Professor Robert 'Frank' Gardiner


Professor Robert Alexander ('Frank') Gardiner AM


Professor, School of Medicine University of Queensland,

Affiliate Professor, University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research,

Consultant Urologist, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA,

Adjunct Professor, Edith Cowan University, Western Australia



Research Interests

RA ('Frank') Gardiner is a consultant urologist at Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. He has been instrumental in changing urological practice in Queensland by initiating and promoting a spirit of collaboration with researchers throughout Australia and internationally and which has involved many Urological colleagues in South East Queensland.  

His longstanding commitment to urological research has involved close interactions over many years with Professors Martin Lavin (UQCCR) and Suzanne Chambers (Griffith University) in particular, as well as with Dr John Yaxley (RBWH) and Professor Hema Samaratunga (UQ & Aquesta Pathology). He also has long-standing research collaborations with Professors Rob Newton and Daniel Galvão (Edith Cowan University) researching the beneficial effects of exercise in prostate cancer management.

Together with Associate Professor Ken Pakenham (UQ Psychology), he undertook the only randomised, controlled trial of androgen deprivation therapy in prostate cancer, demonstrating significant adverse cognitive as well as quality of life changes in treatment compared with control (non-treatment) patients and a community reference population. With Dr Chris Schmidt (QIMR), he ran the first two dendritic cell vaccine trials in Australia for men with advanced prostate cancer including a randomised controlled trial with dendritic cells and Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen peptides.

His main research focus is directed to detection and management of early prostate cancer. Together with colleagues at Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital Urology Unit, he has recently completed a large randomised controlled trial of robotic and open prostatectomy which has been underpinned by a large grant from Cancer Council Queensland. This study has enjoyed support from colleagues in the Northern Section of the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand and, invaluably, the medical administration of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital.

Amongst other activities, he was previously a member of a WHO-sponsored working party, a member of the founding executive of Academic Surgeons of Asia, Chairman of the NHMRC Clinical Careers Development Awards Committee  and was a member of the Australian Cancer Network Working Party for the development of Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Advanced Prostate Cancer, a member of the Expert Advisory Group for NHMRC evaluating the evidence for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing and a member of the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia/Cancer Council Australia PSA Guidelines committee. He served as chairman of the Medical & Scientific Committee of Cancer Council Queensland and the Viertel Cancer Research Centre for many years as well as previously as a board member of Cancer Council Australia, continuing to serve on the Boards of Cancer Council Queensland and Andrology Australia. He previously was President of the Urological Research Society (internationally) and Head of the Department of Surgery at the University of Queensland. He serves on the editorial board of 6 international journals and is an associate editor of Prostate International.

He instigated and initiated FingerTip Urology via which presented in a highly illustrated form, common presentations in urological practice he developed with expert colleagues from around the world. The facility is 3-tiered, the lowermost tier being available to professionals and the public free of charge and without a need to register. The slide format is designed so that the resource continues to be available as a ‘prop’ for patient consultations as well as a learning resource for students. He continues to serve as a consultant to the Swinfen Charitable Trust which is committed to assisting in the medical treatment of poor, sick and disabled people worldwide.  


Research Projects

Current studies

  • Early detection of prostate cancer
  • Randomised trial of robotic & open prostatectomy for prostate cancer
  • Psycho-social studies in prostate cancer
  • New approaches to the management of prostate cancer

1. Early detection of prostate cancer:

Our group has pioneered research into non-invasive early detection of prostate cancer using ejaculate and other bodily fluids. Our work is focussing on

  • Detection & Prognosis through RNA and protein profiling

2. Randomised study robotic & open prostatectomy trial:

We are evaluating findings from the first randomised study of robotic and open prostatectomy in a multi-disciplinary collaborative study with support from colleagues of the Northern Section of the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand to

  • Examine standard clinical and oncological parameters in both groups
  • Evaluate comprehensively Quality of Life in both arms
  • Compare economic costs to patients & health service
  • Determine life-expectancy profiles for patients prospectively
  • Relate actual results to prognostic profiling with prostatic fluid

3. Psycho-social studies in prostate cancer:

In close collaboration with Professor Chambers and Northern Section colleagues, we are undertaking NHMRC-supported prospective studies of

  • Active Surveillance and other treatment options for prostate cancer with Professor Penelope Schofield (Swinburn University
  • Randomised controlled trial of early intervention to improve sexual & couple functioning after prostate cancer

4. New approaches to the management of prostate cancer

  • Improving the sexual health of men with prostate cancer: randomised controlled trial of  exercise and psychosocial therapies with Professors Rob Newton and Daniel Galvao (Edith Cowan University)
  • Examining the roles of atorvastatin and metformin in early prostate cancer with Drs John Yaxley, Geoff Coughlin and Troy Gianduzzo (RBWH)


Key Publications:

  • Gardiner RA, Yaxley J, Pakenham KI, Green H, Mactaggart P, Watson R, Swanson C, Nicol DL. Patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy risk adverse cognitive changes. J Clin Oncol. 2015 Oct 26. pii: JCO.2015.63.5698.
  • Gardiner, Robert A., Coughlin, Geoffrey D., Yaxley, John W., Dunglison, Nigel T., Occhipinti, Stefano, Younie, Sandra J., Carter, Rob C., Williams, Scott G., Medcraft, Robyn J., Samaratunga, Hema M., Perry-Keene, Joanna L., Payton, Diane J., Lavin, Martin F. and Chambers, Suzanne K. (2014) A progress report on a prospective randomised trial of open and robotic prostatectomy. European Urology, 65 3: 512-515.
  • Roberts MJ, Chow CWK, Schirra HJ, Richards R, Buck M, Selth LA, Doi SAR, Samaratunga H, Perry-Keene J, Payton D, Yaxley J, Lavin MF, Gardiner RA. Diagnostic performance of expression of PCA3, Hepsin and miR biomarkers in ejaculate in combination with serum PSA for the detection of prostate cancer. Prostate. 2015; Jan 18. doi: 10.1002/pros.22942
  • Ashrafi D, Baade P, Yaxley J, Roberts M, Williams S, Gardiner RA. Long term survival outcomes for men who provided ejaculate specimens for prostate cancer research: implications for patient management. Eur Urol Focus. 2015; 1:200–206.
  • Chambers, Suzanne K., Schover, Leslie, Nielsen, Lisa, Halford, Kim, Clutton, Samantha, Gardiner, Robert A., Dunn, Jeff and Occhipinti, Stefano (2013) Couple distress after localised prostate cancer. Supportive Care in Cancer, 21 11: 2967-2976.
  • McDowell, M. E., Occhipinti, S., Gardiner, R. A. and Chambers, S. K. (2013) Prevalence and predictors of cancer specific distress in men with a family history of prostate cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 22 11: 2496-2504.
  • Harris, Janelle L., Richards, Renee S., Chow, Clement W. K., Lee, Soon, Kim, Misook, Buck, Marion, Teng, Linda, Clarke, Raymond, Gardiner, Robert A. and Lavin, Martin F. (2013) BMCC1 Is an AP-2 associated endosomal protein in prostate cancer cells. PloS One, 8 9: e73880.1-e73880.15.
  • Epidemiology of prostate cancer in the Asia-Pacific region
    Baade, Peter D., Youlden, Danny R., Cramb, Susanna M., Dunn, Jeff and Gardiner, Robert A. (2013) Epidemiology of prostate cancer in the Asia-Pacific region. Prostate International, 1 2: 47-58.
  • Chambers, Suzanne K., Ferguson, Megan, Gardiner, Robert A., Aitken, Joanne and Occhipinti, Stefano (2013) Intervening to improve psychological outcomes for men with prostate cancer. Psycho-Oncology, 22 5: 1025-1034.


·       Member Order of Australia

·       RACS Medal & Certificate of Outstanding Service to Fellowship

·       Fellow, Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand

·       Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Distinguished Research Award

·       Named award for the best presentation at the Northern Section of the Urological Society of Australia & New Zealand annual scientific meeting

·       Named award for the best trainee registrar at the annual training week of the Urological Society of Australia & New Zealand

Researcher Rating

Hirsh score = 27

Contact details and email

University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research at Royal Brisbane & Women's Hospital

Group Members


Professor Martin Lavin (Co-leader early detection of prostate cancer research)


Renee Richards PhD (Research Officer)