Individualised pharmacotherapy in oncology

The research within our LUMC departments is conducted within departmental research programmes. The research programme below is embedded within the department of Medical Oncology.

Aim and focus

The aim of our personalised pharmacotherapy in oncology program is to develop personalised anticancer therapies for patients with solid tumours and to improve outcome and quality of life of patients through development and implementation of predictive biomarkers. The program includes clinical drug development using pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics, research in specific age groups (especially elderly), health outcomes research and research in specific solid tumours for which the LUMC is a reference center, such as (eye) melanoma, thyroid cancer, upper GI, female cancer and especially sarcoma.

Position in international context

The department was, based on its track record, selected as first in human site for Novartis enabling early clinical studies in tumour types of interest. Other international drug development networks include single institutions, as well as through participation within collaborative groups such as the European Organisation of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) Network of Core Institutions. Confirmative pharmacogenomic studies are being performed in collaboration with individual researchers as well as through international pharmacogenomic consortiums. For geriatric oncology the department is active in the EORTC Elderly task force and International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG). For sarcoma, research participation is guaranteed through active participation and leading positions in several international networks such as EORTC Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group (chair), EUROSARC and European Osteosarcoma Intergroup (chair). For thyroid cancer, (eye) melanoma and sarcoma international expertise is visible through participation in the European Reference Network (ERN). Furthermore, participation in national and international collaborations for thyroid cancer, colorectal cancer and (eye) melanoma exist (EORTC Endocrine Task Force Group, DCCG, International Rare Cancers Initiative and WIN-O melanoma group respectively). The Female Cancer group collaborates internationally  within consortia, EORTC and International Gynaecologic Cancer Society (IGCS). Collaboration on quality of life studies exists with investigators from Japan.

Content / highlights / achievements

The department is a regional center for development of new drugs/new indications and has a last resort function. Currently approximately 65 trials are open for inclusion supported by a large research team. Pharmacogenetic research has passed the single nucleotide exploratory phase and includes GWAS studies, validation studies and implementation studies (e.g. for DPYD). The department actively participates in molecular targeted approaches, such as co-PI of the Drug Repurposing (DRUP) trial. The LUMC is an (inter)nationally recognised reference center for several tumour types as mentioned. Several investigator initiated studies, even internationally, including a dietary restriction study, have been successfully undertaken. Health outcomes studies are being performed on national databases e.g. for melanoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumours.

Future themes

Expansion of clinical research quality and capacity is still needed through a Clinical Research Unit. The investments in Lung Oncology at the LUMC will lead to additional patients in clinical studies. Initially they will use our clinical research infrastructure and potentially our lab. Geriatric Oncology will become established in our research programme and includes a newly appointed professor, part time postdoc and epidemiologist. Several biobank lines were established or are in the process of being founded, both at LUMC and within our collaborations with regional hospitals.

Cohesion within LUMC

Main collaborators are the department of Clinical Pharmacy and Toxicology (pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenomics), department of Pathology (e.g. thyroid cancer, (eye) melanoma, breast cancer, gynaecologic cancer, sarcoma and molecular tumour board), and for Geriatric Oncology the main collaborators are the departments of Surgery, Radiation Oncology, Geriatrics, Statistics/Epidemiology and Decision making. Increasingly the department of Orthopaedics is active in clinical research on sarcoma and several collaboration are becoming fruitful. Translational immunotherapy oriented projects within the field of experimental pharmacotherapy are being performed in collaboration with the Medical Oncology laboratory (e.g. chemo-immunotherapy, SLP vaccination in HPV-positive tumours) in order to achieve further synergy with the other research line 404.01 within our own department.