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Psychosocial Research and Epidemiology: Matti Rookus


Matti Rookus, Ph.D.Research Associate

About Matti Rookus

To understand the etiology of hormone-related tumors we initiated three prospective cohort studies.

First, in the national Hereditary Breast and Ovarian cancer study Netherlands (HEBON) we enrolled members of high risk families tested for BRCA1/2 mutations. With this study we actively participate in two international initiatives, the prospective International BRCA1/2 Carrier Cohort Study (IBCCS, coordinated at NKI) and the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA, epidemiologic part, coordinated at NKI). For instance, inIBCCSwe found an increased risk of breast cancer among BRCA1/2 mutation carriers exposed to diagnostic radiation at an early age. In CIMBA-epi we are investigating if genetic variants may be involved in the well known association between age at menarche and risk of breast cancer. Thus, both hormonal/lifestyle risk factors and genetic alterations are taken into account to assess cancer risks and better understand cancer etiology in high risk families. We aim to develop a risk prediction model that incorporates Dutch baseline cancer risks and hormonal/lifestyle/genetic risk factors, to be used in the clinical genetic practice. HEBON/IBCCS/CIMBA are also a resources for studies on gene-gene and treatment-gene interactions, studies on the late health effects of prophylactic surgeries on breasts and ovaries, and studies on the psychological impact of genetic testing and the subsequent decision-making processes.

Secondly, we focus on thein uteroperiod as the time window of interest by investigating a cohort of 12,000 women exposed to Diethylstilbestrolin utero(DES daughters). We found that the risk of clear-cell adeno carcinoma of the vagina is still increased at higher ages. So far, we did not detect an increased risk of breast cancer among DES daughters. In a third cohort consisting of 59,000 Dutch nurses we investigate the association between shift work and risk of hormone-related cancers. We will examine if variants in clock genes are related with the duration of shift work and if they modify the potential association between shift work and risk of breast cancer.


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Rosemarie Wijnands MSc

Data manager


The project I work for is called the Hebon study, a national study to facilitate research on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. The study is coordinated at NKI and conducted in collaboration with all Dutch University Medical Centers. We've invited about 30,000 women and 6,000 men to participate in the study. (, in Dutch)

I started at the NKI in 2012 after I graduated as MSc Nutrition and Health atWageningenUniversity, with a specialization to epidemiology. Although data management wasn't the focus during my education, I'm enjoying the work in this position and I'm  eager to learn more as data manager in a study context.

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Judith de Lange MSc

Research Assistant


I am working for the Hebon project that is coordinated at NKI. Hebon is a national study to facilitate research on hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and is a collaboration of the NKI and all Dutch University Medical Centers. We have invited about 30.000 women and 6.000 men to participate in the study (, in Dutch).

In 2010 I graduated as MSc Health Sciences at VU university, with a specialization to International Public Health. The same year I started working at the NKI. Hebon gave me the opportunity to develop my organizational skills within a complex and interesting research setting.

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Dr. Frederieke van der Baan

Postdoctoral fellow


In June 2012 I defended my thesis on pharmacogenetic testing. My Ph.D. was part of TI Pharma's Escher project, completed at the Julius Center, University Medical Center Utrecht.

As of March 2012 I started as a postdoctoral fellow at the NKI, department of epidemiology. We aim to improve individualized cancer risk prediction of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers in the Netherlands. We work on a risk prediction model, accessible for clinical geneticists, that incorporates both genetic and environmental risk factors such as lifestyle, reproductive and hormonal factors. Currently we study gene-environment interactions and perform pathway analyses within the database of the Consortium of Investigators of Modifiers of BRCA1/2 (CIMBA).

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Anouk Pijpe Ph.D.

Postdoctoral fellow


My primary research interest is the aetiology of breast cancer. I have a background as a nutritional scientist. The exposures I am working on are lifestyle and radiation and occupational risk factors. Currently, I am the coordinator of the Nightingale Study, on shift work and breast cancer risk among 60,000 nurses, and am involved in a number of other studies in- and outside the NKI. I also enjoy initiating and contributing to department and institute wide affairs. Through my work at the NKI I can make a substantial contribution to high-quality science in the field of cancer epidemiology in the best interest of society and cancer patients.

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Recent publications View All Publications

  • Genome-Wide Association Study in BRCA1 Mutation Carriers Identifies Novel Loci Associated with Breast and Ovarian Cancer Risk

    (2013) PLOS Genetics 9(3):e1003212.

    Fergus J. Couch et al.

    Link to Pubmed
  • Excess breast cancer risk in first degree relatives of CHEK2*1100delC positive familial breast cancer cases

    (2013) European Journal of Cancer 49(8):1993-9.

    Adank MA, Verhoef S, Oldenburg RA, Schmidt MK, Hooning MJ, Martens JW, Broeks A, Rookus M, Waisfisz Q, Witte BI, Jonker MA, Meijers-Heijboer...

    Link to Pubmed


  • Office manager

    Yvonne Driessen-Ruwaard & Danielle Groenewegen

  • E-mail

  • Telephone Number

    0031 20 512 2480



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