Professor Hisham Mehanna


Professor Hisham Mehanna is a head and neck and thyroid surgeon who leads an internationally leading portfolio of clinical trials in the field of head and neck cancer.   

Professor of Head and Neck Surgery, Director of Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education, Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham. 


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Background and Research focus

Professor Mehanna is the Chair of Head and Neck Surgery and is the Director of the Institute of Head and Neck Studies and Education (InHANSE) at the School of Cancer Sciences.  He leads a research team of over 15 researchers and received funding from the Health Technology Assessment Unit, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Research and industry. His clinical research portfolio focuses on enhancing the outcomes and reducing the disability from head and neck and thyroid cancer and encompasses three streams.  Firstly, his group develops clinical trials to assess the efficacy and viability of novel interventions of head and neck and thyroid cancer. Secondly, they are undertaking translational research to accelerate the introduction of potential new therapies and cutting edge surgical devices into clinical practice.  Finally, the Mehanna group are developing and evaluating clinical biomarker strategies for stratified medicine.


Head and neck and thyroid cancer; microvascular reconstructive surgery; clinical biomarkers; stratified medicine; HPV-oropharyngeal cancer.

Other activities

Professor Mehanna practices at University Hospitals Birmingham and Heart of England Foundation Trusts. He is a head and neck and thyroid cancer surgeon with clinical interests in microvascular reconstructive surgery and endoscopic thyroid and parathyroid surgery. In addition, he is the chief investigator PET NECK, a multicentre randomised controlled trial examining the role of PET CT in the management of advanced head and neck cancer. He also runs two large multicentre studies on HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer and HPV oral infection. Alongside his clinical commitments, Professor Mehanna also runs two annual international postgraduate ‘Masters’ courses in head and neck surgery with illustrious international and national invited speakers. Professor Mehanna serves as Chair on several groups including the National Clinical Research Institute Head & Neck Clinical Studies Group, Continuing Postgraduate Development Committee of the British Association of Otorhinolaryngologists-Head Neck Surgeons and the Research Committee of the British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists. Finally, he serves on the Council of the Royal Society of Medicine, Laryngology Section, the Council of the International Association of Oral Oncology. 


Nankivell P, Williams H, Webster K, Pearson D, High A, Maclennan K, Senguven B, McConkey C, Rabbitts P, Mehanna H. Investigation of p16(INK) (4a) as a prognostic biomarker in oral epithelial dysplasia. J Oral Pathol Med. 2014 Apr;43(4):245-9.

Meade S, McConkey C, Sanghera P, Mehanna H, Hartley A. Revised radiobiology modelling of the contribution of synchronous chemotherapy to the rate of grades 3-4 mucositis in head and neck cancer. J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2013 Dec;57(6):733-8; quiz 739-40.

Nankivell P, Williams H, McConkey C, Webster K, High A, MacLennan K, Senguven  B, Rabbitts P, Mehanna H. Tetraspanins CD9 and CD151, epidermal growth factor receptor and cyclooxygenase-2 expression predict malignant progression in oral epithelial dysplasia. Br J Cancer. 2013 Nov 26;109(11):2864-74.

McCaul JA, Cymerman JA, Hislop S, McConkey C, McMahon J, Mehanna H, Shaw R, Sutton DN, Dunn J. LIHNCS – Lugol’s iodine in head and neck cancer surgery: a multicentre, randomised controlled trial assessing the effectiveness of Lugol’s iodine to assist excision of moderate dysplasia, severe dysplasia and carcinoma in situ at mucosal resection margins of oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2013 Sep 24;14:310.

Shaw R, Mehanna H. Surgical trials in head & neck cancer – are you serious? Oral Oncol. 2013 Sep;49(9):843-4.

Ramakrishnan Y, Drinnan M, Kwong FN, Grant DG, Mehanna H, Jones T, Paleri V. Oncologic outcomes of transoral laser microsurgery for radiorecurrent laryngeal carcinoma: a systematic review and meta-analysis of English-language literature.  Head Neck. 2014 Feb;36(2):280-5.

Kaur G, Hutchison I, Mehanna H, Williamson P, Shaw R, Tudur Smith C. Barriers  to recruitment for surgical trials in head and neck oncology: a survey of trial investigators. BMJ Open. 2013 Apr 11;3(4).

Mehanna H, McQueen A, Robinson M, Paleri V. Salivary gland swellings. Clin Otolaryngol. 2013 Feb;38(1):58-65. doi: 10.1111/coa.12056. Review.

Harrington K, Berrier A, Robinson M, Remenar E, Housset M, de Mendoza FH, Fayette J, Mehanna H, El-Hariry I, Compton N, Franklin N, Biswas-Baldwin N, Lau M, Legenne P, Kumar R. Randomised Phase II study of oral lapatinib combined with chemoradiotherapy in patients with advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: rationale for future randomised trials in human papilloma virus-negative disease. Eur J Cancer. 2013 May;49(7):1609-18.

Nankivell P, Williams H, Matthews P, Suortamo S, Snead D, McConkey C, Mehanna H. The binary oral dysplasia grading system: validity testing and suggested improvement. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol. 2013 Jan;115(1):87-94.