Our goal is to develop strategies for biologically optimized radiotherapy of cancers.
To reach this goal we search for molecular biomarkers that can identify patients at risk for failure and guide the clinical decision-making, or be targets for therapeutic intervention in a combined chemoradiation regime. The basis of the research is biopsies and blood samples taken from the tumors at the time of diagnosis or during therapy. Whole genome screening methodology is used, which provides new insight into the disease and enables identification of novel biomarkers and molecular targets.
We also explore whether functional tumor images (MR/PET) can aid the translation of the molecular findings into clinical practice. The success of this strategy relies on the central role of imaging for treatment planning and monitoring in radiation oncology.
Our research projects are run in close collaboration with the clinic.
Master students are welcome to our research projects.
Heidi Lyng, Department of Radiation Biology, Institute for Cancer Research Norwegian Radium Hospital, Rikshospitalet University Hospital Phone +47 22 78 1478, e-mail: email@example.com
Cancer Research paper from Lyng's group highlighted in Nature Reviews Urology:Novel imaging method to assess prostate cancer aggressiveness
Tumor hypoxia promotes metastasis and resistance to radiotherapy in prostate cancer. An imaging method to assess hypoxia at diagnosis can help to select patients for intensified treatment and avoid overtreatment of indolent, low-risk disease; but has not been successfully developed for this disease. In this paper, postdocTord Hompland in Heidi Lyng's group at Department of Radiation Biology and his co-workers present a novel method to visualize hypoxia based on diagnostic, multiparametric diffusion weighted MR images (DW-MRI). The work is part of an ongoing collaboration between the group and the FuncProst research team, headed by Therese Seierstad and Knut Håkon Hole at Division of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at OUS. The method can easily be translated into clinical practice, and a large scale, prospective evaluation of the method is planned for prostate cancer.
Oslo University Hospital news:Oslo University Hospital has awarded 6 excellent articles for the first half-year of 2016
In order to stimulate excellent research and draw attention to the hospital's extensive research activity, Oslo University Hospital reward outstanding publications regularly.
Six research groups were awarded for their excellent papers published during the first half-year of 2016 during a ceremony November 18th. Each group received NOK 50.000 for use in further research. The prize winners gave short presentations of the main findings in their respective articles.
The six selected articles are of especially high quality, and they present important finding on both-short and long-term scales. The works reflect the good quality and the interdisciplinarity that characterises several research environments at Oslo University Hospital. The research is a fundamental condition for the institution to maintain and strenghten the quality in the patient treatment.
Every half-year, six of the very best papers authored by scientists working on the hospital (first or last author must be affiliated to OUS) are selected. The nomination takes place through the research panel of each division. The final selection process is performed by an external committee.
Institute of Cancer Research news:Clinical Cancer Research highlights biomarker paper from LyngÂs group
Molecular targeting of tumor hypoxia is a promising strategy for improving the radiotherapy of cervical cancer. A biomarker for classifying patients according to hypoxia is, however, lacking and is an important requirement for reliable drug evaluation and to avoid added toxicity to patients with no expected benefit. In a study published in Clinical Cancer Research (journal impact factor 8.7), postdoc Christina S. Fjeldbo (photo) in LyngÂs group and colleagues at Oslo University Hospital and Aarhus University Hospital present a hypoxia classifier that is reflected in diagnostic DCE-MR images and based on the expression level of six genes in a biopsy.
The classifier may give an early indication of a patientÂs risk of hypoxia-related recurrence, and provide biological information to aid the choice of drug for combination trials with radiation. In addition, the study demonstrates a direct link between genomics and imaging that might facilitate implementation of a multifactorial tool for a more precise response prediction. The paper was selected for ÂHighlights of the issueÂ.
The study is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Clinical Radiation Biology group at Department of Radiation Biology and the Departments of Medical Physics and Gynecologic Oncology at Oslo University Hospital.
OUS research blog from Anja Nilsen:More precise cancer treatment by use of RNA biomarkers
In a recent OUS research blog article (in Norwegian) Anja Nilsen (PhD) from Heidi Lyng's Clinical Radiation Biology group at the Departement of Radiation Biology at the Institute for Cancer Research writes about cancer treatment and how the use of RNA as biomarkers may be useful in order to give more precise radiation doses as well as to improve the targeting of chemotherapy.
Oslo University Hospital news:Heidi Lyng appointed "Innovator of the Month" by "Helse SĂ¸r-Ăst" for March 2015
The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse SĂ¸r-Ăst) aims to profile ongoing innovation projects in the region by calling special attention to an "Innovator of the Month". For the month of March 2015, this honor went to Heidi Lyng, leader of the Clinical Radiation Biology group at Department of Radiation Biology, the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital. LyngÂs group works to find biomarkers that can identify patients at risk of failure after radiotherapy and be possible targets for therapeutic intervention in a combined chemoradiation regime.
Their research has resulted in five submitted Disclosures of Invention (DOFIs), four active innovation projects supported by patent applications, and one executed license agreement with a US-based molecular diagnostics company. The group has an active collaboration and option agreement with the US-company for translation of a set of biomarkers to an industrial setting. This initiative is supported by NFR FORNY funding. The group also receives innovation grants from NFR (BIOTEK Optimization) and HSĂ.Â
Institute of Cancer Research news:Functional MRI and genomics paper from LyngÂs group published in Cancer Research
There is a growing interest to integrate functional dynamic contrast enhanced (DCE) MRI with conventional MRI to improve the diagnosis of cancer, but its clinical use is limited since the molecular background of the functional images is not understood. In a paper recently published in Cancer Research (Impact factor 7.9) Cathinka Halle from Heidi LyngÂs group and colleagues identified prognostic features in DCE-MRI images of cervical cancers and showed that they reflected a transcriptional program regulated under hypoxia. This program included a gene signature with prognostic impact in an independent validation cohort, thus pointing to hypoxia regulated pathways that may promote cancer aggressiveness. Tumor hypoxia is a known adverse factor in many types of cancer, including cervical cancer, and would be valuable to implement in clinical decision-making. This work is the first to show that DCE-MRI provides information about hypoxia regulated gene expression, encouraging the use of DCE-MRI as a tool to handle hypoxia related chemoradioresistance in cervical cancer.
The study is a part of an ongoing collaboration project between Departments of Radiation Biology (Heidi Lyng), Medical Physics (Eirik Malinen), and Gynaecological Oncology (Gunnar Kristensen), aiming to implement functional imaging in the radiotherapy planning of patients with cervical cancer.
Oslo University Hospital news:Paper from Heidi LyngÂs group highlighted in Clinical Cancer Research
A paper entitled "Membranous expression of ectodomain isoforms of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) predicts outcome after chemoradiotherapy of lymph node negative cervical cancer" from Heidi LyngÂs project group at Department of Radiation Biology was recently published in Clinical Cancer Research (Impact factor 7.3) and selected for "Highlights" of the issue. PhD student Cathinka Halle (photo) is first author of the paper. In their study, Halle and colleagues found that lymph node negative cervical cancer patients with high expression of ectodomain EGFR isoforms had a high probability of relapse after chemoradiotherapy, whereas the EGFR tyrosine kinase activity was of minor importance. Gene expression profiles of the tumors were used to further explore these findings. The study may shed light on possible mechanisms of treatment resistance in EGFR trials and point to the expression of ectodomain EGFR isoforms as a novel and well-needed biomarker of relapse for this group of patients.
The patients were treated at the Radium Hospital and clinical collaborators were Gunnar B. Kristensen and the radiotherapy team at the section for Gynecological Oncology. Collaborators in statistics and bioinformatics were Marit Holden at the Norwegian Computing Center and Trevor Clancy at Department of Tumorbiology.
Oslo University Hospital news:Paper from Heidi LyngÂs project group published in PLoS Genetics and highlighted in Nature
An article from Heidi LyngÂs project group Clinical Radiation Biology at department of Radiation Biology was recently published in PLoS Genetics (impact factor 8.9). The paper - entitled "Gene dosage, expression, and ontology analysis identifies driver genes in the carcinogenesis and chemoradioresistance of cervical cancer" - has attracted attention and was featured in "Research Highlights" in the November 19 issue of Nature. Malin Lando is first author and PhD student in LyngÂs group.
In their paper Lando and colleagues combined gene copy number and expression profiles of 102 cervical cancer patients treated at the Radium Hospital. The research depicted specific genetic changes that were linked to well-known tumor promoting processes and seemed to be crucial steps in disease progression. Novel loci associated with treatment resistance were found that added information to the clinical data obtained through standard examination methods. The findings may be useful for identifying patients who need more aggressive therapy and in the design of new targeted radiosensitizers.
The clinicians involved in the research were Gunnar B. Kristensen and the radiotherapy team at the section for Gynecological Oncology. Collaborators in statistics were scientists at the Norwegian Computing Center and at UiO, in the SFI group Statistics for Innovation.