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BCRF Grantee Since


Area(s) of Focus

Christos Sotiriou, MD, PhD

Head of the Translational Breast Cancer Laboratory
Free University of Brussels
Institut Jules Bordet
Brussels, Belgium

Current Research

In the general population, pregnancy increases the risk of developing breast cancer in the short-term (within five to ten years of pregnancy), but has a protective effect in the long-term.  Additionally, patients diagnosed with pregnancy-associated breast cancer have been reported to have a poorer prognosis than non-pregnancy-associated breast cancers. While pregnancy-associated breast cancer is a rare disease, it serves as a very good model to study how pregnancy can modulate breast cancer biology. Dr. Sotiriou’s group has been studying the impact of pregnancy on breast cancer biology by analyzing tumor samples that were obtained from pregnant breast cancer patients. In a comparison of breast cancer diagnosed during pregnancy to breast cancer in non-pregnant women of a similar age, Dr. Sotiriou found that the tumors diagnosed during pregnancy had gene profiles that are associated with cancer-related pathways. He believes that this may be due to developmental changes in the breast during pregnancy that may influence the biology of these tumors. In the last year, his group began the process of whole genome sequencing of tumors from patients diagnosed during pregnancy and to compare them to tumors arising in non-pregnant patients. He expect to complete these analyses in 2016. Understanding the effect of pregnancy on breast cancer biology could help identify better treatment strategies and provide insights into possible chemo-preventive options.


Dr. Christos Sotiriou earned a medical degree from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, in 1993. He did his internal medicine/oncology residency at the Institut Jules Bordet and earned his specialty in this field in July 1999. From October 1999 through September 2001, he worked as basic research fellow, at the Division of Clinical Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA. After having completed a PhD Thesis at the Université Libre de Bruxelles in September 2004, he became "Chercheur Qualifié" (Research Faculty Member – tenured position) at the National Foundation for Scientific Research (FNRS, Belgium) in 2005. In March 2010, he took over the lead of the Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory J-C Heuson. In October 2013, he was appointed "Maître de Recherche" (Senior Research Associate – tenured position) by the National Foundation for Scientific Research (FNRS, Belgium), and also one of the "Chefs de Clinique" (Heads of clinic) at the Medical Oncology Clinic of the Institut Jules Bordet. Dr. Sotiriou is a full member of ASCO, AACR, and ESMO. He is Elected Member of the Scientific Council of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (World Health Organisation 2012 – 2016) and Elected Fellow of the European Academy of Cancer Sciences (since 2010), which is hosted under the auspices of European CanCer Organization (ECCO). He is also Advisory Council Member of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure (since June 2010). Dr. Sotiriou is reviewer for several high impact peer-reviewed journals. He has been elected associated editor of the Annals of Oncology Journal (Breast tumors) (January 2014-December 2015). Internationally renowned researcher, author and co-author of over 160 peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Sotiriou is focusing his research on genomics in breast cancer.