Professor Peter Selby

Professor Peter Selby


Peter Selby is a consultant physician at St James’s University Hospital, the Leeds Cancer Centre and Professor of Cancer Medicine since 1988 and Associate Dean at the University of Leeds. He has worked in cancer research and cancer care since 1976. After completing a Natural Sciences degree at the University of Cambridge in 1971, he undertook undergraduate medical training at King’s College Hospital in London and then medical and oncological training posts in Kings College Hospital, University College Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and in the Princess Margaret Hospital and Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto.

He was a house officer, clinical research fellow and specialist trainee at the Institute for Cancer Research and Royal Marsden in London and became a Consultant and Senior Lecturer there in 1984. Peter was Head of Oncology and Cancer Research in Leeds University (1988-2010), of the Leeds Cancer Centre in the NHS (1997-2003), Director of the Leeds Biomedical and Health Research Centre (2008-2012) which linked basic science with translational and clinical research in Leeds and was Director of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine (2002-2005 and 2010-2013). He was Consultant Advisor to the Chief Medical Officer on Cancer Services (1993-2000); National Clinical Research Director for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (1997-2001); Director of the National Cancer Research Network, UK Clinical Research Network and NIHR Clinical Research Network (2000-2010); Trustee of Cancer Research UK (2012-2016); President of the Association of Cancer Physicians (2007-2018) and President of the European Cancer Concord (2014-2017).

His clinical interests have covered a wide range of cancer treatments and tumour sites including leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma, melanoma, sarcoma and, most recently, urological cancers and cancers of teenagers and young adults. With Cliff Bailey and Ian Lewis from paediatric oncology he set up the Teenage and Young Adult Service in Leeds and he continued to practice within the team as much as possible until 2017. The team, now led by Dan Stark and Sue Morgan, was UK Cancer Team of the Year in 2013. His research programmes have been broad but always focused on research with the potential to benefit patients and included high dose chemotherapy with bone marrow/stem cell transplants, antiviral treatments, antiemetics, combination chemotherapies, biological therapies, biomarkers, psychosocial oncology and psychometrics, clinical trials and health service innovations. Cancer research and oncology.

Professional Activities

Patient engagement and empowerment

He has supported patient engagement and empowerment throughout his work. Initially, when drafting the Calman-Hine Report he consulted informally with this patients. However, having learned the value of challenging patient input, he much more formally set up patient involvement during the NCRN with a formal patient based Taskforce to help shape the initiative and this continued in the UKCRN and NIHR CRN. Later, for the European Cancer Concord (ECC) patient inputs were moved to a higher level with a joint and equal partnership between cancer professionals and cancer patients as the hallmark of the organisation which has given it more value and influence in Brussels and elsewhere.

Cancer Care in Leeds and Yorkshire

As Director/Lead Clinician of the NHS Leeds Cancer Centre (1997-2003) he sought to implement the principles of Calman-Hine and organised specialised multidisciplinary care for cancer patients and led the development of excellent facilities for patients. With Adrian Crellin (clinical oncology) and Roger Cannon (NHS senior manager) he made the clinical and business case for a new Leeds Cancer Centre which resulted in the funding and construction of Bexley Wing, one of the largest and best-equipped cancer centres in Europe, which opened in 2006. More recently (2013) he helped to initiate an Integrated Cancer Service to address the need for better access to care and address inequalities by bringing hospital cancer specialists, general practitioners and healthcare managers and commissioners together to address the challenge of improving patient outcomes. The Leeds Integrated Cancer Service (now led by Sean Duffy and Sarah Forbes) was recently identified as one of 10 NHS sites to develop early cancer diagnosis units. In addition to developing the cancer centre in Leeds, the work was extended working with Mark Baker and many oncology professionals, to a wider medical oncology network in West and North Yorkshire bringing resident medical services to Yorkshire’s district hospitals before most of the rest of England.

National Cancer Charities

Peter was the National Clinical Research Director of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund from 1997 to 2001 working in a team with Tomas Lindahl, Richard Treisman and led by Paul Nurse. He was a Trustee of Cancer Research UK (2012-2016), Chairman of the Cancer Research UK Public Policy Advisory Group and a member of the Cancer Research UK Research Strategy Committee.

Awards and Fellowships

He was appointed Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 1998, Fellowship of the Association of Cancer Physicians (UK), 2017, Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences, 2017, and awarded a CBE in 2001 for services to cancer research and cancer care. Peter won the Pfizer Excellence in Oncology Lifetime Achievement award in 2007. He is an Honorary Life member of the British Psychosocial Oncology Society. In 2010 he was appointed a Senior Investigator of the National Institute for Health Research. In 2011 he was awarded a DSc for a thesis on the links between these research programmes and patient benefits. In 2017 he received the Beacon for Outstanding Contribution to Healthcare Award awarded by Medilink. In three programmes (high dose myeloma therapy, psychosocial oncology and specialised cancer care) were all the subject of highly scored Leeds Research Impact Case submissions in Research Excellence Framework 2014.

Commander of the Order of the British Empire (for services in cancer research and cancer care) 2001

Honorary Life Member of the British Psychosocial Oncology Society 2004

Pfizer Lifetime Achievement Award 2007

Fellow of the Association of Cancer Physicians UK 2017

Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences 2017

European Health Award 2018 for the most outstanding initiative to tackle health inequalities in Europe.  The European Cancer Patient's Bill of Rights.  Gastein 2018.

Current and Previous Roles

Professor of Cancer Medicine, University of Leeds (1989-present)

Honorary Consultant Physician, St James's University Hospital (1989-present)

President of the Association of Cancer Physicians (2007-present)

NIHR Senior Investigator (2010-2015)

Council member and Trustee, Cancer Research UK (2012-)

Member of Steering Group, European Cancer Concord (2012-)

Director, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine (2010-2013)

Joint Director, Biomedical and Health Research Centre at Leeds (2008-2013)

Head, Division of Oncology, Epidemiology & Clinical Research (2008-2010)

Foundation Director of the Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, Epidemiology and Cancer Research (2002-2005)

Director, National Cancer Research Network (2001-2004)

Joint Director, National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network (2005-2010)

Director, Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre in Leeds (1993-2010)

Director and Lead Clinician, Leeds (NHS) Cancer Centre (1997-2003)

Non-Executive Director, St James's University Hospital NHS Trust (1993-1998)

Pro-Dean for Research, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Leeds (2006-2008)

Director of Clinical Research for the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (1997-2001)

President, British Oncological Association (1992-1994)

Head, Section of Oncology and Clinical Research and Clinical Director, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine (2005-2010)

Chairman, Cancer Subgroup of the UK Research Assessment Exercise (2005-2008)

Consultant Advisor on Cancer Services to the Chief Medical Officer, Department of Health (1993-2000)

Selected References

1) Stem and Clonogenic Cell Studies and High Dose Chemotherapy: These studies were among the first to define the relationship between the killing of human tumour stem cells and the dose of cytotoxic drugs and were used to support clinical strategies for high dose chemotherapy with most success in multiple myeloma.

Human tumour xenografts established and serially transplanted in mice immunologically deprived by thymectomy, cytosine arabinoside and whole body irradiation. Selby P, Thomas JM and Monagham P, et al. British Journal of Cancer 1980; 41: 52-61.

Colony growth and clonogenic cell survival in human melanoma xenografts treated with chemotherapy. Selby P, Courtenay VD, McElwain TJ, et al. British Journal of Cancer 1980; 42: 438-447.

Clonogenic cell survival in cryopreserved human tumor cells. Selby P, Steel GG. British Journal of Cancer 1981; 43: 143-148.

Use of the agar diffusion chamber for the exposure of human tumor cells to drugs. Selby P, Steel GG. Cancer Research 1982; 42: 4758 4762.

A critical appraisal of the human tumor stem cell assay. Selby P, Buick RN, Tannock I. New England Journal of Medicine 1983; 308: 129 134.

High dose treatment with melphalan and methylprednisolone for multiple myeloma. Selby P, Ayliffe M, Behrens J, et al. Monoclonal Gammopathies: Clinical Significance and Basic Mechanisms. Eds Van Dam B, et al 1985; 151 154.

Multiple myeloma treated with high dose intravenous melphalan. Selby P, McElwain, TJ, Nandi AC, et al. British Journal of Haematology 1987; 66: 55 62.

The development of high dose melphalan and of autologous bone marrow transplantation in the treatment of multiple myeloma: Royal Marsden and St Bartholomew's Hospital Studies. Selby P, Zulian G, Forgeson D, et al. Haematological Oncology 1988; 6: 173-179.

Intensive treatment of multiple myeloma and criteria for complete remission. Gore M E, Selby P, Viner C, et al. The Lancet 1989; 2: 879-882.

High-dose chemotherapy with hematopoietic stem-cell rescue for multiple myeloma. Child JA, Morgan G, Davies F, Owen R, Bell S, Hawkins K, Brown J, Drayson M, Selby P. New England Journal of Medicine 2003 8; 348: 19, 1875-83.

2) New Drugs to Reduce Toxicity: Cancer chemotherapy as practiced in the 1970s and 1980s showed evidence of improvement for many patients but also resulted in infection because of myelosuppression and severe nausea and vomiting. These studies introduced new drugs to reduce toxicity.

Parenteral acyclovir therapy for herpes virus infections in man. Selby P, Powles RL, Jameson B, et al. The Lancet 1979; ii: 1267-1270.

Amino(hydroxyethoxymethyl)purine: A new well-absorbed prodrug of acyclovir. Selby P, Powles R, Blake S, et al. The Lancet 1984; ii: 1428-1430.

Treatment of cytomegalovirus pneumonitis after bone marrow transplantation with 9 [2 Hydroxy 1 (hydroxymethyl) Ethoxymethyl] guanine (letter). Selby P, Powles RL, Jameson B, et al. The Lancet 1986; i: 1377 1378.

The prophylactic role of intravenous and long-term oral acyclovir after allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Selby P, Powles RL, Easton D, et al. British Journal of Cancer 1989; 59: 434-438.

Ondansetron - a new safe and effective antiemetic in patients receiving high-dose melphalan. Viner CV, Selby P, Zulian GB, et al. Cancer Chemotherapy Pharmacology 1990; 25: 449-453.

3) Psychosocial Oncology and Patient Reported Outcome Measures: Benefits and adverse reactions are both a feature of cancer therapy and to evaluate the impact on patients properly we needed ways to measure health related quality of life. These studies describe the development of measures and their applications.

Problem Solving in Patient Centred and Integrated Cancer Care. Eds Velikova G, Fallowfield L, Younger J, Board R, Selby P. EBN Health, Oxford, 2018. The development of a method for assessing the quality of life of cancer patients. Selby P, Chapman JW, Etazadi Amoli J, et al. British Journal of Cancer 1984; 50: 13 22.

Measurement of the clinical status of patients with breast cancer: evidence for the validity of self-assessment with linear analogue scales. Boyd NF, Selby P, Sutherland HJ, et al. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 1988; 41: 3, 243 250.

Assessing quality of life in cancer patients. Maguire P, Selby P. British Journal of Cancer 1989; 60: 437-440.

A method for assessing the quality of life of cancer patients: replication of the factor structure. Bliss JM, Selby P, Robertson B, et al. British Journal of Cancer 1992; 65: 961-966.

Automated collection of quality of life data: a comparison of paper and computer touchscreen questionnaires. Velikova G, Wright E, Smith A, Cull A, Gould A, Forman D, Perren T, Stead M, Brown J, Selby P. Journal of Clinical Oncology 1999; 17: 3, 998-1007.

Self-reported quality of life (QL) of individual cancer patients - concordance of results with disease course and medical records. Velikova G, Wright P, Smith A, Stark D, Brown J, Selby P. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2001; 19: 7, 2064-2073.

Communication about sexual problems and sexual concerns in ovarian cancer: qualitative study. Stead M, Fallowfield L, Brown J, Selby P. British Medical Journal 2001; 323: 836-7. Detecting social problems in cancer patients. Wright P, Selby P, Gould A, Cull A. Psycho-Oncology 2001; 10: 242-250.

Anxiety disorders in cancer patients: their nature, associations and relation to quality of life. Stark D, Kiely M, Smith A, Velikova G, House A, Selby P. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2002; 20: 3137-3148.

Feasibility and compliance of automated measurement of quality of life in oncology practice. Wright EP, Selby P, Gillibrand A, Smith A, Velikova G, Crawford M, Perren T, Gould A, Cull A. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2003; 21: 2; 374-82.

 Measuring quality of life routine oncology practice – improves communication and patient well-being: a randomised controlled trial. Velikova G, Booth L, Smith AB, Brown P, Lynch P, Brown J, Selby P. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2004; 22: 4, 714-724.

Development and evaluation of an instrument to assess social difficulties in routine oncology practice. Wright EP, Kiely M, Johnston C, Smith AB, Cull A, Selby PJ. Quality of Life Research 2005;14:373-86.

Measuring social difficulties in routine patient-centred assessment: a Rasch analysis of the social difficulties inventory. Smith AB, Wright P, Selby P, Velikova G. Qual Life Res 2007; 16(5):823-831.

Measurement and interpretation of social distress using the Social Difficulties Inventory (SDI). Wright E, Marshall L, Smith A, Velikova G, Selby P. European Journal of Cancer 2008; Jul; 44(11):1529-35.

Impact of routine measurement of patient-reported outcomes on patient-doctor communication in oncology – continued effects over time. Takeuchi EE, Keding A, Awad N, Hofmann U, Campbell L, Selby P, Brown JM and Velikova G. J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jul 20;29(21):2910-7.

4) Biotherapy: Alternatives to cytotoxic drugs have been urgently needed and biological/immunological strategies have long held promise. The studies describe laboratory and clinical studies in immunotherapy.

Tumour necrosis factor in man: clinical and biological observations. Selby P, Hobbs S, Viner C, et al. British Journal of Cancer 1987; 56: 803-808.

The impact of interleukin-2 on survival in renal cancer: A multivariate analysis. Jones M, Selby P, Franks C, et al. Cancer Biotherapy 1993; 8: 4, 275-288.

Interferon-alpha and survival in metastatic renal carcinoma: early results of a randomised controlled trial. MRC Renal Cancer Working Party 1998. Lancet 1999; 353: 14-17.

Purging Metastases in Lymphoid Organs Using a Combination of Antigen-non Specific Adoptive T Cell Therapy, Oncolytic Virotherapy, and Immunotherapy. Qiao J, Kottke T, Willmon C, Galivo F, Wongthida P, Diaz R, Thompson J, Ryno P, Barber G, Chester J, Selby P, Harrington K, Melcher A, Vile R. Nature Medicine 2008; Jan;14(1):37-44.

An evaluation of a preparation of Mycobacterium vaccae (SRL172) as an immunotherapeutic agent in renal cancer. Patel PM, Sim S, O'Donnell DO, Protheroe A, Beirne D, Stanley A, Tourani JM, Khayat D, Hancock B, Vasey P, Dalgleish A, Johnston C, Banks RE, Selby PJ. Eur J Cancer. 2008; Jan;44(2):216-23.

Safety and clinical effect of subcutaneous human interleukin-21 in patients with metastatic melanoma or renal cell carcinoma: A phase I trial. Schmidt H, Brown J, Mouritzen U, Selby P, Fode K, Hal Mollerup D, Geertsen P. Clin Cancer Res 2010; 16: 21, 5312-9.

Broad antigenic coverage induced by vaccination with virus-based cDNA libraries cures established tumors. Kottke T, Errington F, Pulido J, Galivo F, Thompson J, Wongthida P, Diaz RM, Chong H, Ilett E, Chester J, Pandha H, Harrington K, Selby P, Melcher A, Vile R. Nature Medicine 2011; 17: 854–859.

Using virally expressed melanoma cDNA libraries to identify tumor-associated antigens that cure melanoma. Pulido J, Kottke T, Thompson J, Galivo F, Wongthida P, Diaz RM, Rommelfanger D, Ilett E, Pease L, Pandha H, Harrington K, Selby P, Melcher A, Vile R. Nat Biotechnol. 2012 Mar 18;30(4):337-43.

Detecting and targeting tumor relapse by its resistance to innate effectors at early recurrence. Kottke T, Boisgerault N, Diaz RM, Donnelly O, Rommelfanger-Konkol D, Pulido J, Thompson J, Mukhopadhyay D, Kaspar R, Coffey M, Pandha H, Melcher A, Harrington K, Selby P, Vile R. Nat Med. 2013 Dec;19(12):1625-31

The Profile of Tumor Antigens Which Can be Targeted by Immunotherapy Depends Upon the Tumor's Anatomical Site. Alonso-Camino V, Rajani K, Kottke T, Rommelfanger-Konkol D, Zaidi S, Thompson J, Pulido J, Ilett E, Donnelly O, Selby P, Pandha H, Melcher A, Harrington K, Diaz RM, Vile R. Mol Ther. 2014 Jul 25.

Intravenous delivery of oncolytic reovirus to brain tumor patients immunologically primes for subsequent checkpoint blockade. Samson A, Scott KJ, Taggart D, West EJ, Wilson E, Nuovo GJ, Thomson S, Corns R, Mathew RK, Fuller MJ, Kottke TJ, Thompson JM, Ilett EJ, Cockle JV, van Hille P, Sivakumar G, Polson ES, Turnbull SJ, Appleton ES, Migneco G, Rose AS, Coffey MC, Beirne DA, Collinson FJ, Ralph C, Alan Anthoney D, Twelves CJ, Furness AJ, Quezada SA, Wurdak H, Errington-Mais F, Pandha H, Harrington KJ, Selby PJ, Vile RG, Griffin SD, Stead LF, Short SC, Melcher AA. Sci Transl Med. 2018 Jan 3;10(422). pii: eaam7577.

 5) Biomarkers: To identify patients who will benefit from treatments and avoid toxic adverse reactions requires biomarkers to underpin a more Precise Oncology. These studies describe the development and evaluation of biomarkers for cancer.

Problem Solving through Precision Oncology. Eds Copson E, Hall P, Board R, Cook G, Selby P. Clinical Publishing, Oxford, 2017. The detection of melanoma cells in the peripheral blood using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reactions. Smith B, Selby P, Pittman K, et al. The Lancet 1991; 338: 1227-1229.

Neuroblastoma cell detection in peripheral blood by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Burchill S, Bradbury M, Smith B, Lewis I, Selby P. International Journal of Cancer 1994; 57: 671-675.

Detection of epithelial cancer cells in peripheral blood by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Burchill S, Bradbury M, Pittman K, Southgate J, Smith B, Selby P. British Journal of Cancer 1995; 71: 278-281.

Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for expression of tyrosinase to identify malignant melanoma cells in peripheral blood. Pittman K, Burchill S, Smith B, Southgate J, Joffe J, Gore M, Selby P. Annals of Oncology 1996; 7: 297-301.

Proteomics - new perspectives, new biological opportunities. Banks R, Dunn M, Hochstrasser D, Sanchez J, Blackstock W, Pappin D, Selby P. Lancet 2000; 356: 1749-1756.

Commentary - Clinical proteomics - insights into pathologies and benefits for patients. Banks R, Selby P. Lancet 2003; 362:415-416.

The use of real-time reverse transcription-PCR for prostate-specific antigen mRNA to discriminate between blood samples from healthy volunteers from patients with metastatic prostate cancer. Patel K, Whelan PJ, Prescott S, Brownhill SC, Johnston CF, Selby PJ, Burchill SA (2004). Clin Cancer Res 10, 7511-7519.

Genetic and epigenetic analysis of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene alterations and relationship with clinical variables in sporadic renal cancer. Banks RE, Tirukonda P, Taylor C, Hornigold N, Astuti D, Cohen D, Maher ER, Stanley AJ, Harnden P, Joyce A, Knowles M, Selby PJ. Cancer Res. 2006 Feb 15;66(4):2000-11.

Proteomic profiling identifies afamin as a potential biomarker for ovarian cancer. Jackson D, Craven RA, Hutson RC, Graze I, Lueth P, Tonge RP, Hartley JL, Nickson JA, Rayner SJ, Johnston C, Dieplinger B, Hubalek M, Wilkinson N, Perren TJ, Kehoe S, Hall GD, Daxenbichler G, Dieplinger H, Selby PJ, Banks RE. Clin Cancer Res 2007; Dec 15;13(24):7370-9.

Prognostic factors in renal cell carcinoma: Association of pre-operative sodium concentration with survival. Vasudev NS, Brown J E, Brown SR, Rafiq R, Morgan R, Patel PM, O'Donnell D, Harnden P, Rogers M, Cocks K, Anderson K, Paul A, Eardley I, Selby P, Banks R. Clinical Cancer Research 2008;14(6):1775-81.

Genome-wide association study of renal cell carcinoma identifies two susceptibility loci on 2p21 and 11q13.3. Purdue MP, Johansson M, Banks RE, Selby PJ, Harnden P, Lathrop M, Brennan P et al. Nat Genet. 2011 Jan;43(1):60-5.

A genome-wide association study identifies a novel susceptibility locus for renal cell carcinoma on 12p11.23. Wu X, Scelo G, Banks RE, Selby PJ, Harnden P, Brennan P, Chanock SJ et al. Hum Mol Genet. 2012 Jan 15;21(2):456-62.

Serum aminoacylase-1 is a novel biomarker with potential prognostic utility for long-term outcome in patients with delayed graft function following renal transplantation. Welberry Smith MP, Zougman A, Cairns DA, Wilson M, Wind T, Wood SL, Thompson D, Messenger MP, Mooney A, Selby PJ, Lewington AJ, Banks RE. Kidney Int. 2013 Dec;84(6):1214-25.

6) Improving Cancer Care: Patient outcomes depend on the use of evidence based best practice for all patients, supported by innovation and clinical research participation. These studies describe innovations in cancer management and healthcare.

Problem Solving in Older Cancer Patients. Eds Ring A, Harari D, Kalsi T, Mansi T, Selby P. Clinical Publishing, Oxford, 2016.

Problem Solving in Acute Oncology. Eds Marshall E, Young A, Clark P, Selby P. Clinical Publishing, Oxford, 2014.

Cancer and the Adolescent. Eds Selby P, Bailey CC. British Medical Journal Books, London 1996.

Benefits from specialised cancer care. Selby P, Gillis C, Haward R. The Lancet 1996; 348: 313-18.

Cancer clinical outcomes for minority ethnic groups. Selby P. British Journal of Cancer 1996; 74: Supplement XXIX, S54-S60.

Cancer in old age - is it adequately investigated and treated? Turner N, Haward R, Mulley G, Selby P. British Medical Journal 1999; 319: 309-12.

Breast cancer outcomes in South Asian population of West Yorkshire. Velikova G, Booth L, Johnston C, Forman D, Selby P. British Journal of Cancer 2004; 90: 1926-32.

Strengthening clinical cancer research in the United Kingdom. Stead M, Cameron D, Lester N, Parmar M, Haward R, Kaplan R, Maughan T, Wilson R, Campbell H, Hamilton R, Stewart D, O'Toole L, Kerr D, Potts V, Moser R, Darbyshire J, Selby P. Br J Cancer 2011 May 10;104(10):1529-34.

The impact of the process of clinical research on health service outcomes. Selby P, Autier P. Ann Oncol. 2011 Nov;22 Suppl 7:vii5-vii9.

Research-intensive cancer care in the NHS in the UK. Cameron D, Stead M, Lester N, Parmar M, Haward R, Maughan T, Wilson R, Spaull A, Campbell H, Hamilton R, Stewart D, O'Toole L, Kerr D, Potts V, Moser R, Cooper M, Poole K, Darbyshire J, Kaplan R, Seymour M, Selby P. Ann Oncol. 2011 Nov;22 Suppl 7:vii29-vii35.

Extending the clinical research network approach to all of healthcare. Darbyshire J, Sitzia J, Cameron D, Ford G, Littlewood S, Kaplan R, Johnston D, Matthews D, Holloway J, Chaturvedi N, Morgan C, Riley A, Rossor M, Kotting P, McKeith I, Smye S, Gower J, Brown V, Smyth R, Poustie V, van't Hoff W, Wallace P, Ellis T, Wykes T, Burns S, Rosenberg W, Lester N, Stead M, Potts V, Johns C, Campbell H, Hamilton R, Sheffield J, Selby P. Ann Oncol. 2011 Nov;22 Suppl 7:vii36-vii43.

Patient and public involvement. Stewart D, Wilson R, Selby P, Darbyshire J. Ann Oncol. 2011 Nov;22 Suppl 7:vii54-vii56.

Addressing cancer disparities in Europe: a multifaceted problem that requires interdisciplinary solutions. Oncologist. Duffy S, Richards M, Selby P, Lawler M. 2013;18(12):e29-30.

Ageism in cancer care. Lawler M, Selby P, Aapro MS, Duffy S. BMJ. 2014 Feb 28;348:g1614. European Cancer Concord (ECC). Lawler M, Le Chevalier T, Banks I, Conte P, De Lorenzo F, Meunier F, Pinedo HM, Selby P, Murphy MJ, Johnston PG. A Bill of Rights for patients with cancer in Europe. Lancet Oncol. 2014 Mar;15(3):258-60.

The European Cancer Patient’s Bill of Rights, update and implementation 2016. Lawler M, Banks M, Law K, Albreht T, Armand JP, Barbacid M, Barzach M, Bergh J, Cameron D, Conte P, de Braud P, de Gramont A, F De Lorenzo, Diehl V, Diler S, Erdem S, Geissler J, Gore-Booth J, Henning G, Højgaard L, Horgan D, Jassem J, Johnson P, Kaasa S, Kapitein P, Karjalainen S, Kelly J, Kienesberger A, La Vecchia C, Lacombe D, Lindahl T, Löwenberg B, Luzzatto L, Malby R, Mastris K, Meunier F, Murphy M, Naredi P, Nurse P, Oliver K, Pearce J, Pelouchov J, Piccart M, Pinedo B, Spurrier-Bernard G, Sullivan R, Tabernero J, Van de Velde C, van Herk B, Vedsted P, Waldmann A, Weller D, Wilking N, Wilson R, Yared W, Zielinski C, zur Hausen H, Le Chevalier T, Johnston P, Selby P. ESMO Open Jan 2017, 1 (6) e000127.

High hospital research participation and improved colorectal cancer survival outcomes: a population-based study. Downing A, Morris EJ, Corrigan N, Sebag-Montefiore D, Finan PJ, Thomas JD, Chapman M, Hamilton R, Campbell H, Cameron D, Kaplan R, Parmar M, Stephens R, Seymour M, Gregory W, Selby P. Gut 2017 Jan;66(1):89-96.

Patient engagement and empowerment driving patient centred care. Butcher H, Selby P. In Problem Solving in Patient Centred and Integrated Cancer Care. Eds Velikova G, Fallowfield L, Younger J, Board R, Selby P. EBN Health, Oxford, 2018.

The communication challenges when providing patient-centred care. Fallowfield L, Selby P. In Problem Solving in Patient Centred and Integrated Cancer Care. Eds Velikova G, Fallowfield L, Younger J, Board R, Selby P. EBN Health, Oxford, 2018.

Social difficulties of cancer patients. Wright P, Selby P. In Problem Solving in Patient Centred and Integrated Cancer Care. Eds Velikova G, Fallowfield L, Younger J, Board R, Selby P. EBN Health, Oxford, 2018.

Integration of cancer care between primary care and hospitals. Selby P, Hall G, Dusek L, Loupakis F, Luzzatto L, Albreht T, Neal R, Turner R, Duffy S. In Problem Solving in Patient Centred and Integrated Cancer Care. Eds Velikova G, Fallowfield L, Younger J, Board R, Selby P. EBN Health, Oxford, 2018.


  • Associate Dean of Medicine

Research interests

Clinical Research

He introduced acyclovir into clinical practice in 1979 leading the first-in-patient study and a subsequent Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT). This was the first effective drug for herpes simplex and herpes zoster and it has changed clinical outcomes dramatically, saved many lives among the immune suppressed and also reduced morbidity substantially among immune competent people. It had a large economic benefit on industry and the NHS. He also ran one of the first clinical studies with ondansetron with research nurse, Christine Viner, the first of a highly effective class of antiemetics to reduce chemotherapy toxicity. He developed and delivered many clinical trials mainly in melanoma, renal cancer, lymphoma and myeloma, high dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation, biological therapy and biomarker evaluation with many colleagues particularly Tim McElwain. Together with colleagues in public health and epidemiology, particularly Bob Haward and David Forman, he showed that specialised cancer care improved cancer patient outcomes. This underpinned some of the service innovations which are discussed below. Currently, Peter Selby, Walter Gregory and William Rosenberg are analysing the results of ELUCIDATE, their 1000 patient RCT in the NIHR Applied Programme using a novel biomarker approach to diagnose early liver disease. With Rebecca Birch, Eva Morris and Janine Mansi he is working on the factors determining the use of surgery and chemotherapy and the outcomes for Older Cancer Patients.

Laboratory Research

His work in the laboratory with Gordon Steele, Mike Peckham and Tim McElwain on modelling high dose chemotherapy on human tumour stem cells in London and Leeds led to a randomised controlled trial of high dose treatment and stem cell rescue in multiple myeloma which was positive and improved patient outcomes for this disease. Programmes on biological therapy are funded by the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC Advanced Award with Peter Selby as Principal Investigator is a collaboration with Richard Vile, a highly successful innovative scientist in virology and applied immunology at the Mayo Clinic. They are seeking to extend their effective cancer vaccine results from expressing a cDNA library in an oncolytic virus, into a clinical reagent. Work on biomarker discovery and evaluation is funded as a PI by the National Institute for Health Research with an NIHR Applied Programme on biomarker evaluation in renal and liver diseases and NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative. In 2013 the NIHR called for applications for a national competition for cooperatives to evaluate and facilitate the development of in vitro diagnostic devices. Leeds was one of four successful applications and Peter Selby was Principal Investigator and Clinical Director (2013-Jan 2018) of the NIHR Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative at Leeds (DEC). The DEC worked with academic colleagues and industry to evaluate the scientific, clinical and economic cases for new biomarkers in cancer, musculoskeletal diseases, liver and kidney diseases and, with Michael Messenger as Deputy Director and Gordon Cook as Associate Director, oversaw 103 research funding applications and 60% of these were successful yielding £42M non-commercial and £4M commercial funding. DEC contributed to the development of 34 in vitro diagnostic devices. The DEC worked in collaboration with 106 large and small UK based diagnostics companies and received uniformly excellent feedback evaluations from commercial collaborators. The team submitted a renewal application in 2017 which was successfully re-funded for 5 years under the leadership of Gordon Cook, Michael Messenger and Helen Radford with Peter Selby as Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board.

Psychosocial Oncology Research

Initially, in Toronto with Jim Till and Norman Boyd and later in London and Leeds he also developed a clinical research programme for measuring patients’ quality of life using patient-reported measures and introduced one of the first fully validated quality of life measures. Working with Galina Velikova and Penny Wright, the programme led to a randomised trial that showed that measuring the quality of life improves outcomes for cancer patients which was one of the first of its kind. This work we also developed a method for detecting social difficulties in cancer patients used in studies, clinics and National surveys. Most recently, patient-reported measures have been used in a national survey of outcomes for prostate cancer patients with Adam Glaser and Anna Gavin.

Improving Cancer Outcomes: service innovation and research participation

Peter was asked by Kenneth Calman, the Chief Medical Officer in England to become his Consultant Advisor on Cancer Services in 1994. At Sir Kenneth’s behest, he analysed the evidence and drafted a report to the CMOs of England and Wales (Sir Kenneth Calman and Dame Deirdre Hine) on improving cancer care drawing on inputs from an outstanding Expert Advisory Group of cancer specialists from diverse backgrounds who were strongly committed to patient-centered approaches. This Calman-Hine Report has been influential and recently described as being “seminal” by international reviewers. It contributed significantly to the development of patient-centred, specialised, multidisciplinary cancer care and the development of integrated networks for cancer care in the UK and elsewhere. He was involved in this work from 1993 – 2000 but continues to be involved in leadership roles in cancer medicine and cancer service innovations in the UK and internationally. From 2007 until 2018 he has been President of the Association of Cancer Physicians and with Johnathan Joffe he led the publication of a strategy for medical oncology focused on how the specialty can bring about patient improvement.

He was President of the European Cancer Concord working closely with Patrick Johnston, Thierry Le Chevalier, Mark Lawler, Ian Banks and Kate Law and was a senior author on the European Cancer Patients Bill of Rights (BoR) in 2014 and 2017 which was endorsed by the European Parliament and EU Cancer Commissioner. The ECC has not only generated the Bill of Rights, but also analysed avoidable cancer deaths in Europe, promoted the sharing of best practice across Europe, developed unifying Codes of Cancer Practice and promoted the vision of 70% long-term survival for Europe’s cancer patients by 2035.

Experience in Leeds in developing cancer services and the Leeds Cancer Centre in the 1990s suggested that clinical research was a good mechanism for improving patient outcomes directly through the engagement of staff and patients in identifying state-of-the-art cancer care as well as through, of course, the generation of new evidence. He was asked to Chair the Strategic Reviews of Cancer Research in the English NHS in 1995 and in 1999 and on each occasion recommended infrastructure for clinical cancer research across the NHS in order to improve patient outcomes. It wasn’t until 2000, that the Secretary of State for Health was persuaded that this was potentially a good way of improving cancer outcomes. This commitment led to the National Cancer Research Network (NCRN) and after open competition the NCRN Coordinating Centre was established in Leeds. Peter Selby was asked to lead it by Sir John Pattison. The NCRN increased participation in clinical research dramatically and extended clinical cancer research more widely across the NHS into many more hospitals than previously.

The work was taken up more widely by NHS R&D for other topics. Sir John Pattison and later Dame Sally Davies asked Peter Selby and Janet Darbyshire to work on the Cancer Research Network model to extend it to clinical topics outside cancer by forming the UK Clinical Research Network (UKCRN). Later this was extended to all care in the NHS through the NIHR Comprehensive Clinical Research Network (NIHR CRN). This work was somewhat complex and challenging and carried out at considerable pace and scale but in each phase it was very positively peer-reviewed by independent panels and refunded at the end of their term of office in 2010 and continues to this day. In 2016 Peter Selby, Eva Morris, Walter Gregory and Matt Seymour brought together a large scale data analysis which demonstrated that there is a powerful and probably causal association between clinical cancer research participation in a hospital and the outcome of its cancer patients. That work is proving influential internationally. Canada has developed a similar model for infrastructure for clinical research across Canada known as the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials Network (3CTN) which is led by Janet Dancey and has been successful in delivering increased clinical research and has been positively peer-reviewed. Peter Selby chairs the 3CTN Scientific Advisory Committee.

As part of developing the “toolbox” for improving cancer patient outcomes, Peter led the Association of Cancer Physicians development of “Problem Solving” textbooks. The books on Older Cancer Patients (2016) and Precision Oncology (2017) were both the BMA Oncology Books of the Year. The current one on Patient Centred and Integrated Care has been nominated for 2018.


  • BA (Hons) 1971 First Class Honours in Natural Sciences; MA 1980
  • MB B Chir 1974 University of Cambridge
  • MRCP (UK) 1976; FRCP 1990; FRCR 1994
  • MD 1980; Doctor of Science 2011
  • Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences 1998

Professional memberships

  • Association of Cancer Physicians, President 2007 – 2019
  • American Association of Cancer Research
  • American Society for Clinical Oncology
  • European Cancer Concord, President 2014-2017
  • European Society for Medical Oncology

Student education

I undertake undergraduate medical education in small groups in wards and clinics; lecture on Mastership courses, supervise postgraduate trainees and I am developing a training programme for oncologists in improving cancer outcomes. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Research at St James's
  • Cancer