Research interest: Biomarker research
I have a long-standing interest in mechanisms of anticancer drug
resistance and sensitivity, and how to translate these fundamental
insights into clinically meaningful diagnostic tests in order to
deliver personalized medicine.
Although breast cancer survival has improved substantially over
the past decade, still 1 out of 4 women die of the disease. In
order to further improve breast cancer survival better adjuvant
systemic therapies are needed. For this, we need predictive
biomarkers that tell us how to treat a particular patient. In
addition, overtreatment, especially considering adjuvant systemic
therapy, should be reduced. For this we need prognostic
biomarkers that tell us who should receive additional systemic
therapy after locoregional therapy for breast cancer.
I am a medical oncologist specialized in breast cancer and have
three major research lines: 1) Diagnostics and therapeutics for
BRCAness in breast cancer, 2) diagnostics and therapeutics for
endocrine therapy resistance in breast cancer, 3) prognostic tests
to reduce overtreatment of breast cancer patients.
Together with my group I have made important contributions to
the field of multidrug resistance, and to the field of gene
expression profiling, including the introduction of the MammaPrint®
prognostic gene expression classifier into daily clinical practice.
I am principle investigator of several multicenter randomized
clinical trials in early breast cancer in the Netherlands (e.g.
RASTER study (ISRCTN71917916), MATADOR study (ISRCTN61893718), TEAM
IIb study (ISRCTN17633610)). Over 2,000 breast cancer patients have
been accrued onto those trials. Fresh frozen or RNAlater preserved
primary breast cancer tissue is available for over 1,000 patients
with clinical follow-up data and can be used to develop predictive
and prognostic tests for personalized medicine.
The NKI-AVL has excellent facilities to support these studies,
including a DNA microarray and next-generation sequencing facility,
a surgical pathology department with a large tissue bank, an
internationally recognized datacenter, an encoded patient registry
for clinical research purposes, animal pathology, and a large
animal facility. Since 1984, frozen tissue is available for
virtually all primary breast cancers treated at the NKI-AVL at the
Department of Pathology. Clinical follow-up data of these patients
has been stored in a coded database. Most of these patients have
been treated in the context of a clinical trial.
The research in the Linn lab is supported by grants from the
Dutch Cancer Society, A Sister's Hope, BBMRI, Pink Ribbon,
NWO-ZonMw, TI Pharma, Life Sciences Center Amsterdam (LSCA)
Validation Fund, KWF, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the
European Commission, generous gifts from individuals, and
unrestricted research grants from Sanofi-Aventis, Amgen, Pfizer,
Roche and AstraZeneca.