Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Characteristics of Malignant Neoplasms Important for Diagnosis, Prognosis and Treatment Outcome

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.04.00  Medical sciences  Oncology   

Code Science Field
B200  Biomedical sciences  Cytology, oncology, cancerology 

Code Science Field
3.02  Medical and Health Sciences  Clinical medicine 
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (28)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  10330  PhD Nikola Bešić  Oncology  Head  2014 - 2018  458 
2.  28452  PhD Juan Antonio Contreras  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Researcher  2014  57 
3.  07012  PhD Peter Černelč  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  479 
4.  22431  PhD Primož Drev  Medical sciences  Researcher  2014  48 
5.  36115  PhD Gorana Gašljević  Medical sciences  Researcher  2018  192 
6.  20050  PhD Barbara Gazič  Oncology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  170 
7.  17472  Vesna Gril    Technical associate  2014 - 2017 
8.  30137  Hermina Kavčič  Microbiology and immunology  Technical associate  2014 - 2018 
9.  28746  Mateja Kernjak Slak    Technical associate  2014 - 2017 
10.  15076  PhD Veronika Kloboves-Prevodnik  Oncology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  265 
11.  28745  Nataša Kozina    Technical associate  2014 - 2017 
12.  27594  PhD Mateja Krajc  Medical sciences  Researcher  2015 - 2018  343 
13.  04376  PhD Janez Lamovec  Oncology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  239 
14.  15819  PhD Jaka Lavrenčak  Oncology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  74 
15.  24570  PhD Maja Marolt Mušič  Oncology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  189 
16.  21548  PhD Nataša Nolde  Medical sciences  Researcher  2014  57 
17.  38224  PhD Jerica Novak  Medical sciences  Technical associate  2015 - 2017  25 
18.  23818  PhD Tadej Pajič  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2015 - 2018  177 
19.  26531  PhD Gašper Pilko  Medical sciences  Researcher  2014 - 2018  51 
20.  12684  PhD Helena Podgornik  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  336 
21.  12199  PhD Živa Pohar Marinšek  Oncology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  143 
22.  23126  PhD Irena Preložnik Zupan  Oncology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  409 
23.  32449  PhD Mirjana Rajer  Oncology  Researcher  2015 - 2017  251 
24.  29594  PhD Katarina Reberšek  Microbiology and immunology  Junior researcher  2014  37 
25.  24908  PhD Matjaž Sever  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2014 - 2018  268 
26.  24572  PhD Erik Škof  Medical sciences  Researcher  2014 - 2018  168 
27.  17741  Brigita Šturbej    Technical associate  2014 - 2017 
28.  36203  Zvezdana Vukmirović  Medical sciences  Technical associate  2018 
Organisations (2)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0302  Institute of Oncology Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5055733000  14,848 
2.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  74,787 
The main purpose of our research program is to improve diagnostic methods and optimize the treatment of patients with cancer. Therefore, experts from the diagnostic laboratories, radiology imaging and clinicians are researchers included in our program. We will explore tumor markers, which we'll get by established methods: cytology, pathology, flow cytometry, cytogenetics, molecular genetics and imaging. We will study the usefulness of markers for the detection of the disease and its prognostic significance. In the next period, our study will be conducted in the field of leukemia, lymphoid malignancies, thyroid cancer, breast, kidney, prostate and lung cancer. In the field of adult leukemia patients, we will determine which clones of malignant cancer cells are present before, during and after treatment and at time of relapse. The results will help us in treatment planning and the choice of an appropriate targeted therapy. In the field of leukemia, lung cancer and Huerthle cell thyroid carcinoma (HCTC) we will study if micro RNAs can serve as tumor markers. In HCTC we will study if micro-RNAs can be useful for distinguishing between adenoma and HCTC, and if miRNAs are predictive markers for metastases. In the field of breast cancer, the frequency of translocation ALK will be determined in triple negative breast cancer. This research is of great practical importance. Namely, the presence of this translocation in the patients, who have a poor prognosis without effective treatment, would provide effective targeted therapy. In the field of cytology of breast cancer, prognostic factors (MIB-1 and S-phase of the cell cycle) in cytological samples will be compared with the results of histological material processed by automated immunohistochemistry stainer. In the field of breast cancer sophisticated methods of breast imaging by magnetic resonance will be tested in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of neoadjuvant systemic treatment with cytostatics and/or targeted therapy. New predictive and prognostic factors and treatment modality will be analyzed for selected groups of patients with breast cancer, for which we believe that our findings could alter the international treatment guidelines. In the field of lung cancer the methods of molecular genetics, cytogenetics, and pharmacogenomics will be used for two groups of patients with non-small cell lung cancer: 1) patients who live longer than 10 years despite distant metastases and 2) patients with lung cancer who are younger than 40 y. of age. The latter studies are very original. There are only limited data about such patients in the literature. Our findings will be very relevant for the treatment of such patients. Potential impact of all of these studies is that our findings will help in the choice of treatment to be most effective with the lowest possible toxicity.
Significance for science
Cancer is one of the causes of high morbidity and mortality in developed countries, therefore research in this field is one of priorities in science. Good laboratory and imaging diagnostics and multidisciplinary treatment and good co-operation of all the services is the key for successful treatment of cancer. In the last period researchers from the field of diagnostic imaging, surgery and radiotherapy joined our research group. The results of our research will be important for the international scientific public. Our research will contribute to defining the importance of individual markers and their direct impact on clinical decisions in leukaemias, lymphatic neoplasms, breast cancer, thyroid cancer and lung cancer. We expect primarily to contribute to the knowledge in the field of development of methods for determining small malignant clones in adults with leukaemias and lymphomas. Our findings with regard to determining the minimal residual disease (MRD) in the treatment of malignant lymphomas will direct further research to seek the basic biological and metabolic mechanisms of the cells of these clones and, subsequently, to identify new targets and target drugs. Our research regarding changes in the tumour, which will be determined by magnetic resonance imaging of the breast following treatment with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, will potentially affect future research activities and the development of new non-invasive methods, equipment and software for determining the effectiveness of treatment with cytostatics, target drugs and radiotherapy. Findings of our research on genetic polymorphisms in genes for antioxidant enzymes on Huerthle cell thyroid tumours could contribute to an improved understanding of the basic mechanisms of metabolism and carcinogenesis in mitochondria (Huerthle cells are almost entirely filled with mitochondria) and cells, and to understanding how and why carcinoma is developed from adenoma (Huerthle cells of the thyroid). We expect that our research will contribute to a more effective treatment of some diseases, as based on improving the predictive and prognostic factors we will be able to better assess which patients should be treated more aggressively and which patients less aggressively. The results of our research on lung cancer will help to understand why some patients suffer from a young age, while others, despite metastasis disease progresses very slowly. We hope to find new targets, which will open the way for new research on medicines directed against these targets.
Significance for the country
Based on our findings, the diagnosis and treatment will become more rational and therefore cheaper, which will, in the current circumstances of global crisis, enable greater savings in healthcare and thus ensure more money for other purposes. Moreover, a higher proportion of cured patients will contribute to increased power of our State. Research of new markers, as well as new methods for determining small malignant clones, will significantly affect the planning of treatment, assessment of its success and its eventual and timely change. Examinations in the field of molecular biology and genetics are still relatively expensive and cannot be provided to all patients in Slovenia. However, these examinations and other diagnostic tests (e.g. ultrasound or magnetic resonance) pay off if they help us to observe that extremely expensive target drugs are used only when they are truly effective and justified in terms of their price and the nature of a specific malignant disease. Due to the availability of numerous new ways of treatment, mainly different biological drugs, the correct selection and, later, assessment of treatment success is of key importance both from the economic perspective and in terms of treatment success. Improving the overall success of treatment in cancer patients with sustainable treatment costs is the fundamental socio-economic objective we pursue in our research studies. Our research studies have a major potential influence on the change in diagnostic and therapeutic algorithms. Thus, for instance, the observation of the research team, including Dr. Bešič, that 66% of HCTC metastases accumulate radioiodine is already included in the European Guidelines on Nuclear Medicine and in the German Guidelines for Thyroid Cancer Treatment. Similarly, the findings of Dr. Zwitter and Dr. Kovač showed that treatment of mesothelioma patients with lower doses of cytostatics is more effective with less side events and also cheaper than with higher doses. The results of the research program will be published in respected journals and presented at international scientific or professional meetings, thus contributing to the visibility of Slovenia around the world. Our research studies will enable a more intensive integration of Slovenian researchers into the international scientific community and participation in bilateral and multi-center studies. In Slovenia, our research program will contribute to a faster introduction of modern methods in routine practice and to improved professional quality. During program implementation, we will also ensure education and training of students and human resources; based on the research studies conducted in our program, we expect that seven PhD thesis will be done.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
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