Tony Dhillion

Dr Tony Dhillon

Senior Lecturer in Oncology, University of Surrey, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Royal Surrey County Hospital



Dr Dhillon obtained his Bachelor of science in 1994, qualified in medicine from University College London in 1997 and obtained his PhD on cancer cell signalling from Imperial College London in 2009 funded by a CR-UK clinical training fellowship.

He is also Consultant medical oncologist at the Royal Surrey County Hospital since 2014.

His main research interests are in liver cancers - primary and metastatic. His particular interests are in resistance mechanisms to anti-cancer treatments and biomarkers.

He has previously been a Wellcome Trust clinical fellow in the University of Oxford looking at gene regulation in varying chromosomal environments and senior lecturer in oncology at Imperial College London working on cell free DNA in lung cancer.


Nabeel Merali, Tarak Chouari, Julien Marc Terroire, Maria-Danae Jessel, Daniel S K Liu, James-Halle Smith, Tyler Wooldridge, Tony Singh Dhillon, Jose I Jimenez, Jonathan Krell, Keith J. Roberts, Timothy A Rockall, Eirini Velliou, Shivan Sivakumar, Elisa Giovannetti, Ayse Demirkan, Nicola E. Annels, Adam E. Frampton (2023)Bile Microbiome Signatures Associated with Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Compared to Benign Disease: A UK Pilot Study, In: International journal of molecular sciences24(23)16888 MDPI

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a very poor survival. The intra-tumoural microbiome can influence pancreatic tumourigenesis and chemoresistance and, therefore, patient survival. The role played by bile microbiota in PDAC is unknown. We aimed to define bile microbiome signatures that can effectively distinguish malignant from benign tumours in patients presenting with obstructive jaundice caused by benign and malignant pancreaticobiliary disease. Prospective bile samples were obtained from 31 patients who underwent either Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiogram (PTC). Variable regions (V3–V4) of the 16S rRNA genes of microorganisms present in the samples were amplified by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and sequenced. The cohort consisted of 12 PDAC, 10 choledocholithiasis, seven gallstone pancreatitis and two primary sclerosing cholangitis patients. Using the 16S rRNA method, we identified a total of 135 genera from 29 individuals (12 PDAC and 17 benign). The bile microbial beta diversity significantly differed between patients with PDAC vs. benign disease (Permanova p = 0.0173). The separation of PDAC from benign samples is clearly seen through unsupervised clustering of Aitchison distance. We found three genera to be of significantly lower abundance among PDAC samples vs. benign, adjusting for false discovery rate (FDR). These were Escherichia (FDR = 0.002) and two unclassified genera, one from Proteobacteria (FDR = 0.002) and one from Enterobacteriaceae (FDR = 0.011). In the same samples, the genus Streptococcus (FDR = 0.033) was found to be of increased abundance in the PDAC group. We show that patients with obstructive jaundice caused by PDAC have an altered microbiome composition in the bile compared to those with benign disease. These bile-based microbes could be developed into potential diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for PDAC and warrant further investigation.

Nabeel Merali, Tarak Chouari, Kayani Kayani, Charles J. Rayner, Jose I. Jimenez, Jonathan Krell, Elisa Giovannetti, Izhar Bagwan, Kate Relph, Timothy A. Rockall, Tony Dhillon, Hardev Pandha, Nicola E. Annels, Adam E. Frampton (2022)A Comprehensive Review of the Current and Future Role of the Microbiome in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma, In: Cancers14(4) Mdpi

Simple Summary This review summarizes the current literature related to the microbiome and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The aim of this review is to explore the current role of the microbiome in the disease process, screening/diagnostics and to postulate the future role with regards to therapeutic strategies including chemotherapy, immunotherapy and surgery. We further explore the future of microbiome modulation (faecal microbiome transplants, bacterial consortiums, anti-microbials and probiotics), their applications and how we can improve the future of microbiome modulation in a bid to improve PDAC outcomes. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is expected to become the second most common cause of cancer death in the USA by 2030, yet progress continues to lag behind that of other cancers, with only 9% of patients surviving beyond 5 years. Long-term survivorship of PDAC and improving survival has, until recently, escaped our understanding. One recent frontier in the cancer field is the microbiome. The microbiome collectively refers to the extensive community of bacteria and fungi that colonise us. It is estimated that there is one to ten prokaryotic cells for each human somatic cell, yet, the significance of this community in health and disease has, until recently, been overlooked. This review examines the role of the microbiome in PDAC and how it may alter survival outcomes. We evaluate the possibility of employing microbiomic signatures as biomarkers of PDAC. Ultimately this review analyses whether the microbiome may be amenable to targeting and consequently altering the natural history of PDAC.