Dr. Elisabeth Wik has been a member of the Tumor Biology Research Group (directed by Akslen) since 2013, in combination with a position as resident at the Department of Pathology, Haukeland University Hospital. Currently she is also leader of the CCBIO Research School for Cancer Studies.
Associate Professor Elisabeth Wik (consultant pathologist) heads the group Breast Cancer of the Young - Bergen (BCY-B), established in 2019. Their research focuses on breast cancer of the young, a group that experience more aggressive tumors and poorer survival compared to what is expected based on traditional clinico-pathologic prognostic measures. Unraveling the underlying age-related biology is clinically highly relevant to improve understanding and clinical handling of this patient group.
1. Estrogen receptor-related biology in breast cancer of the young
2. Landscape of immuno-phenotypes and potential age-related differences
3. Risk of recurrence score (ROR) in breast cancer of the young
4. Germline and somatic DNA repair mutations in breast cancer of the young
5. Targets for therapy in primary tumors and metastatic lesions in breast cancer of the young
The project “Breast Cancer of the Young; Age-Related Biology” is in its early phases. One major achievement has been the establishment of a large clinical cohort of breast cancer of the young, including tissue material, histopathologic annotations, and long and complete follow-up data. The first paper from this cohort is in pre-submission phase (A. Svanoe et al.).
Current challenges in the field
In general, cancer biomarker research is under pressure by a requirement to demonstrate bio-functional relevance of the markers under study. When hunting the direct link(s) between biological functionality and the biomarker under study, it is important to keep in mind the biological complexity and the clonal evolution that takes place, as important hallmarks of cancer. Validation studies have to be conducted to bring discoveries closer to clinical applications.
The group plans to explore the tumor microenvironment with age-related biological differences in focus, in collaboration with CCBIO´s international faculty. Established methods such as imaging mass cytometry (Hyperion) and the NanoString technology will be increasingly used. Also, building an international network with researchers on breast cancer of the young is one of the goals for the group in the years to come.