Dr Colin Steele - Advanced Colorectal Cancer


Research Fellow, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Colorectal Surgery

Honorary Consultant Surgeon, Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Steele Colin

Colorectal cancer patients die as a result of metastatic progression or disease recurrence following surgery. Though surgery can cure some patients of colorectal cancer with liver limited disease, the vast majority cannot be treated effectively. Current systemic therapies offer modest survival benefits. Understanding the mechanisms of metastatic progression in the most aggressive forms of colorectal cancer will permit therapeutic targeting in the future alongside surgery to improve outcomes for my patients.

My current research interests focus on the immune microenvironment of locally advanced and metastatic colorectal cancer. We have identified the importance of common white blood cells – neutrophils – in driving metastatic progression in models of cancer. Using state-of-the-art in vivo models and human specimens, I am currently seeking to understand the interactions between neutrophil populations, other immune cells and tumour cells in driving progression of colorectal cancer. This work will help to identify vulnerabilities in the immune system that may be harnessed with immunotherapies to target more aggressive colorectal cancer. My clinical work at Glasgow Royal Infirmary operating on patients with locally advanced rectal cancer provides an opportunity to interact with this patient group, obtain relevant clinical samples and help prioritise my research.

 Other funding:

UKRI       Tenovus logo


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Education and qualifications

2019: Intercollegiate FRCS.
2015: PhD: Investigating the role of CXCR2 signalling in pancreatic inflammation and cancer. College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences. University of Glasgow. Supervisor: Professor Owen Sansom.
2009: Intercollegiate MRCS (RCPSG)
2004: BSc Med Sci, Clinical Medicine, University of Glasgow. Supervisor: Dr Ann-Marie McNicol
1996: MBChB,University of Glasgow.


2017-present: NES/CSO Clinical Lectureship
2011–2014: Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Fellow
2010–2011: Lister Fellow Glasgow Royal Infirmary August

Recent Publications


Pennel KA, Quinn JA, Nixon C, Inthagard J, van Wyk HC, Chang D, Rebus S, Hay J, Maka NN, Roxburgh CS, Horgan PG, McMillan DC, Park JH, Roseweir AK, Steele CW, Edwards J. CXCL8 expression is associated with advanced stage, right sidedness, and distinct histological features of colorectal cancer. J Pathol Clin Res. 2022;8:509-520

Persson P, Chong P, Steele CW, Quinn M. Prevention and management of complications in pelvic exenteration. Eur J Surg Oncol. 2022; 48:2277-2283.

Gould LE, Pring ET, Drami I, Moorghen M, Naghibi M, Jenkins JT, Steele CW, Roxburgh CS. A systematic review of the pathological determinants of outcome following resection by pelvic exenteration of locally advanced and locally recurrent rectal cancer. Int J Surg. 2022;104:106738.


Han J, Tao M, Wu X, Li D, Ma Y, Dawood S, Steele CW, Tan KK, Wang Q. Reporting quality of practice guidelines on colorectal cancer: evaluation using the RIGHT reporting checklist. Ann Transl Med. 2021;9(14):1175.

Mackey JBG, McFarlane AJ, Jamieson T, Jackstadt R, Raffo-Iraolagoitia XL, Secklehner J, Cortes-Lavaud X, Fercoq F, Clarke W, Hedley A, Gilroy K, Lilla S, Vuononvirta J, Graham GJ, De Filippo K, Murphy DJ, Steele CW, Norman JC, Bird TG, Mann DA, Morton JP, Zanivan S, Sansom OJ, Carlin LM. Maturation, developmental site, and pathology dictate murine neutrophil function. bioRxiv. 2021. 

Galbraith NJ, Wood C, Steele CW. Targeting Metastatic Colorectal Cancer with Immune Oncological Therapies. Cancers (Basel). 2021;13(14).

Gillespie MA, Steele CW, Lannagan TRM, Sansom OJ, Roxburgh CSD. Pre-clinical modelling of rectal cancer to develop novel radiotherapy-based treatment strategies. Oncol Rev. 2021;15:511.

McSorley ST, Steele CW, Anderson JH, McKinlay S. Comment on 'Preoperative intravenous iron therapy and survival after colorectal cancer surgery: long-term results from the IVICA randomized controlled trial'. Colorectal Dis. 2021;23(2):555-556.


Bisset CN, Carter B, Law J, Hewitt J, Parmar K, Moug SJ; ELF Study Group Collaborative Authorship. The influence of social media on recruitment to surgical trials. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2020;20:201.

Carter B, Law J, Hewitt J, Parmar KL, Boyle JM, Casey P, Maitra I, Pearce L, Moug SJ; ELF Study Group. Association between preadmission frailty and care level at discharge in older adults undergoing emergency laparotomy. Br J Surg. 2020;107:218-226.

CRC COVID Research Collaborative. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on colorectal cancer service provision. Br J Surg. 2020; 107:e521–e522.

McSorley ST, Anderson JH, Whittle T, Roxburgh CS, Horgan PG, McMillan DC, Steele CW. The impact of preoperative systemic inflammation on the efficacy of intravenous iron infusion to correct anaemia prior to surgery for colorectal cancer. Perioperative Med 2020;9:17

McSorley ST, Tham A, Dolan RD, Steele CW, Ramsingh J, Roxburgh C, Horgan PG, McMillan DC. Perioperative Blood Transfusion is Associated with Postoperative Systemic Inflammatory Response and Poorer Outcomes Following Surgery for Colorectal Cancer. Ann Surg Oncol. 2020 Mar;27(3):833-843

Steele CW, Whittle T, Smith JJ. Review: KRAS mutations are influential in driving hepatic metastases and predicting outcome in colorectal cancer. Chin Clin Oncol. 2019 Oct;8(5):53.


Golder AM, Steele CW, Conn D, MacKay GJ, McMillan DC, Horgan PG, Roxburgh CS, McSorley ST. Effect of preoperative oral antibiotics in combination with mechanical bowel preparation on inflammatory response and short-term outcomes following left-sided colonic and rectal resections. BJS Open. 2019;3:830-839.

Jackstadt R, van Hooff SR, Leach JD, Cortes-Lavaud X, Lohuis JO, Ridgway RA, Wouters VM, Roper J, Kendall TJ, Roxburgh CS, Horgan PG, Nixon C, Nourse C, Gunzer M, Clark W, Hedley A, Yilmaz OH, Rashid M, Bailey P, Biankin AV, Campbell AD, Adams DJ, Barry ST, Steele CW, Medema JP, Sansom OJ. Epithelial NOTCH Signaling Rewires the Tumor Microenvironment of Colorectal Cancer to Drive Poor-Prognosis Subtypes and Metastasis. Cancer Cell. 2019;36:319-336.e7.

McSorley S, Johnstone M, Steele CW, Roxburgh CSD, McMillan D, Horgan P, Mansouri D. Normocytic anaemia is associated with systemic inflammation and poorer survival in patients with colorectal cancer treated with curative intent. International Journal of Colorectal Disease 2019;34:401-408.

McSorley S, Tham A, Steele CW, Dolan R, Horgan P, McMillan D. Quantitative data on red cell measures of iron status and their relation to the magnitude of the systemic inflammatory response and survival in patients with colorectal cancer. EJSO 2019 Feb 27. pii: S0748-7983(19)30300-2.

Parmar KL, Law J, Carter B, Hewitt J, Boyle JM, Casey P, Maitra I, Farrell IS, Pearce L, Moug SJ; ELF Study Group. Frailty in Older Patients Undergoing Emergency Laparotomy: Results From the UK Observational Emergency Laparotomy and Frailty (ELF) Study. Ann Surg. 2019; 273: 709-718

Reader CS, Vallath S, Steele CW, Haider S, Brentnall A, Desai A, Moore KM, Jamieson NB, Chang D, Bailey P, Scarpa A, Lawlor R, Chelala C, Keyse SM, Biankin A, Morton JP, Evans TRJ, Barry ST, Sansom OJ, Kocher HM, Marshall JF. The integrin αvβ6 drives pancreatic cancer through diverse mechanisms and represents an effective target for therapy. J Pathol. 2019;249:332-342.


McSorley S, Steele CW, McMahon A. Meta-analysis of oral antibiotics in combination with mechanical bowel preparation the day before surgery to reduce surgical site infections in elective colorectal surgery. BJS (Open) 2018; 2:185-194.  

Lab Members

Postdoctoral Scientist

Rana Fetit

Scientific Officer

John Falconer

Clinical Research Fellow

Alistair McLaren



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