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BCRF Grantee Since

2005

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

Multifocal breast cancer patients are defined as patients with multiple lesions of invasive breast cancer at the same time in the same breast. These cancers are associated with more aggressive features (such as axillary lymph node involvement and potential worse prognosis compared to unifocal tumors), are relatively frequent and represent a real diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.

Dr. Sotiriou’s team previously demonstrated in a limited number of multifocal breast cancer patients, that although different lesions from multifocal breast cancer share a common genetic background, they might present clinically relevant molecular differences, even if they have similar standard pathological parameters. However, since these observations are based on a limited number of patients, they need to be confirmed on a larger series, hence this proposal.

With this study, Dr. Sotiriou aims to provide strong evidence whether or not each lesion should or not be molecularly characterized in future clinical practice to define the adequate therapeutic approach, especially in the context of targeted therapies. His team will also aim to ascertain the contribution of each lesion with regard to the metastatic progression.

In a previous study supported by BCRF. Dr. Sotiriou studied the genetic events that are driving resistance to chemotherapy in triple negative breast cancer, with a goal of identifying druggable mutations that drive this resistant phenotype. The ultimate hope is to develop novel therapeutic strategies to increase cure rates in triple negative disease. The results of this research effort may help address similar questions in other breast cancer subtypes.

Mid-Year Summary

Multifocal breast cancer patients are defined as patients with multiple lesions of invasive breast cancer at the same time in the same breast. These cancers are associated with more aggressive features (such as axillary lymph node involvement and potential worse prognosis compared to unifocal tumors), are relatively frequent and represent a real diagnostic and therapeutic challenge.

Dr. Sotiriou and team have previously demonstrated in a limited number of multifocal breast cancer patients, that although different lesions from multifocal breast cancer share a common genetic background, they might present clinically-relevant molecular differences, even if they have similar standard pathological parameters. However, since these observations are based on a limited number of patients, they need to be confirmed on a larger series, hence this proposal.

With this study, the researchers aim to provide strong evidence whether or not each lesion should or not be molecularly characterized in future clinical practice to define the adequate therapeutic approach, especially in the context of targeted therapies. They also aim to ascertain the contribution of each lesion with regard to the metastatic progression.

During this first reporting period, Dr. Sotiriou’s team has selected the patients, built a clinical database, collected the samples and started the DNA extractions following centralized review by pathologists. Targeted sequencing has been launched for the first 32 multifocal patients (~200 samples) and the researfhers expect to have the data ready soon. DNA extractions for the remaining patients are ongoing and expected to be completed by April 2014.

Bio

Dr. Sotiriou earned a medical degree from the Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium in 1993. He did his internal medicine/oncology residency at the Jules Bordet Institute (Profs. J. Klastersky, M. Piccart), and he earned his specialty in internal medicine and medical oncology in July 1999 at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. From October 1999 until September 2001, he worked as basic research fellow at the Division of Clinical Sciences, Microarray Facility, National Cancer Institute (Pr Edison Liu), National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Sotiriou earned his PhD from the Universiteacute; Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium, in September 2004.

In October 2005, he became Associate Professor at the Universiteacute; Libre de Bruxelles. In March 2010 he became Director of the Breast Cancer Translational Research Laboratory J-C Heuson at Institut Jules Bordet. Dr. Sotiriou's research is focusing on genomics and molecular biology in breast cancer. Dr. Sotiriou is a full member of American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Association for Cancer Research, and European Society of Medical Oncology. He is Co-Chair of the biotechnology committee of TRANSBIG and of the TransALTTO committee. He is also Advisory Council Member of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and for the National Foundation for Research since 2010. He received several educational and research grants from the Swiss Foundation MEDIC, the National Foundation of Cancer Research, the Université Libre de Bruxelles, the "Fonds Jean-Claude Heuson," the Foundation Lambeau-Marteau, the Belgian Federation against Cancer, and the European Union Framework VI and VII Programs. He presently has several publications in peer reviewed journals and several book chapters. He is also a reviewer for several high impact scientific journals.