Topics of Research

Topics investigated at the CRCM

The CRCM teams seek to understand the biology of tumors, their environment and the tumor-host interface.


The Marseille Cancer Research Center celebrates its 50th anniversary ! -

Our teams investigates the mechanisms of oncogenesis and tumor dissemination, and aim to develop innovative therapeutic innovations for breast, lung, pancreatic and hematological malignancies. Our cross-disciplinary and multidisciplinary approach to cancer research is translated into scientific projects exploring the fundamental bases of tumorigenesis from a molecular and functional point of view in integrated experimental models.

The originality of the CRCM lies also in its capacity to treat major clinical problems (resistance to treatment, prognosis, anti-metastasis strategies …) thanks to our interactive translational and clinical programs involving doctors, pharmacists and scientists.The CRCM teams seek to understand the biology of tumors, their environment and the tumor-host interface.

Main research topics at the CRCM

Signaling, Cell Polariy and Cell Migration

Understand the mechanisms communication of a cell with its environment and between cells, the spatial organization of cells in their environment, cell migration, and how these processes are altered during cellular transformation and contribute to the development of cancer and the formation of metastases.

Precision Medicine

Cancer is a complex disease, not all cancers develop in the same way, and not all patients respond in the same way to treatment. The characterization of each tumor and the environment in which it develops in the patient is the goal of precision medicine, twith the aim to adapt  treatment to the specific profile of each patient.

Genomic (in)stability

Cancers are caused by the accumulation of mutations of the DNA in the cells. Understanding the mechanisms responsible for DNA repair and for the maintenance of genomic integrity, and how their dysfunctions contribute to the development of cancers, makes it possible to develop new treatments.



Stimulating the patient's immune system to boost its anti-cancerous action  is the principle of immunotherapy. The CRCM and IPC researchers and clinicians were among the pioneers of this strategy, with the development of bone marrow transplants in the treatment of leukemia, and antibodies to manipulate cell stimulatory or inhibitory molecules on T or NK cells, and our teams are pursueing research to improve these treatment strategies.

Tumor heterogeneity

Tumors are heterogeneous. They accumulate mutations as the disease progresses and the cells within a given tumor can contain a different panel of mutations from one another, and therefore have a different sensitivity to the treatments. This heterogeneity contributes to the therapeutic resistance and progression of the disease. Understanding this heterogeneity is therefore essential for the development of new therapies in cases of acquired resistance to treatment, and for the elimination of all tumor cells.

Cancer Stem Cells

The cellular heterogeneity of tumors is mainly explained by a hierarchical organization of the tumor, with subpopulations of tumorigenic cells, cancer stem cells, which are resistant to conventional therapies and are capable to generate a full tumor on their own, and to initiate the development of metastases. It is therefore crucial to develop new therapies targeting cancer stem cells. The development of these therapies requires a better understanding of the intrinsic molecular mechanisms of these cells.

Therapeutic antibodies and small molecules

Targeted therapies require the development and use of biological or chemical compounds that act specifically on an identified molecule involved in tumor progression. Our teams contribute to the development of antibodies, nanobodies - fragments of antibodies whose small size confers them with specific properties, and chemical compounds that could constitute new pharmacological agents.