Discovery of innovative predictive and prognostic biomarkers in cancer

Precision oncology requires access to patient-specific cancer information, which can be obtained both through traditional tissue biopsy and more recently  by so-called “liquid biopsy” approaches, meaning analysis of tumor-derived biomarkers in body fluids, more commonly plasma samples. Our group has been exploring the potential of liquid biopsy in translational research for a number of cancer types, including among others lung (1-2), breast (3), urothelial (4) and colorectal cancer (5). Biomarkers that  can be assessed in plasma samples from cancer patients include both RNA markers and DNA markers, endowed with either prognostic  or predictive value.


In the future these “liquid biopsy” studies will evolve by including assessment of novel cancer-derived biomarkers as well as by performing interventional studies, underscoring the fact that clinical decision about treatment will be made based on assessment of some of these circulating biomarkers. These studies will be integrated (when feasible) by tissue biomarkers analysis, aiming to interrogate by spatial transcriptomics and other upcoming cutting-edge techniques the still poorly understood heterogeneity of cancer.

5 Publications

  • Zulato E, Del Bianco P, Nardo G, Attili I, Pavan A, Boscolo Bragadin A, Marra L, Pasello G, Fassan M, Calabrese F, Guarneri V, Conte PF, Indraccolo S, Bonanno L. Longitudinal liquid biopsy anticipates hyperprogression and early death in advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Br J Cancer. 2022 Sep 29. doi: 10.1038/s41416-022-01978-1. Online ahead of print.PMID: 36175621
  • Zulato E, Attili I, Pavan A, Nardo G, Del Bianco P, Boscolo Bragadin A, Verza M, Pasqualini L, Pasello G, Fassan M, Calabrese F, Guarneri V, Amadori A, Conte P, Indraccolo S, Bonanno L. Early assessment of KRAS mutation in cfDNA correlates with risk of progression and death in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. Br J Cancer. 2020 Jul;123(1):81-91. doi: 10.1038/s41416-020-0833-7. Epub 2020 May 7.PMID: 32376889
  • Urso L, Vernaci G, Carlet J, Lo Mele M, Fassan M, Zulato E, Faggioni G, Menichetti A, Di Liso E, Griguolo G, Falci C, Conte P, Indraccolo S, Guarneri V, Dieci MV. ESR1 Gene Mutation in Hormone Receptor-Positive HER2-Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer Patients: Concordance Between Tumor Tissue and Circulating Tumor DNA Analysis. Front Oncol. 2021 Mar 11;11:625636.
  • Cavallari I, Grassi A, Del Bianco P, Aceti A, Zaborra C, Sharova E, Bertazzolo I, D'Agostino DM, IafrateM, Ciminale V. Prognostic Stratification of Bladder Cancer Patients with a MicroRNA-based Approach. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Oct 26;12(11):3133. doi: 10.3390/cancers12113133. PMID: 33114775 
  • Rampazzo E, Cecchin E, Del Bianco P, Menin C, Spolverato G, Giunco S, Lonardi S, Malacrida S, De Paoli A, Toffoli G, Pucciarelli S, De Rossi A. Genetic Variants of the TERT Gene, Telomere Length, and Circulating TERT as Prognostic Markers in Rectal Cancer Patients. Cancers (Basel). 2020 Oct 25;12(11):3115. doi: 10.3390/cancers12113115.PMID: 33113831 


5X1000 IOV

People involved:

Stefano Indraccolo, Associate Professor
Vincenzo Ciminale, Associate Professor
Anita De Rossi, Full Professor

Group Members

Loredana Urso, RTDA Researcher
Silvia Giunco, RTDA Researcher
Ilaria Cavallari, Staff Rresearcher
Evgenyia Sharova, Researcher
Marzia Morello, Researcher


Guarneri Valentina,
Pasello Giulia,
Dieci Maria Vittoria
Farinati Fabio
Pucciarelli  Salvatore
Spolverato Gaia
Iafrate  Massimo