Diether Lambrechts Lab

Research focus

​The Laboratory for Translational Genetics (LTG) at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology headed by Prof. Diether Lambrechts aspires to tackle important questions in oncology by translating genome-scale data sets into clinically applicable knowledge. The objectives of his research are: leveraging the genetic and epigenetic annotation of tumors for improving cancer prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. Investigations are based on the application of cutting-edge genetic technologies (single-cell RNA-Seq, ChiP-Seq, 5mC and 5hmC-Seq, etc) and advanced bioinformatics, and on the seamless integration of genomic data sets with clinical and fundamental biological information.

A particular current interest of his lab is to characterize how the tumor micro-environment (e.g., tumor hypoxia) influences tumor cells and determines response to cancer therapies targeting the micro-environment. Key examples of such therapies are anti-angiogenic and checkpoint immunotherapies, which are both frequently used in the clinic. This exciting and actual line of research bears a lot of translational potential, as managing the levels of hypoxia in solid tumors by the use of anti-angiogenic strategies represents a major yet incompletely understood challenge, while the field of immunotherapy is rapidly expanding - yet desperately in need biomarkers predictive of their response.   


Tumour hypoxia causes DNA hypermethylation by reducing TET activityThienpont B* Steinbacher J* Zhao H* D'anna F* Kuchnio A Ploumakis A Ghesquière B Van Dyck L Boeckx B Schoonjans L Hermans E Amant F Kristensen V Koh K Mazzone M Coleman M Carell T Carmeliet P Lambrechts DNATURE, 537, 63-68, 2016* These authors contributed equally
Genome-Wide Meta-Analyses of Breast, Ovarian, and Prostate Cancer Association Studies Identify Multiple New Susceptibility Loci Shared by at Least Two Cancer TypesKar S* Beesley J* Moisse M Investigators A Study Group A Cancer Study A Bioresource A Investigators K Investigators N Network G Consortium P Lambrechts DCancer Discovery, 6, 1052-67, 2016* These authors contributed equally
Genomic landscape of carcinogen-induced and genetically induced mouse skin squamous cell carcinomaNassar D* Latil M* Boeckx B* Lambrechts D* Blanpain C*NATURE MEDICINE, 21, 946-54, 2015* These authors contributed equally
Markers of response for the antiangiogenic agent bevacizumabLambrechts D, Lenz H, de Haas S, Carmeliet P, Scherer SJOURNAL OF CLINICAL ONCOLOGY, 31, 1219-30, 2013
VEGF pathway genetic variants as biomarkers of treatment outcome with bevacizumab: an analysis of data from the AViTA and AVOREN randomised trialsLambrechts D, Claes B, Delmar P, Reumers J, Mazzone M, Yesilyurt B, Devlieger R, Verslype C, Tejpar S, Wildiers H, de Haas S, Carmeliet P, Scherer S, Van Cutsem ELANCET ONCOLOGY, 13, 724-33, 2012


Metastatic breast cancers: Characterising the profile of metastases for improved treatment

24/04/2017 - ​Researchers at the Jules Bordet Institute, ULB, VIB and KU Leuven published a study offering a better understanding of the progression of breast cancer. The conclusions could have an impact on care for patients suffering from a metastatic breast cancer

Multidisciplinary approach for groundbreaking study on tumor epigenetics

29/10/2016 - A group of researchers lead by Diether Lambrechts (VIB-KU Leuven) explored the mechanisms that cause increased levels of methylation in tumor genes — information that is vital to the adaptation of therapies to fight different types of tumors.

Normalizing tumor oxygen supply could be key factor in the fight against cancer

17/08/2016 - ​The lack of oxygen in tumor cells changes the cells’ gene expression, thereby contributing to the growth of cancer. This is the main conclusion of a research project led by professor Diether Lambrechts and Dr. Bernard Thienpont (VIB-KU Leuven).

Researchers at VIB, ULB, KU Leuven uncover new genetic alterations in development of skin cell carcinoma

13/07/2015 - “These results will be the foundation of many future studies on the genetic aberrations controlling cancer development” - Diether Lambrechts, VIB-KU Leuven

ERC-grants for three VIB scientists: boost for innovative research

09/12/2013 - ERC-grants grants for three VIB scientists: boost for innovative research

Improved diagnostic test for the detection of cancer

06/12/2013 - Diether Lambrechts (VIB/KU Leuven) and the biotech company, Biocartis, are working together on a new diagnostic test for certain types of cancer.

Genetic risk factors breast prostate and ovarian cancer exposed

27/03/2013 - An international consortium has identified more than 80 regions in our DNA that increase a person’s risk of developing breast, prostate and ovarian cancer.

Biomarker predicts response to cancer treatment

21/05/2012 - VIB researcher Diether Lambrechts, associated with KU Leuven, has discovered a biomarker that can predict which patients will benefit from treatment with bevacizumab (Avastin).

New method to reduce error rate in detecting genomic variants by short-read sequencing

19/12/2011 - VIB scientists describe in Nature Biotechnology a method that reduces the error rate in detecting genomic variants by short-read sequencing technologies Complete Genomics and Illumina

Diether Lambrechts

Diether Lambrechts

Research area(s)

Model organism(s)


​​Bio-Ir.: Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 1999
PhD: Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2003
Postdoc.: Vesalius Research Center, Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2003-07
Postdoc.: Wellcome Trust Center, Oxford, UK, 2007
VIB Group leader since January 2008
VIB Science Director since 2017

Contact Info

VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer BiologyO&N 4, 9e verdCampus GasthuisbergHerestraat 49, bus 912 3000 LEUVENRoute description