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Professor John Benson

Visiting Professor
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Medicine
Research Supervision:

Professor Benson is Consultant Breast Surgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and a leading breast cancer specialist with a national and international reputation. He is also Fellow and Director of Clinical Studies at Selwyn College, Cambridge.


Professor Benson qualified from Oxford University Clinical School and was awarded doctorates from Oxford and Cambridge universities. Specialist training was obtained at the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research, London, and The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Centre, New York.

Professor Benson examines for the MRCS diploma, is a member of the British Breast Group and sits on the Executive Board of the Associaton of Breast Surgery (Ordinary Trustee). His clinical practice is devoted entirely to breast diseases, and current research interests include investigation of a fluorescent navigation system for sentinel lymph node detection.

Professor Benson has more than 120 published articles (ranked in top 0.18% of world’s breast cancer experts) and won First Prize in the Oncology Section of BMA Medical Book Awards (2013). He is a former member of the Planning Committee for the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (2013–2015) and delivered a Grand Round lecture at the University of Texas Health Sciences Centre at San Antonio in 2016.

Spoken Languages
  • Working knowledge of Portuguese
Research interests
  • Investigation of fluorescence mapping with indocyanine green for sentinel lymph node localisation in early breast cancer patients [formerly CI for ICG-10 study]
  • Evaluation of novel technologies for intra-operative assessment of margin status in breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery [PI for MarginProbe study]
  • Determination of optimal management of sentinel lymph node biopsy positive breast cancer patients (primary surgery and post-chemotherapy) [PI for POSNOC trial]
  • Surgical management of multiple ipsilateral breast cancers [PI for MIAMI trial]
  • Idenfication of patients who can safely avoid radiotherapy following breast conserving surgery [local surgical lead for PRIMETIME trial]
  • Clinical translation of pre-clinical work examining interaction between hormone receptors in pre-surgical window or opportunity studies in early stage breast cancer [Co-investigator for POINEER trial].

Professor Benson continues to evaluate fluorescence navigation for localization of the sentinel lymph node in early breast cancer patients and has published three recent papers on this topic in American journals. One of these is a leading commentary summarizing where we are and where we are going with this technology (Annals of Surgical Oncology). A prospective observational study is being conducted that will permit calculation of relative sensitivities of fluorescence and radioisotopes for localisation. As principal investigator for several national trials, Professor Benson is involved in areas of potentially practice-changing research.

Areas of research supervision
  • Supervision of clinical students undertaking research as component of SSC projects (Student Selected Components)
  • Supervision of research projects undertaken by visiting elective medical students
  • Supervision of research/audit projects by trainee junior doctors.

Regular tuition to clinical and pre-clinical medical students (Associate Lecturer, University of Cambridge). Co-ordinator for regional training days (Eastern Deanery) and co-convener for Advanced Skills in Breast Disease Management course, The Royal College of Surgeons of England. Module lead for Masters in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery (University of East Anglia).

  • BA (Hons) Physiological Sciences, University of Oxford
  • MA Physiological Sciences, University of Oxford
  • BM BCh, Clinical Medicine, University of Oxford
  • Doctor of Medicine (DM), University of Oxford
  • Doctor of Medicine (MD), University of Cambridge
  • FRCS, Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • FRCS, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Member, Association of Breast Surgery
  • Member, British Breast Group
  • Formerly member of editorial board, Lancet Oncology
  • Member of editorial board, Gland Surgery
  • Reviewer for The Lancet, British Journal of Surgery, British Journal of Cancer, European Journal of Surgical Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • Reviewer of major grant applications for Breast Cancer Campaign/Breast Cancer Now, Royal Society Enterprise Fund, Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and Cancer Research.
  • Trustee of Association of Breast Surgery and member of Executive Committee.
  • Member of Academic and Research Group, Association of Breast Surgery.
  • Member of Invited Review Mechanism.
  • All Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer.
  • Member of Working Group on management of lesions of uncertain malignant potential (B3) in breast.
Selected recent publications

Benson, J.R., Jatoi I., Keisch M., Esteva F.J., Makris A., Jordan V.C., 2009. Early Breast Cancer [COMMISSIONED ARTICLE]. Lancet, 373, pp1463-1479.

Benson, J.R., Dumitru, D., Malata, C.M.,2015 Oncologic safety of conservative mastectomy in the therapeutic setting. Gland Surgery, doi:10.3978/j.issn.2227-684X.2015.05.13.

Benson, J.R., Jatoi, I., 2015. Clinical strategies for chemoprevention of breast cancer (Part 2). Oncology News, 10(5), pp121–123.

Benson, J.R., 2015. Indocyanine green fluorescence for sentinel lymph node detection in early breast cancer. Annals Surg Oncol , 23(1), pp6-8.

5) Pitsinis, V., Provenzano, E., Wishart G.C., Benson J.R., 2015. Indocyanine green fluorescence mapping for sentinel lymph node biopsy in early breast cancer. Surg Oncol 24(4), pp375–379.

Benson, J.R., Jatoi, I., 2016. Highlights of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2015: Part 1. Future Oncol, 12(7), pp893–896.

Benson, J.R, Jatoi I., 2016. Highlights of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2015: Part 2. Future Oncol, 12(7), pp897–900.

Benson, J.R., Dumitru, D., 2016 Idiopathic granulomatous mastitis.: presentation, investigation and management. Future Oncol 12(11), pp1381–1394.

Jatoi, I., Benson, J.R., 2016. Management of patients with a hereditary predisposition for breast cancer. vFuture Oncol, 12(19), pp2277–2288.

Benson, J.R., Winters, Z.E., 2016. Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy. Br J Surg, 103(10), pp1249–1250 [LEADING ARTICLE].

Jatoi, I., Benson, J.R., Toi, M., 2016. De-escalation of axillary surgery in early breast cancer. Lancet Oncol, 17 (10), pp430–441.

Benson, J.R., Jatoi, I., Toi, M., 2016. Treatment of low-risk ductal carcinoma in situ: is nothing better than something? Lancet Oncol, 17(10), pp442&ndash451.

Benson, J.R., Down, S.K., 2017. Oncoplastic Surgery – coming of age [LEADING ARTICLE] Br J Surg, 104, pp1269-1271.

Benson, J.R., Jatoi, I., 2016. Highlights of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2016: Part 1. Future Oncol, 12(7), pp893-896.

Benson, J.R., Jatoi, I., 2016. Highlights of the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium 2016: Part 2. Future Oncol, 12(7), pp897-900.

Britton, P., Willsher, P.,Taylor, J., Kilburn-Toppin, F., Provenzano, E., Forouhi, P,Benson, J., Agrawal, A., Forman, J.R., Wallis, M.G., 2017  Microbubble detection and ultrasound-guided vacuum-assisted biopsy of axillary lymph nodes in patients with breast cancer. Clin Radiol, 72(9), pp772–779.

Winters Z.E., Benson, J.R., 2018. Surgical management of multiple ipsilateral breast tumours. Br J Surg, DOI:10.1002/bjs.1073.

Benson, J.R. [LEAD EDITOR], Tuttle, T., Gui, G., (Eds.) 2013. Early Breast Cancer - from screening to multidisciplinary management. CRC Press Publishers, Florida, London, New York [ISBN 978-1-84184-885-3] (3rd Edition). First Prize in Oncology Section of BMA Medical Book Awards 2013.

Querci della Rovere, G., Benson, J.R., Nava, M. (Eds) 2010. Oncoplastic and Reconstructive Surgery of the Breast. Informa Healthcare [ISBN 9780415477284]

Recent presentations and conferences

International invited speaker presentation: Breast Cancer – from radical mastectomy to customized treatments. Faculdade de Ciencias Medicas, UNIVERSIDADE DE PERNAMBUCO, Recife, Brazil [September, 2015].

International invited speaker and co-Chairperson, 4th Kyoto Breast Cancer Consensus Conference (KBCCC), Kyoto, Japan [March 2016].

International invited speaker presentation: Conservative management of breast cancer.  40th World Congress of International College of Surgeons, Kyoto, Japan [October 2016].

Grand Round Presentation: Breast cancer: from radical mastectomy to customized treatments. University of Texas, Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, Texas, United States [December 2016].

Invited speaker presentation: Modern management of the axilla. University of Catania, Sicily, Italy [July 2017].

Invited speaker presentation: Axillary management in breast cancer” Travelling Surgical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Trinity Hall, Cambridge [September 2017].

Delivery of six presentations on breast cancer for Introductory Day of Masters Programme in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery, University of Pune, Pune, India [November 2017].

International invited speaker with four presentations on breast cancer management for 13th Iranian Breast Cancer Congress, Tehran, Islamic Repubic of Iran [February 2018].

Media experience
  • Interview for Tehran television February 2018. Interview conducted in English with subsequent Parsi translation and voiceover.