“Why do some breast cancer patients respond well to certain medicines while others do not? How is it possible that some women are at risk of developing a second breast tumor, or have a worse prognosis? Genetic research provides us with a lot of data, but these don’t automatically lead to suitable answers. As a statistician, I analyzed some of this data to better understand how breast cancer works, what the connections are between certain genetic types, and the risk of a second tumor or a bad prognosis.
I also investigated the risks of other, non-hereditary factors, including lifestyle. I looked at the entire patient population as well as specific subgroups. It’s like trying to solve an enormous puzzle. I have only been able to add some small missing pieces, that have led to three nice publications, of which I was the first author. I’m very happy with that, even if it’s just because not all types of breast cancer come with a good prognosis. We will need a lot more research. As an Italian in the lab, I noticed that Dutch people are much more direct but also informal. Everybody arrives on time. I appreciate that. I even adjusted to Dutch mealtimes.”
Anna will defend her thesis on April 11.
prof.dr.ir. M.K. Schmidt
dr. Maartje J. Honing
This research was financially supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme B-CAST grant (number 633784) and an institutional grant from KWF Dutch Cancer Society and the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.