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W.M. (Wytske) van Weerden, PhD

Group leader

Experimental Oncology

  • Department
  • Experimental Oncology



Dr. Ir. Wytske M. van Weerden studied at the Wageningen University and graduated in 1987 in the field of animal physiology and onco-toxicology. She received her PhD in 1992 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam on the topic of “androgen regulation of prostate cancer”. She continued at the Dept of Urology and was appointed associate professor in 2016. 

Dr. van Weerden is heading a research group that is renowned for the unique panel of patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) and castration- and chemotherapy-resistant models that are being used in fundamental and translational research. She has several research collaborations with clinical and preclinical research groups within Erasmus MC and is also involved in multiple national and international collaborations. Among other projects, she has been an active partner in the IMI-PREDECT project, a 5 years effort to establish better predictive in vitro model systems for the 3 large cancer type’s breast, lung and prostate, resulting in the routine use of ex vivo tissue slice technology as well as 3D culture methods as alternatives for PDXs. Currently, she is involved in the ITN Marie Curie project on translational research Network in prostate cancer (Transpot). On a global scale, her research group is partner in the consortium for the establishment of novel PDX models supported by the Movember Foundation as part of the Global Action Plan 1 (GAP1) for prostate cancer. 

The research of Dr van Weerden is also well- recognised by the pharmaceutic industry with whom she has several research collaborations directed towards evaluation of novel targets and compound testing.

Field(s) of expertise

  1. Prostate cancer modeling: generation of novel clinically relevant 3D organoid culture models of primary patient and established patient-derived xenografts (PDXs). Emphasis is also directed towards the transfer of spontaneous metastasis PDX models towards microfluidics organ-on-chip systems. Additionally, ex vivo tissue slices are being used as alternative screening tools.
  2. Mechanisms of resistance: hormone-, chemo-, and radioresistance, including androgen receptor regulated pathways and DNA damage repair.
  3. Prostate cancer-targeted imaging and radionuclide therapy focussing on PSMA and GRPR (bombesine receptor).

Education and career

Dr. Ir. Wytske M. van Weerden graduated from Wageningen University in 1987 in the field of animal physiology and onco-toxicology. She received her PhD in 1992 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam on the topic of “androgen regulation of prostate cancer” (Prof F. H. Schroder). She continued at the Dept of Urology as postdoctoral fellow. From 2001-2005 she acted as manager Experimental Division of the spin-off company Scuron BV. From 2006, she continued her research at the department of Urology and was appointed associate professor (2016).


Imaging preclinical tumour models: improving translational power. 
De Jong M, Essers J, van Weerden WM. (2014). Nat Rev Cancer. 2014 Jul;14(7):481-93.

Movember GAP1 PDX project: An international collection of serially transplantable prostate cancer patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models.
Navone NM, van Weerden WM, Vessella RL, Williams ED, Wang Y, Isaacs JT, Nguyen HM, Culig Z, van der Pluijm G, Rentsch CA, Marques RB, de Ridder CMA, Bubendorf L, Thalmann GN, Brennen WN, Santer FR, Moser PL, Shepherd P, Efstathiou E, Xue H, Lin D, Collins A, Maitland N, Buzza M, Kouspou M, Achtman A, Taylor RA, Risbridger G, Corey E. (2018). Prostate. 2018 Dec;78(16):1262-1282.

Loss of SLCO1B3 drives taxane resistance in prostate cancer.
De Morrée ES, Böttcher R, van Soest RJ, Aghai A, de Ridder CM, Gibson AA, Mathijssen RH, Burger H, Wiemer EA, Sparreboom A, de Wit R, van Weerden WM. (2016). Br J Cancer. 2016 Sep 6;115(6):674-81.

Targeting the Androgen Receptor Confers In Vivo Cross-resistance Between Enzalutamide and Docetaxel, But Not Cabazitaxel, in Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer.Van Soest RJ, de Morrée ES, Kweldam CF, de Ridder CM, Wiemer EA, Mathijssen RH, de Wit R, van Weerden WM. (2015). Eur Urol. 2015 Jun;67(6):981-985.

A Novel ¹¹¹In-Labeled Anti-Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen Nanobody for Targeted SPECT/CT Imaging of Prostate Cancer.
Chatalic KL, Veldhoven-Zweistra J, Bolkestein M, Hoeben S, Koning GA, Boerman OC, de Jong M, van Weerden WM. (2015).  J Nucl Med. 2015 Jul;56(7):1094-9.

Teaching activities

Dr. van Weerden is a mentor and co-promotor for several PhD (currently 5), as well as master- and bachelor students.

Other positions

Dr. van Weerden is staff member of the Dept of Urology. She is a member of the Instantie voor Dierenwelzijn(IvD, Animal Welfare Board) of the Erasmus MC and is member of the advisory board for the EDC Nieuwbouw (EDC-New).

Scholarships, grants, and awards

  • 1990: Pharmacia Award. Prize for the best research study on prostate cancer, IXth European Association of Urology Congress, Amsterdam.
  • 1995: CaPCURE Award (G.J. van Steenbrugge and W.M. van Weerden) for their efforts to generate novel patient-derived models of prostate cancer.
  • 2003: Vlietstraprijs. Prize for the best Dutch research study in the field of Urology of the Dutch Urological Association (NVU).