Molecular Mechanisms of Tumorigenesis

Research group

Group Leader

Pilar Navarro Medrano

The objective of our group is the identification of different molecular mechanisms associated with human pathology, with special emphasis on tumor progression. In particular, we focus on the following:

1) Role of Galectin-1 in cancer and its possible use as a biomarker and/or therapeutic target for different tumors. Our in vitro and in vivo data have identified Gal-1 as a new therapeutic target for cancer. We are now translating these data to the clinic, pursuing three major goals: i) exploring whether the detection of Gal-1 levels in biological samples from cancer patients can be useful as a novel diagnostic biomarker; ii) determination of Gal-1 levels to predict response to cancer therapy, with particular emphasis in immunotherapy (due to the key role of Gal-1 in tumor immune evasion); iii) development of Gal-1 pharmacological inhibitors as a new cancer treatment.

2) Control of gene expression in human disease by CPEB-mediated mRNA translational regulation. Our previous data have shown the key contribution of CPEB4 to gene expression regulation in PDA and glioma (Ortiz-Zapater et al. Nat. Med, 2012). To determine the contribution of this mechanism as a general cancer gene-regulation process and its putative role as a prognostic/diagnostic/therapeutic biomarker in this disease, we plan to extend this study to a broad panel of tumors (glioma, breast, lung, colon, melanoma and others) and to look for inhibitory strategies by means of high throughput screening, to identify small molecules abrogating CPEB functions. Moreover, the contribution of other members of CPEB family to cancer and other pathological processes (such as neurodegeneration) will also be explored.





Francisco Alameda Quitllet (Researcher)

Luis Eugenio Barranco Priego (Researcher)

Gemma Mancebo Moreno (Researcher)

Neus Martínez Bosch (Researcher)

Judit Vinaixa Forner (PhD Student)

Mireia Moreno Merino (Technician)

Silvia Geeraerd (Research Assistant)



Main Publications

• Villanueva E, Navarro P, Rovira-Rigau M, Sibilio A, Méndez R, Fillat C. Translational reprogramming in tumour cells can generate oncoselectivity in viral therapies. Nat Commun 2017; 8: 14833. IF 12.124. D1.

• Jungfleisch J, Nedialkova DD, Dotu I, Sloan KE, Martínez-Bosch N, Brüning L, Raineri E, Navarro P, Bohnsack MT, Leidel SA, Díez J. A novel translational control mechanism involving RNA structures within coding sequences. Genome Res 2017; 27(1): 95-106. IF 11.922. D1.

• Devis L, Moiola CP, Masia N, Martínez-García E, Santacana M, Stirbat TV, Brochard-Wyart F, García A, Alameda F, Cabrera S, Palacios J, Moreno-Bueno G, Abal M, Thomas W, Dufour S, Matías-Guiu X, Santamaria A, Reventós J, Gil-Moreno A, Colas E. Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) is a marker of recurrence and promotes cell migration, invasion and metastasis in early stage endometrioid endometrial cancer. J Pathol 2017; 241(4): 475-487. IF 6.894. D1.

• Miralpeix E, Genovès J, Solé JM, Mancebo G, Lloveras B, Bellosillo B, Alameda F, Carreras R. Usefulness of p16INK4a staining for managing histological high-grade squamous intraepithelial cervical lesions. Modern Pathol 2017; 30(2): 304-310. IF 5.728. D1.

• Carrera-Lasfuentes P, Lanas A, Bujanda L, Strunk M, Quintero E, Santolaria S, Benito R, Sopeña F, Piazuelo E, Thomson C, Pérez-Aisa A, Nicolás-Pérez D, Hijona E, Espinel J, Campo R, Manzano M, Geijo F, Pellise M, Zaballa M, González-Huix F, Espinós J, Titó L, Barranco L, D'Amato M, García-González MA. Relevance of DNA repair gene polymorphisms to gastric cancer risk and phenotype. Oncotarget 2017; 8(22): 35848-35862. IF 5.168. Q1.

• Núñez M, Jung C, Terré B, Balsiger NA, Plata C, Roset R, Pardo-Pastor C, Garrido M, Rojas S, Alameda F, Lloreta J, Martín-Caballero J, Flores JM, Stracker TH, Valverde MA, Muñoz FJ, Gil-Gómez G. Constitutive Cyclin O deficiency results in penetrant hydrocephalus, impaired growth and infertility. Oncotarget 2017; 8(59): 99261-99273. IF 5.168. Q1.

• Mancebo G, Solé JM, Pino O, Miralpeix E, Mojal S, Garrigós L, Lloveras B, Navarro P, Gibert J, Lorenzo M, Aran I, Carreras R, Alameda F. Prognostic impact of CD133 expression in Endometrial Cancer Patients. Sci Rep 2017; 7: 7687. IF 4.259. Q1.

• Esteve-Codina A, Arpí O, Martínez-García M, Pineda E, Mallo M, Gut M, Carrato C, Rovira A, López R, Tortosa A, Dabad M, Del Barco S, Heath S, Bagué S, Ribalta T, Alameda F, de la Iglesia N, Balaña C, GLIOCAT Group. A Comparison of RNA-Seq Results from Paired Formalin-Fixed Paraffin-Embedded and Fresh-Frozen Glioblastoma Tissue Samples. PLoS ONE 2017; 12(1): e0170632. IF 2.806. Q1.

Ongoing Research Projects

• Implicaciones clínicas de la expresión de Galectina-1 en cáncer genitourinario: su papel en el diagnóstico, pronóstico, y en la predicción a la respuesta con inhibidores de los “check-point” inmunes

- AECC (Asociación Española Contra el Cáncer) Cataluña

- From 2016 to 2018

- Principal invesestigator: Navarro Medrano, Pilar

• Galectina-1: una nueva diana para el desarrollo de herramientas diagnósticas y terapéuticas para el cáncer de páncreas

- Asociación Cáncer de Páncreas y Asociación Española de Pancreatología (Beca Carmen Delgado/Miguel Pérez-Mateo)

- From 2016 to 2018

- Principal investigator: Navarro Medrano, Pilar

• Nuevas funciones de Galectina-1 y CPEBs en cáncer: papel en la remodelación del estroma tumoral, invasión/metástasis y pluripotencialidad celular. Implicaciones clínicas

- Fondo de Investigación Sanitaria. ISCIII (PI14/00125)

- From 2015 to 2018

- Principal investigator: Navarro Medrano, Pilar

• Gene expression profiling (GEP) of Glioblastoma, including long intergenic non-coding RNA (lincrna), in a homogeneous population: correlation with immunophenotype, radiology clinical outcome and response to therapy a multicenter study

- Fundació La Marató de TV3 (20130332)

- From 2014 to 2017

- Principal investigator: Alameda Quitllet, Francisco


Group’s Recognitions

• Officially recognised as a consolidated research group by the Generalitat de Catalunya: Cellular and molecular mechanisms of disease (2017-2019)

- Agència de Gestió d’Ajuts Universitaris i de Recerca (SGR 225)

- Principal investigator: Navarro Medrano, Pilar


Clinical Trials Signed in 2017

• Estudio aleatorizado, multicéntrico, de grupos paralelos, doble ciego, doble enmascaramiento y con control activo para evaluar la eficacia y seguridad de vilaprisán en sujetos con miomas uterinos (ASTEROID 5).

- Register: BAY 1002670/15789

- Principal investigator: Mancebo Moreno, Gemma



• Orozco CA. Deciphering the role of stromal Galectin-1 in pancreatic cancer progression and its putative use as a therapeutic target. University of Barcelona

- Director: Navarro Medrano, Pilar; Martínez-Bosch, Neus

- Date of defense: 13/06/2017

• Gibert J. New insights into the role of the RNA binding proteins CPEBs in cancer. Pompeu Fabra University

- Director: Navarro Medrano, Pilar; Méndez R.

- Date of defense: 08/11/2017




C/ Doctor Aiguader, 88

08003 Barcelona

(+34) 93 316 04 00