Over the past week, two PhD candidates from the Department of Molecular Oncology successfully defended their theses at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo.
On June 2nd, M.D. Mari Bogaard presented her PhD thesis titled "On the hunt for improved biomarkers in primary prostate cancer – combining morphological features and molecular changes". The thesis is a joint effort between Department of Pathology and Department of Molecular Oncology with Ulrika Axcrona as main supervisor. Bogaard's research focused on identifying diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers for prostate cancer, considering its molecular heterogeneity, and targeting its morphological features. Her findings revealed that the biomarkers GRIN3A, Ki-67 and cribriform patterns can improve prostate cancer diagnosis and prognosis, particularly aiding in the identification of patients at higher risk of disease progression.
One week earlier, on May 26th, M.Sc. S. Hossein Moosavi defended his thesis on the "Clinical implications of transcriptomic and pharmacological tumor heterogeneity of metastatic colorectal cancers". Moosavi’s research aimed to develop metastasis-oriented molecular classifications of colorectal cancer. The computational tool CMScaller was developed to evaluate the consensus molecular subtypes in the context of metastatic tumour heterogeneity, and provided evidence of frequent subtype switching. A new classification adapted to the gene expression profiles of metastatic lesions enabled improved prognostic stratification. Drug sensitivity testing of tumour organoids from recurrent metastases pointed towards SMAC mimetics as a potential experimental treatment after development of chemoresistance.
The two PhD works contribute to improve our understanding of the impact of tumour heterogeneity in precision medicine of prostate and colorectal cancers. The theses were evaluated by and discussed with panels of distinguished experts, and the candidates were commended for their high-quality research and insightful discussions during the public defence.