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Medical Oncology

The research we perform at the Department of Medical Oncology is aimed at establishing individualized treatments of patients with solid tumors that are highly effective and show least side effects.

About our department

Our research

The research we perform is aimed at establishing individualized treatments of patients with solid tumors that are highly effective and show least side effects. “The treatment of an individual with cancer is determined by specific characteristics of that individual patient, the cancer cells, and their micro-environment, and needs to be constantly adjusted according to the changes observed in these characteristics”. This is the over-arching vision we have defined.


To this end, our research activities are organized into 5 divisions:

Translational Cancer Genomics and Proteomics to establish prognostic and predictive markers according to molecular traits of tumor cells

Translational Pharmacology to study the pharmacology of drugs involved in anti-cancer treatment to individualize the dose of individual patients

Translational Onco-Immunology to understand how the tumor micro-environment contributes to immune evasion and explore strategies to enchance the responses of tumor-specific T lymphocytes

Clinical trials to explore the clinical value of treatments suggested by preclinical findings

Palliative and Supportive Care to determine and optimize factors that affect patients' quality of life

Below you will find an overview of the devisions.

Department of medical oncology 

Importantly, clinical and preclinical studies show complementary activities. Our preclinical studies allow adequate interpretation of current therapies, and development and testing of new treatments.

The activity and safety  of new or combined treatments are tested in a vast number of clinical trials, results of which feed again into our preclinical studies to warrant continuous optimization of treatments.

To increase the quality of life of patients, we implement and further improve palliative and supportive care.

Finally, our nursing research aims to help patients and their loved ones to cope with the effect of cancer (treatment), to reduce the symptom burden and to improve quality of life.

Principal Investigators

Our division coordinators are:

Research Lines

Our principal investigators, running research laboratories or groups within the above divisions, are:

Translational Cancer Genomics and Proteomics

Breast Cancer Genomics and Proteomics - John Martens

Hereditary Cancer - Maartje Hooning   

Translational Pharmacology

Personalized Medicine - Ron Mathijssen   

Translational Onco-Immunology

Tumor Immunology - Reno Debets

Clinical Trials

Early Clinical Trials - Martijn Lolkema

Experimental Systemic Therapy of Urogenital Tumors - Ronald de Wit

Palliative and Supportive Care

Palliative and Supportive Care - Carin van der Rijt





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Breast cancer patients face the risk of a contralateral breast cancer (CBC). Average lifetime risk is 15% but up to 60% for BRCA1/2 mutation carriers. Valid risk estimates are needed to develop a personalized prediction tool for CBC.

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Risk prediction, screening and therapy of breast cancer in women from CHEK2 c.1100delC families in the Netherlands.

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Circulating Biomarkers for Prostate Cancer

We aim to collect circulating markers in prostate cancer patients. Using circulating tumor derived DNA in plasma and circulating tumor cells we aim to improve the understanding of prostate cancer biology.

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Using Whole Genome Sequencing data from metastatic prostate cancer lesions we seek to understand the drivers of metastatic prostate cancer biology.


During this project we will implement therapeutic drug monitoring of oral targeted anti-cancer drugs to personalize the given treatment for each individual

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Investigation of favorable and unfavorable long-term health effects of premenopausal risk-reducing salpingo-oophorectomy (RRSO) in women with high familial risk of breast and/or ovarian cancer

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Colorectal cancer patients often develop surgically removable liver metastases. We aim to develop a test to identify patients in need of additional treatment.

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The objective of the MULTOMAB study is to set up a bank of prospectively collected blood samples for pharmacokinetic analyses of monoclonal antibodies

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We are developing and evaluating an Online Value Clarification Tool (OnVaCT) to assist patients in clarifying their values around the decision to participate in early phase clinical trials (or not).

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Response measurement study in prostate cancer patients, treated with radium-223, to improve response evaluation and understand the radium-223 induced immune response.

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In this study, the prophylactic effect of scopolamine butyl is investigated on death rattle in a double blind placebo-controlled randomized study

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Early progression detection in metastatic breast cancer patients treated with endocrine therapy and CDK4/6 inhibitors by mutation dynamics in liquid biopsies.

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In this study, clinical models are developed to predict 1-year mortality for patients with advanced cancer and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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T-Cell Profiling

Our team is part of the laboratory of Tumor Immunology, Department of Medical Oncology, and interrogates T cell immunity in solid tumors

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Therapeutic Drug Monitoring guided tamoxifen dosing: a feasibility study in patients with hormone positive breast cancer


  • Henricks L.M., Lunenburg C.A.T.C., de Man F.M., Meulendijks D., Frederix G.W.J., Kienhuis E., Creemers G.-J., Baars A., Dezentjé V.O., Imholz A.L.T., Jeurissen F., Portielje J.E.A., Jansen R.L.H., Hamberg P., ten Tije A.J., Droogendijk H.J., Koopman M., Nieboer P., van de Poel M.H.W., Mandigers C.M.P.W., Rosing H., Beijnen J.H., van Werkhoven E., van Kuilenburg A.B.P., van Schaik R.H.N., Mathijssen R.H.J., Swen J.J., Gelderblom H., Cats A., Guchelaar H.-J., and Schellens J.H.M. DPYD genotype-guided dose individualisation of fluoropyrimidine therapy in patients with cancer: A prospective safety analysis. Lancet Oncol. 19 (11): 1459-1467, 2018. 
  • Angus L, Martens JWM, van den Bent MJ, Sillevis Smitt PAE, Sleijfer S, Jager A. Novel methods to diagnose leptomeningeal metastases in breast cancer. Neuro Oncol. 2019 Mar 18;21(4):428-439. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/noy186.
  • Kuip EJM, Oldenmenger WH, Oomen-de Hoop E, Verduijn GM, Thijs-Visser MF, de Bruijn P, van Meerten E, Koolen SLW, Mathijssen RHJ, van der Rijt CCD. Pharmacokinetics of Sublingually Delivered Fentanyl in Head and Neck Cancer Patients Treated with Curatively Aimed Chemo or Bioradiotherapy. Cancers (Basel). 2018 Nov 15;10(11). pii: E445. doi: 10.3390/cancers10110445.
  • Kunert A, Basak E, Hurkmans D, Klaver Y, van Brakel M, Oostvogels A, Lamers C, Bins S, Koolen S, van der Veldt A, Sleijfer S, Mathijssen R, Aerts J, Debets R. CD45RA+CCR7- CD8 T cells lacking co-stimulatory receptors demonstrate enhanced frequency in NSCLC patients responding to nivolumab. J ImmunoTherapy for Cancer, 2019, 7:149.



News, events and awards

In the media

Newsarticle on Het AD - Onderzoekers Erasmus MC: pas op met kurkuma

Media attention for research of dr. Eric Geijteman: