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Scherer Laboratory

Scientific focus

Our laboratory's research is focused on developing improved molecular biomarkers and novel strategies to attain a better understanding of factors underlying cancer biology and to advance the clinical management of cancer patients.

Our group develops and applies approaches for ultrasensitive detection of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) in blood, saliva, and cerebrospinal fluid of a broad variety of human cancers, including Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, thyroid cancer, hematological cancers, and brain tumors. Projects involve the application of next-generation sequencing- and PCR-based methods to minimal-invasively acquired body fluids at various time points throughout tumor diseases to answer specific clinical questions and to optimize treatment. Based on ctDNA profiling, we aim to identify patients at high risk for future disease progression, to characterize genetic factors driving cancer progression and treatment resistance, and to early predict response to chemotherapy and targeted therapeutic strategies.

We are also interested in developing novel prognostic and predictive models through the integration of genetic, clinical, and radiographic features for prediction of clinical and therapeutic outcomes in patients with brain cancers, including primary CNS lymphomas.

As clinician scientists, we are applying our knowledge toward the ultimate goal of translating promising findings into the clinic and incorporating them into clinical trials.



PD Dr. med. Florian Scherer
Sabine Bleul

Lab Manager |
Technical Assistant



Ulrike Philipp

Technical Assistant |
Technische Leitung Liquid Biopsy Labor


Inga Gebhard
Dr. rer. nat. Christian Klingler
Dr. med. Julia Kühn

Postdoc, Clinician Scientist
(Fellow Berta-Ottenstein programm, SUCCESS Fellow)


Lavanya Ranganathan
Corinna Kronenthaler
Max Deuter
Dr. med. Eliza Lauer

Clinician Scientist (SUCCESS Fellow)

Dr. med. Anna Katharina Foerster

Clinician Scientist (SUCCESS Fellow)

Miriam Mozaffari Jovein

Clinician Scientist (SUCCESS Fellow)

Dr. med. Johanna Haag
Dr. med. Thomas Meyer
Ella Riegler
Ann-Kathrin Glosch

  • Amina-Karolin Haddawi
    Master student
  • Dr. Jan Mitschke
    Postdoc, now iOMEDICO AG
  • Dr. Jurik Mutter
    PhD student, now Postdoc Alizadeh Lab Stanford University
  • Dr. Silvia Waldeck
    PhD student, now Labor für Haematologie Mannheim

Present and previous funding:

  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Else Kröner-Fesenius-Stiftung (EKFS)
  • BioThera-Stiftung
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin (DGIM)
  • Fördergesellschaft Forschung Tumorbiologie
  • ZPM – Zentrum für Personalisierte Medizin
  • DKTK – Deutsches Konsortium für Translationale Krebsforschung
  • Mertelsmann Foundation
  • Forschungskommission Freiburg
  • Invest BW Innovationsförderung
  • Roche Sequencing Solutions
  • Gilead

Internal collaborations:

  • FREEZE-Biobank – Zentrum für Biobanking
  • PD Dr. Elisabeth Schorb, Klinik für Innere Medizin I
  • PD Dr. Peter Reinacher, Abteilung Stereotaktische und Funktionelle Neurochirurgie
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Melanie Börries, Insitut für Bioinformatik und System-Medizin
  • Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz, Institut für Neuropathologie
  • PD Dr. Dieter Henrik Heiland, Klinik für Neurochirurgie
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Meyer, Klinik für Nuklearmedizin
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Finke, Klinik für Innere Medizin I
  • PD Dr. Frank Meiß, Klinik für Dermatologie und Venerologie
  • Dr. Miguel Waterhouse, Klinik für Innere Medizin I
  • Dr. Dietmar Pfeifer, Klinik für Innere Medizin I
  • Dr. Timo Volk, Klinik für Neurologie

External collaborations:

  • Ash A. Alizadeh MD/PhD, Stanford University
  • Stefan Alig, MD, Stanford University
  • David M. Kurtz MD/PhD, Stanford University
  • Prof. Dr. Gerald Illerhaus, Klinikum Stuttgart
  • Prof. Dr. Nikolas von Bubnoff, Universitätsklinikum Lübeck
  • PD Dr. Lorenz Thurner, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg/Saar
  • Prof. Dr. Björn Chapuy, Universitätsklinikum Göttingen
  • Prof. Dr. Oliver Weigert, LMU Klinikum München
  • Prof. Dr. Roland Schmitz, Universitätsklinikum Gießen
  • PD Dr. Louisa von Baumgarten, LMU Klinikum München

*Equal contribution

  1. Circulating Tumor DNA Profiling for Detection, Risk Stratification, and Classification of Brain Lymphomas.
    Mutter JA*, Alig SK*, Esfahani MS, Lauer EM, Mitschke J, Kurtz DM, Kühn J, Bleul S, Olsen M, Liu CL, Jin MC, Macaulay CW, Neidert N, Volk T, Eisenblaetter M, Rauer S, Heiland DH, Finke J, Duyster J, Wehrle J, Prinz M, Illerhaus G, Reinacher PC, Schorb E, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA, Scherer F.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2022

  2. Optimizing MATRix as remission induction in PCNSL: de-escalated induction treatment in newly diagnosed primary CNS lymphoma.
    Wendler J, Fox CP, Valk E, Steinheber C, Fricker H, Isbell LK, Neumaier S, Okosun J, Scherer F, Ihorst G, Cwynarski K, Schorb E, Illerhaus G.
    BMC Cancer. 2022

  3. Monitoring of Measurable Residual Disease Using Circulating DNA after Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation.
    Waterhouse M, Pennisi S, Pfeifer D, Scherer F, Zeiser R, Duyster J, Bertz H, Finke J, Duque-Afonso J.
    Cancers. 2022

  4. Circulating tumor DNA in B-cell lymphoma: technical advances, clinical applications, and perspectives for translational research.
    Lauer EM*, Mutter J*, Scherer F.
    Leukemia. 2022. Review

  5. Spatially resolved multi-omics deciphers bidirectional tumor-host interdependence in glioblastoma.
    Ravi VM, Will P, Kueckelhaus J, Sun N, Joseph K, Salié H, Vollmer L, Kuliesiute U, von Ehr J, Benotmane JK, Neidert N, Follo M, Scherer F, Goeldner JM, Behringer SP, Franco P, Khiat M, Zhang J, Hofmann UG, Fung C, Ricklefs FL, Lamszus K, Boerries M, Ku M, Beck J, Sankowski R, Schwabenland M, Prinz M, Schüller U, Killmer S, Bengsch B, Walch AK, Delev D, Schnell O, Heiland DH.
    Cancer Cell. 2022

  6. A patient with refractory high-grade B-cell lymphoma and rapid progression under CAR-T-cell therapy was successfully salvaged with inotuzumab- ozogamicin.
    Strüßmann T, Wäsch R, Scherer F, Mutter JA, Pfeifer D, Bartsch I, Giesler S, Graziani G, Duyster J, Finke J, Marks R.
    Leukemia & Lymphoma. 2022 

  7. T-cell dysfunction in the glioblastoma microenvironment is mediated by myeloid cells releasing interleukin-10.
    Ravi VM, Neidert N, Will P, Joseph K, Maier JP, Kückelhaus J, Vollmer L, Goeldner JM, Behringer SP, Scherer F, Boerries M, Follo M, Weiss T, Delev D, Kernbach J, Franco P, Schallner N, Dierks C, Carro MS, Hofmann UG, Fung C, Sankowski R, Prinz M, Beck J, Salié H, Bengsch B, Schnell O, Heiland DH.
    Nature Communications. 2022 

  8. Stringent Base Specific and Optimization-Free Multiplex Mediator Probe ddPCR for the Quantification of Point Mutations in Circulating Tumor DNA.
    Schlenker F, Kipf E, Deuter M, Höffkes I, Lehnert M, Zengerle R, von Stetten F, Scherer F, Wehrle J, von Bubnoff N, Juelg P, Hutzenlaub T, Borst N.
    Cancers. 2021 

  9. Early assessment of circulating tumor DNA afgter curative intent resection predicts tumor recurrence in early-stage and locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer
    Waldeck S, Mitschke J, Wiesemann S, Rassner M, Andrieux G, Deuter M, Mutter J, Lüchtenborg A-M, Kottmann D, Titze L, Zeisel C, Jolic M, Philipp U, Lassmann S, Bronsert P, Greil C, Rawluk J, Becker H, Isbell L, Müller A, Doostkam S, Passlick B, Börries M, Duyster J, Wehrle J, Scherer F*, von Bubnoff N*
    Molecular Oncology. 2021
  10. Enhanced detection of minimal residual disease by targeted sequencing of phased variants in circulating tumor DNA
    Kurtz DM*, Soo J*, Ting Keh LC, Alig S, Chabon JJ, Sworder BJ, Schultz A, Jin MC, Scherer F, Garofalo A, Macaulay CW, Hamilton EG, Chen B, Olsen M, Schroers-Martin JG, Craig AFM, Moding E, Shahrokh Esfahani M, Liu CL, Dührsen U, Hüttmann A, Casasnovas RO, Westin JR, Roschewski M, Wilson WH, Gaidano G, Rossi D, Diehn M, and Alizadeh AA.
    Nature Biotechnology. 2021
  11. Short diagnosis-to-treatment interval is associated with higher circulating tumor DNA levels in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
    Alig S*, Macaulay CW*, Kurtz DM*, Dührsen U, Hüttmann A, Schmitz C, Jin MC, Sworder BJ, Garofalo A, Shahrokh Esfahani M, Nabet BY, Soo J, Scherer F, Craig AFM, Casasnovas O, Westin JR, Gaidano G, Rossi D, Roschewski M, Wilson WH, Meignan M, Diehn M, and Alizadeh AA.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2021
  12. Transitioning the molecular tumor board from proof of concept to clinical routine: a german single-center analysis
    Hoefflin R, Lazarou A, Hess ME, Reiser M, Wehrle J, Metzger P, Frey AV, Becker H, Aumann K, Berner K, Boeker M, Buettner N, Dierks C, Duque-Afonso J, Eisenblaetter M, Erbes T, Fritsch R, Ge IX, Geißler AL, Grabbert M, Heeg S, Heiland DH, Hettmer S, Kayser G, Keller A, Kleiber A, Kutilina A, Mehmed L, Meiss F, Poxleitner P, Rawluk J, Ruf J, Schäfer H, Scherer F, Shoumariyeh K, Tzschach A, Peters C, Brummer T, Werner M, Duyster J, Lassmann S, Miething C, Boerries M, Illert AL, and von Bubnoff N.
    Cancers. 2021
  13. Longitudinal analysis of cell-free mutated KRAS and CA19-9 predicts survival following curative resection of pancreatic cancer
    Hussung S, Akhoundova D, Hipp J, Follo M, Klar RFU, Philipp U, Scherer F, von Bubnoff N, Duyster J, Boerries M, Wittel U, and Fritsch RM.
    BMC Cancer. 2021
  14. Change is coming: Plan S from the early career scientist perspective
    Borges NM*, Kabanova A*, Scherer F*.
    HemaSphere. 2020
  15. Colon and liver tissue damage detection using methylated SESN3 and PTK2B genes in circulating cell-free DNA in patients with acute graft-versus-host disease
    Waterhouse M, Pennisi S, Pfeifer D, Deuter M, von Bubnoff N, Scherer F, Strüssmann T, Wehr C, Duyster J, Bertz H, Finke J, Duque-Afonso J.
    Bone Marrow Transplant. 2020
  16. High-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant in elderly patients with primary CNS lymphoma: a pilot study
    Schorb E, Kasenda B, Ihorst G, Scherer F, Wendler J, Isbell L, Fricker H, Finke J, Illerhaus G
    Blood Advances. 2020
  17. Personalized treatment selection and disease monitoring using circulating tumor DNA profiling in real-world cancer patient management
    Wehrle J, Philipp U, Jolic M, Follo M, Hussung S, Waldeck S, Deuter M, Rassner M, Braune J, Rawluk J, Greil C, Waller CF, Becker H, Duque-Afonso J, Illert AL, Fritsch RM, Meiss F, Duyster J, von Bubnoff N*, Scherer F*
    Diagnostics. 2020
  18. Ibrutinib in patients with relapsed/refractory central nervous system lymphoma: a retrospective single center analysis
    Lauer EM, Waterhouse M, Braig M, Mutter J, Bleul S, Duque-Afonso J, Duyster J, Marks R, Reinacher PC, Prinz M, Illerhaus G, Finke J, Schorb E, Scherer F
    British Journal of Haematology. 2020
  19. Capturing tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution by circulating tumor DNA profiling
    Scherer F
    Recent Results in Cancer Research. 2020. Review
  20. Development and clinical validation of discriminatory multi-target digital droplet PCR assays for the detection of hot spot KRAS and NRAS mutations in cell-free DNA
    Hussung S, Follo M, Klar RFU, Michalczyk S, Fritsch K, Nollmann F, Hipp J, Duyster J, Scherer F, von Bubnoff N, Boerries M, Wittel U, Fritsch RM
    The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics. 2020
  21. Dynamic Risk Profiling Using Serial Tumor Biomarkers for Personalized Outcome Prediction
    Kurtz DM*, Esfahani MS*, Scherer F*, Soo J, Jin MC, Liu CL, Newman AM, Dührsen U, Hüttmann A, Casasnovas O, Westin JR, Ritgen M, Böttcher S, Langerak AW, Roschweski M, Wilson WH, Gaidano G, Rossi D, Bahlo J, Hallek M, Tibshirani R, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
    Cell. 2019
  22. Determining cell type abundance and expression from bulk tissues with digital cytometry
    Newman AM, Steen CB, Liu CL, Gentles AJ, Chaudhuri AA, Scherer F, Khodadoust MS, Esfahani MS, Luca BA, Steiner D, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
    Nature Biotechnology. 2019
  23. Age-Related gliosis promotes central nervous system lymphoma through CCL19-mediated tumor cell retention
    O’Connor T, Zhou X, Kosla J, Adili A, Beccaria MG, Kotsiliti E, Pfister D, Johlke AL, Sinha A, Sankowski R, Schick M, Lewis R, Dokalis N, Seubert B, Höchst B, Inverso D, Heide D, Zhang W, Weihrich P, Manske K, Wohlleber D, Anton M, Hoellein A, Seleznik G, Bremer J, Bleul S, Augustin HG, Scherer F, Koedel U, Weber A, Protzer U, Förster R, Wirth T, Aguzzi A, Meissner F, Prinz M, Baumann B, Höpken Ü, Knolle PA, von Baumgarten L, Keller U, Heikenwalder M
    Cancer Cell. 2019
  24. Circulating Tumor DNA Measurements As Early Outcome Predictors in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma
    Kurtz DM*, Scherer F*, Jin MC, Soo J, Craig AFM, Esfahani MS, Chabon JJ, Stehr H, Liu CL, Tibshirani R, Maeda LS, Gupta NK, Khodadoust MS, Advani RH, Levy R, Newman AM, Duehrsen U, Huttmann A, Meignan M, Casasnovas RO, Westin JR, Roschewski M, Wilson WH, Gaidano G, Rossi D, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
    Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2018
  25. High-throughput sequencing for noninvasive disease detection in hematologic malignancies
    Scherer F*, Kurtz DM*, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
    Blood. 2017. Review
  26. Early Detection of Molecular Residual Disease in Localized Lung Cancer by Circulating Tumor DNA Profiling
    Chaudhuri AA, Chabon JJ, Lovejoy AF, Newman AM, Stehr H, Azad TD, Khodadoust MS, Esfahani MS, Liu CL, Zhou L, Scherer F, Kurtz DM, Say C, Carter JN, Merriott DJ, Dudley JC, Binkley MS, Modlin L, Padda SK, Gensheimer MF, West RB, Shrager JB, Neal JW, Wakelee HA, Loo BW Jr, Alizadeh AA, Diehn M
    Cancer Discovery. 2017
  27. Distinct biological subtypes and patterns of genome evolution in lymphoma revealed by circulating tumor DNA
    Scherer F*, Kurtz DM*, Newman AM*, Stehr H, Craig AF, Esfahani MS, Lovejoy AF, Chabon JJ, Klass DM, Liu CL, Zhou L, Glover C, Visser BC, Poultsides GA, Advani RH, Maeda LS, Gupta NK, Levy R, Ohgami RS, Kunder CA, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
    Science Translational Medicine. 2016
  28. Integrated digital error suppression for improved detection of circulating tumor DNA
    Newman AM*, Lovejoy AF*, Klass DM*, Kurtz DM, Chabon JJ, Scherer F, Stehr H, Liu CL, Bratman SV, Say C, Zhou L, Carter JN, West RB, Sledge GW, Shrager JB, Loo BW Jr, Neal JW, Wakelee HA, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
    Nature Biotechnology. 2016
  29. Circulating tumor DNA profiling reveals heterogeneity of EGFR inhibitor resistance mechanisms in lung cancer patients
    Chabon JJ*, Simmons AD*, Lovejoy AF, Esfahani MS, Newman AM, Haringsma HJ, Kurtz DM, Stehr H, Scherer F, Karlovich CA, Harding TC, Durkin KA, Otterson GA, Purcell WT, Camidge DR, Goldman JW, Sequist LV, Piotrowska Z, Wakelee HA, Neal JW, Alizadeh AA, Diehn M
    Nature Communications. 2016
  30. Selection patterns of B-cell receptors and the natural history of follicular lymphoma
    Scherer F, van der Burgt M, Kiełbasa SM, Bertinetti-Lapatki C, Dühren von Minden M, Mikesch K, Zirlik K, de Wreede L, Veelken H, Navarrete MA
    British Journal of Haematology. 2016
  31. Isotype-switched follicular lymphoma displays dissociation between activation-induced cytidine deaminase expression and somatic hypermutation
    Scherer F, Navarrete MA, Bertinetti-Lapatki C, Boehm J, Schmitt-Graeff A, Veelken H
    Leukemia & Lymphoma. 2016
  32. Noninvasive monitoring of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma by immunoglobulin high-throughput sequencing
    Kurtz DM*, Green MR*, Bratman SV, Scherer F, Liu CL, Kunder CA, Takahashi K, Glover C, Keane C, Kihira S, Visser B, Callahan J, Kong KA, Faham M, Corbelli KS, Miklos D, Advani RH, Levy R, HIcks RJ, Hertzberg M, Ohgami RS, Gandhi MK, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
    Blood. 2015
  33. Comparative genomics reveals multistep pathogenesis of E2A-PBX1 acute lymphoblastic leukemia
    Duque-Afonso J*, Feng J*, Scherer F, Lin CH, Wong SH, Wang Z, Iwasaki M, Cleary ML
    The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2015
  34. Organocatalytic removal of formaldehyde adducts from RNA and DNA bases
    Karmakar S*, Harcourt EM*, Hewings DS*, Scherer F, Lovejoy AF, Kurtz DM, Ehrenschwender T, Barandun LJ, Roost C, Alizadeh AA, Kool ET
    Nature Chemistry. 2015


Complete list of published work:

  • German National Academic Foundation Scholarship (Stipendiat der Deutschen Studienstiftung)
  • Research Fellowship, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Eugen Graetz Prize
  • Clinician Scientist Award, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin (DGIM)
  • School of Oncology Fellow, Deutsches Konsortium für Translationale Krebsforschung (DKTK)
  • Translational Research Training in Hematology (TRTH) Award, European Hematology Association (EHA) and American Society of Hematology (ASH)
  • Artur-Pappenheim Prize, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Hämatologie und Medizinische Onkologie (DGHO)
  • Oral Presentation Plenary Session ASH Annual Meeting 2021, Atlanta, USA
  • Advanced Clinician Scientist Award, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin (DGIM)
  • Takeda Oncology Research Prize NSCLC 2022 (together with N. von Bubnoff, 3rd prize)

PD Dr. med. Florian Scherer
Principal Investigator
Phone: +49 761 270 34010

Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
Klinik für Innere Medizin I
Hugstetter Straße 55
D-79106 Freiburg

Mail Address:
Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
Hugstetter Straße 55
D-79106 Freiburg

Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
Zentrum Translationale Zellforschung (ZTZ), 3. OG
AG Scherer
Breisacher Straße 115
D-79106 Freiburg

Phone Laboratory:
+49 761 270 71870