Dr Matt Ahearne

Honorary Senior Lecturer and Consultant Haematologist

School/Department: Leicester Cancer Research Centre

Telephone: +44 (0)116 258 7603



Dr Matt Ahearne studied Medicine at the University of Leicester before working as a junior doctor across the East Midlands and subsequently undertaking speciality training in haematology. He completed a research MD Degree studying the role of T-follicular helper cells in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia under Professor Simon Wagner. Dr Ahearne secured an NIHR Academic Clinical Lectureship to apply his interest in T-cell biology to the study of B-cell and T-cell lymphomas. 

Dr Ahearne completed his clinical training in 2018 and has been working as a haematology consultant with a focus on lymphoma and clinical diagnostics, including molecular profiling and immunophenotyping. He continues to hold an honorary senior lecturer title at the University. Dr Ahearne is the current deputy chair of the NCRI T-cell lymphoma working group and NCRI Science Group member and has previously been an NIHR EME Programme Board trainee panel member.

In 2021 he was awarded Leicester’s first MRC Clinical Academic Research Partnership Award.


Dr Ahearne’s research focuses on the following key areas:

Novel treatment targets

Identifying new drug targets, testing novel therapies, and investigating mechanisms of action and resistance using primary clinical material

Risk prediction in lymphoma

Precision medicine requires an ability to understand each patients’ lymphoma at the molecular level to match the right drug or treatment approach to the right patient. Dr Ahearne is working with colleagues across the UK to develop a liquid biopsy test for T-cell lymphoma supported by an MRC Clinical Academic Research Partnership. In addition, he is focusing on understanding T-cell function in B-cell lymphoma so that in the future we may better use new drugs which work on the immune system.

Design and delivery of novel clinical trials

Ultimately, these research activities need to inform future clinical trials so that we can test whether we can improve clinical outcomes for patients. Dr Ahearne supports several clinical trials and is UK Chief Investigator for a new treatment for T-cell lymphoma.


Dr Ahearne has 26 publications with 589 citations, h-index 11, i10-index 12.

SH Lim, B Stuart, D Joseph-Pietras, M Johnson, N Campbell, A Kelly, D Jeffrey, AH Turaj, K Rolfvondenbaumen, M Ahearne, PWM Johnson, AJ Davies, D Goldblatt. Immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants after two and three doses of vaccine in B-cell malignancies: UK PROSECO study. Nature Cancer. 2022;3(5):552-564

CS Trethewey, HS Walter, ANM Alqahtani, R Schmid, DS Guttery, Y Griffin, MJ Ahearne, GS Saldanha, SPN Jayne, MJS Dyer. Limitations of Monitoring Disease Progression Using Circulating Tumor DNA in Lymphoma: An Example From Primary Cutaneous DLBCL Leg-type. Hemasphere. 2022;6(3):e690.

MR Wilson, TA Eyre, AA Kirkwood, N Wong Doo, C Soussain, S Choquet, N Martinez-Calle, G Preston, MJ Ahearne, E Schorb, MP Moles-Moreau et al. Timing of high-dose methotrexate CNS prophylaxis in DLBCL: a multicenter international analysis of 1384 patients. Blood. 2022;139(16):2499-2511

CP Fox, MJ Ahearne, R Pettengell et al. Guidelines for the management of mature T- and natural killer-cell lymphomas (excluding cutaneous T-cell lymphoma): a British Society for Haematology Guideline. British Journal of Haematology 2022;196(3):507-522.

R Dillon, MJ Ahearne, L Quek, N Potter et al. Therapy-related leukaemias with balanced translocations can arise from pre-existing clonal haematopoiesis. Leukemia. 2021;35(8):2407-2411.

MR Wilson, TA Eyre, N Martinez-Calle, MJ Ahearne, KE Parsons, G Preston et al. Timing of high-dose methotrexate CNS prophylaxis in DLBCL: an analysis of toxicity and impact on R-CHOP delivery. Blood Advances 2020;4(15):3586-3593

B Ottolini, N Nawaz, CS Trethewey, S Mamand, RL Allchin, R Dillon, P Fields, MJ Ahearne*, SD Wagner*. Multiple mutations at exon 2 of RHOA detected in plasma from patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Blood Advances. 2020;4(11):2392-2403

MA Timmins, SD Wagner, MJ Ahearne. The new biology of PTCL-NOS and AITL: current status and future clinical impact. British Journal of Haematology 2020;189(1):54-66

RL Allchin, ME Kelly, S Mamand, AG Doran, T Keane, MJ Ahearne, SD Wagner. Structural and diffusion weighted MRI demonstrates responses to ibrutinib in a mouse model of follicular helper (Tfh) T-cell lymphoma. PLoS One. 2019;14(4):e0215765

S Mamand, M Carr, RL Allchin, MJ Ahearne, SD Wagner. Interleukin-2-inducible T-cell kinase inhibitors modify functional polarization of human peripheral T-cell lymphoma cells. Blood Advances. 2019;3(5):705-710.

K Wickenden, N Nawaz, S Mamand, D Kotecha, AL Wilson, SD Wagner, MJ Ahearne. PD1hi cells associate with clusters of proliferating B-cells in marginal zone lymphoma. Diagnostic Pathology 2018;13(1):74.

S Mamand, R Allchin, MJ Ahearne, SD Wagner. Comparison of interleukin-2-inducible kinase (ITK) inhibitors and potential for combination therapies for T-cell lymphoma. Scientific Reports 2018;8(1):14216.

ET Byford, M Carr, E Ladikou, MJ Ahearne*, SD Wagner*. Circulating Tfh1 (cTfh1) cell numbers and PD1 expression are elevated in low-grade B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and cTfh gene expression is perturbed in marginal zone lymphoma. PLoS One. 2018;13(1):e0190468.

MJ Ahearne, K Bhuller, R Hew, H Ibrahim, K Naresh, SD Wagner. Expression of PD-1 (CD279) and FoxP3 in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Virchows Archiv 2014;465(3):351-8.

MJ Ahearne, RL Allchin, CP Fox, SD Wagner. Follicular helper T-cells: expanding roles in T-cell lymphoma and targets for treatment. British Journal of Haematology 2014;166(3):326-35.

MJ Ahearne, S Willimott, L Pinon, DB Kennedy, F Miall, MJS Dyer, SD Wagner. Enhancement of CD154/IL-4 proliferation by the T follicular helper cytokine, IL-21 and increased numbers of circulating cells resembling Tfh cells in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. British Journal of Haematology 2013;162(3)360-370.



Dr Ahearne co-supervises BSc, iMSc, and PhD students. He is also an NHS Educational Supervisor

Press and media


MBChB  University of Leicester Medical School  2005 
 MRCP Royal College of Physicians (UK) 2009 
 MD University of Leicester 2013 
 FRCPath Royal College of Pathologists (UK) 2016 
 AFHEA Associate Fellow, Higher Education Academy 2018 
 PG Cert Genomics Medicine, University of Birmingham 2018 

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