Department of Molecular Oncology

Department head: Professor Ragnhild A. Lothe
Deputy department head: Professor Rolf I. Skotheim
Laboratory manager: Professor Guro E. Lind
Department administrative consultant: Ikram Mahnin

As a research department within the OUH Comprehensive Cancer Centre, it is our responsibility and goal to accomplish high quality and interdisciplinary biomedical research for improved precision medicine and management of cancer patients.

Research groups

Genetics Genome Biology Epigenetics
Ragnhild A. Lothe
Rolf I. Skotheim
Guro E. Lind

Project groups

Computational Oncology  Cancer Informatics Statistical Epigenomics
Anita Sveen
Bjarne Johannessen
Marine Jeanmougin
Cell Signalling    
Edward Leithe

Selected highlights from 2021
The year 2020
Scientific achievements in 2019


Our main research programs are devoted to colorectal cancer and prostate cancer, and we have a longstanding project portfolio also on other solid tumor types. Our expertise in biomedical research spans several disciplines from cell biology to translational research, including also active clinical research collaborations, and we have a broad range of advanced technologies established in-lab. The department scientists are inventors of several biomedical patents and active innovation projects.

Lothe lab – genetics, genomics, cell signaling, colorectal cancer, MPNST, tumor heterogeneity, pharmacogenomics, biomarkers

Skotheim lab – genome biology, transcript variation, tumor heterogeneity, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, bioinformatics

Lind lab – epigenetics, genetics, GI-cancers, bladder cancer, early detection, monitoring


All three group leaders are adjunct professors at the University of Oslo and are affiliated with the Institute for Clinical Medicine, the Institute for Biosciences and the Institute for Informatics. We aim to complete at least 3 academic degrees annually, and since the inauguration of the Department in 2006, 75 MSc/PhD degrees have successfully been defended.

The research groups are partners of the Oslo University Hospital strategic research area - Precision colorectal cancer therapy, colorectal cancer COST – actions, The Global Testicular Cancer Consortium, The European network for study on Cholangiocarcinoma, a European multicenter study on MPNST (malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor), The Norwegian Esophageal Cancer Consortium

Latest News

Dr Ragnar Mørk´s Prize for excellent cancer research 2021 to Anita Sveen

Anita Sveen, flanked by Harald Stenmark (left) and Carl Rieber-Mohn
Anita Sveen, flanked by Harald Stenmark (left) and Carl Rieber-Mohn

Anita Sveen from the Department of Molecular Oncolocy is this year's winner of the prestigious Dr. Ragnar Mørk's Prize for cancer research. Anita received the prize of NOK 200.000 for her excellent work on colorectal cancer during an award ceremony in the Auditorium of the Research building on Friday 19th November. After receiving the prize, Anita gave a 30-minutes presentation of her work, and this was be followed by cakes and drinks in the canteen area.

Kristina Totland Carm defended her thesis

The dissertation was held over zoom, and also broadcasted to an auditorium (Photo: Anne Cathrine Bakken)
The dissertation was held over zoom, and also broadcasted to an auditorium (Photo: Anne Cathrine Bakken)

On October 15th 2021, Kristina Totland Carm successfully defended her thesis “Genomic aberrations and molecular subtypes in multifocal prostate cancer” for the PhD degree at the Medical Faculty, University of Oslo. She also gave a trial lecture on the given topic: “Multiparametric MRI-guided biopsies in prostate cancer diagnostics – challenges on the road towards radiogenomics”.

The adjudication committee included first opponent, Professor Ian Mills, University of Oxford, UK; second opponent, Professor Karl-Henning Kalland, University of Bergen, and chair of the evaluation committee was Associate Professor Stig Müller, University of Oslo. Chair of the defence was Associate Professor June Helen Myklebust, University of Oslo.

Principal Supervisor was Rolf I. Skotheim, and co-supervisors were Marthe Løvf, Andreas Hoff and Ragnhild A. Lothe. 

Improved detection of cholangiocarcinoma in high risk patients by biomarker analyses of small amounts of bile

From left: HM Vedeld, MM Grimsrud, T Folseraas, GE Lind
From left: HM Vedeld, MM Grimsrud, T Folseraas, GE Lind

Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a progressive chronic liver disease associated with increased risk of cholangiocarcinoma; a highly deadly malignancy that arises in the bile ducts. Due to nonspecific presenting features and overlapping findings in malignant and benign disease progression in PSC, the diagnostic accuracy for cholangiocarcinoma in PSC is low. Consequently, cholangiocarcinoma is commonly detected at advanced stage where most patients have a poor chance of surviving, making cholangiocarcinoma the most common cause of death among patients with PSC.

Publication from The Norwegian Cancer Genomics Consortium in Genome Medicine

Anita Sveen and Bjarne Johannessen
Anita Sveen and Bjarne Johannessen

Project group leaders Anita Sveen and Bjarne Johannessen at Department of Molecular Oncology at the Institute for Cancer Research are 1st and 2nd authors of a major work presenting the ”expressed mutation dose” as a determinant of the functional consequences of mutations in colorectal cancer.

The article - entitled "The expressed mutational landscape of microsatellite stable colorectal cancers" is published in the journal Genome Medicine.

Novel gene expression-based classification of metastatic colorectal cancer published in Genome Medicine

S. Hossein Moosavi, 1st author
S. Hossein Moosavi, 1st author

The multidisciplinary team of the K.G.Jebsen Colorectal Cancer Research Centre publishes a novel gene expression-based classification of metastatic colorectal cancer.
PhD student S. Hossein Moosavi in Anita Sveen’s project group at the Dept. of Molecular Oncology at the Institute for Cancer Research is 1st author of this paper published in Genome Medicine.
This is the first large study of multi-metastatic gene expression profiling of colorectal cancer liver metastases, and the new metastasis-oriented subtyping framework showed prognostic relevance in the context of tumor heterogeneity. 

Ragnhild Lothe awarded the Excellent Researcher Award 2021 at the Oslo University Hospital

From the ceremony: Vietri, Lothe and Pihlstrøm.
From the ceremony: Vietri, Lothe and Pihlstrøm.

Three Oslo University Hospital scientists received prestigous awards for their outstanding research on August 27th. The major prize - the "Excellent Researcher Award" - went to Ragnhild A. Lothe. Lasse Pihlstrøm and Marina Vietri both received the "Early Career Award".
The prize money - 300.000 and 150.000 NOK respectively - is earmarked for research activities.

The ceremony was streamed and is available via YouTube.

Anita Sveen awarded the ICR "Researcher of the Year" Prize for 2020

Anita Sveen (photo: Per M. Didriksen)
Anita Sveen (photo: Per M. Didriksen)

Anita Sveen (39) – senior researcher and project group leader at Institute for Cancer Research – was on December 16th awarded the prize Researcher-of-the-Year from the leadership at ICR for her outstanding scientific contributions. The award of 100 000 NOK is financed by the Radium Hospital Foundation (Radiumhospitalets legater) and is a personal scholarship for stimulating further excellence in research.