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Oesophageal cancer is a serious malignancy with regards to mortality and prognosis. The two main subtypes are known to be aetiologically distinct with smoking and alcohol intake being major risk factors for squamous cell carcinoma and adiposity and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease being established risk factors for adenocarcinoma. There are, however, outstanding questions about the role of other potential risk factors for these cancers.  


We seek a PhD student with an interest in epidemiology to advance existing knowledge about risk factors for oesophageal cancer. The successful candidate will have access to data from two extremely large and diverse cohort studies: the Million Women Study and China Kadoorie Biobank. The aim is to use the large sample sizes in both cohorts, the availability of objective measures of exposures, genetic data in CKB and the large differences in body mass distribution between UK and China, to conduct analyses into the aetiology of oesophageal cancer and its relevant subtypes. The applicant will conduct prospective analyses to examine the risk of oesophageal cancer subtypes in relation to a wide range of behavioural and lifestyle factors including indices of adiposity, diet, and associated metabolic factors. There will also be scope to conduct Mendelian randomisation studies of these risk factors using genetic information within China Kadoorie Biobank.


Training will be provided within the department on data analysis and statistical methods and, if necessary, by external courses.

Prospective candidate

The ideal candidate should have an MSc degree in epidemiology, statistics or a closely related subject. This project would particularly suit someone with a clinical background.


For an example of this type of research, see Reeves, G., 2007. Cancer incidence and mortality in relation to body mass index in the Million Women Study: cohort study. BMJ 2007; 335 doi: 

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