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Elisabeth S. Gruber
Elisabeth S. Gruber, MDSpecialist for General and Visceral Surgery; Specialist for General Medicine

Department of General Surgery (Division of Visceral Surgery)
Position: Consultant

ORCID: 0000-0002-8646-1865

Further Information


Adaptive Immunity; Cachexia; Colorectal Neoplasms; Gastrointestinal Neoplasms; Inflammation; Mental Health; Metabolism; Molecular Targeted Therapy; Oncogenes; Pancreatic Cancer; Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine; Physical Fitness; Radiation Effects; Sarcopenia; Translational Medical Research; Tumor Markers, Biological

Research group(s)

Research interests

My main research interest is translational surgical oncology in gastrointestinal cancer; dedicated studies are conducted with collaborating partners and focus on:

1. the stimulation of adaptive immunity by elaboration of the appopriate radiation dosage to improve tumor immune surveillance

    • objective: to explore radiation-induced immunomodulation in (colo)rectal cancer
    • aim: the use of radiation-induced immunostimulation and consecutive tumor shrinkage/clearance in (colo)rectal cancer

2. the exploration of predictive biomarkers that implicate novel therpeutic approaches

    • project 1
      • objective: to understand the impact of the oncogene AF1Q/MLLT11 and its downstream targets in gastrointestinal cancer
      • aim: development of novel AF1Q/MLLT11-mediated therapeutic approaches and biomarkers in gastrointestinal cancer
    • project 2
      • objective: to explore tumor-host interactions by analysation of the patient's inflammation, immune and metabolic profile in pancreatic cancer 
      • aim: development of novel therapeutic approaches and biomarkers in pancreatic cancer

3. the exploration of the impact of physical and mental health on the outcome in pancreatic cancer

    • objective: to understand the impact of physical exercise as well as dietary and psychological support on pancreatic cancer outcome
    • aim: delevopment of a (tailored) prehabilitation concept for pancreatic cancer patients

Techniques, methods & infrastructure

Radiation-induced immunomodulation in (colo)rectal cancer

    • models: 3D CRC spheroid cultures, C57BL/6J-ApcMin/J mouse model, human tumor specimen
    • methods: (digital multicolour) IHC, Calprotectin ELISA, PBMC co-cultivation invasion/migration assay, tissue immune cell isolation, FACS
    • collaborating labs: MUV: Dept. of Experimental and Animal Pathology, Dept. of Radiation Oncology/Physics/Biology, Institute for Cancer Research; Center for Biomarker Research in Medicine (CBMed), Graz.

Oncogene AF1Q/MLLT11 in gastrointestinal cancer

    • models: C57BL/6J-ApcMin/J mouse model, human tumor specimen
    • methods: (digital multicolour) IHC
    • collaborating labs: Dept. of Experimental and Animal Pathology, MUV; James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY, USA.

Tumor-host interactions/inflammation, immune and metabolic profile in pancreatic cancer

    • models: human blood/tissue samples (biobank)
    • methods: ELISA, PCR, metabolomic profiling, IHC
    • collaborating MUV labs: Dept. of Experimental and Animal Pathology; Surgical Research Laboratory.

Physical exercise/dietary/psychological support in pancreatic cancer

    • models: human blood/tissue samples (biobank)
    • methods: physical exercise, dietary/psychological support, anthropometric measurements, bioimpedance, ELISA, PCR, metabolomic profiling, IHC, psychologic questionnaire
    • collaborating MUV labs: Dept. of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation and Occupational Medicine; Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology; Dept. of Oncology; Dept. of Biomedical Imaging and Image-guided Therapy; Dept. of Experimental and Animal Pathology.

Selected publications

  1. Gruber, E.S. et al., 2020. The Determination of Immunomodulation and Its Impact on Survival of Rectal Cancer Patients Depends on the Area Comprising a Tissue Microarray. Cancers, 12(3), p.563. Available at:
  2. Gruber, E.S. et al., 2020. The Prognostic Index Independently Predicts Survival in Patients with Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma Undergoing Resection. Annals of Surgical Oncology. Available at:
  3. Gruber et al., 2019. The Oncogene AF1Q is Associated with WNT and STAT Signaling and Offers a Novel Independent Prognostic Marker in Patients with Resectable Esophageal Cancer. Cells, 8(11), p.1357. Available at:
  4. Gruber, E.S. et al., 2019. Sarcopenia and sarcopenic obesity are independent adverse prognostic factors in resectable pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma F. X. Real, ed. PLOS ONE, 14(5), p.e0215915. Available at: