Scientific Report on the 14th International Wolfsberg Meeting on Molecular Radiation Biology/Oncology 2015 Wolfsberg Castle, Ermatingen, Switzerland, June 20-22, 2015


Michael Baumann, Stephan Bodis, Robert Bristow, Albert van der Kogel, Jens Overgaard, H. Peter Rodemann, Bradly Wouters

Scientific Committee

Daniel Aebersold / CH; Jan Alsner / DK; Kerstin Borgmann / GER; Martin Brown / USA; Jan Bussink / NL; Rob Coppes / NL; Nils Cordes / GER; Wolfgang Doerr / A; Anna Dubrovska / GER; Vincent Grégoire / BE; Ester Hammond / UK; Paul Harari / USA; George Iliakis / GER; Penny Jeggo / UK; Michael Joiner / USA; Anne Kiltie / UK; Marianne Koritzinsky / CAN; Mechthild Krause / GER; Martin Lavin / AU; Markus Löbrich / GER; Peter Lukas / A; Gabriele Multhoff / GER; Eva Petermann / UK; Martin Pruschy / CH; Kasper Rouschop / NL; Stéphane Supiot / FR; Randi Syljuasen / NO; Conchita Vens / NL; Marie-Cathérine Vozenin / CH; Daniel Zips / GER

From June 20-22, 2015, the 14th International Wolfsberg Meeting on Molecular Radiation Biology/Oncology organized in collaboration with ESTRO, the European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology, brought together 143 basic, translational and clinical scientists from 17 different countries worldwide. The scientific topics to be discussed were focused on DNA repair and radiation-induced signaling mechanisms, molecular and microenvironmental aspects of tumor and radiation biology as well as biomarkers and targeting strategies for radiation oncology. To this topics in total 166 abstracts were submitted by the deadline of January 26, 2015. The submitted abstracts were anonymized and scored by 8-10 topic-specific reviewers being members of the Scientific Committee (see attached list). This year about 20 % of abstracts submitted (equally distributed over the three scientific topics) had to be rejected due to quality and space reasons.

As already established for the edition in 2013, the 2015 meeting was structured in 4 half-day sessions (see attached Proceedings Book) starting on Saturday, June 20, with Session 1, i.e. the Young Investigators Platform. In this session young investigators just reaching international scientific visibility have the chance to present their most interesting research on the basis of an Invited Lecture as well as a Late-Breaking Abstract Lecture. The Invited Lecture this year was presented by Dr. Randall J. Kimple, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA, entitled The importance of HPV radiation oncology addressing basic mechanisms and translation aspects of HPV infection on tumor cell responses to therapy. The Late-Breaking Abstract Lecture by Dr. Stéphane Supiot, Nantes, France, was focused on more clinical aspecta and entitled Evaluation of tumor hypoxia to and during radiotherapy in intermediaterisk prostate cancer using 18Fmisonidazole PET/CT. Finally, the Young Investigators Platform set the perfect stage for the lectures of this year´s winners of the ESTRO-Juliana Denekamp Award. This award was established in 2005 and is sponsored by Varian Medical Systems Int. AG. It is presented to the awardees on the occasion of the biennially organized International Wolfsberg Meeting on Molecular Radiation Biology/Oncology. This year two highly qualified colleagues, Dr. Brita Singers-Sørensen, Aarhus, Denmark, and Dr. Ludwig Dubois, Maastricht, The Netherlands, share this award based on their equally outstanding scientific contributions to various issues of hypoxia on tumor cell biology and possible new ways to target the tumor microenvironment. Both awardees presented excellent lectures to detailed aspects of their award-winning research.

Traditionally since the start of the Wolfsberg Meeting Series in 1997, the topic-specific sessions are introduced by 2 keynote lectures presented by invited international leading scientists in the specified field. These lectures, which are focused on the more basic as well as on the more translational/clinical aspects of the topic are followed by poster-sessions, for which ample time is provided to allow intensive and detailed discussions at the posters. Especially, for young scientists and PhD-students, the poster sessions provide the excellent possibility to present and discuss their research approaches with established and internationally recognized scientists. After the poster sessions three proffered paper presentations give detailed insights into approaches addressing specific questions of the topic. The proffered paper presentations are selected among the 5 top-ranked abstracts evaluated by the members of the scientific committee.

The following list indicates topic-specifically the names and titles of the invited keynote speakers, the number of posters presented and the names and titles of proffered paper speakers.

List of keynote speakers, number of posters presented and proffered paper speakers:

Topic 1:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Ira-Ida Skvortsova, Innsbruck, Austria. Crosstalk between DNA repair and cancer stem cell (CSC) associated intracellular pathways
  • Karen E. Knudsen, Philadelphia, USA. Targeting hormone-DNA repair crosstalk in cancer: mechanisms and therapeutic implications.

Number of posters presented: 30

Proffered Paper speakers:

  • Benjamin P.C. Chen, Dallas, USA, Distinctive mechanisms of DNA-PKcs on telomere capping and protection.
  • Wael Mansour, Hamburg, GER. ATP-dependent chromatin remodeler CHD1 is required for the homologous recombination repair pathway: A new target to improve radiosensitivity in prostate.
  • Ross Carruthers, Glasgow, UK. Glioblastoma stem cells exhibit increased levels of replication stress which can be targeted by combined inhibition of PARP and ATR.

Topic 2:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Amato J. Giaccia, Stanford, USA. Harnessing the HIF pathway for normal tissue radioprotection.
  • Michele De Palma, Lausanne, CH. Macrophage regulation of tumor responses to anticancer therapies.

Number of posters presented: 32

Proffered Paper speakers:

  • Nils Cordes, Dresden, GER. Combined beta1 integrin/EGFR targeting of head and neck cancers in-vitro and in-vivo.
  • Nicolle H. Rekers, Maastricht, NL. Radiotherapy combined with the immunocytokine (L19-IL2) provides long-lasting systemic anti-tumor effects outside the radiation field.
  • Rob Coppes, Groningen, NL. Role of Wnt in salivary gland irradiation and regeneration.

Topic 3:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Lars Zender, Tübingen, GER. Innovative cancer mouse models and in vivo shRNA technolo-gy for accelerated target discovery in gastrointestinal tumors.
  • Dan G. Duda, Boston, USA. Translation of anticancer efficacy from non-clinical models to the clinic using biomarkers

Number of posters presented: 47

Proffered Paper speakers:

  • Philippe Lambin, Maastricht, NL. Non-synonymous low evolutionary conserved whole mito-chondrial DNA variation as a biomarker for radiation-induced toxicity in general?
  • Gerben R. Borst, Amsterdam, NL. Improved irradiation response after neoadjuvant PARPi in a genetically engineered breast cancer mouse model.
  • Paul M. Harari, Madison, USA. Therapeutic combination of radiolabeled CLR1404 with ex-ternal beam radiation in head and neck cancer.

Awards presented at the Wolfsberg Meeting 2015

Wolfsberg Poster Awards

In addition to the ESTRO-Juliana Denekamp Award presented since 2005 every second year on the occasion of the biennial-organized International Wolfsberg Meeting, the Wolfsberg Poster Award is another highlight of the Wolfsberg Meeting Series and has become a prestigious award in molecular radiation biology/oncology research. Altogether, in the three topics a total of 109 posters were presented. Topic-specific poster jurors were evaluating the presented posters and based on at least five independent evaluations for each topic, the following colleagues received the Wolfsberg Poster Awards 2015:

Topic 1:

Anthony J. Chalmers, Glasgow, UK. Title of poster: Increasing radiotherapy responsiveness of mesothelioma by activating tumour specific cell death.

Topic 2:

Ronald Wu, Toronto, CAN. Title of poster: Influence of hypoxia on epigenetic regulation and stemness in glioblastoma.

Topic 3:

Sabine Bender, Zürich, CH. Title of poster: Identification of ADAM17 as novel target  for radiosensitization of non–small cell lung cancer.

ESTRO-Wolfsberg Travel Awards

Again and based on an arrangement with ESTRO, the organizers were pleased to present in total 6 ESTRO-Wolfsberg Travel Awards to young researchers, i.e. PhD students who are ESTRO members and were first authors of their submitted abstracts. The awardees were selected based on the ranking of their abstracts. For each of the three topics two awards were presented to

Topic 1:

  • Gilles Defraene, University of Leuven, elgium. Title of abstract: CT characteristics allow to identify individual susceptibility for radiation-induced lung damage as well as regional differences within the lungs.
  • Annemarie Post, Department of Radiation Oncology, Radboud UMC, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Title of abstract: A common mechanism responsible for resistance to tamoxifen treatment and irradiation in breast cancer.

Topic 2:

  • Nicolle H. Rekers, Dept of Radiation Oncology and, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Title of abstract: Radiotherapy combined with the immunocytokine (L19-IL2) provides longlasting systemic anti-tumor effects outside the radiation field.
  • Lisa J Sudmeier, University of Wisconsin, Laboratory of Genetics, Madison Wisconsin, USA. Title of abstract: The innate immune response is radioprotective during development in Drosophila.

Topic 3:

  • Da D. Wan, Dept. of Cell Biology, University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), Groningen, The Netherlands. Title of abstract: Hedgehog pathway regulates a putative cancer stem cell-like population in esophageal cancer.
  • Annelies Gonnissen, Laboratory of Experimental Radiotherapy, Department of Oncology, KU Leuven, Belgium. Title of abstract: Hedgehog inhibitor GANT61 sensitizes prostate cancer cells to ionizing radiation.

Adrian C. Begg Award

To honour the excellent scientific achievements and the outstanding personality of Prof. Adrian C. Begg, who died much too early in January 2014, the Wolfsberg Meeting Series organizers decided to establish the Adrian C. Begg Award. Since the start of the Wolfsberg Meeting Series, Adrian Begg was a very valuable member of the Scientific Committees of this meeting series and a very engaged and strong supporter, mentor as well as teacher of young scientists working in the field of tumor biology and, especially, in basic and translational radiation biology. With this award the organizers will honour young scientists for having demonstrated excellence in basic / translational research in molecular radiation biology/oncology independent of their membership in national or international scientific organizations. The organizers are very grateful to the members of the Board of Xstrahl Ltd., UK, who decided to sponsor the Adrian C. Begg Award by € 1,000 at least for the 2015 and 2017 editions of the Wolfsberg Meeting Series.
It was the privilege of Dr. Fiona Stewart, Amsterdam, and Ms Amanda Tulk (Xstrahl Ltd.) to present the first Adrian C. Begg Award in 2015 to Dr. Ronald Wu for his outstanding research on the influence of hypoxia on epigenetic regulation and stemness in glioblastoma. Ronal Wu is a young postdoc at the Princess Margaret Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Wolfsberg Cup 2015

Traditionally the Wolfsberg Cup is always a special feature and topic of the Wolfsberg Meet-ing Series. Each meeting tries to surprise the participants with new ways of getting scientists to challenge their limits. This year the Wolfsberg Cup was organized as the ultimate Swiss Challenge consisting of three disciplines, i.e. cheerleading, ridgerunning, cowmilking accompanied by “Talerschwingen” and yodelling.
The teams of the three scientific topics (Topic 1 DNA Repair and Radiation-Induced Signaling Cascades, Topic 2 Molecular and Microenvironmental Aspects of Tumor and Radiation Biology and Topic 3 Biomarkers and Targeting Strategies for Radiation Oncology) headed and coached by the Keynote speakers, performed and competed excellently in all the three disciplines. Certainly, the members of all teams did not expect to return home to their departments as cheerleader stars, as artistic ridge runners or as cow milkers, “Talerschwingers” and “Yodellers”. Actually, based on their discipline-specific outstanding performance, all three teams deserved the Wolfsberg Cup 2015. But as it is in sports competitions with very different disciplines, the winner is usually the team which performs most constantly and has the right mixture of talented team members. Thus, based on its overall performance, team Topic 3 “Biomarkers and Targeting Strategies for Radiation Oncology” was the deserved winner of the Wolfsberg Cup 2015. In reflection of the 14th edition of the Wolfsberg Meeting Series, the success of team Topic 3 is a true historic event as this team has never won the Wolfsberg Cup before. Thus, congratulations to team Topic 3, however, the organizers are pretty sure that the so far serial winner team Topic 2 will be eager to regain the crown as Wolfsberg Cup Champion in the 15th edition of the Wolfsberg Meeting Series in 2017.


The 14th. edition of the Wolfsberg Meeting Series again provided the perfect platform for the multidisciplinary exchange of excellent scientific achievements and results, ideas and ap-proaches in the context of tumor and normal tissue biology and especially molecular and translational aspects of cellular and tissue responses to radiation therapy.
Due to its structure, the outstanding scientific quality of all presentations (i.e. keynote lectures, invited lectures, posters, and proffered paper talks), the inimitable friendly atmosphere and social aspects and not to forget the location positions this meeting since many years as one or if not the topmeeting in the field of molecular radiation biology/oncology.

Sponsors of the 14th International Wolfsberg Meeting 2015

The organizers gratefully acknowledge the financial support for the poster awards by the following scientific associations, institutions, foundations and companies:

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Radioonkologie (DEGRO), GER

European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology (ESTRO), B

Ida De Pottère-Leupold-Fonds, CH

Lieselotte Beutel Stiftung, GER

Merck (Schweiz) AG, CH

Österreichische Gesellschaft für Radioonkologie (ÖGRO), A

Philips AG, Healthcare, CH

Roche Pharma (Schweiz) AG, CH


Krebsforschung Schweiz / Swiss Cancer Research, CH

Universitätsklinikum Tübingen, GER

Varian Medical Systems Int. AG, CH

Xstrahl Ltd., UK