Wissen schafft Heilung.


Gynecologic Tumor Immunology (Bronger Lab)


Principal investigator

PD Dr. med. Holger Bronger
Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Technical University of Munich
Ismaninger Str. 22
81675 Munich
Tel.: 089-4140-7721
Fax: 089-4140-4820
Mail: holger.bronger@tum.de

Lab members

     •  Tobias Dreyer, M.Sc. (Postdoc)
     •  Dorine Hamann (MD Student)
     •  Katharina Käfinger (MD Student)
     •  Giulia Magno (MD Student)
     •  Janna Nikonov (MD Student)
     •  Sina Nokodian (MD Student)
     •  Dr. med. Lukas Rief, M.D.
     •  Stefanie Seitz, M.Sc. (PhD Student)
     •  Christoph Stange, M.Sc. (PhD Student)

Research topics

Regulation of immune infiltration in breast and ovarian cancer

In recent years more and more immunologic cancer therapies have entered clinical evaluation such as the checkpoint inhibition of PD-1 or PD-L1. However, indespensable for the success of all these immunologic therapy approaches is a sufficient inifltration of the tumor by immune effector cells such as cytotoxic T cells or natural killer cells. This recruitment is mainly mediated by chemokines of the CXCR3 system.
In our lab we investigate the regulation, clinical significance and function of chemokines that regulate the infiltration of tumor-suppressive lymphocytes in solid maligancies on the basis of in vitro and syngeneic in vivo studies. The aim of our reseach is the identification of pharmacologic possibilities to enhance the secretion of these chemokines from cancer cells in order to improve immune intervention in breast and ovarian cancer.

Mechanisms of peritoneal metastasis in ovarian cancer

Dissemination of ovarian cancer cells throughout the abdominal cavity remains the major clinical challenge in advanced ovarian cancer. However, the undelying mechanisms are poorly defined, so that effective pharmacologic targets are still missing. We have already shown that the CXCR3 chemokine receptor mediates the ascites-driven migration of ovarian cancer cells in vitro.
In our research group we currently investigate how ovarian cancer cells can escape from the primary tumor to spread within the peritoneal cavity. To this end in vitro methods to study cellular mechanisms of migration and syngeneic mouse models are used (picture © S. Seitz, Bronger Lab).

Improvement of anti-HER2 therapies in breast cancer

Approximately 20% of breast cancers overexpress the HER2 receptor. Different targeted therapies have been successfully directed to this molecule. However, several patients still do not respond to these therapies. In our lab we investigate possibilities to improve the interaction of cells of the innate immune system and breast cancer cells to improve the efficacy of antibody based anti-HER2 therapies. Our focus is once again on the exploitation of special chemokines that trigger recruitment and binding of immune cells to the antibody-tagged cancer cells. To this end we refined syngeneic and xenotransplant mouse models of HER2-positive breast cancer.


Grant support



Selected publications (linked)

Proteolytic chemokine cleavage as a regulator of lymphocytic infiltration in solid tumors.
Bronger H., Magdolen V., Goettig P., Dreyer T.
Cancer and Metastasis Reviews 2019; Epub ahead of print.

CXCR3 mediates ascites-directed tumor cell migration and predicts poor outcome in ovarian cancer patients.
Windmüller C., Zech D., Avril S., Boxberg M., Dawidek T., Schmalfeldt B., Schmitt M., Kiechle M., Bronger H.
Oncogenesis 2017; 6(5):e331.

CXCL9 and CXCL10 predict survival and are regulated by cyclooxygenase inhibitors in advanced serous ovarian cancer.
Bronger H., Singer J., Windmüller C., Reuning U., Zech D., Delbridge C., Dorn J., Kiechle M., Schmalfeldt B., Schmitt M., Avril S.
British Journal of Cancer 2016; 115(5): 553-63.

(In 2019 officially listed as one of the top cited papers of the British Journal of Cancer contributing to the Journal's 2018 Impact Factor)

The Role of CXCR3/Ligand Axis in Cancer.
Cerny C., Bronger H., Davoodi, M., Sharma S., Zhu L., Obana S., Sharma J., Ebrahimi R., St John M., Lee J.M., Salgia R., Strieter R., Dubinett S., Sharma S.
International Trends in Immunity. 2015; 3(2): 46-52.

Molecular Analysis of HER2 Signaling in Human Breast Cancer by Functional Protein Pathway Activation Mapping.
Wulfkuhle J.D., Berg D., Wolff C., Langer R., Tran K., Illi J., Espina V., Pierobon M., Deng J., DeMichele A., Walch A., Bronger H., Becker I., Waldhör C., Schuster T., Höfler H., Esserman L., Liotta L.A., Becker K.F., Petricoin III E.F.
Clinical Cancer Research 2012; 18(23): 6426-35.

Modulation of CXCR3 Ligand Secretion by Prostaglandin E2 and Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors in Human Breast Cancer.
Bronger H., Kraeft S., Schwarz-Boeger U., Cerny C., Stöckel A., Avril S., Kiechle M., Schmitt M.
Breast Cancer Research 2012; 14(1): R30

ABCC Drug Efflux Pumps and Organic Anion Uptake Transporters in Human Gliomas and the Blood-Tumor Barrier.
Bronger H., König J., Kopplow K., Steiner H.H., Ahmadi R., Herold-Mende C., Keppler D., Nies A.T.
Cancer Research 2005; 65: 11419-28.

A complete list of publications can be found here.


2018   AGO-Preis
2018   Wissenschaftspreis der BGGF
2015   Wilhelm Sander-Förderpreis
2015   Vortragspreis der AG Gynäkologische Onkologie, Translationale Forschung (AGO TraFo)
2014   Wissenschaftspreis der Bayerischen Gesellschaft für Geburtshilfe und Frauenheilkunde (BGGF)
2014   Young Investigator Best Presentation Award der EORTC Pathobiology Group
2012   Forschungsförderpreis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Gynäkologie und Geburtshilfe

M.D., Ph.D. and Master theses

If you are interested in a thesis in our group please send an e-mail with your letter of motivation and a complete CV to Dr. Bronger (holger.bronger@tum.de).