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Radiotherapy research unit

The radiotherapy research at the Bordet Institute focuses on the treatment of diverse tumor types, on several levels: preclinical, translational, clinical and technological.

  • The radiotherapy department disposes of a dedicated preclinical research lab that leads research in cellular and animal models, to study radiobiology, the immune effects of radiotherapy, and the synergy with other treatments.
  • The physics team develops new techniques to process imaging data and to optimize the technical aspects of radiotherapy treatments, and implements new treatment techniques in clinical routine.
  • Clinical research is focused on implementing new radiotherapy techniques, indications, treatment schedules and combinations with other treatment modalities such as immune therapy. A major part focuses also on the reduction of side effects, by altering the radiotherapy treatment or by optimizing the multidisciplinary care.
  • The technological research focuses on the treatment delivery, aiming to target the tumor as precisely as possible, to optimize the dose at the surrounding organs, and to improve patient comfort.

The radiotherapy research team develops independent study projects, often in collaboration with other labs and/or other university hospitals. The department also participates in several multicenter trials, coordinated by other universities or international organizations such as EORTC and ESTRO.

Research projects

See  Medical physics too

Project 1

Neo-CheckRay: radiation therapy and adenosine pathway blockade to increase benefit of immuno-chemotherapy in early stage luminal B breast cancer, a randomized phase II trial.

Project 2

Stereotactic body radiotherapy, immune response and abscopal effect in clear cell renal carcinoma: a murine model.
  • Project leaders: Dirk Van Gestel,François-Xavier Otte, Mohammad Krayem
  • Trial sponsor: Radiotherapy research unit
  • Collaboration: Demeerleer Gert, MD, PhD, University Hospitals Leuven
  • Funding: «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description: This preclinical study will investigate in what extent SBRT can stimulate the immune system through activation of dendritic cells and presentation of tumor antigens (“danger signals”), potentially inducing tumor response at distance.

Project 3

Understanding the exact mechanism by which low-level laser therapy induces head and neck squamous cell carcinoma growth and resistance to radiotherapy
  • Project leaders:  Dirk Van Gestel, Marie-Thérèse Genot-Klastersky and Mohammad Krayem
  • Trial sponsor: Radiotherapy research unit
  • Collaboration:  Jean Klastersky, MD PhD, Institut Jules Bordet ; Filip Lardon, PhD, Center for Oncological Research (CORE), University of Antwerp.
  • Funding: «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description: Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a promising treatment for oral mucositis, a serious and frequent side-effect during head and neck radiotherapy. This preclinical study examines the influence of LLLT on the tumor growth and its radiosensitivity.

Project 4

Immunological potential of p53 activation combined to stereotactic irradiation in PDXs humanized pre-clinical mouse models (AVATAR)
  • Project leaders: Dirk Van Gestel, Ghanem GhanemMohammad Krayem
  • Trial sponsor: Radiotherapy research unit
  • Collaboration:
    • François Salès, MD, Institut Jules Bordet;
    • Guy Berchem, MD, PhD, Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research (LECR), Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH).
    • Bassam Janji, PhD, Laboratory of Experimental Cancer Research (LECR) Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH).
    • An Wouters, PhD, Center for Oncological Research (CORE) Antwerp, University of Antwerp.
  • Funding: «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description: In this project we will evaluate the radiosensitizing effect of p53 activation in humanized mice (“AVATAR mice”) which will allow us to characterize the mechanistic link between p53 and both cancer immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

Project 5

Swall PEG study: Patient reported outcomes in term of swallowing and quality of life after prophylactic versus reactive percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube placement in oropharyngeal cancer patients treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy
  • Project leaders: Tatiana DraganDirk Van Gestel
  • Trial sponsor : Institut Jules Bordet
  • Collaboration: CHU Saint-Pierre, Universitair Ziekenhuis Gent
  • Funding: «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description : The optimal indication of gastrostomy tube placement remains controversial and its impact on late swallowing is unclear. Patient reported outcomes constitute the main endpoint in this interventional, multi-centric, randomized, phase III study.

Project 6

Prospective pilot study evaluating dental side effects of  radiotherapy on subjects treated for head and neck cancer
  • Project leaders:  Yasemin Karaca, Dirk Van Gestel
  • Trial sponsor : Institut Jules Bordet
  • Collaboration: Hôpital Erasme, CHU Saint-Pierre
  • Funding: «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description: The aim of this study is to quantify the impact of head and neck radiotherapy on irradiated teeth, to develop a predictive model and to establish extraction recommendations, and avoid a preventive tooth extraction that is too excessive.

Project 7

Assessment of radio(chemo)therapy-related dysphagia in head and neck cancer patients based on cough-related acoustic features
  • Project leaders:  Sofiana Mootassim-Billah, Dirk Van Gestel
  • Trial sponsor : Jules Bordet Institute
  • Collaboration: UZA (Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen)
  • Funding: «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description : Development of an innovative and non-invasive assessment for dysphagia and aspiration in head and neck cancer patients using acoustic features related to voluntary and/or reflex cough.

Project 8

“Gene alteration Positioning System (GPS) in pancreatic adenocarcinoma and its microenvironment, a pragmatic molecular classifier for potential clinical application in a neoadjuvant therapy platform” & “Contribution to the study of stereotactic radiotherapy and its immunomodulatory effect in the treatment of pancreatic cancer”
  • Project leaders:  Christelle BouchartLuigi Moretti, Jean-Luc Van Laethem MD, PhD
  • Trial sponsor : Institut Jules Bordet
  • Collaboration: Hopital Erasme, Molecular Immunology Lab (MIU, Institut J. Bordet ULB), Laboratory of Medical and Molecular Oncology (LMMO, VUB), CHU Saint-Pierre, CHR Namur and all the hospitals of the ULB network.
  • Funding: "Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS" , «Association Jules Bordet», "Fondation contre le Cancer".
  • Description : Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma comprises up to 5 molecular subtypes. We aim to capture the position of subtype-specific RNA expression at single cell level with in depth spatial mapping of the tumor microenvironment by immunohistochemistry.

Project 9

ProCaLung – The Project on Cancer of the Lung
  • Project leaders: Florian CharlierLuigi Moretti, for the ProCaLung Team
  • Trial sponsor: Belgian College of Physicians for Radiotherapy Centers
  • Collaboration: Other ProCaLung Team members: Xavier Geets (Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc), Maarten Lambrecht (UZLeuven), Yolande Lievens (UZGent), Vincent Remouchamps (CHU-UCL Namur - Site Ste Elizabeth)
  • Funding: Belgian College of Physicians for Radiotherapy Centers and «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description: A nationwide Quality Assurance project of the Belgian College of Physicians for Radiotherapy Centers for Stage III lung cancer chemoradiotherapy. (see:

Project 10

Evaluation of the XVI dual registration tool in prostate cancer patients: Is it more accurate than manual matching?
  • Project leaders:  Filipa Sousa, Younes JouraniRobbe Van den Begin
  • Trial sponsor : Institut Jules Bordet
  • Collaboration: Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Haarlem, The Netherlands
  •  (Funding: No funding)
  • Description : We compare two CBCT registration methods: 1) Combination of a chamfer match and manual match and 2) an automated XVI Dual registration tool (DRT), to evaluate their accuracy and efficiency in localizing the prostate or tumor bed.

Project 11

Randomized trial to quantify the efficacy of the Safetac® product Mepitel® Film on the prevention of radiodermatitis in the inguinal fold
  • Project leaders:  Van de Ven Gitte, Van Gestel Dirk, Alex De Caluwé, Robbe Van den Begin
  • Trial sponsor : Institut Jules Bordet
  • Funding: Mölnlycke
  • Description : The aim is to evaluate whether Mepitel Film offers a lower degree of radiation-induced dermatitis in the inguinal fold(s) compared to hydro-active colloid gel and thereby challenging the gold standard used in our clinic.

Project 12

Trial Comparing Irradiation Plus Long Term Adjuvant Androgen Deprivation With GnRH Antagonist Versus GnRH Agonist Plus Flare Protection in Patients With Very High Risk Localized or Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer (PEGASUS)
  • Project leader : François-Xavier Otte
  • Trial sponsor: European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer – EORTC
  • Description : This trial assesses if GnRH antagonists in combination with external beam radiation therapy improve progression free survival compared to GnRH agonists in combination with external beam radiation therapy.

Project 13

PEACE V: Salvage Treatment of OligoRecurrent Nodal Prostate Cancer Metastases (STORM)
  • Project leader : François-Xavier Otte
  • Trial sponsor : University Hospital, Ghent
  • Description: This trial randomizes patients with oligorecurrent nodal prostate cancer to either metastasis-directed therapy (MDT) (salvage lymph node dissection or stereotactic body radiotherapy) or MDT plus whole pelvis radiotherapy.

Project 14

Stereotactic radiotherapy for oligoprogressive breast cancer: Targeting therapy-resistant metastatic clones. (Oligopro-Breast trial)
  • Project leader:  Robbe Van den Begin
  • Trial sponsor: Institut Jules Bordet
  • Funding: «Association Jules Bordet»
  • Description: This prospective trial will evaluate if the impact of systemic therapy can be prolonged using stereotactic radiotherapy to control resistant oligoprogressive breast cancer metastases.

Our team

Head of Radiotherapy Research
Dirk Van Gestel, MD, PhD

Head of Medical Physics Research
Nick Reynaert, PhD

Head of Radiotherapy Pre-clinical Research
Mohammad Krayem, PhD

Research team
Christelle Bouchart, MD, PhD-candidate
Alex De Caluwé, MD, PhD-candidate
Tatiana Dragan, MD, PhD-candidate

Younes Jourani, MPE, PhD-candidate
Yasemin Karaca, MD, PhD-candidate
Philippe Lambin, MD PhD, consultant
Philippe Martinive, MD PhD
- Sofiana Mootassim-Billah, PhD-candidate
Luigi Moretti, MD PhD

François-Xavier Otte, MD
Zelda Paquier, MPE, PhD-candidate
Aurelian Quinet, MPE, PhD-candidate
Filipa Rodrigues Sousa, RTT
Paul Van Houtte, MD PhD
Robbe Van den Begin, MD PhD
- Gitte Van de Ven, RTT
- Scientists in Medical Physics

Research coordination
- Clémence Al Wardi, PhD

Hélène Gilson, PhD

- Janssen Carole

Last update : 18/08/2022

 Scientific publications

Radiation therapy-induced left vocal cord paralysis following lung stereotactic body radiation therapy: A case report and review of the literature.

Authors : Pierrard J, Deheneffe S, Longton E, Henry S, Van Houtte P, Remouchamps V
Year : 2023
Journal : Cancer Radiother
Volume : 27
Pages : 69-74

Cardiac safety of dual anti-HER2 blockade with pertuzumab plus trastuzumab in early HER2-positive breast cancer in the APHINITY trial.

Authors : de Azambuja E, Agostinetto E, Procter M, Eiger D, Pondé N, Guillaume S, Parlier D, Lambertini M, Desmet A, Caballero C, Aguila C, Jerusalem G, Walshe JM, Frank E, Bines J, Loibl S, Piccart-Gebhart M, Ewer MS, Dent S, Plummer C, Suter T
Year : 2023
Journal : ESMO Open
Volume : 8
Pages : 100772

Inter-fraction heart displacement during voluntary deep inspiration breath hold radiation therapy without visual feedback measured by daily CBCT.

Authors : Benkhaled S, Gomes da Silveira Cauduro C, Jullian N, Desmet A, Rodriguez D, Jourani Y, Van Gestel D, De Caluwé A
Year : 2022
Journal : Front Oncol
Volume : 12
Pages : 936088

The State of the Art of Radiotherapy for Non-melanoma Skin Cancer: A Review of the Literature.

Authors : Benkhaled S, Van Gestel D, Gomes da Silveira Cauduro C, Palumbo S, Del Marmol V, Desmet A
Year : 2022
Journal : Front Med (Lausanne)
Volume : 9
Pages : 913269

A nomogram to predict the recurrence-free survival and analyze the utility of chemotherapy in stage IB non-small cell lung cancer.

Authors : Zhang Z, Xie S, Cai W, Hong ZN, Yang C, Lin Y, Zhu J, Lin Z, Christoph DC, Bohnenberger H, Kepka L, Brueckl WM, Van Houtte P, Kang M, Lin J
Year : 2022
Journal : Transl Lung Cancer Res
Volume : 11
Pages : 75-86