The Infections and Cancer units primarily study infection-attributable cancers and their related pathogens.

The Unit of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics (UNIC EMG) aims to increase knowledge of the epidemiological factors of cancers associated with infectious agents (mainly HPV) to further understand the causes and the natural history of these diseases, with a special focus on susceptibility, genetics and the molecular bases. The ultimate goal of the unit is to promote research translatability and to contribute to the development and validation of diagnostic, prognostic and preventive measures.

UNIC EMG is also involved in research projects studying risk factors of lymphomas, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and multiple myeloma. It recently began looking at gynaecological cancers, specifically endometrial and ovarian cancer, to understand the aetiology of these cancers as well as early detection strategies.


Primary research areas:

  • HPV and anogenital and head and neck cancers

    UNIC EMG assesses the burden and the natural history from HPV infection to cancer to inform the development of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention tools and strategies. Specific objectives include the following:

    1. Understanding the determinants of HPV infection and its burden in anogenital and oral anatomical sites and assessing the attributable fractions of HPV-associated anogenital and head and neck cancers.
    2. Evaluating biomarkers in non-invasive methods for early diagnosis, determinants of progression and monitoring of HPV-related anal and oropharyngeal cancers.

  • Haematological cancers

    UNIC EMG studies the aetiology of haematological cancers, with a focus on two precursors of B-cell malignancies: monoclonal B-cell lymphocytosis and monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance. It aims to deepen knowledge of these early disease stages by examining a wide variety of lifestyle, environmental, infectious, genetic, nutritional and biomarker factors to ultimately develop preventive strategies.

  • Endometrial and ovarian cancers

    UNIC EMG evaluates the risk factors for endometrial and ovarian cancers (EC and OC, respectively) and researches options for early detection of these malignancies using genomic biomarkers in minimal invasive sampling methods, such as cervical cytology and vaginal self-sampling. The aim is to develop a non-invasive tool for early diagnosis of EC and OC, integrating epidemiological, clinical and molecular data.