Area 5

Oncological molecular Pathology

Team leader

Strategic objectives

Identification of genetic and molecular mechanisms implicated in the development and progression of human neoplasms.

Development of strategies for transferring to clinical practice the knowledge generated by basic research on human tumors.

Identification of parameters allowing the improved diagnosis and prognosis of neoplastic disease, and the identification of possible therapeutic targets

Main lines of research

Molecular Pathology of Lymphoid Neoplasms

  • To understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms involved in the development and progression of lymphoid neoplasms and to identify parameters that may improve the diagnosis of these disease, stratify patients according to biological risk, and define possible therapeutic targets.
  • To define the complete catalogue of somatic genomic alterations in several lymphoid neoplasm and their clinical and functional relevance
  • To develop strategies for transferring the knowledge generated in the basic studies of these neoplasms into the clinics
  • Molecular Pathology of Solid neoplasms

    • To study the molecular mechanisms of invasion and metastasis, transcriptional expression profiles implicated in the development and progression of different human tumors in relation to development, biological aggressivity and therapeutic options. We focus mainly on breast and prostate tumors as neoplasms under hormone influence, and urological tumors and airway neoplasms – including head and neck tumors.
    • Study of the possible criteria of treatment response and prognosis in neurological tumors.

Research Group

Molecular pathology of lymphoid neoplasms

Elías Campo


Lymphoid neoplasias are a very heterogeneous group of tumors with remarkable variability in their biological behaviour and clinical manifestations. The aim of our group is oriented to understand the genetic, epigenetic, and molecular mechanisms underlying the biological diversity of these tumors and how they may influence the different clinical evolution of the patients. The use of next generation sequencing technologies in cancer samples is able to provide a full catalogue of the somatic alterations (both structural variants and mutations) of the tumor genomes. We are using these technologies to sequence the genome, exome and transcriptome of several lymphoid neoplasms, particularly chronic lymphocytic leukemia, mantle cell lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. We complement these studies with different methodological approaches that include DNA and methylation arrays and several biological cell and animal models. We validate the functional and clinical relevance of these somatic alterations in a large series of patients.

Research Group

Molecular pathology of solid tumours

Pedro Luis Fernández


The study of solid tumours has included neoplasms from urological, ginecological, head and neck and neurological sites. We have continued analysing the role of microRNA in the progression of mammary carcinomas from primary sites to distant metastasis using both in vitro and in vivo models and are testing the hypothesis of the possible usefulness of miRNA detection in blood of cancer patients as a method to help in their staging. We have demonstrated the importance of GATA3 expression in the evolution of luminal breast cancers as well as the role of miR200 family in breast neoplasms and collaborated in the study of the aggressiveness and responsiveness of prostate cancer to adjuvant therapy.

We have continued our research on molecular alterations in gliomas head and neck neoplasms.

Research Group

Transcriptional regulation of gene expression

A. Postigo


The group investigates the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of gene expression during normal cell differentiation and cancer by the ZEB family of proteins and a wide array of in vitro and in vivo approaches. ZEB1 (also known as delta-EF1, zfhx1a) and ZEB2 (SIP1, zfhx1b) are transcription factors that regulate key genes involved in cell determination and differentiation, “stemness” in normal and cancer stem cells, oncogenic transformation and tumor invasion and metastasis. The group uses cell-based approaches, transgenic mice and human samples to study normal cell differentiation and cancer in epithelial (colon, breast, lung), muscle and hematopoietic systems. The group is funded by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the European Union, the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC), Fundació La Marató de TV3, Fundació La Caixa, Fundació Olga Torres, Avon Cosmetics SAU, AGAUR, Academy of Health and Medical Sciences of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and the Leukemia Research Foundation.

Research Group

Biomedical epigenomics

José Ignacio Martín-Subero


The biomedical epigenomics group is focused on the application of whole-genome technologies to characterize epigenomic dynamics during cell differentiation and neoplastic transformation, with particular emphasis on studying normal and neoplastic B cells. A major goal of the group is to understand the molecular determinants of gene deregulation in lymphoid tumors through the integration of different layers of information, i.e., genetic alterations, DNA methylation, histone modifications, chromatin accessibility and 3D chromatin structure. The ultimate goal is to translate the generated epigenomic knowledge into a benefit for patients, in terms of improved diagnosis, estimation of prognosis and treatment.