Dr Chris Tselepis

Chris Tselepis.School of Cancer Sciences Day 1 110311.
Dr Chris Tselepis is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham with an interest in gut cancer biology. Specifically his research focuses on exploring the role of dietary iron in the initiation and progression of colorectal cancer and more recently developing potential therapeutic approaches.

Senior Lecturer in School of Cancer Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham. 

Email: c.tselepis@bham.ac.uk

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Background and Research Focus

Chris is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Cancer Studies with a long-standing interest in gastrointestinal cancer. Chris’s group in collaboration with Dr Tariq Iqbal (Consultant Gastroenterologists UHB) focuses specifically on the role of iron in tumourigenesis.  His group has demonstrated that deregulation of proteins involved in iron metabolism leads to progression of both oesophageal and colorectal cancer.  Crucially, such changes result in elevated cellular iron levels which in turn amplifies Wnt signalling, a major oncogenic signaling pathway of the intestine.  Consequently, Chris’s lab is also now interested in assessing the value of iron chelators as therapeutic reagents in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Current research involves identifying chelators which not only possess desirable iron chelating properties but are safe for human consumption and are non-absorbable within the gastrointestinal tract. At present several dietary agents which satisfy these conditions have been identified and these are the subject of additional investigation, including manipulation of structure and assessing chemopreventive potential using in-vivo and in-vitro model systems. In particular several of these agents are being developed in readiness for human clinical trials.


Cancer Cell Biology; gastrointestinal cancer; iron chelators; obesity and metabolism; endocrine-associated cancer.

Other activities

Chris has forged strong collaborations with both experts in the Schools of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham and from Industry to further develop iron chelation technologies. This has led to the discovery of highly promising dietary iron chelators to treat cancer and culminated in several pending patents. More recently, Chris has developed an interest in dissecting the role of iron and obesity as risk factors for colorectal cancer and endocrine cancers using cutting edge proteomic and metabolomic technologies. Chris has published in excess of 40 research articles in the field of cancer, more recently focussed on iron metabolism, obesity and gastrointestinal cancer. He has received funding from the Cancer Research UK, BBSRC, WCRF, CORE and the UHB Charities. Alongside his research, Chris has made substantial contributions to teaching both undergraduate and post graduate students. Most pertinently he currently serves as Programme Director for the BMedSc course. He is also module lead on the ‘Digestive system’ module which is delivered as a core MBChB module to all 400 first year medical students. Finally, he contributes to a host of outreach activities showcasing the work both of Cancer Studies.


Ford SJ, Obeidy P, Lovejoy DB, Bedford M, Nichols L, Chadwick C, Tucker O, Lui GY, Kalinowski DS, Jansson PJ, Iqbal TH, Alderson D, Richardson DR, Tselepis C. Deferasirox (ICL670A) effectively inhibits oesophageal cancer growth in vitro and in vivo. Br J Pharmacol. 2013 Mar;168(6):1316-28.

Radulescu S, Brookes MJ, Salgueiro P, Ridgway RA, McGhee E, Anderson K, Ford SJ, Stones DH, Iqbal TH, Tselepis C, Sansom OJ. Luminal iron levels govern intestinal tumorigenesis after Apc loss in vivo. Cell Rep. 2012 Aug 30;2(2):270-82.

Cronin J, McAdam E, Danikas A, Tselepis C, Griffiths P, Baxter J, Thomas L, Manson J, Jenkins G. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in high-grade dysplasia and adenocarcinoma of the esophagus and may represent a biomarker of histological progression in Barrett’s esophagus. (2011) Am J Gastroenterol. 106:46-56.

Bryan RT, Tselepis C. Cadherin switching and bladder cancer. (2010) J Urol. 184:423-31.

Tselepis C, Ford SJ, McKie AT, Vogel W, Zoller H, Simpson RJ, Diaz Castro J, Iqbal TH, Ward DG. (2010) Characterization of the transition-metal-binding properties of hepcidin. Biochem J. 427:289-96.

Kroot JJ, Kemna EH, Bansal SS, Busbridge M, Campostrini N, Girelli D, Hider RC, Koliaraki V, Mamalaki A, Olbina G, Tomosugi N, Tselepis C, Ward DG, Ganz T, Hendriks JC, Swinkels DW. (2009) Results of the first international round robin for the quantification of urinary and plasma hepcidin assays: need for standardization. Haematologica. 94:1748-52.

Sharma N, Begum J, Eksteen B, Elagib A, Brookes M, Cooper BT, Tselepis C, Iqbal TH. (2009) Differential ferritin expression is associated with iron deficiency in coeliac disease. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 21:794-804.

Oesophageal adenocarcinoma is associated with a deregulation in the MYC/MAX/MAD network. (2008) Boult JK, Tanière P, Hallissey MT, Campbell MJ, Tselepis C. Br J Cancer 98:1985-92.

Brookes MJ, Boult J, Roberts K, Cooper BT, Hotchin NA, Matthews G, Iqbal T, Tselepis C. A role for iron in Wnt signalling. Oncogene. 2008 Feb 7;27(7):966-75.

Brookes MJ, Hughes S, Turner FE, Reynolds G, Sharma N, Ismail T, Berx G, McKie AT, Hotchin N, Anderson GJ, Iqbal T, Tselepis C. Modulation of iron transport proteins in human colorectal carcinogenesis. Gut. 2006 Oct;55(10):1449-60.

Tselepis C, Morris CD, Wakelin D, Hardy R, Perry I, Luong QT, Harper E, Harrison R, Attwood SE, Jankowski JA. Upregulation of the oncogene c-myc in Barrett’s adenocarcinoma: induction of c-myc by acidified bile acid in vitro. Gut. 2003 Feb;52(2):174-80.