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Klinik für Innere Medizin IHämatologie, Onkologie und Stammzelltransplantation

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.



Dr. med. Florian Scherer

Dr. med. Florian Scherer
Principal Investigator

Sabine Bleul

Sabine Bleul
Lab Manager
Technical Assistant

Jurik Mutter

Jurik Mutter
PhD Student

Dr. med. Eliza Lauer

Dr. med. Eliza Lauer
Clinician Scientist

Anna Katharina Förster

Dr. med. Anna Katharina Foerster
Clinician Scientist

Jan Mitschke

Dr. rer. nat. Jan Mitschke

Miriam Mozaffari Jovein

Miriam Mozaffari Jovein
Clinician Scientist

Dr. med. Johanna Haag

Dr. med. Johanna Haag
Clinician Scientist

Amina-Karolin Haddawi

Amina-Karolin Haddawi
Master student
Institute for Biochemistry and Biophysics

Corinna Kronenthaler


Present and previous funding:

  • Else Kröner-Fesenius-Stiftung (EKFS)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Innere Medizin (DGIM)
  • Fördergesellschaft Forschung Tumorbiologie
  • Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
  • Zentrum für Personalisierte Medizin – Demonstratorprojekt

Internal collaborations:

  • Dr. Elisabeth Schorb, Klinik für Innere Medizin I
  • 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
  • Dr. Dieter Henrik Heiland, Klinik für Neurochirurgie
  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Meyer, Klinik für Nuklearmedizin
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Finke, Klinik für Innere Medizin I
  • Dr. Frank Meiß, Klinik für Dermatologie und Venerologie
  • Dr. Miguel Waterhouse, Klinik für Innere Medizin I
  • Dr. Dietmar Pfeiffer, 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
  • Prof. Dr. Roland Schmitz, Universitätsklinikum Gießen

*Equal contribution

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

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

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

Capturing tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution by circulating tumor DNA profiling
Scherer F
Recent Results in Cancer Research. 2020. Review

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

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

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

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

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

High-throughput sequencing for noninvasive disease detection in hematologic malignancies
Scherer F*, Kurtz DM*, Diehn M, Alizadeh AA
Blood. 2017. Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)

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