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Department of Oncology

Fighting cancer from bench to bedside

Fighting cancer from bench to bedside


About the Department

The Department of Oncology unites a core of fundamental and clinical cancer researchers at the KU Leuven and the University Hospitals of Leuven, one of the largest hospitals in Belgium. Over 54 academic staff members and more than 160 postdocs and PhD students, supported by an excellent technical staff, create a stimulating and cutting edge technological environment for innovative cancer research. Moreover, the department of Oncology fosters oncological teaching, is strongly involved in the Doctoral School Cancer Program, and through both bench and clinical training is fully committed to deliver the next generation of successful cancer researchers and clinicians.

About the Leuven Cancer Institute (LKI)

The Leuven Cancer Institute was established as part of KU Leuven and University Hospitals Leuven. At LKI basic scientists, clinical researchers and doctors join forces. Their aim is to fight cancer even more effectively and to offer the best chances to patients with cancer. LKI strives for a leading position in care, diagnosis, therapy, research and training. LKI is also dedicated to meeting patients’ social and emotional needs.


Research Profile

The Department of Oncology fosters synergy in innovative oncological research. By creating a close link between bed and bench and by capitalizing on advanced technologies, our researchers aim to unravel key molecular mechanisms underlying the development and progression of cancer and to maximize opportunities to translate these findings into better clinical biomarkers, adaptive strategies and innovative treatments.

Major Research Areas

  • Angiogenesis and vessel normalization
  • Tumor metabolism
  • Tumor immunology
  • Signaling pathways, novel cancer mechanisms and co-operative interactions in cancer
  • Oncogenetics, tumor heterogeneity, spacial omics and single cell analysis
  • Innovation in diagnosis including molecular annotation of tumors, development of biomarkers for prognosis and response prediction, liquid biopsies and imaging
  • Innovation in cancer treatment including targeted treatments, surgery, immunotherapy and radiotherapy
  • Cancer and pregnancy


Technological Expertise and Infrastructure

  • Biospecimen collection, biobanking and clinical data management
  • Experimental and preclinical model development including patient-derived xenografts, cell lines and animal models
  • Genetic and Omics technologies including genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics
  • Advanced bioinformatics
  • Functional and microscopic analysis
  • Medical imaging
  • Surgical techniques
  • Radiation devices
  • Set-up and management of clinical trials


Head of the Department

Johan Swinnen

tel. +32 16 3 30533

Department Manager

Jeroen Vandecasteele

Tel:  +32 16 330 905


Contact Information

Department of Oncology
Herestraat 49, O&N1 box 818
B-3000 Leuven, Belgium

tel: +32 16 330 905
fax: +32 16 330 718