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Clinical and Molecular Oncology in ColoRectal Cancer

Group information, relevant EV research and instrumentation

Group name

Clinical and Molecular Oncology in ColoRectal Cancer, CMOR



Department of Oncology, Akershus University Hospital


Link to homepage:






Steering group member

Anne Hansen Ree



Deputy representative

Kathrine Røe Redalen

Postdoctoral Fellow


Group members

Karianne Risberg

Postdoctoral Fellow


Erta Kalanxhi

Postdoctoral Fellow


Paula A. Bousquet

Postdoctoral Fellow


Sebastian Meltzer

PhD Candidate


Tonje Bjørnetrø

PhD Candidate


Hanna Abrahamsson

PhD Candidate


Kine Mari Bakke

PhD Candidate


Imon Barua

Medical Student


Christin Johansen

Study Nurse


Janne Sølvernes

Laboratory Engineer


Marius Bornstein

Scientific Assistant


Daniel Heinrich

Study Oncologist


Siv Johnsen Soriano

Project Coordinator



Scientific background/relevant EV research:

See also “Cooperative research projects in RRNEV” (link) 

Hypoxia (deficiency in tissue oxygenation) is recognized as a main mechanism of tumor resistance to cytotoxic therapies, including radiation, and recent research also supports that tumor hypoxia is a major driving force of the metastatic process. In order to cure rectal cancer, two therapeutic challenges must be met, namely eradication of tumor within the pelvic cavity, frequently involving radiotherapy, and prevention of systemic tumor dissemination. In this context, the natural disease course of rectal cancer makes it an ideal model system to explore the role of tumor hypoxia in therapy resistance and metastasis development. Adaptive responses to tumor hypoxia implicate biological processes that promote proliferative, angiogenic, and metastatic signaling mediators. In order to develop therapeutic strategies for hypoxic tumors and thereby improve disease outcome, multiparametric approaches are needed for the identification of actionable therapy targets, by combining a multitude of molecular and functional information that reflects biological tumor heterogeneity and facilitates patient treatment stratification.


We hypothesize that extracellular vesicles comprise a central source of hypoxic tumor biomarkers mediating radiation resistance and metastasis development. Hence, within RRNEV, our research group will contribute with the following projects:


“Extracellular vesicle biomarkers in hypoxic rectal carcinoma experimental models”. This project will employ established rectal carcinoma cell lines that in a number of years have been characterized by the research group for their applicability as tumor hypoxia models. The hypoxia-induced extracellular vesicle phenotype will be determined adopting analytical tools held by the research network.


Clinical validation of experimental findings, when expedient, will be undertaken both using new and existing biobank materials compiled within our prospective clinical trials, termed OxyTarget and LARC-RRP, respectively.


“Circulating extracellular vesicle biomarkers of tumor response to chemoradiotherapy in rectal cancer”. The OxyTarget trial (Functional MRI of Hypoxia-Mediated Rectal Cancer Aggressiveness) [NCT01816607] will start study patient enrollment in spring 2013. The main objective is to identify functional magnetic resonance imaging tumor parameters that will predict histopathologic tumor response (ypTN stage and tumor regression grade) and clinical outcome (locally or metastatic recurrent disease and overall survival) in patients with rectal cancer undergoing neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. A subproject within this trial will be to investigate extracellular vesicle content in fresh plasma samples as potential tumor biomarkers of hypoxia-mediated, aggressive disease.


“Circulating extracellular vesicle biomarkers of rectal cancer patient outcome to chemoradiotherapy”. Recognizing that tumor hypoxia is a common determinant of resistance to cytotoxic therapies and metastatic behavior, our completed prospective phase II trial, the LARC-RRP study (Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer – Radiation Response Prediction) [ClinicalTrials NCT00278694], into which 113 patients were enrolled from October 2005 to March 2010, offers a unique opportunity to explore this intriguing concept in a defined clinical context. The study biobank, among a number of other patient samples, has prospectively archived serial serum/plasma samples from the study patients during their treatment course of neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy. For all study patients that have undergone definitive surgery, histopathologic tumor response (ypTN stage and tumor regression grade) has been assessed. Moreover, radiologic tumor response (ymrTN) and clinical outcome (local and systemic disease-free survival) are also recorded.



Instrumentation (relevant for EV research):

  • INVIVO2 300 Hypoxic workstation (hypoxia incubator chamber for cell cultures)
  • CellRad cabinet x-ray system (radiation chamber for cell cultures)
  • Tyrosine Kinase PamChip12 Array (peptide array system for comprehensive kinase signaling analysis)


  • A number of other analytical facilities, including
    • Flow cytometers
    • Agilent microarray technology
    • Fluorescence microscope



August 25th, 2015