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Christos Sotiriou, MD, PhD

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

Current Research

  • Seeking to personalize treatment for early-stage, HER2-positive breast cancer.

  • Tumor tissue from a large treatment trial is used to identify markers of response to therapy.

  • This work will lead to more precise treatment for HER2-postiive breast cancer and spare many women the expense and toxicity of aggressive therapy. 

Once a disease with poor prognosis, HER2-positive breast cancer is treatable with targeted therapies, such as trastuzumab (Herceptin®). There are now multiple HER2-targeted therapies and some women will benefit from a dual targeting approach. Dr. Sotiriou is conducting studies to identify markers that can predict which women will benefit from more therapy versus those who will do well with less. The goal is to personalize therapy based on each woman’s breast cancer.

Full Research Summary

For many patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, dual anti-HER2 therapy (two HER2-targeted drugs–trastuzumab and pertuzumab, for instance) plus chemotherapy can reduce the risk of recurrence and improve overall outcome. This treatment, however, is expensive and adds toxicity to cancer therapy. An important clinical question remains regarding which patients need this aggressive treatment and which do not. This year, Dr. Sotiriou and his team are developing a tool that will identify patients with excellent prognosis and would therefore not need additional treatment. 

The study utilizes patient tumor samples from the ALTTO trial – the largest randomized trial in patients with early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer. Dr. Sotirious’s team will conduct a series of molecular analyses of tumors from women whose cancers recurred and those whose did not. They will combine information from these analyses with other known predictive markers to generate a predictive tool that can be used to guide treatment decisions. 

This project represents the first large effort that aims to further individualize the care of early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer patients.

Biography

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.

BCRF Investigator Since

2005

Donor Recognition

The Blizzard Entertainment Award

Area(s) of Focus