Metastasis, the process by which cancer cells disseminate in the body and establish secondary tumors, is the primary cause of death from cancer. In order to metastasise, cancer cells must acquire an invasive phenotype allowing them to degrade the extracellular matrix and migrate through the stromal environment and tissue barriers. They also need to escape from the immune surveillance system. Both tumour cell invasion and immune resistance involve cytoskeletal changes which are promoted by genetic and epigenetic alterations, or microenvironmental conditions such as hypoxia. Our research group focuses on actin regulatory proteins and related signaling pathways driving tumor cell invasion and immune evasion, with the goal to identify new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets. We combine biochemistry, cell biology, reverse-genetics and advanced live-cell imaging approaches as well as mouse models of spontaneous and experimental breast cancer metastasis.

Research projects

  • Multiple and critical roles of a LIM domain, actin crosslinking, protein in breast cancer cell invasion and invadopodia formation.
  • A novel, actin cytoskeleton-dependent, mechanism of tumor cell escape from Natural Killer cell-mediated cell death.
  • Role of tumor microenvironment-induced cytoskeleton remodeling in tumor cell invasion.

Featured Publications

Hypoxia promotes breast cancer cell invasion through HIF-1α-mediated up-regulation of the invadopodial actin bundling protein CSRP2.

  • Cytoskeleton and Cancer Progression
  • Tumor Microenvironment
July 05, 2018
2018 Jul. Sci Rep.8(1):10191.
  • Hoffmann C
  • Mao X
  • Brown-Clay J
  • Moreau F
  • Al Absi A
  • Wurzer H
  • Sousa B
  • Schmitt F
  • Berchem G
  • Janji B
  • Thomas C.

Reactivation of mutant-EGFR degradation through clathrin inhibition overcomes resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

  • Cytoskeleton and Cancer Progression
June 15, 2018
2018 Jun. Cancer Res.78(12):3267-3279. Epub 2018 Mar 19.
  • Menard L
  • Floc'h N
  • Martin MJ
  • Cross DAE.
See all publications


Clément Thomas


84, rue Val Fleuri
L-1526 Luxembourg
Tel. : +352 26970-252