“I have been working as an oncologist at the Netherlands Cancer Institute since May. I treat patients with colon cancer. When colon cancer metastasizes, it usually reaches the liver first. Some of these patients can still recover after surgery. Unfortunately this treatment doesn’t benefit every patient: some experience disease recurrence not long after. It would be great if we could allow this group to forgo surgery. We currently do not have any selection criteria to predict whether a patient would benefit from surgery or not. This causes uncertainty in patients, and even surgeons disagree among themselves, which could lead to different treatments for patients with the same condition. One aspect of my PhD research involved looking into clear criteria. From individual biological tumor characteristics it appears to be possible to predict the results of the treatment. One characteristic is the amount of mutations (DNA errors) or the placement of the tumor in the colon. This allows us to take a step towards precision medicine for these patients.”
Karen will defend her thesis on February 10.
prof. dr. C.J.A. Punt
dr. R.J. Swijnenburg