ORCHID Penile Cancer Programme

Epigenetic changes shown in yellow for Penile cancer (left) and normal tissue (right).
The Orchid Penile Cancer Programme will address the lack of fundamental scientific knowledge about penile cancer.
Penile Cancer

  • Penile cancer is a rare but terribly mutilating malignancy in the developed world, with just over 500 new cases in the UK, and 1,600 in the USA, each year.

  • The human papilloma virus (HPV) is known to contribute to the formation of penile cancer

  • We are investigating genetic and epigenetic alterations defining HPV and non- HPV penile cancer.

The Orchid Penile Cancer Programme


We have performed one of the most comprehensive analyses of the genetic and epigenetic alterations present in penile cancers to identify novel genetic mutations involved in the development of this disease. We found that changes in DNA methylation appear more prominent in penile cancer development than genetic alterations.

​We have also identified HPV-induced epigenetic alterations which are predictive of survival in multiple HPV driven cancers.

We are testing these biomarkers for the detection of premalignant disease in HPV driven cancers including penile cancer.

The Big Question

Can we use epigenetic markers to find aggressive cancer at an early stage and to select patients for new treatments.


The Kelly:Feber Lab with Orchid are aim to improve the lives of patients with penile and HPV cancer.


Click        to donate to Orchid enabling this invaluable work to continue

Relevant Publications

  1. Feber A, Arya M, De Winter P, Muhammad S, Nigam R, Malone PR, Tan WS, Rodney S, Lechner M, Freeman A, Jameson C, Muneer A, Beck S, Kelly JD. Whole exome sequencing identified novel CSN1 somatic mutations in penile squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer Res. 2016 Aug 15;76(16):4720-7.

  2. Feber A, Arya M, de Winter P, Saqib M, Nigam R, Malone PR, Tan WS, Rodney S, Lechner M, Freeman A, Jameson C, Muneer A, Beck S, Kelly JD. Epigenetics markers of metastasis and HPV induced tumourigenesis in penile cancer.Clin Cancer Res. 2014 Dec 23. pii: clincanres.1656.2014.[Epub ahead of print]