Cookie Settings

We use cookies to optimize our website. These include cookies that are necessary for the operation of the site, as well as those that are only used for anonymous statistic. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Further information can be found in our data privacy protection .


These cookies are necessary to run the core functionalities of this website and cannot be disabled.

Name Webedition CMS
Purpose This cookie is required by the CMS (Content Management System) Webedition for the system to function correctly. Typically, this cookie is deleted when the browser is closed.
Name econda
Purpose Session cookie emos_jcsid for the web analysis software econda. This runs in the “anonymized measurement” mode. There is no personal reference. As soon as the user leaves the site, tracking is ended and all data in the browser are automatically deleted.

These cookies help us understand how visitors interact with our website by collecting and analyzing information anonymously. Depending on the tool, one or more cookies are set by the provider.

Name econda
Purpose Statistics
External media

Content from external media platforms is blocked by default. If cookies from external media are accepted, access to this content no longer requires manual consent.

Name YouTube
Purpose Show YouTube content
Name Twitter
Purpose activate Twitter Feeds

Division of Infections and Cancer Epidemiology

Dr. Tim Waterboer

About 20% of all cancer cases worldwide are associated with infections. The main etiologic agents are

  • Human Papillomaviruses (HPV) which are associated with cervical and other anogenital cancers, and oropharyngeal cancer
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium that causes gastric cancer
  • Hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV) which cause hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) which is associated with Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Human Herpesvirus 8 (HHV8), or Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), causing Kaposi sarcoma
However, the number of cancer cases attributable to infections is likely underestimated, and most of the infectious agents mentioned above may also cause other cancers, e.g. HPV and non-oropharyngeal head and neck cancer, or H. pylori and other gastrointestinal cancers. Moreover, additional infectious agents have been associated with cancer development, e.g. Chlamydia trachomatis and ovarian cancer. Our main aim is to investigate these less firmly established associations, and to discover novel markers based on serological detection for early disease detection, or as progression markers.

To this end, we have developed a high-throughput serological method (“Multiplex Serology”), which allows analyzing up to 2000 serum samples per day for antibodies to up to 100 different antigens simultaneously. We have successfully developed serological assays for all infectious agents mentioned above, and many others:
  • HPV
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Human Polyomaviruses
  • Hepatitis B and C viruses
  • Human Herpesviruses HSV-1 and -2, VZV, CMV, EBV, and KSHV
  • Retroviruses HIV, HTLV-1
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Rubella, Tetanus, Diphteria
  • Mycoplasma genitalium
  • Streptococcus gallolyticus
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum
  • Parvovirus B19
  • Treponema pallidum
  • as well as many tumor-associated antigens involved in e.g. colorectal carcinoma, ovarian cancer, or Multiple Sclerosis
We collaborate worldwide with many clinical and epidemiological partners to analyze large-scale seroepidemiological studies. In addition to multiplex serology, we develop HPV and EBV nucleic acid detection methods for application in tissue samples and other specimens, and whole proteome microarrays of bacteria (e.g., C. trachomatis, H. pylori) for de novo antigen identification. In genetic epidemiological studies, we correlate host genetics (e.g., GWAS, HLA) with the humoral immune response.


Dr. Tim Waterboer
Infections and Cancer Epidemiology (F020)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 4948

Selected Publications

  • Kreimer, A. R., Johansson, M., Yanik, E. L., Katki, H. A., Check, D. P., Lang Kuhs, K. A., … Waterboer, T. (2017). Kinetics of the Human Papillomavirus Type 16 E6 Antibody Response Prior to Oropharyngeal Cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 109(8), djx005. doi:10.1093/jnci/djx005
  • Butt, J., Varga, M. G., Blot, W. J., Teras, L., Visvanathan, K., Le Marchand, L., … Epplein, M. (2019). Serologic Response to Helicobacter pylori Proteins Associated With Risk of Colorectal Cancer Among Diverse Populations in the United States. Gastroenterology, 156(1), 175–186.e2. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2018.09.054
  • Hufnagel, K., … Waterboer, T. (2018). Immunoprofiling of Chlamydia trachomatis using whole-proteome microarrays generated by on-chip in situ expression. Scientific reports, 8(1), 7503. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-25918-3
  • Waterboer T, Brenner N, Gallagher R, Hillman RJ, Jin F, Grulich A, Poynten IM. Early Detection of Human Papillomavirus-Driven Oropharyngeal Cancer Using Serology From the Study of Prevention of Anal Cancer. JAMA Oncol. 2020 Oct 1;6(11):1806–8. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2020.4527
to top
powered by webEdition CMS