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Colorectal cancer

Research group The importance of the intestinal microflora and tumour molecular characteristics in prognosis and therapy of colorectal cancer.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a widespread disease, yearly affecting around 6000 individuals in Sweden. It is also one of the most deadly cancers in both men and women. What controls the onset and progression of CRC (for example how aggressive it is and how rapid it will spread) is only partly known.

Surgery has for a long time been the basis for curative treatment, but lately additional therapeutic approaches have been introduced and show promising results. Findings suggest that patients with CRC have individual therapeutic needs. In personalised medicine, an improved molecular understanding of disease and how it affects patient prognosis is needed.

Intestinal microflora included

The research group has for some time mainly been working to characterise CRC in terms of molecular characteristics and the tumour immune response. This with the purpose to identify prognostic and predictive biomarkers, as well as new potential therapeutic strategies. Recently, the interest of the group has shifted to include also the intestinal microflora. It has been reported that patients with CRC often have an altered intestinal microflora, and that these alterations affect disease development and progression.

The intestinal microflora is an essential regulator of the immune response, and the immune response in turn is an important prognostic factor in CRC. An increased understanding of how the intestinal microflora affects disease development and progression may lead to the identification of new important clinical tools – biomarkers for early detection, prognosis and prediction, and more individual based therapeutic approaches.

Researchers from many different disciplines

The research group consists of researchers from many different disciplines with expertise in research areas ranging from Pathology, to Molecular biology, Microbiology, Immunology and Biostatistics, enabling many different types of studies. The research is mainly based on studies of CRC patient derived tissue, faecal and blood samples, but is complemented with in vitro studies using tumour derived cell lines and organoids.  

Head of research

Richard Palmqvist
Professor, senior consultant (attending) physician


Participating departments and units at Umeå University

Department of Medical Biosciences

Research area

Latest update: 2024-01-25