Professor Camilla Krakstad has her background from research on signal transduction, and during her PhD, she studied cAMP signaling in apoptotic cell death in both normal and cancer cells. She is now leader of the the Bergen Gynecologic Cancer Research Group.
The Bergen Gynecologic Cancer Research Group focuses on molecular profiling of endometrial and cervical cancers, to better understand genetic alterations associated with cancer development and progression and with the ultimate goal to improve treatment. The group’s research is based on patient samples collected over two decades, with extensive clinical information. In recent years, a special focus has been on establishing patient-derived organoid model systems for endometrial cancer alongside continuous effort to gain knowledge of the genetic landscape.
In a large biomarker study of endometrial cancer, the group compared the mismatch repair (MMR) status between preoperative and operative samples. They also performed a large study to investigate the effect of treatment on patient-reported quality of life to gain insight into long-term consequences of treatment. For cervical cancer profiling, the team has been part of a multi-national consortium to unravel differences between cervical cancer cohorts from three continents. Within radiomics and radiogenomics, the group’s competence has been combined to integrate genomic and radiology data for improved pre-operative diagnostics both for endometrial and cervical cancer patients.
In a study investigating MMR status in paired preoperative and operative endometrial cancer biopsies, the group demonstrated a substantial agreement in MMR status between paired lesions. They also found that in addition to determining MMR status, MMR protein expression levels, particularly MSH6, may add prognostic information in endometrial cancer. For cervical cancer, multi-omic analysis of 643 cervical squamous cell carcinomas identified two therapy-relevant subtypes that share the same defining characteristics across three geographically diverse cohorts. Among several projects on optimal integration of preoperative imaging, the group performed a study of the diagnostic performance of four different preoperative imaging workups for prediction of lymph node metastases (LNMs) in endometrial cancer. This work proposes a diagnostic workup with selective PET-CT in patients with high-risk MRI findings. In the group’s quality of life study, patients with endometrial cancer receiving adjuvant chemotherapy reported significantly reduced functioning and more symptoms up to two years after treatment. For patients treated by surgery alone, surgical staging did not seem to affect the quality of life or symptoms to a measurable degree at follow-up.
Two main projects on multiplex IMC (Hyperion) are ongoing, aiming to define markers for recurrent disease in low-stage endometrial tumors, and to define clusters of stem cells, also in endometrial cancers. The group will continue to develop their molecularly defined models for endometrial cancer and use these models for drug testing, functional experiments, and exploration of subtype specific genetic alterations. There is a close collaboration with colleagues at the Broad Institute and Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard, Boston, to identify dependencies and drug-resistance in these models. The group will continue to have a strong focus on the MOMATEC2 trial and continue studies of radiomics and radiogenomics in uterine cancers.
CCBIO provides a platform for collaborations, discussions, and education between researchers with complementary interests and background. For the younger colleagues, the research school has been instrumental by inspiring and educating new talents and establishing networks. Available infrastructure has enabled new research projects and added new possibilities to explore biomarkers in cancer.