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Dr. David Hughes

Dr. David Hughes

UCD School of Biomolecular & Biomedical Science, UCD Conway Institute

Scopus ID: 7403464450


Dr David Hughes joined the faculty of the School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences in University College Dublin (UCD) in 2018, where he is an Assistant Professor of Cancer Epidemiology and Conway Fellow / PI of the Conway Institute. His current molecular epidemiology research examines how nutritional, genetic, metabolic, and microbial factors may affect the initiation and progression of cancer, with a focus on colorectal cancer (CRC). Previously he has worked at the RCSI, TCD (Dublin, Ireland), the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, Lyon, France), the Sanger Institute (Cambridge, UK), and Imperial College (London, UK).

He currently leads large prospective cohort studies in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) of the influence of bacterial antigens, gut barrier integrity, and nutritional status of micronutrient minerals on risk of cancer at various organ sites. Recent findings of his microbial serology studies within EPIC include that an increased immune response to antigens of Streptococcus gallolyticus and Helicobacter pylori in pre-diagnostic blood samples are associated with an increased CRC risk (PUBMED PMID: 29377173 & in review, respectively), while antibody responses to Fusobacterium nucleatum proteins are not associated with risk of developing CRC (PMID: 31481495). Regarding micronutrients, his recent research has indicated that higher pre-diagnostic selenium status is associated with lower colorectal and liver cancer risk, and that pre-diagnostic zinc and copper concentrations are also associated with risk of these cancers (e.g. PUBMED PMIDs 28415859, 28575311, 28152549, 27357089, 25042282; see also Additionally, several common single nucleotide polymorphisms in selenium-related genes (selenoprotein and selenium metabolic pathway genes) alone or in combination with Se status may affect CRC development (PMID: 31027226), while also variation in Vitamin D-related genes together with circulating Vitamin D levels may affect CRC risk (PMID: 31434255). He recently co-authored a review on lifestyle and dietary factors implicated in either the prevention or promotion of CRC development (PMID: 31233770).

Dr Hughes received his BSc Biochemistry degree from the University of Leeds in 1990, his PhD in Medical Genetics from Queen’s University Belfast in 1996, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Professions Education at the RCSI in 2015. He is a member of the EPIC Gastrointestinal Cancer Working Group, an International Advisory Board member of the International Society for Selenium Research, and a member of the International Cancer Microbiome Consortium (where he co-authored an expert consensus statement of the Role of the Human Microbiome in Carcinogenesis; Scott et al, 2019 Gut; PMID: 31092590), and the Irish Cancer Epidemiology Network. Current projects are funded by the Health Research Board (HRB) of Ireland, World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), COST Action (EU)and the UCD School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences (SBBS).

Selected Publications

  1. Murphy N, Moreno V, Hughes DJ, Vodicka L, Vodicka P, Aglago EK, Gunter M, Jenab M. Lifestyle and Dietary Environmental Factors in Colorectal Cancer Susceptibility. Mol Aspects Med 2019 Jun 28. pii: S0098-2997(19)30033-0. PMID: 31233770
  1. Scott AJ, Alexander JL, Merrifield CA, Cunningham D, Jobin C, Brown R, Alverdy J, O’Keefe SJ, Gaskins HR, Teare J, Yu J, Hughes DJ, Verstraelen H, Burton J, O’Toole PW, Rosenberg DW, Marchesi JR, Kinross JM. The International Cancer Microbiome Consortium Consensus Statement on the Role of the Human Microbiome in Carcinogenesis. Gut 2019 Sep;68(9):1624-1632; doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2019-318556. PMID: 31092590
  1. Butt J, Jenab M, Pawlita M, Overvad K, Tjønneland A, Olsen A, Boutron-Ruault MC, Carbonnel F, Mancini FR, Kaaks R, Kühn T, Boeing H, Trichopoulou A, Bamia C, Karakatsani A, Palli D, Pala VM, Tumino R, Sacerdote C, Panico S, Bueno-de-Mesquita B, van Gils CH, Vermeulen RCH, Weiderpass Vainio E, Quirós JR, Duell EJ, Sánchez MJ, Dorronsoro M, Huerta JM, Ardanaz E, van Guelpen B, Harlid S, Perez-Cornago A, Gunter M, Murphy N, Freisling H, Aune D, Waterboer T, Hughes DJ. Antibody responses to Fusobacterium nucleatum proteins in pre-diagnostic blood samples are not associated with risk of developing colorectal cancer. Cancer Epidemiol Biomark Prev 2019, Sep;28(9):1552-1555. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0313. PMID: 31481495.
  1. Fedirko V, Jenab M, Méplan C, Jones JS, Zhu W, Schomburg L, Siddiq A, Hybsier S, Overvad K, Tjønneland A, Omichessan H, Perduca V, Boutron-Ruault MC, Kühn T, Katzke V, Aleksandrova K, Trichopoulou A, Karakatsani A, Kotanidou A, Tumino R, Panico S, Masala G, Agnoli C, Naccarati A, Bueno-de-Mesquita B, Vermeulen RCH, Weiderpass Vainio E, Skeie G, Haugdahl Nøst T, Lujan-Barroso L, Quirós JR, Huert JM, Rodríguez-Barranco M, Barricarte A, Gylling B, Harlid S, Bradbury KE, Wareham N, Khaw KT, Gunter M, Murphy N, Freisling H, Tsilidis K, Aune D, Riboli E, Hesketh JE, Hughes DJ. Association of selenoprotein and selenium pathway genotypes with risk of colorectal cancer and interaction with selenium status. Nutrients 2019, Apr 25; 11(4), 935;, PMID: 31027226
  1. Kunzmann AT, Proença MA, Jordao H, Jiraskova K, Schneiderova M, Levy M, Liska V, Buchler T, Vodickova L, Vymetalkova V, Silva AE, Vodicka P, Hughes DJFusobacterium nucleatum tumor DNA levels are associated with survival in colorectal cancer patients. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 2019, Oct;38(10):1891-1899. DOI:10.1007/s10096-019-03649-1. PMID: 31367996                                                                                                                                       
  2. Hughes DJ, Kunická T, Schomburg L, Liška V, Swan N, Souček P. Expression of selenoprotein genes and association with selenium status in colorectal adenoma and colorectal cancer. Nutrients 2018 10, 1812, Nov 21st; doi:10.3390/nu10111812. PMID: 30469315. ppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppppp
  3. Butt J, Jenab M, Willhauck-Fleckenstein M, Michel A, Pawlita M, Kyrø C, Anne Tjønneland A, Boutron-Ruault MC, Carbonnel F, Severi G, Kaaks R, Kühn T, Boeing H, Trichopulou A, la Vecchia C, Karakatsani A, Panico S, Tumino R, Agnoli C, Palli D, Sacerdote C, Bueno-de-Mesquita  HB, Weiderpass E, Sánchez MJ, Bonet C, Huerta JM, Ardanaz E, Bradbury K, Gunter M,  Murphy N, Freisling H, Riboli E, Tsilidis K, Aune D, Waterboer T, Hughes DJ. Prospective evaluation of antibody response to Streptococcus gallolyticus and risk of colorectal cancer. Int J Cancer 2018 July 15; 143(2): 245-252. PMID: 29377173.
  1. Stepien M, Jenab M, Freisling H, Becker NP, Czuban M, Tjønneland A, Olsen A, Overvad K, Boutron-Ruault MC, Mancini FR, Savoye I, Katzke V, Kühn T, Boeing H, Iqbal K, Trichopoulou A, Bamia C, Orfanos P, Palli D, Sieri S, Tumino R, Naccarati A, Panico S, Bueno-de-Mesquita HBA, Peeters PH, Weiderpass E, Merino S, Jakszyn P, Sanchez MJ, Dorronsoro M, Huerta JM, Barricarte A, Boden S, van Guelpen B, Wareham N, Khaw KT, Bradbury KE, Cross AJ, Schomburg L, Hughes DJ. Pre-diagnostic copper and zinc biomarkers and colorectal cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition cohort. Carcinogenesis 2017 Jun 1; 38 (7): 699-707. PMID: 28575311.
  1. Stepien M, Hughes DJ, Hybsier S, Bamia C, Tjønneland A, Overvad K, Affret A, His M,  Boutron-Ruault MC,  Katzke V, Kühn T, Aleksandrova K, Trichopoulou A, Lagiou P, Orfanos P, Palli D, Sieri S, Tumino R, Ricceri F, Panico S, Bueno-de-Mesquita H.B(as),  Peeters PH, Weiderpass E, Lasheras C, Bonet C, Molina-Portillo E, Dorronsoro M,  Huerta JM, Barricarte A, Ohlsson B, Sjöberg K, Werner M, Shungin D, Wareham N, Khaw KT, Travis RC, Freisling H, Cross AJ, Schomburg L, Jenab M. Circulating copper and zinc levels and risk of hepatobiliary cancers in Europeans. Br J Cancer 2017 Feb 28; 116: 688–696.  PMID: 28152549 
  1. Mohelnikova-Duchonova B, Strouhal O, Hughes DJ, Holcatova I, Oliverius M, Kala Z, Campa D, Rizzato C, Canzian F, Pezzilli R, Talar-Wojnarowska R, Malecka-Panas E, Sperti C, Federico Zambon C, Pedrazzoli S, Fogar P, Milanetto A, Capurso G, Delle Fave G, Valente R, Gazouli M, Malleo G, Lawlor RT, Strobel O, Hackert T, Giese N, Vodicka P, Vodickova L, Landi S, Tavano F, Gioffreda D, Piepoli A, Pazienza V, Mambrini A, Pedata M, Cantore M, Bambi F, Ermini S, Funel N, and Souček P. SLC22A3 polymorphisms do not modify pancreatic cancer risk, but may influence overall patient survival. Sci Rep 2017 Mar 8; 7: 43812. PMID: 28272475 
  1. Schomburg L, Hughes DJ. The missing link? The potential role of selenium in the development of liver cancer and significance for the general population. Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2017; Aug;11(8):707-709. PMID: 28415859 
  1. Hughes DJ, Duarte-Salles T, Hybsier S, Trichopoulou A, Stepien M, Aleksandrova K, Overvad K, Tjønneland A, Olsen A, Affret A, Fagherazzi G, Boutron-Ruault MC, Katzke V, Kaaks R, Boeing H, Bamia C, Lagiou P, Peppa E, Palli D, Krogh V, Panico S, Tumino R, Sacerdote C, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Peeters PH, Engeset D, Weiderpass E, Lasheras C, Agudo A, Sánchez MJ, Navarro C, Ardanaz E, Dorronsoro M, Hemmingsson O, Wareham N, Khaw KT, Bradbury K, Cross AJ, Gunter M, Riboli E, Romieu I, Schomburg L, Jenab M. Pre-diagnostic selenium status and hepatobiliary cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Cohort. Am J Clin Nutr 2016 Aug; 104: 1–9. PMID: 27357089
  1. Hughes DJ, Fedirko V, Jenab M, Schomburg L, Méplan C, Freisling H, Bueno de Mesquita HB, Hybsier S, Becker NP, Czuban M, Tjønneland A, Outzen M, Boutron-Ruault MC, Racine A, Bastide N,  Kühn T, Kaaks R, Trichopoulos D, Trichopoulou A, Lagiou P, Panico S, Peeters PH, Weiderpass E, Skeie G, Dagrun E, Chirlaque MD, Sánchez MJ, Ardanaz E, Ljuslinder I, Wennberg M, Bradbury KE, Vineis P, Naccarati A, Palli D, Boeing H, Overvad K, Dorronsoro M, Jakszyn P, Cross AJ, Ramón Quirós  J, Stepien M, Kong SY, Duarte-Salles T, Riboli E, Hesketh JE. Selenium Status is Associated with Colorectal Cancer risk in the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer and Nutrition Cohort. Int J Cancer 2015 Mar 1; 136(5): 1149-61. PMID: 25042282
  1. Dowling P, Hughes DJ, Larkin AM, Meiller J, Henry M, Meleady P, Lynch V, Pardini B, Naccarati A, Levy M, Vodicka P, Neary P, Clynes M. Elevated levels of 14-3-3 proteins, serotonin, gamma enolase and pyruvate kinase identified in clinical samples from patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Clin Chim Acta 2015 Feb 20; 441: 133-41. PMID: 25540887
  1. Aherne ST, Madden SF, Hughes DJ, Pardini B, Naccarati A, Levy M, Vodicka P, Neary P, Dowling P, Clynes M. Circulating miRNAs miR-34a and miR-150 associated with colorectal cancer progression. BMC Cancer 2015; 15: 329. PMID:25924769.
  1. Flanagan L, Schmid J, Neary P, Ebert MP, Souček P, Kunicka T, Liska V, Bruha J, Dezeeuw N, Tommasino M, Jenab M, Prehn JH, Hughes DJFusobacterium nucleatum associates with stages of colorectal neoplasia development, colorectal cancer and disease outcome. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 2014 Aug; 33(8): 1381-1390. PMID:24599709
  1. Kelley L, Swan N, Hughes DJ. An analysis of the duplicate testing strategy of an Irish immunochemical FOBT colorectal cancer screening program. Colorectal Disease 2013; 15: e512–e521. PMID: 23746062
  1. Ebert MPA, Tänzer M, Balluff B, Burgermeister E, Kretzschmar AK, Hughes DJ, Tetzner R, Lofton-Day C, Rosenberg R, Reinacher-Schick A, Schulmann K, Hofheinz R, Röcken C, Keller G, Langer R, Stöhlmacher J, Schuster T, Ströbel P, Schmid R. TFAP2E/DKK4 and Chemoresistance in Colorectal Cancer. N Engl J Med 2012; 366: 44-53. PMID:22216841
  1. Méplan C, Hughes DJ, Pardini B, Naccareti A, Souček P, Vodickova L, Hlavata I, Vrana D, Vodicka P, Hesketh J. Genetic Variants in Selenoprotein Genes Increase Risk of Colorectal Cancer. Carcinogenesis 2010 Jun; 31(6): 1074-9. PMID: 20378690
  1. Hughes DJ. Use of Association Studies to Define Genetic Modifiers of Breast Cancer Risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 Mutation Carriers. Familial Cancer 2008; 7: 233-244. PMID: 18283561
  1. Antoniou AC, Sinilnikova OM, Simard J, Léoné M, Dumont M, Neuhausen SL, Struewing JP, Stoppa Lyonnet D, Barjhoux L, Hughes DJ, et al, Couch F, Easton DF and Chenevix-Trench G on behalf of CIMBA. RAD51 135G/C modifies breast cancer risk among BRCA2 mutation carriers: Results from a combined analysis of 19 studies. Am J Hum Genet 2007; 81: 1186-1200. PMID: 17999359
  1. Cox A, Dunning AM, Garcia-Closas M, Balasubramanian S, Reed MW, Pooley KA, et al, Sangrajrang S, Hughes D, Odefrey F, et al, Pharoah PD, Easton DF; on behalf of the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. A common coding variant in CASP8 is associated with breast cancer risk. Nature Genetics 2007; 39: 352-8. PMID: 17293864
  1. The Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). Commonly Studied Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms and Breast Cancer: Results from the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2006; 98; 1382-96. PMID: 17018785
  1. Hughes DJ, Ginolhac SM, Coupier I, Barjhoux L, Gaborieau V, et al. Modification of breast cancer risk in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers with polyglutamine repeat length in the AIB1 gene. Int J Cancer 2005; 117: 230-233. PMID: 15900600
  1. Hughes D, Ginolhac SM, Coupier I, Corbex M, et al. Common BRCA2 variants and modification of breast and ovarian cancer risk in BRCA1 mutation carriers. Cancer Epidemiol Biomark Prev 2005; 14; 265-267. PMID: 15668505
  1. Hughes D, Dörk T, Sthurmann M, Graham C. Mutation and haplotype analysis of the CFTR gene in atypically mild cystic fibrosis patients from Northern Ireland. J Med Genet 2001; 38: 136-139. PMID: 11288718 
  1. Hughes D, Hill A, Macek M Jr, Redmond A, Nevin N, Graham C. Mutation Characterization of CFTR Gene in 206 Northern Irish CF Families: 30 Mutations, Two of which are Novel, Account for 94% of CF Chromosomes. Human Mutation 1996; 8: 340-347. PMID: 8956039
  1. Hughes D, Wallace A, Taylor J, Tassabehji M, McMahon R, Hill A, Nevin N, Graham C. Fluorescent Multiplex Microsatellites used to Define Haplotypes Associated with 75 CFTR Mutations from the UK on 437 CF Chromosomes. Human Mutation 1996; 8: 229-235. PMID: 8889582
  1. Hughes D, Hill A, Redmond A, Nevin N, Graham C. Fluorescent Multiplex Microsatellites used to identify Haplotype Associations with 15 CFTR Mutations in 124 Northern Irish CF Families. Human Genetics 1995; 95: 462-464. PMID: 7535745
  1. Chartier-Harlin MC, Crawford F, Houlden H, Warren A, Hughes D, Fidani L, Goate A, Rossor M, Roques P, Hardy J, Mullan M. Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease caused by mutations at codon 717 of the beta-amyloid precursor protein gene. Nature 1991; 353: 844-846. PMID:1944558