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DePartMental organisation

The Laboratory comprises 10 scientists, 4 techni- cians and 1 administrative assistant; it is equipped with state-of-the-art molecular technology (2 microarray platforms, 1 next generation sequencer, 1 CellSearch™ device for the detection of circulating tumour cells, and 1 real time RT-PCR machine). The Labora- tory acts as a link between the basic research laboratories and the clinical research teams at the Institute, aiming to ensure faster applica- tion of laboratory findings to daily practice in the clinic. The Functional Genomics Unit, a subdivision of the Laboratory, has extensive experience in using genomics to study changes in gene expression correlated with prognostic and predictive factors for breast cancer.


Missions Gaining a better understanding of breast tumourigenesis,

metastasis and the mechanisms involved in breast cancer drug resistance

Linking basic and clinical research to ensure faster application of findings

Dr Stefan Michiels Biostatistician

Dr Michail Ingnatiadis Medical Oncologist

Prof Christos Sotiriou Medical Oncologist, Head of Laboratory

Dr Christine Desmedt Bioengineer

Main areas Translational research Prognostic and predictive markers for response to therapy in breast cancer

Affymetrix technology Illumina sequencer

aPPlieD research research themes

Identification of prognostic and predictive markers in breast cancer using high throughput technologies such as gene expression arrays, comparative genomic hybridization, microRNAs, and deep sequencing.

Evaluation of the role of the tumour microenvironment (including immune components) in breast tumour invasion/dissemination.

Molecular characterisation of minimal residual disease − circulating and disseminated breast tumour cells (CTCs and DTCs).

Study of the role of the host in tumour invasion/dissemination and in the development of distant metastases (colonisation).

Study of epigenetic changes associated with breast tumourigenesis and response to different therapeutics.

Studies of functional readouts of key molecular pathways involved in breast tumourigenesis and response to different treatments, including targeted agents (trastuzumab, AKT, mTOR, PI3K inhibitors, and others).

important achievement An important discovery of the Laboratory has been the “genomic grade index” (GGI), a type of gene profiling that makes it possible to characterise early breast tumours (proliferation, risk of metastasis and response to chemotherapy) far beyond what is possible with the commonly used clinico-pathological parameters. The GGI is currently commercialized by Ipsogen as the MapQuantDX ™ test.