Molecular biology of breast cancer

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The group consists of 5 scientists, 3 postdocs, 5 PhD students, 6 research engineers and one MD-PhD student.

We seek to reach a more fundamental understanding of the biological dynamics of breast cancer through high-throughput molecular analyses of DNA, mRNA, miRNA and protein. We
perform "state of the art" analyses of patient material, both on bulk tumors, single cells and liquid biopsies, at various stages of the disease, from consecutive series (OsloVal, Oslo0, Oslo1 and Oslo2) and from clinic trials with sampling before, during, and after therapy (the NeoAva and the IBCT-study).


The biggest challenge to reach our goal of an earlier and more accurate diagnosis, to improve tailoring of treatments and prediction of drug response and patient prognosis, and pave the ground for development of new therapeutic approaches, is the huge heterogeneity of breast cancer. To understand the role and impact of the huge both inter- and intra- tumor heterogeneity on response to therapy and patient outcome we are aiming towards a patient directed multi-level approach in a “systems biology framework”. Our ultimate goal is to translate the biological findings into clinical management.


  • Single level classification at DNA/RNA/protein/metabolic level of both primary tumors and metastases in large cohorts of patients at various stages of the disease (from normal breast to advanced stage)
  • Somatic Genetics of Breast Cancer, from single genes (TP53 and PIK3CA) to genome panels (IonTorrent) to whole genome sequencing
  • Genomic alterations to elucidate the genomic landscape in breast cancer with impact on prognosis, therapy prediction and clinical follow-up
  • Intra tumor heterogeneity, implication for diagnosis and treatment
  • HER2 postitive cancer and treatment response
  • Genomic and functional analysis of therapeutic targets in breast cancer
  • Functional screens elucidating the role of miRNA’s
  • Glycans and miRNA as serum biomarkers
  • Integrated classification

Recent achievements

  • Publication activity: 40 original publications, 2 invited reviews in 2014. One paper (Silwal-Pandit, Vollan et al: TP53 Mutation Spectrum in Breast Cancer Is Subtype Specific and Has Distinct Prognostic Relevance) published in Clinical Cancer Research received the prize for outstanding publication from HSØ in 2014
  • Two PhDs defenses in 2014.
  • The group leader received The Helmholtz International Fellow Award for 2014