Morphometric Analysis of Epithelial Bladder Cancer Progression – PHRT


Morphometric Analysis of Epithelial Bladder Cancer Progression

Short Summary

The treatment of cancer still remains a huge unmet medical need. In bladder cancer, in particular, clinical outcome is determined not only by the rate, but also by the direction of epithelial tumour cell growth. In this project, we will develop image-based computational approaches to improve diagnostics and to provide mechanistic insights into key steps of bladder cancer progression.


We will combine light-sheet imaging, laser ablation experiments, and computational modelling to understand the differences that lead to the two distinct directions of epithelial expansion – and thus to the two very different clinical patients’ presentations and prognoses.


We expect that by imaging bladder cancer progression, we will be able to define features that will help us to improve cancer diagnostics and prognosis for patients. At the same time, mechanistic insights into the epithelial growth and deformation process during cancer outgrowth may help to define new therapeutic targets, especially with regard to cell adhesion and tissue tension.


In the process of cancer progression, epithelial overgrowth results in the disruption of the normal epithelial architecture, and tumour cells either fill the cavities that they line or they invade the underlying layers and metastasize. The clinical outcome therefore not only depends on the rate of growth, but also on the direction of its spatial propagation. This is particularly true for bladder carcinomas. Patients whose tumours grow into the bladder lumen can be easily treated by transurethral resection of the tumours, while patients with muscle invasive- forms have a worse prognosis.


Prof. Dr. Dagmar Iber

ETH Zurich


  • Prof. Dr. Rentsch, Cyrill A.
  • Prof. Dr. Lukas Bubendorf


In Progress

Funded by