- colon and rectal cancer: diagnosis, staging and assessment of response to treatment
- gastrointestinal malignancies: diagnosis and staging
Professor Gina Brown graduated from King’s College Hospital School of Medicine, London, in 1988 and is a Consultant Radiologist and Professor in Gastrointestinal Cancer Imaging at Imperial College London and The Royal Marsden. Professor Brown has both a private and an NHS practice at The Royal Marsden. She has over 150 peer-reviewed publications, and has been the principal supervisor to seven successfully awarded higher degrees in colon and rectal cancer.
She has been invited to 'Meet the Professor' sessions at the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons and the American Society of Clinical Oncology and has given refresher courses in rectal cancer imaging at the Radiological Society of North America and the International Society of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Best Teacher Award 2011). Professor Brown has given over 70 invited international lectures and workshops and has been a visiting professor at Case Medical Center, Cleveland (2012), Russian School of Coloproctology, Moscow (2011), McGill University, Montreal and University of Yonsei Medical School, Seoul (2008). In 2010/11 she was an Invited Expert Advisor at the U.S.A National Cancer Institute, Danish Healthcare and Cancer Care Ontario, assisting in the development of policies for high resolution MRI in managing patients with colorectal cancer.
She is the chair of the Royal College of Radiologists/National Cancer Intelligence Network cancer reporting standards working group, undertaking a national initiative to improve radiologic cancer staging through implementation of reporting templates that deliver information needed for optimal cancer care.
As the Radiology Faculty lead for the NHS National TME development programme (2003-06) and the National Cancer Action Team Low Rectal Cancer Programme (2011-13), she has been responsible for the training and roll-out of high-quality rectal cancer MRI staging to over 180 multidisciplinary colorectal teams through specialist workshops.
Professor Brown is the Imaging Principal Investigator/Chief Investigator in several national and international clinical trials: timing of surgery after completing neoadjuvant therapy (the 6 vs 12 trial). the multicentre international low rectal cancer study (MERCURY 2). imaging and neoadjuvant therapy in colon cancer trials, and MRI surveillance in the deferral of surgery trial. These research projects have been made possible through grant funding from the Pelican Cancer foundation, the Bowel Disease Research Foundation, the Royal College of Surgeons and Cancer Research UK.
As chief investigator for the MERCURY trial (funded by the Pelican Cancer Foundation), widespread adoption of MRI for staging rectal cancer led to practice changes in the UK and overseas, such as selective use of radiotherapy to reduce morbidity for patients. Phase III trials in rectal cancer now use the MERCURY principles of staging and quality assurance in imaging, surgery and pathology to investigate treatments in different risk groups.
She pioneered the investigation of imaging prognostic factors such as extramural vascular invasion colon and rectal cancer and implications for patient outcomes. This led to identification of key imaging predictors of patients at risk of developing metastatic disease now being targeted for treatment in NCRI phase II/III trials.
Professor Brown developed staging criteria in colon and rectal cancer and standards for reporting that are now adopted globally. She initiated and developed the UK Deferral of Surgery trial protocol for rectal cancer patients in response to patients' desires to avoid permanent stoma and defined the post-radiotherapy MRI criteria to identify complete responders eligible for avoidance of surgery.