Cuzick’s achievements relate to the application of basic science discoveries to the practice of medicine, particularly preventive medicine. He first showed that tamoxifen was highly effective in the prevention of breast cancer, and subsequently demonstrated superior efficacy and safety of aromatase inhibitors– an approach that can reduce breast cancer incidence by over 50%. He also developed a widely used model for assessing breast cancer risk.
Discovery that the human papilloma virus (HPV) was the cause of cervical cancer prompted Cuzick to use HPV DNA testing as an alternative to the conventional Pap smear test. HPV testing has now becoming the primary screening method in many places. In collaboration with others he subsequently showed that a 9-valent HPV vaccine can virtually eliminate cervix cancer, and will lead to a much reduced need for screening.
Cuzick developed and validated a cell cycle progression score that identifies a larger group of prostate cancer patients that can be safely managed by active surveillance than was previously possible, thus avoiding the morbidity associated with radical prostatectomy or radiation therapy.
John Snow Professor of Epidemiology, Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Queen Mary University of London