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Molecular Mechanisms and Bioinformatics of Cancer

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We focus on the analysis of molecular mechanisms of malignancy in solid tumors including epigenetics, tumor microenvironment, and immunology. We use mainly omics technologies (transcriptomics, DNA-methylation, metabolomics, proteomics, etc.) and multicolor immunofluorescence staining of FFPE sections and full spectrum flow cytometry with computer-assisted analysis. In vitro models (cell culture, primary cells from tumors or ascites) are used to validate hypothesis and results.

In addition, we develop methods for the use of network based models to integrate a multitude of data to understand and prognosticate complex biological and clinical characteristics, including therapy response and outcome.

Current projects

  • Development of ascites as tumor model for the evaluation of new therapeutic concepts
  • Impact of epigenetic mechanisms (microRNAs and DNA methylation) on malignancy
  • Impact of lipoproteins on malignancy and cancer immunology 

I am also interested in cooperations as bioinformatician on integrative omics-based and -supported studies of any translational research topic.


Dietmar Pils | © MedUni Wien/feelimage

Priv.Doz. Mag. Dr. Dietmar PILS, MA MSc

ORCID: 0000-0002-8355-0977
Tel.: +43 (0)1 40400-41690 bzw. -68520

Christina Grech | © MedUni Wien/feelimage

Dr. Christina GRECH

Predoctoral Fellow
ORCID: 0000-0003-0414-8814
Tel.: +43 (0)1 40400-41690 bzw. -68520

Lorenz Hinterleitner | © MedUni Wien/feelimage


Predoctoral Fellow
Tel.: +43 (0)1 40400-68520 bzw. -41690

Marilies Scheinost | © MedUni Wien/feelimage

Marilies SCHEINOST, MSc, BSc

Senior Scientist
Tel.: +43 (0)1 40400-68520 bzw. -41690

Medical students

Esther UHL

Johann HUBER


PD-1 and PD-L1 expression on TILs in peritoneal metastases compared to ovarian tumor tissues and its associations with clinical outcome. Bekos C, Pils D, Dekan S, Hofstetter G, Horak P, Reinthaller A, Polterauer S, Schwameis R, Aust S.Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 18;11(1):6400. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-85966-0.PMID: 33737722 

T cell phenotype in paediatric heart transplant recipients. Mengrelis K, Kucera F, Shahid N, Watt E, Ross S, Lau CI, Adams S, Gilmour K, Pils D, Crompton T, Burch M, Davies EG.Pediatr Transplant. 2021 Aug;25(5):e13930. doi: 10.1111/petr.13930. Epub 2020 Dec 16.PMID: 33326675

Defining the regenerative effects of native spider silk fibers on primary Schwann cells, sensory neurons, and nerve-associated fibroblasts. Millesi F, Weiss T, Mann A, Haertinger M, Semmler L, Supper PPils D, Naghilou A, Radtke C.FASEB J. 2021 Feb;35(2):e21196. doi: 10.1096/fj.202001447R. Epub 2020 Nov 19.PMID: 33210360


Reduced LDL-Cholesterol and Reduced Total Cholesterol as Potential Indicators of Early Cancer in Male Treatment-Naïve Cancer Patients With Pre-cachexia and Cachexia. Zwickl H, Hackner K, Köfeler H, Krzizek EC, Muqaku B, Pils D, Scharnagl H, Solheim TS, Zwickl-Traxler E, Pecherstorfer M.Front Oncol. 2020 Aug 4;10:1262. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.01262. eCollection 2020.PMID: 32850383 

A Global Gene Body Methylation Measure Correlates Independently with Overall Survival in Solid Cancer Types. Pils D, Steindl E, Bachmayr-Heyda A, Dekan S, Aust S.Cancers (Basel). 2020 Aug 12;12(8):2257. doi: 10.3390/cancers12082257.PMID: 32806596 

The Presence of Active Brown Adipose Tissue Determines Cold-Induced Energy Expenditure and Oxylipin Profiles in Humans. Kulterer OC, Niederstaetter L, Herz CT, Haug AR, Bileck A, Pils D, Kautzky-Willer A, Gerner C, Kiefer FW.J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jul 1;105(7):dgaa183. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgaa183.PMID: 32343312

The Determination of Immunomodulation and Its Impact on Survival of Rectal Cancer Patients Depends on the Area Comprising a Tissue Microarray. Gruber ES, Oberhuber G, Pils D, Stork T, Sinn K, Gruber S, Nica R, Kolmer D, Turner SD, Schlederer M, Widder J, Doerr W, Teleky B, Kenner L.Cancers (Basel). 2020 Feb 29;12(3):563. doi: 10.3390/cancers12030563.PMID: 32121328 

Precision Medicine Tumor Boards: Clinical Applicability of Personalized Treatment Concepts in Ovarian Cancer. Aust S, Schwameis R, Gagic T, Müllauer L, Langthaler E, Prager G, Grech C, Reinthaller A, Krainer M, Pils D, Grimm C, Polterauer S.Cancers (Basel). 2020 Feb 27;12(3):548. doi: 10.3390/cancers12030548.PMID: 32120793 

Neutrophil Extracellular Trap Formation Correlates with Favorable Overall Survival in High Grade Ovarian Cancer. Muqaku B, Pils D, Mader JC, Aust S, Mangold A, Muqaku L, Slany A, Del Favero G, Gerner C.Cancers (Basel). 2020 Feb 21;12(2):505. doi: 10.3390/cancers12020505.PMID: 32098278

Liposomal doxorubicin attenuates cardiotoxicity via induction of interferon-related DNA damage resistance. Gyöngyösi M, Lukovic D, Zlabinger K, Spannbauer A, Gugerell A, Pavo N, Traxler D, Pils D, Maurer G, Jakab A, Riesenhuber M, Pircher A, Winkler J, Bergler-Klein J.Cardiovasc Res. 2020 Apr 1;116(5):970-982. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvz192.PMID: 31346605


NECTIN4 (PVRL4) as Putative Therapeutic Target for a Specific Subtype of High Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer-An Integrative Multi-Omics Approach. Bekos C, Muqaku B, Dekan S, Horvat R, Polterauer S, Gerner C, Aust S, Pils D.Cancers (Basel). 2019 May 20;11(5):698. doi: 10.3390/cancers11050698.PMID: 31137558 

Interrelations of Sphingolipid and Lysophosphatidate Signaling with Immune System in Ovarian Cancer. Meshcheryakova A, Svoboda M, Jaritz M, Mungenast F, Salzmann M, Pils D, Cacsire Castillo-Tong D, Hager G, Wolf A, Braicu EI, Sehouli J, Lambrechts S, Vergote I, Mahner S, Birner P, Zimmermann P, Brindley DN, Heinze G, Zeillinger R, Mechtcheriakova D.Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2019 Apr 10;17:537-560. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2019.04.004. eCollection 2019.PMID: 31049165

Transcriptional Alterations by Ischaemic Postconditioning in a Pig Infarction Model: Impact on Microvascular Protection. Lukovic D, Gugerell A, Zlabinger K, Winkler J, Pavo N, Baranyai T, Giricz Z, Varga ZV, Riesenhuber M, Spannbauer A, Traxler D, Jakab A, Garamvölgyi R, Petnehazy Ö, Pils D, Tóth L, Schulz R, Ferdinandy P, Gyöngyösi M.Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jan 15;20(2):344. doi: 10.3390/ijms20020344.PMID: 30650650 

Immunological differences between colorectal cancer and normal mucosa uncover a prognostically relevant immune cell profile. Strasser K, Birnleitner H, Beer A, Pils D, Gerner MC, Schmetterer KG, Bachleitner-Hofmann T, Stift A, Bergmann M, Oehler R.Oncoimmunology. 2018 Nov 5;8(2):e1537693. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2018.1537693. eCollection 2019.PMID: 30713795 

Mutational profile of colorectal cancer lung metastases and paired primary tumors by targeted next generation sequencing: implications on clinical outcome after surgery. Schweiger T, Liebmann-Reindl S, Glueck O, Starlinger P, Laengle J, Birner P, Klepetko W, Pils D, Streubel B, Hoetzenecker K.J Thorac Dis. 2018 Nov;10(11):6147-6157. doi: 10.21037/jtd.2018.10.72.PMID: 30622786 

Clinical Significance of Organic Anion Transporting Polypeptide Gene Expression in High-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer. Svoboda M, Mungenast F, Gleiss A, Vergote I, Vanderstichele A, Sehouli J, Braicu E, Mahner S, Jäger W, Mechtcheriakova D, Cacsire-Tong D, Zeillinger R, Thalhammer T, Pils D.Front Pharmacol. 2018 Aug 7;9:842. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2018.00842. eCollection 2018.PMID: 30131693 

DNA damage predicts prognosis and treatment response in colorectal liver metastases superior to immunogenic cell death and T cells. Laengle J, Stift J, Bilecz A, Wolf B, Beer A, Hegedus B, Stremitzer S, Starlinger P, Tamandl D, Pils D, Bergmann M.Theranostics. 2018 May 10;8(12):3198-3213. doi: 10.7150/thno.24699. eCollection 2018.PMID: 29930723 

hsa-miRNA-154-5p expression in plasma of endometriosis patients is a potential diagnostic marker for the disease. Pateisky P, Pils D, Szabo L, Kuessel L, Husslein H, Schmitz A, Wenzl R, Yotova I.Reprod Biomed Online. 2018 Oct;37(4):449-466. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2018.05.007. Epub 2018 May 22.PMID: 29857988

Correction: Diagnostic markers for the detection of ovarian cancer in BRCA1 mutation carriers. Gschwantler-Kaulich D, Weingartshofer S, Rappaport-Fürhauser C, Zeillinger R, Pils D, Muhr D, Braicu EI, Kastner MT, Tan YY, Semmler L, Sehouli J, Singer CF.PLoS One. 2018 Apr 17;13(4):e0196142. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196142. eCollection 2018.PMID: 29664962

Genomic structural variations lead to dysregulation of important coding and non-coding RNA species in dilated cardiomyopathy. Haas J, Mester S, Lai A, Frese KS, Sedaghat-Hamedani F, Kayvanpour E, Rausch T, Nietsch R, Boeckel JN, Carstensen A, Völkers M, Dietrich C, Pils D, Amr A, Holzer DB, Martins Bordalo D, Oehler D, Weis T, Mereles D, Buss S, Riechert E, Wirsz E, Wuerstle M, Korbel JO, Keller A, Katus HA, Posch AE, Meder B.EMBO Mol Med. 2018 Jan;10(1):107-120. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201707838.PMID: 29138229 


Inflammation associated lipoproteins meet immunosuppression - a new target for cancer therapy? - Fonds der Stadt Wien für innovative interdisziplinäre Krebsforschung (21021) – 2021-2023

Development and Evaluation of Cancer Immune Therapies with Malignant Ascites from Ovarian and Pancreatic CancerFFG BRIDGE (880603) together with Boehringer Ingelheim RCV – 2020-2023

The Role of the Immune System in the Peritoneal Spreading of Epithelial Ovarian Cancer–A Systems Medicine approachFWF (P28137) – 2017-2021

ImPECT: Immune Cells as Predictors for Early Diagnosis and Chemotherapy Toxicity in Ovarian Cancer” FP7-ERA-NET TRANSCAN; FWF I1216, together with Charité Berlin and the European Institute of Oncology in Milan) – 2013-2016

Characterization of new molecular prognostic factors for patients with advanced stage ovarian cancer – Anniversary Fund, Nationalbank (14595) – 2012-2015

Dietmar Pils | © MedUni Wien/feelimage

Priv.Doz. Mag. Dr. Dietmar PILS, MA MSc

Forschungslabor Viszeralchirurgie

Tel.: +43 (0)1 40400-41690 bzw. -68520