School of Medical Sciences

Cancer diagnosis, management and prevention group (CDMP)

Group leader

The cancer diagnosis, management and prevention Group works towards finding enhanced solutions to conventional diagnostic and treatment strategies. We work in close collaboration with Clinicians, dietitians and patients. We also assess genetic consequences of anticancer drugs and biomonitoring of potential occupational and environmental hazards, and provide mutagen testing services for New Zealand entrepreneurs through the Centre for Mutagen Testing. We carry out research into the optimisation of dietary strategies for cancer prevention and retardation of cancer progression, using in vitro and in vivo models, as well as working with patients. We have performed extensive research with potential dietary components, including selenium, vitamin D, long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated acids and various plant polyphenols, for cancer prevention and slowing of cancer growth and progression. We also study the role of genotype response in drug metabolism and nutrient requirements, and consider whether certain subjects might benefit from a slightly different diet from others. We also consider gene-diet and gene drug interactions in various cancers including colorectal and prostate cancer. Both genetic and epigenetic approaches are important in our work.


Department profile

Staff members


  • Ferguson, Lynnette R. Meat and cancer. Meat Science (2010), 84(2), 308-313.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R. Nutrigenomics approaches to functional foods. Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2009), 109(3), 452-458.
  • Philpott, Martin; Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Gould, Kevin S.; Harris, Philip J. Anthocyanidin-containing compounds occur in the periderm cell walls of the storage roots of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas). Journal of Plant Physiology (2009), 166(10), 1112-1117.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R. Role of dietary mutagens in cancer and atherosclerosis. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care (2009), 12(4), 343-349.
  • Philpott, Martin; Lim, Chiara Cheng; Ferguson, Lynnette R. Dietary protection against free radicals: a case for multiple testing to establish structure-activity relationships for antioxidant potential of anthocyanic plant species. International Journal of Molecular Sciences (2009), 10(3), 1081-1103.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Philpott, Martin. Nutrition and mutagenesis. Annual Review of Nutrition (2008), 28 313-329, 3 plates.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Philpott, Martin. Cancer prevention by dietary bioactive components that target the immune response. Current Cancer Drug Targets (2007), 7(5), 459-464.
  • Karunasinghe, Nishi; Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Tuckey, John; Masters, Jonathan. Hemolysate thioredoxin reductase and glutathione peroxidase activities correlate with serum selenium in a group of New Zealand men at high prostate cancer risk. Journal of Nutrition (2006), 136(8), 2232-2235.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Karunasinghe, Nishi; Philpott, Martin. Epigenetic events and protection from colon cancer in New Zealand. Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis (2004), 44(1), 36-43.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Philpott, Martin; Karunasinghe, Nishi. Dietary cancer and prevention using antimutagens. Toxicology (2004), 198(1-3), 147-159.
  • Karunasinghe, Nishi; Ryan, Jacqueline; Tuckey, John; Masters, Jonathan; Jamieson, Michael; Clarke, Larry C.; Marshall, James R.; Ferguson, Lynnette R. DNA Stability and Serum Selenium Levels in a High-Risk Group for Prostate Cancer. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (2004), 13(3), 391-397.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Philpott, Martin; Karunasinghe, Nishi. Oxidative DNA damage and repair: significance and biomarkers. Journal of Nutrition (2006), 136(10S), 2687S-2689S.
  • Rush, Elaine; Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Cumin, Michelle; Thakur, Vibha; Karunasinghe, Nishi; Plank, Lindsay. Kiwifruit consumption reduces DNA fragility: a randomized controlled pilot study in volunteers. Nutrition Research (New York, NY, United States) (2006), 26(5), 197-201.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R. Nutrigenomics: integrating genomic approaches into nutrition research. Molecular Diagnosis & Therapy (2006), 10(2), 101-108.
  • Ferguson, Lynnette R.; Zhu, Shuo-tun; Harris, Philip J. Antioxidant and antigenotoxic effects of plant cell wall hydroxycinnamic acids in cultured HT-29 cells. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research (2005), 49(6), 585-593.