Klinisk institutt 1

Midtveisevaluering - Ole Vidhammer Bjørnstad

Midtveisevaluering for ph.d.-graden ved Universitetet i Bergen for kandidat Ole Vidhammer Bjørnstad


Ole Vidhammer Bjørnstad er tilknyttet Klinisk institutt 1. Veiledere er Heidrun Vethe og Lars A. Akslen.


Functions of nerves in the breast cancer tumor environment


Mechanisms of nerve dependence have been described in several cancers: In e.g. prostate cancer, neural progenitors from the central nervous system have been shown to contribute to neurogenesis. During breast-to-brain metastasis, basal-like breast cancer cells can be reprogrammed into neuron-like cells, displaying cellular characteristics akin to a trans-differentiation process.

In breast cancer, presence of nerve fibers in the tumor microenvironment correlates with poor differentiation, a triple-negative phenotype, lymph node metastasis and high clinical grade. Animal models of breast cancer have shown that sympathetic innervation stimulated tumor growth and progression. However, the significance of autonomic nerves and their signaling in human breast cancer tissue has not been fully defined.

Nerve innervation in the breast tumor microenvironment is still an understudied aspect of breast carcinogenesis. The aim of this thesis will thus be to study the molecular mechanisms of nerves and its progenitors on breast cancer while looking at the plasticity of breast cancer stem cells.