Course Objective

The aim of this course is to acquire state-of-the art knowledge of and
deeper insights into the general concepts of oncogenesis and basic tumor
biology. These include (but are not limited to) the different genetic
alterations and classes of genes involved in tumor formation, their role
in cellular signalling, DNA repair and cell cycle control, the
(molecular) tools to study carcinogenesis including NextGen sequencing,
CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing, model systems such as transgenic mouse models
and high-throughput functional genomics.
In addition, hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes, exogenous
factors involved in oncogenesis with emphasis on viruses will be
studied. Finally, we will review markers of disease progression, genetic
counselling, screening, as well as intervention options.

The students will be given an up-to-date overview of the current
knowledge and opinions in this exciting field. Furthermore, the students
will acquire deep insight into how to interpret literature on specific
topics in oncogenesis and present their findings in a clear and concise

Course Content

The course on Oncogenesis consists of three parts. The first part
involves morning sessions with lectures given by experts on various
topics of oncogenesis. The second part involves a literature (self-)
study on a specific familial cancer syndrome followed by a
group-presentation in the last week of the course. The third part
involves a repetition of key lectures for which students will summarize
lectures with the aid of the handouts that will become available on
CANVAS. The latter two parts will be executed by groups of 4 students in
a way that all students will be involved in a presentation.

Topics include:
1. Last updates on the roles of cancer genes and cancer pathways
2. Modern cancer genomics and (epi)genetics including Next Gen
3. Mechanisms, models and molecular methods, including CRISPR-Cas9
4. Viruses causing cancer
5. Clinical aspects of cancer and precancer biology
6. Cancer predisposition syndromes

Teaching Methods

± 45 interactive lectures given by experts during morning sessions
± 6-7 interactive lecture repetitions given by student groups
± 6-7 interactive literature presentations given by student groups

The course has approximately 56 contact hours with teachers and course

Method of Assessment

The course will be concluded with a 3 hours examination (24 open
questions) on the contents of the lectures. Handouts of the
presentations, including those of the literature studies, will be
available on CANVAS. There will be a rehearsal examination during the
course. Also the lecture repetitions and presentations of the
literature studies will be judged.

The final mark of this course will be determined by the average of the
scores for the examination (counting for 70%), the lecture repetition
(counting for 10%), and the literature presentation (counting for 20%).
Students need to be present and actively participate during the course.
Absence is only allowed with reason and need to be reported on

(Review) articles posted on CANVAS and ‘the Biology of Cancer’
(Robert A. Weinberg, second edition) is recommended as a reference work
for deeper background knowledge and to facilitate studying the different


The course reader (available on CANVAS) contains (review) articles on
the various topics.

Target Audience

This course is compulsory for students of the Master in Oncology.
External candidates are also allowed, if accepted by the program
coordinator. Students from other master programs must have basic
knowledge of Oncology and Immunology and will only be accepted when the
number of master Oncology students is less than 40. They have to send
their cv, motivation and transcript of records via email to the program
coordinator. At the beginning of July 2018, students will be informed
about the acceptance.

Additional Information

The students will have acquired insight in the latest developments in
the field of oncogenesis, cancer genetics and technologies to
investigate the molecular aspects of cancer. Furthermore, the students
will be able to integrate knowledge and insight in the formation of
opinions concerning research questions about the development of cancer,
and learn how to review and present scientific work.

Prof. dr. R.H. Brakenhoff
Dr. R.M.F. Wolthuis

Custom Course Registration

All students of the Master Program Oncology have to attend the compulsory courses of the program. For all your courses you must register through VUnet.vu.nl This way, you find out immediately if a place is available. All activities for which you are registered will be displayed in your personal timetable, which also includes any timetable changes. If you have not registered for a course then you will not be admitted to that course, you will not be assigned to a group, you will not be able to use CANVAS, you will have no timetable, your grades will not be recorded, etc. In short, you will not be able to take part. From the moment that you are conditionally registered for a programme, you can sign up for specific courses via VUnet.vu.nl

General Information

Course Code M_OONC03
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty VUmc School of Medical Sciences
Course Coordinator prof. dr. R.H. Brakenhoff
Examiner dr. R.M.F. Wolthuis
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture