Professional background

Professor Siow Ming Lee (Prof. Lee) is professor of medical oncology at University College London (UCL), and consultant medical oncologist at UCL Hospitals (UCLH).

He graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, University of London in 1982, trained in internal medicine at the London teaching hospitals of St Mary’s, St Bartholomew’s and King’s College hospitals before completing his medical oncology fellowship training at Guy’s Hospital, London and Christie Hospital, Manchester.

He was awarded the Martin John Turner scholarship prize by his medical school, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) UpJohn Award in 1993, McElwain Prize by The Association of Cancer Physician (ACP) for outstanding cancer research in 1994 and a PhD degree by University of Manchester in 1994.

Professor Lee is an internationally renowned authority on lung cancer treatment and research. He has designed and led several randomised NCRI lung cancer trials in the United Kingdom over the past two decades which have changed practice and improved treatment outcomes for lung cancer patients. His group established the routine use of gemcitabine/carboplatin chemotherapy to treat lung cancer, quoted in several cancer treatment guidelines.

His innovative trials with thalidomide as a cancer weapon and thesmart drug erlotinib to treat poor performance lung cancer patients received widespread publicity including BBC ten O’clock news at launch. His research has also helped identify and validate prognostic and predictive markers for lung cancer outcomes. His ET trial was the first prospective biomarker chemotherapy trial with ERCC1 to select lung cancer patients for doublet chemotherapy and demonstrated that platinum is superior to non-platinum chemotherapy and should remain the standard of care.

His latest trials examine the role of atezolizumab (IPSOS) to treat poor performance non-small cell lung cancer and hydroxychloroquine (Study 15) for small cell lung cancer. His team was also part of the international FLAURA and KEYNOTE-189 Investigators that recently established osimertinib and chemotherapy-pembrolizumab combo as first-line therapy to treat EGFR mutant and wild-type lung cancer respectively. His trials have been recognised at major international conferences with many invited presidential, plenary and oral presentations at World Lung Cancer Conference, ASCO and ESMO and have resulted in several 1st or senior author publications in high impact journals. His practice-changing trials and 4* high impact research publications were used for the REF 2014 exercise which ranked UCL top for research in UK.

Professor Lee has also contributed to several practice-changing papers for other types of cancer (as first or last author) including:

  • First-in-human discovery in 1991 of the inactivation and regeneration of the first human DNA repair protein (MGMT/ATase) following chemotherapy and that its expression is highly heterogeneous in human cancer cells, which led to the new treatment strategy of blocking proteins involved in tumour DNA repair with small molecule inhibitors
  • Established 5-day dosing schedule of temozolomide as the standard chemotherapy treatment to treat high grade brain glioma including GBM, based on his previous discovery in 1994 that its anticancer activity is due to cumulative inactivation of the resistance MGMT DNA repair protein
  • Established the routine use of G-CSF after stem-cell transplantation in 1998 because of faster haematological recovery and shorter hospital stay
  • His dataset on advanced Hodgkin lymphoma contributed to the International Hodgkin Prognostic Score, after his group conducted the first analysis in 1997 to show that it is not possible to identify a poor risk group to warrant stem-cell transplantation after standard chemotherapy. He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers, abstracts and book chapters, many as first or senior author in several high-impact journals including Cancer Research, JCO, JNCI, Lancet Oncology, Lancet, Nature, NEJM & Science.

Professor Lee currently chairs the London Lung Cancer Group, which has a longstanding international research reputation and is clinical lead of the thoracic medical oncology unit at UCLH. He, with Professors Boshoff & Swanton, oversaw the strategic link with Manchester which resulted in the successful application by UCL, and Manchester to become the first and only Cancer Research UK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence in 2014, for which he currently is the clinical co-lead for clinical trials.

He was previously a chairperson for the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) lung cancer advanced disease subgroup, NCRI brain new-agents clinical subgroup and previous committee member of CTACC, NCRI Lung, NCRI Brain and NCRI lymphoma groups.

He sits on several national and international executive cancer committees, and is Cancers 2015 &2018 special issue editor for non-small cell lung cancer, a grant reviewer for several cancer research organisations, manuscripts peer reviewer for many research journals, member of a number of international cancer societies & advisor to NIHR HTA on CT lung cancer screening programme, and NIHR HSRIC, NICE & MHRA on new cancer drugs.


Most recent publications:

  • Lee LYW, Cazier J-P, Starkey T, et al. COVID-19 incidence and mortality and the effect of primary tumour subtype and patient demographics: a prospective cancer cohort study (UKCCMP). Lancet Oncol.  2020 Oct; 21(10): 1309–1316. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30442-3. Link
  • AbdulJabbar K, Raza SEA, Rosenthal R, et al. Geospatial immune variability illuminates differential evolution of lung adenocarcinoma. Nat Med. 2020 Jul;26(7):1054-1062. doi: 10.1038/s41591-020-0900-x. Epub 2020 May 27.Nat Med. 2020. PMID: 32461698. Link
  • Litchfield K, Stanislaw S, Spain L, et al. Representative Sequencing: Unbiased Sampling of Solid Tumor Tissue. Cell Rep. 2020 May 5;31(5):107550. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.107550. Cell Rep. 2020. PMID: 32375028. Link
  • Middleton G, Brock K, Savage J, Mant R, Summers Y, Connibear J, Shah R, Ottensmeier C, Shaw P, Lee SM, Popat S, Barrie C, Barone G, Billingham L. Pembrolizumab in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer of performance status 2 (PePS2): a single arm, phase 2 trial. Lancet Respir Med. 2020 Mar 19:S2213-2600(20)30033-3. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30033-3. Link
  • López S, Lim EL, Horswell S, et al. Interplay between whole-genome doubling and the accumulation of deleterious alterations in cancer evolution. Nat Genet. 2020 Mar;52(3):283-293. doi: 10.1038/s41588-020-0584-7. Epub 2020 Mar 5.Nat Genet. 2020. PMID: 32139907. Link
  • Ramalingam SS, Vansteenkiste J, Planchard D, et al. Overall Survival with Osimertinib in Untreated, EGFR-Mutated Advanced NSCLC. N Engl J Med. 2020 Jan 2;382(1):41-50. doi:10.1056/ NEJMoa1913662. Epub 2019 Nov 21. Link
  • Joshi K, de Massy MR, Ismail M, et al. Spatial heterogeneity of the T cell receptor repertoire reflects the mutational landscape in lung cancer. Nat Med. 2019 Oct;25(10):1549-1559. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0592-2. Epub 2019 Oct 7. Link
  • Biswas D, Birkbak NJ, Rosenthal R, et al. A clonal expression biomarker associates with lung cancer mortality. Nat Med. 2019 Oct;25(10):1540-1548. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0595-z. Epub 2019 Oct 7. Link
  • Chemi F, Rothwell DG, McGranahan N, et al. Pulmonary venous circulating tumor cell dissemination before tumor resection and disease relapse. Nat Med. 2019 Oct;25(10):1534-1539.

doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0593-1. Epub 2019 Oct 7. Link

  • Lee SM, Upadhyay S, Lewanski C, Falk S, Skailes G, Woll PJ, Hatton M, Lal R, Jones R, Toy E, Rudd R, Ngai Y, Edwards A, Hackshaw A. The clinical role of VeriStrat testing in patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer considered unfit for first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. European Journal of Cancer. 2019. 2019 Oct;120:86-96. Link
  • Lam JM, Lee LYW, Starkey T, Simms V, Lee SM. Commentary on Mascaux et al., Immune evasion before tumour invasion in early lung squamous carcinogenesis. Nature. 2019:571:570-5. Med One. 2019;4: e190020. Link
  • Rosenthal R, Cadieux EL, Salgado R, et al. Neoantigen-directed immune escape in lung cancer evolution. Nature. 2019 Mar;567(7749):479-485. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1032-7. Epub 2019 Mar 20. Link
  • Lee LYW, Mohammad S, Starkey T, Lee SM. STAT3 cyclic oligonucleotide decoy-a new therapeutic avenue for NSCLC? Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2018 Dec;7(Suppl 4): S381-S384. doi: 10.21037/tlcr.2018.09.14. Link
  • Forster M, Hackshaw A, De Pas T, Cobo M, Garrido P, Summers Y, Dingemans AC, Flynn M, Schnell D, von Wangenheim U, Loembé AB, Kaiser R, Lee SM. A phase I study of nintedanib combined with cisplatin/gemcitabine as first-line therapy for advanced squamous non-small cell lung cancer (LUME-Lung 3). Lung Cancer. 2018 Jun; 120:27-33. doi: 10.1016/j.lungcan.2018.03.007. Epub 2018 Mar 9. Link


  • Gandhi L, Rodríguez-Abreu D, Gadgeel S, .& KEYNOTE-189 Investigators. Pembrolizumab plus chemotherapy in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer. N Engl J Med. 2018 May 31;378(22):2078-2092. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1801005. Epub 2018 Apr 16. Link
  • Arce Vargas F, Furness AJS, Litchfield K, Joshi K, Rosenthal R, Ghorani E, Solomon I, Lesko MH, Ruef N, Roddie C, Henry JY, Spain L, Ben Aissa A, Georgiou A, Wong YNS, Smith M, Strauss D, Hayes A, Nicol D, O'Brien T, Mårtensson L, Ljungars A, Teige I, Frendéus B; TRACERx Melanoma; TRACERx Renal; TRACERx Lung consortia, Pule M, Marafioti T, Gore M, Larkin J, Turajlic S, Swanton C, Peggs KS, Quezada SA. Fc Effector Function Contributes to the Activity of Human Anti-CTLA-4 Antibodies. Cancer Cell. 2018 Apr 9;33(4):649-663.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.02.010. Epub 2018 Mar 22. Link
  • Abbosh C, Birkbak NJ, Wilson GA, Jamal-Hanjani M, et al. Corrigendum: Phylogenetic ctDNA analysis depicts early-stage lung cancer evolution. Nature. 2018 Feb 8;554(7691):264. doi:10.1038/nature25161. Epub 2017 Dec 20. Link
  • Soria JC, Ohe Y, Vansteenkiste, T Reungwetwattana, Chewaskuyong B, Lee KH, dechapunkul A, Imamura F, Nogami N, Kurata T, Okamoto I, Zhou C, Cho BC, Cheng Y, Cho EK, Voon PJ, Planchard D, Su WC, Gray JE, Lee SM, Hodge R, Marotti M, Rukazenkov Y, Ramalingam SS. Osimertinib in treatment-naïve EGFR mutation-positive advanced NSCLC. N Engl J Med. 2018 Jan 11;378(2):113-125 doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1713137. Epub 2017 Nov 18. Link
  • Ulahannan D, Khalifa J, Faivre-Finn C, Lee SM. Emerging treatment paradigms for brain metastasis in non-small cell lung cancer: an overview of the current landscape and challenges ahead. Ann Oncol. 2017 Dec 1;28(12):2923-2931. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdx481. Link
  • McGranahan N, Rosenthal R, Hiley CT, et al. Allele-specific HLA loss and immune escape in lung cancer evolution. Cell. 2017 Nov 30;171(6):1259-1271.e11. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.10.001. Link
  • Abbosh C, Birkbak NJ, Wilson G, et al. Phylogenetic ctDNA analysis depicts early stage lung cancer evolution. Nature. 2017 Apr 26;545(7655):446-451. doi:10.1038/nature22364. Link
  • Jamal-Hanjani M, Wilson G, McGranahan N, et al. Tracking the evolution of non-small cell lung cancer. N Engl J Med. 2017 Jun 1;376(22):2109-2121. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1616288. Epub 2017 Apr 26. Link
  • Arce Vargas F, Furness AJS, Solomon I, et al. Fc-optimised anti-CD25 depletes tumor-infiltrating regulatory T cells and synergises with PD-1 blockade to eradicate established tumors. Immunity. 2017 Apr 18;46(4):577-586. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2017.03.013. Epub 2017 Apr 11. Link
  • Lee SM, Falzon M, Blackhall F, Spicer J, Nicolson M, Chaudhuri A, Middleton G, Ahmed S, Hicks J, Crosse B, Napier M, Singer J, Ferry D, Lewanski C, Forster M, Rolls SA, Capitanio A, Rudd R, Iles N, Ngar Y, Gandy M, Lillywhite R, Hackshaw A. Randomised prospective biomarker trial of ERCC1 for comparing platinum and non-platinum therapy, in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (ERCC1 Trial [ET]). Journal of Clinical Oncology 2017 Feb;35(4):402-41. Doi:10. 1200/JCO.2016.68.1841. Epub 2016 Nov 28. Link
  • Ulahannan D, Lee SM. Erlotinib plus concurrent whole-brain radiation therapy for non-small cell lung cancers patients with multiple brain metastases. Transl Lung Cancer Res 2016 Apr; 5(2):208-211 doi:10.2.21037/tlcr.2016.03.06. Link
  • Zer A, Ding K, Lee SM, Goss G, Seymour L, Ellis PM, Bradbury P, Han L, Hackshaw A, O’Callaghan C, Tsao MS, Shepherd FA. Pooled analysis of the prognostic and predictive value of KRAS mutation status and mutation subtype in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated with epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. J Thorac Oncol 2016 Mar;11(3):312-23. Link
  • Wong SL, Mendes R, Lee SM. Whole-brain radiotherapy for NSCLC patients with multiple brain metastases – an update. RAD 2015. 41; 484:13-14. Link
  • Khan I, Morris S, Hackshaw A, Lee SM. Cost-effectiveness of first line erlotinib in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer unsuitable for chemotherapy. BMJ. 2015 Jul 2;5(7): e006733. Link
  • Jamal-Hanjani M & Lee SM. Ask the Experts: Update of managing non-small-cell lung cancer with acquired resistance to EGFR and ALK inhibitors. Lung Cancer Management. 2015 Jul;4(3):117-123. Link
  • de Bruin EC, McGranahan N, Mitter R, et al. Spatial and temporal diversity in genomic instability processes defines lung cancer evolution. Science. 2014 Oct 10;346(6206):251-6. Doi:10.1126/science. Link
  • Lee SM, Lewanski CR, Counsell N, Ottensmeier C, Bates A, Patel N, Wadsworth C, Ngai Y, Hackshaw A, Faivre-Finn C. Randomised trial of erlotinib plus whole brain radiotherapy for NSCLC patients with multiple brain metastases. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2014 Jul 16;106(7). doi:10.1093/jnci/dju151. Link
  • Jamal-Hanjani M et al. Tracking genomic cancer evolution for precision medicine: the lung TRACERx study. PLoS Biol. 2014 Jul 8;12(7): e1001906. Link
  • Gupta RK, Marks M, Edwards SG, Smith K, Fletcher K, Lee SM, Ramsay A, Copas AJ, Miller RF (2014). A declining CD4 count and diagnosis of HIV-associated Hodgkin’s lymphoma: do prior clinical symptoms and laboratory abnormalities aid diagnosis? PLoS One, 2014 Feb 4:9(2): e87442. Link
  • Lee SM, Hackshaw. A potential new enriching trial design for selecting non-small-cell lung cancer patients with no predictive biomarker for trials based on both histology and early tumor response: further analysis of a thalidomide trial. Cancer Medicine. 2013 Jun; 2(3):360-366. Link
  • Lee CK, Brown C, Gralla RJ, Hirsh V, Thongprasert S, Tsai CM, Tan EH, Ho JC, Chu DT, Zaatar A, Sanchez JAO, Vu VV, Au JSK, Inoue A, Lee SM, Gebski V, Yang JCH (2013). Impact of EGFR inhibitor in non-small cell lung cancer on progression-free and overall survival: a meta-analysis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2013 105(9):595-605. Link
  • King J, Lee SM. Axitinib for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer. Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs. 2013 22(6):765-73. Link
  • Lee SM, King J (2013). Managing non-small-cell lung cancer with acquired resistance to EGF receptor and ALK inhibitors. Lung Cancer Management, 2(1),23-26. Link
  • Kassam S, Bower M, Lee SM, De Vos J, Fields P, Gandhi S, Nelson M, Montoto S, Tenant-Flowers M, Burns F, Marcus R, Edward SG, Cwynarski K (2013). A retrospective, multi-center analysis of treatment intensification for human immunodeficiency virus-positive patients with high-risk diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Leuk Lymphoma, 54(9):1921-7. Link
  • Lee SM, Khan I, Upadhyay S, Lewanski C, Falk S, Skailes G, Marshall E, Woll PJ, Hatton M, Lal R, Jones R, Toy E, Chao D, Middleton G, Bulley S, Ngai Y, Rudd R, Hackshaw A, Boshoff C (2012). Erlotinib in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer unsuitable for chemotherapy. Lancet Oncology Nov;13(11):1161-1170. Link
  • Jitlal M, Khan I, Lee SM, Hackshaw A (2012). Stopping clinical trials early for futility: retrospective analysis of several randomised clinical studies. British Journal of Cancer Sep 4;107(6):910-7. Link


Book chapter

  • Raja F, Lee SM (2012). Chemotherapy and Biological Agents. Lung Cancer: A multidisciplinary approach. Edited by Leary A. Wiley-Blackwell, 1st edition, 49-64
  • Scatchard K, Lee SM. (2010). Neurotoxicity of chemotherapy. in Neuro-Oncology: Blue Books of Neurology Series. Edited by Rees JH, Wen PY. Elsevier, 1st edition, 352-371
  • Kelly CMA, Lee SM, Steele JP (2005). Neoadjuvant chemotherapy for non-small cell lung cancer. Chapter 7 in Andrew Miles (ed.) Key Advances in Lung Cancer. Series edited by Muers M, O'Byrne K, Wells F, Miles A. Aesculapius Medical Press, 3rd edition, 67-74.
  • O'Connor PJ, Lee SM, Cooper DP, Thatcher N, Rafferty J, Fan CY, Zaidi SNH & Margison GP (1993). Heterogeneity in the mechanisms of resistance to chemotherapy related to DNA damage and repair. Edited by D'IncalciM, Mantovani,A, Garattini S. Heterogeneity of Cancer Cells. New York: Raven Press, 1st edition, 89-103.
  • Lee AJX & Lee SM (2020). Small Cell Lung Cancer. Encyclopedia of Respiratory Medicine, 2nd edition. Edited by Janes S. Link