Christos Sotiriou, MD, PhD
Head of the Translational Breast Cancer Laboratory
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
Free University of Brussels
Institut Jules Bordet
About 20% to 30% of triple negative breast cancer patients are extremely sensitive to chemotherapy and almost all of them are cured from their disease. Unfortunately, the remaining 70% of women with triple negative breast cancer are less sensitive to chemotherapy and show a very high risk of relapse. Even though it is recognized that triple negative breast cancer may represent a heterogeneous disease, there is no clear understanding of whether these differences also include responsiveness to chemotherapy. Despite all the efforts made during the last decade to address this question using high-throughput technologies including gene expression profiling, the genetic events driving triple negative breast cancers associated with different sensitivities to chemotherapy are still unknown.
Today, thanks to the revolution of next generation technologies, one can explore this clinically important question. Dr. Sotiriou's project aims to address this issue by identifying the genetic events that are driving resistance to chemotherapy in triple negative breast cancers. His team's goal is to identify druggable mutations that drive this resistant phenotype. The ultimate hope is to develop novel therapeutic strategies to increase cure rates in this disease. The results of this research effort may help address similar questions in other breast cancer subtypes.
Mid-year Progress: At the time Dr. Sotiriou reported in early February, four samples underwent whole genome sequencing. The remaining samples will be sequenced by the end of June 2013. Dr. Sotiriou's team will start analyzing the data for the identification of genomic aberrations associated with response and resistance to preoperative chemotherapy after the accomplishment of whole genome tumor sequencing. They expect to have initial results by September 2013.
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.