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Professor John Yarnold

Team Leader

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Professor John Yarnold has led 17 randomised clinical trials testing advances in treatment for cancer patients. His clinical research has led to the establishment of international standard-of-care guidelines for curative radiotherapy for women with early breast cancer and palliative radiotherapy for patients with painful skeletal metastases. Team: Clinical Academic Radiotherapy (Yarnold) ORCID 0000-0002-9010-1854


Professor John Yarnold studied medicine at Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London, and graduated in 1972.

After several years of postgraduate training in general medicine, radiotherapy and oncology, he was appointed Senior Lecturer at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and Honorary Consultant at The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in 1980, where he has remained.

His clinical practice and research interests have concentrated on the role of radiotherapy in breast cancer. Along the way, he also devised and led protocols for randomised trials testing single-dose radiotherapy for the palliation of skeletal pain (1982, 1986, 1992), conformal radiotherapy in pelvic cancers (MRC1, 1987), adjuvant systemic therapies for breast cancer (1993), antioxidants in patients with chronic radiotherapy adverse effects (2000) and hyperbaric oxygen in patients with chronic radiotherapy adverse effects (1997, 2005, 2008). 

The overall aim of his research is to improve the evidence underpinning current and future radiotherapy practices in cancer patients. International standards of care established by these trials include single-dose radiotherapy for patients with painful skeletal metastases; accelerated schedules of curative radiotherapy for women with early breast cancer; and, most recently, partial breast radiotherapy in women treated by breast conservation surgery for early breast cancer.

Altogether, he has been chief investigator of 18 randomised clinical trials with more than 20,000 patients involved as research participants, including 7 national (UK) randomised phase 3 trials testing evaluating hypofractionation, partial breast radiotherapy and dose intensity modulation in women with early breast cancer.

Awards include President’s Medal of the Royal College of Radiologists (UK), Klaus Breuer Medal of the European Society of Radiotherapy & Oncology (ESTRO), Emmanuel Van de Scheuren Memorial Award (ESTRO), Lifetime Achievement Award (ESTRO) & Weiss Medal, Association for Radiation Research, 2017. 

He is Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (UK), Fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists (UK), Honorary Life Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists, past-Chair of the UK National Cancer Research Institute Breast Clinical Studies Group, Emeritus Senior Investigator of the UK National Institute of Health Research, Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Scientists. He has been Jonathan S.T. Sham Visiting Professor at Hong Kong University and a Jean H. Lubrano Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Susan F. Smith Centre for Women’s Cancer, Dana Farba/Havard Cancer Institute, Boston.