Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
Associate Investigators

Elisabeth Wik

Dr. Elisabeth Wik has been a cancer researcher since 2007. She holds the position as Head of Department of Pathology (Haukeland University Hospital), Associate Professor at Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO and Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Bergen, and has since 2018 been head of the CCBIO Research School for Cancer Studies.

Portrait photo.
Ingvild Festervoll Melien

Main content

Research focus

The research group Breast Cancer of the Young – Bergen (BCY-B) was established in 2019, focusing on studies of breast cancer in women younger than 50 years of age. This group experiences more aggressive tumors and poorer survival compared to what is expected based on traditional clinico-pathologic prognostic measures. BCY-B studies age-related breast cancer biology, aiming for diagnostic biomarker development and improved prognostication – a project of high clinical relevance.

The patients being studied in BCY-B need clinical attention, and identifying patients that may be spared adjuvant treatment is of high importance. From the molecular analysis perspectives, integrating different levels of large-scale data has been a challenge in the omics studies and needs to be addressed in forthcoming BCY-B studies.


1. Estrogen receptor-related biology in breast cancer of the young

2. Age-dependent transcriptomic alterations in breast cancer of the young

3. Age-dependent differences in immune-angiogenic responses in breast cancer

4. Targets for therapy in primary and metastatic breast cancer of the young

Important results

The BCY-B group has established well-annotated, long-term followup cohorts of tissue from the BCY patients, including matched primary and metastatic tissue. One paper has been published (Ingebriktsen et al., BJC, 2022), and projects on GATA3, FOXA1, AGR2, and TFF1 are ongoing as part of the subproject “Estrogen receptorrelated biology in breast cancer of the young” (Helse Vest funded in 2020). Studies of transcriptional agedependent alterations and molecular subtypes in metastases from breast cancer of the young are in progress.

The BCY-B group is in early phases of studying genomic and epigenomic alterations in primary breast cancer and metastases – aiming for improved understanding of age-related variations in the metastatic processes. The group has since 2019 built a research group counting three PhD candidates, three Medical Research Program students (and one completed), one researcher, and one pre-PhD candidate.

Future plans

The BCY-B group aims to explore age-related biological differences, focusing on the metastatic processes. The group still aims part of their work towards biomarkers for response to endocrine therapy and plans to expand on genomic and epigenomic methods, integrating data from these with microenvironment markers under study. Further expansions of BCY cohorts, including tissue data, are ongoing. Efforts to attract external funding and establishing international collaborations and networks are planned.

CCBIO significance

Wik finds that being part of CCBIO has provided a motivating research environment, stimulating her to establish an independent research group. She finds the center to represent a vivid extended research environment for the students and candidates with vast possibilities for joining high-quality courses, seminars, and workshops, and providing all CCBIO members with valuable networking possibilities both locally and with international faculty.