The objectives of the laboratory are to identify and characterize the pathways altered during oncogenesis in breast cancers, visceral cancers and prostate cancer.
Results are then discussed between researchers and clinicians, as means to improve classification, prognosis, therapeutic efficicency and/or therapeutic options.

This challenge is addressed through 3 axes :

      Circulating Tumor Cells & Metastases
    Genomics of Solid Tumors
    Nanoparticles & Therapeutic Targeting
    Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC)

Our project is to develop tools able to predict drug efficiency in real time, for each patient.

This is achieved by addressing 2 challenges:

  • Establishing the role of Circulating Tumor cells (CTCs) as a - not very invasive - biomarker for therapy efficiency and more specifically to detect early signs of drug resistance mechanisms development,
  • Developing “complex tumor units”, the next generation of patient-derived tumor organoids or tumoroids. They are 3D tumor units composed of malignant cells interacting with their microenvironment (particularly with fibroblasts, which represent the major cell population within the tumor microenvironment or stroma, endothelial and/or immune cells).

These two approaches, combined with microfluidic technology, will lay the basis for a “metastasis-on-a-chip” device. This fully humanized and personalized "tumor on a chip" model, will help us in the understanding and the targeting of the steps involved during metastases occurrence.


Breast cancer (BC), as most cancers, is a heterogeneous disease that can be classified according to histoclinical features and to molecular biology. Our goal is to progress in the molecular and cellular definition of aggressive cancers, especially breast tumors, and help improve their treatment. For this, in collaboration with clinicians, we initiated a personalized medicine program enrolling metastatic patients. The program comprises: metastasis biopsy, banking, extraction of nucleic acids, NGS, grafting to obtain Patient-derived xenograft (PDX), establishment of the molecular identity of a metastasis and its drug response. Therapies are selected upon two types of results: genomics studies and model-based. We established a bank of well-characterized primary and metastatic tumors (mostly from breast metastases so far). These xenografts conserve the genome and gene expression of their cognate tumors and are therefore excellent models for functional studies and drug testing. We are now involved in the next generation ex vivo modeling of tumors, using patient-derived tumoroids.

Nanoparticles & Therapeutic Targeting Palma Rocchi group
Antibody-Drug Conjugate (ADC)

ADCs are a rapidly evolving therapeutic class and many efforts are done to improve efficacy and safety. Design of an effective ADC for cancer therapy requires the identification of an appropriate target, a monoclonal antibody against the target, potent cytotoxic agents, and the conjugation of the monoclonal antibody to one of these agents.We identified nectin-4 as a potential therapeutic target in breast cancer. Nectin-4 (encoded by the PVRL4 gene) is a cell adhesion molecule involved in the formation and maintenance of adherens junctions. Nectin-4 is expressed during foetal development, but is re-expressed as a tumor-associated antigen with pro-oncogenic properties in various carcinomas. In breast cancer, we have shown the correlation of nectin-4 expression with basal biomarkers, Triple-negative (TN) status and HER2 expression. Recently, we showed that nectin-4 is both a new prognostic biomarker and a therapeutic target for ADC in patients with TN breast cancer. We thus developed an ADC (N41mab-vcMMAE) comprising a human anti-nectin-4 monoclonal antibody conjugated to the toxin monomethyl auristatin-E (MMAE). In vitro, this ADC bound to nectin-4 with high affinity and specificity and induced its internalization as well as dose-dependent cytotoxicity on nectin-4-expressing breast cancer cell lines. In vivo, it induced rapid, complete and long-lasting responses of xenografted nectin-4-positive TN BC samples including primary tumors, local relapses, and metastatic lesions; efficiency was dependent on both the dose and the nectin-4 expression level. Clinical development is currently under process. We plan to evaluate the targeting of nectin-4 in treatment-resistant HER2-positive breast cancer and in other carcinomas like lung cancer.

the Team publications
May 2021 Oncoimmunology

Immune landscape of inflammatory breast cancer suggests vulnerability to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Bertucci F, Boudin L, Finetti P, Van Berckelaer C, Van Dam P, Dirix L, ViensP, Gonçalves A, Ueno NT, Van Laere S, Birnbaum D, Mamessier E

May 2021 Genome medicine

Prospective high-throughput genome profiling of advanced cancers: results of the PERMED-01 clinical trial.

Bertucci F, Gonçalves A, Guille A, Adelaïde J, Garnier S, Carbuccia N, BillonE, Finetti P, Sfumato P, Monneur A, Pécheux C, Khran M, Brunelle S, Mescam L,Thomassin-Piana J, Poizat F, Charafe-Jauffret E, Turrini O, Lambaudie E,Provansal M, Extra JM, Madroszyk A, Gilabert M, Sabatier R, Vicier C, MamessierE, Chabannon C, Pakradouni J, Viens P, André F, Gravis G, Popovici C, BirnbaumD, Chaffanet M

May 2021 Nature communications

Targeting Treg cells with GITR activation alleviates resistance to immunotherapy in murine glioblastomas.

Amoozgar Z, Kloepper J, Ren J, Tay RE, Kazer SW, Kiner E, Krishnan S, PosadaJM, Ghosh M, Mamessier E, Wong C, Ferraro GB, Batista A, Wang N, Badeaux M,Roberge S, Xu L, Huang P, Shalek AK, Fukumura D, Kim HJ, Jain RK

May 2021 NPJ breast cancer

The CINSARC signature predicts the clinical outcome in patients with Luminal B breast cancer.

Goncalves A, Finetti P, Birnbaum D, Bertucci F

Apr 2021 Nature communications

EFA6B regulates a stop signal for collective invasion in breast cancer.

Fayad R, Rojas MV, Partisani M, Finetti P, Dib S, Abelanet S, Virolle V, Farina A, Cabaud O, Lopez M, Birnbaum D, Bertucci F, Franco M, Luton F

Mar 2021 Nature Communications

Alternative lengthening of telomeres is notsynonymous with mutations in ATRX/DAXX.

de Nonneville A, Reddel RR

Feb 2021 Journal of Clinical Investigation

Cyclin A2 maintains colon homeostasis and is a prognostic factor in colorectal cancer.

Guo Y, Gabola M, Lattanzio R, Paul C, Pinet V, Tang R, Turali H, Bremond J, Longobardi C, Maurizy C, Da Costa Q, Finetti P, Boissière-Michot F, Rivière B, Lemmers C, Garnier S, Bertucci F, Zlobec I, Chebli K, Tazi J, Azar R, Blanchard JM, Sicinski P, Mamessier E, Lemmers B, Hahne M.

Mar 2020 NPJ Breast Cancer

The therapeutic response of ER+/HER2- breast cancers differs according to the molecular Basal or Luminal subtype.

Bertucci F, Finetti P, Goncalves A, Birnbaum D

Feb 2021 Clinical Cancer Research

Transcriptomic Analysis of Laser Capture Microdissected Tumors Reveals Cancer- and Stromal-Specific Molecular Subtypes of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma.

Birnbaum DJ, Begg SKS, Finetti P, Vanderburg CR, Neyaz A, Kulkarni AS, Hank T, Tai EC, Deshpande V, Bertucci F, Birmbaum D, Lillemoe KD, Warshaw AL, Mino- Kenudson M, Fernandez-Del Castillo C, Ting DT, Liss AS

Nov 2020 Frontiers in Oncology

PELICAN-IPC 2015-016/Oncodistinct-003: A Prospective, Multicenter, Open-Label, Randomized, Non-Comparative, Phase II Study of Pembrolizumab in Combination With Neo Adjuvant EC-Paclitaxel Regimen in HER2-Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Bertucci A, Bertucci F, Zemmour C, Lerebours F, Pierga JY, Levy C, Dalenc F, Grenier J, Petit T, Berline M, Gonçalves A

Feb 2018 Annals of translational medicine

CMTM6 stabilizes PD-L1 expression and refines its prognostic value in tumors.

Mamessier E, Birnbaum DJ, Finetti P, Birnbaum D, Bertucci F

Mar 2020 Molecular oncology

NOTCH and DNA repair pathways are more frequently targeted by genomic alterations in inflammatory than in non-inflammatory breast cancers.

Bertucci F, Rypens C, Finetti P, Guille A, Adélaïde J, Monneur A, Carbuccia N, Garnier S, Dirix P, Gonçalves A, Vermeulen P, Debeb BG, Wang X, Dirix L, Ueno NT, Viens P, Cristofanilli M, Chaffanet M, Birnbaum D, Van Laere S

Aug 2019 Cancers

A Tyrosine Kinase Expression Signature Predicts the Post-Operative Clinical Outcome in Triple Negative Breast Cancers.

de Nonneville A, Finetti P, Adelaide J, Lambaudie É, Viens P, Gonçalves A, Birnbaum D, Mamessier E, Bertucci F

Jun 2019 JCI insight

Sensitive and easy screening for circulating tumor cells by flow cytometry.

Lopresti A, Malergue F, Bertucci F, Liberatoscioli ML, Garnier S, DaCosta Q, Finetti P, Gilabert M, Raoul JL, Birnbaum D, Acquaviva C, Mamessier E

Apr 2018 Biochimica et biophysica acta. Reviews on cancer

Molecular classification as prognostic factor and guide for treatment decision of pancreatic cancer.

Birnbaum DJ, Bertucci F, Finetti P, Birnbaum D, Mamessier E

Aug 2019 Oncoimmunology

PDL1 expression is associated with longer postoperative, survival in adrenocortical carcinoma.

Billon E, Finetti P, Bertucci A, Niccoli P, Birnbaum D, Mamessier E, Bertucci F

Apr 2020 Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)

Dual Programmed Death Receptor-1 and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor-2 Blockade Promotes Vascular Normalization and Enhances Antitumor Immune Responses in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.

Shigeta K, Datta M, Hato T, Kitahara S, Chen IX, Matsui A, Kikuchi H, Mamessier E, Aoki S, Ramjiawan RR, Ochiai H, Bardeesy N, Huang P, Cobbold M, Zhu AX, Jain RK, Duda DG

Jun 2019 Cancers

Liquid Biopsies for Ovarian Carcinoma: How Blood Tests May Improve the Clinical Management of a Deadly Disease.

Mari R, Mamessier E, Lambaudie E, Provansal M, Birnbaum D, Bertucci F, Sabatier R

Jul 2021 Biomedicines

Antisense Oligonucleotide-Based Therapeutic against Menin for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Treatment.

Nguyen DT, Le TK, Paris C, Cherif C, Audebert S, Udu-Ituma SO, Benizri S, Barthélémy P, Bertucci F, Taïeb D, Rocchi P