance Imaging. The future role for this would be to direct radiation boosts to radio-resistant hypoxic regions in cancer and to identify hypoxic tumours for specific treatments aimed at hypoxic cancer cells, translating to improved cure rates.

Clinical interests:

Within head and neck cancer my particular interests include general ENT and maxillofacial and in particular sinus cancer. Intensity modulated radiotherapy, which is one of my current research areas, is in routine use now for head and neck cancer at UCH, as well as concurrent chemoradiation protocols and the use of molecular targeted treatments. I have a particular interest in sinus tumours e.g. olfactory neuroblastoma, holding a regular joint clinic with Professor Valerie Lund (Professor of Rhinology). I am the principal investigator for the PET-NECK trial looking at the role of early PET scanning to direct post radiation surgery.

Within lung cancer, I treat all types with radiation and cytotoxic as well as molecular targeted treatments, and have a specialist interest in the rare tumour type thymoma. UCLH engages in national NCRN trials and I am the principal investigator for the SOCCAR trial (concurrent v sequential chemoradiation in non small cell lung cancer and the CONVERT trial (hyperfractionation in small cell lung cancer).

Within head and neck trials, I am the principal investigator for PARSPORT IMRT in oropharyngeal carcinoma, COSTAR IMRT cochlear sparing study in parotid tumours and the PET-NECK imaging trial. Within UCLH I have been involved with PET and Functional MRI radiotherapy studies in head and neck cancer.

My other current research area is the utility of respiratory gating in lung cancer. This is a technique which can delineate a lung cancer in four dimensions, i.e. including time to follow respiratory movement. This has the potential to facilitate not only more accurate radiation dose delivery but to minimise side effects by reducing the radiation dose delivered to healthy lung tissue.
I also enjoy teaching and I am one of the lead clinicians for medical student teaching (the Head and Neck/Lung and CNS group)and contribute regularly to registrar teaching within oncology and ENT.

Research interests

  • Technical radiotherapy - IMRT and respiratory gating/stereotactic radiotherapy
  • Hypoxia and blood oxygen level dependent MRI
  • Chemoradiation and radiotherapy fractionation studies


  • Dawn M. Carnell, F.R.C.R.,* Rowena E. Smith, M.R.C.PATH., Frances M. Daley, M.Sc., Paul R. Barber, PH.D., Peter J. Hoskin, M.D., F.R.C.R.,* George W. Wilson, PH.D.,§ Graeme I. Murray, PH.D., Steven A. Everett,D. PHIL. Target validation of cytochrome P450 CYP1B1 in prostate carcinoma and protein expression in associated hyperplastic and pre-malignant tissue. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology and Physics 58(2), 500-509, 2004
  • Dawn Carnell, Rowena Smith, Jane Taylor, James Stirling, Peter Hoskin, Anwar Padhani. Evaluation of hypoxia within prostate carcinoma using quantified BOLD MRI and pimonidazole immunohistochemical mapping. British Journal of Cancer (2003) 88(suppl 1) 12
  • Dawn Carnell, Rowena Smith, Jane Taylor, James Stirling, Peter Hoskin and Anwar Padhani. Hypoxia within human prostate cancer: a correlation of quantified BOLD MRI with pimonidazole immunohistochemistry  European Journal of Cancer (2003) 1(5) suppl. S215
  • NJ Taylor, DM Carnell, RE Smith, PJ Hoskin, JJ Stirling, JA D’Arcy, MO Leach, AR Padhani. Evaluation of prostate gland hypoxia with quantified BOLD MRI: initial results from a correlated histological study. Oral presentation (ARP) and discussion topic in the plenary session at The International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 11th Scientific Meeting ISMRM, Toronto July 2003  Proc. ISMRM 2003, 531
  • DM Carnell, FM Daley, RE Smith, PJ Hoskin, GI Murray, SA Everett. CYP1B1 protein expression in prostate carcinoma. British Journal of Cancer (2003) 88(suppl 1) 34
  • Carnell DM, Hoskin PJ, Pancharatnam M, Smith RE, Wilson G Tumour hypoxia and vascularity in prostate carcinoma  Radiotherapy and Oncology (2002) 64(1) 188
  • Dawn Carnell and Peter Hoskin Invited Article for RAD magazine  ‘Oxygen sensitisation: A review’ RAD Magazine September 2002 35-37
  • Carnell D. McCready R. and Harmer C. High activity radio-iodine Therapy for Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma: efficacy & morbidity. European Journal of Nuclear Medicine 1998 25/1 and Journal of Nuclear Medicine Abstracts Edition May 1998.
  • Williams J.D. Carnell D.M. Whitney M.E; Poulter L.W. Interferon - Gamma Stimulates the Degradation of Cartilage Proteoglycan by Macrophages. British Journal of Rheumatology 1988, 27 (supp 2):39.