Division of Radiooncology / Radiobiology

Prof. Dr. Michael Baumann

Left picture: Immunflourescence staining of a human epithelial head- and neck tumor section with different cancer stem cell marker stained in yellow, white and red resembling intratumoral heterogeneity. The nucleus is stained in blue. Right picture: Three-dimensional sphere derived from a single head- and neck tumor cell clone with a diameter of 350 µm.
© dkfz.de

The newly launched division of RadioOncology/ RadioBiology works on the translational aspect of integrating radiobiological findings into clinical patient outcome parameters and clinical studies. To follow the translational concept "from bench-to-bedsite" in both directions we are also working on reverse translation bringing clinical findings back to the lab bench in order to unravel the biological mechanism behind radiotherapy and combined radiotherapy treatments.

Despite the fact that already today radiotherapy is highly personalized in terms of anatomical and clinical information the therapeutic success is often challenges by the patient’s individual biological inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity leading to heterogeneous treatment response, radioresistance and tumor relapse. Novel biological concepts based on the personal omics profile and measurable biological imaging parameters will help patient stratification for prognosis and prediction and constitute the basis for further precision and individualization of cancer treatment. In order to develop new strategies for therapeutic intervention, sound knowledge of the molecular biological mechanisms behind tumor radioresistance is essential. Moreover, large and homogeneous patient collectives are necessary to collect reliable and statistically relevant data. Electronic clinical data registration, storage, modification and data transfer is required for the connection of multiple sites in order to capture, analyze and consolidate clinical, imaging and biological data.

In close collaborations with our partners here at the DKFZ, the clinic and the German Cancer Consortium (DKTK) our currently launched and starting projects include:

  • Elucidation of molecular mechanisms of radioresistance in tumor models
  • Biomarker validation and combinational drug screens in preclinical set-ups
  • Investigation of inter- and intratumoral heterogeneity on single cell level
  • Clinical study design and monitoring
  • Image analysis and integration with available omics and pathological data
  • Further development and implementation of RadPlanBio software

The knowledge will be translated into the conception of clinical trials for personalized treatments customized to the patient’s individual known clinical and biological profile. New insight into the molecular biological mechanisms of radioresistance and tumor heterogeneity will help to elucidate novel biological concepts. Patients individual parameters will be integrated in order to further stratify the patient for the most effective and least aggressive therapy.


Prof. Dr. Michael Baumann
Radiooncology / Radiobiology (E220)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 280
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 2851

Selected Publications

  • Baumann M. et al. (2016). Radiation oncology in the era of precision medicine. Nat Rev Cancer,16(4), 234-49.
  • Kurth I. et al. (2015). Cancer stem cell related markers of radioresistance in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Oncotarget, 6, 34494-34509
  • Tinhofer I. et al. (2016). Targeted next-generation sequencing of locally advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck reveals druggable targets for improving adjuvant chemoradiation. Eur J Cancer, 57, 78-86.
  • Skripcak T. et al. (2014). Creating a data exchange strategy for radiotherapy research: Towards federated databases and anonymized public datasets. Radiother Oncol, 303-309.
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