Head of the Translational Breast Cancer Laboratory
Free University of Brussels
Institut Jules Bordet
Pregnancy has long been linked to breast cancer risk. 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. Hence, understanding the effect of pregnancy on breast cancer biology could help identify better treatment strategies and provide insights into possible chemo-preventive options.
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 coming year, Dr. Sotiriou and his team will conduct studies using tumor tissue and laboratory models to characterize the gene mutation profile of pregnancy-associated breast cancer to determine whether there are unique mutational signature(s) during pregnancy that are driving tumor development. They have collected tumor samples from pregnant and non-pregnant breast cancer patients with the same age and tumor stage. This patient dataset is very unique and could serve to unravel several unanswered questions on the impact of pregnancy on breast cancer biology.
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.