The Oncopharmacologie laboratory, created in 1987, has been attached to the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis since 2002 as a university hospitality team (EA 3836) “Pharmacological targeting unit in oncology” which combines a PU-PH in medical oncology and two PU-PH in head and neck surgery.
The goal of this EA is to optimize medication management through a personalized medical approach that allows cancer treatment to be oriented according to individual characteristics specific to the patient’s tumor (search for tumor mutations, etc.), or in relation to the patient (genetic characteristics intrinsic to the patient). The goal is to adapt the treatment to each patient in order to administer the right treatment at the right dose. In this context, the laboratory carries out both a hospital activity, and a translational research activity: pre-clinical activity (on small animals) and clinical activity.
This unit has recently evolved into a dual unit integrating the topics of medical oncology and advanced radiotherapy. The new title will be “Unit of Pharmacogenetics and Radiogenetics of Cancers” (UPRC) headed by Marie-Christine Etienne-Grimaldi.


The research activity, dedicated to translational research, is divided into two areas: pre-clinical research and clinical research.
The main objective of pre-clinical work which is carried out on models of human tumor xenografted lines in immunodeficient mice, is to test combinations of new drugs (targeted treatments, immunotherapy, or conventional cytotoxic agents), associated or not with radiotherapy, for the purpose of providing rational bases for the design of original clinical trials, in particular in ENT pathology.
Clinically oriented work is mainly done through multicenter prospective studies designed to identify predictors of resistance or sensitivity and / or toxicity to anticancer treatments. These approaches include either intrinsic patient characteristics (pharmacogenetic studies of constitutional polymorphisms from a simple blood sample), or tumor-specific characteristics (somatic mutations, etc.). There is also a research activity in the field of pharmacokinetics, mainly in the context of Phases I-II, with the objective of highlighting relationships between pharmacokinetic parameters and toxicity and / or the efficacy of the treatment enabling an optimal therapeutic window to be defined for a given treatment, in order to achieve individual dosage adjustments. These clinical research programs are mainly conducted in colorectal cancers, ENT cancers and breast cancers, in cooperation with national groups such as GERCOR or GORTEC. This research is funded by the Ministry of Health or through trials promoted by the pharmaceutical industry.

The unit has strong local partnerships with teams from IRCAN (G. Pages) and iBV (E. van Obberghen).
At the regional level, within the framework of the PACA Cancéropôle, the unit has collaborated for a long time with the pharmacokinetics department of the Marseille Faculty of Pharmacy.
At the national level, the team is coordinating multi-center clinical translational research studies (including a PHRC, among others, on securing fluoropyrimidine treatments, including meta-analyzes in partnership with Gustave Roussy, and surveys of clinical practice in partnership with the FFCD).
At the international level, the group refers to its original work on dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase (DPD), and collaborates in this context with Professor A. Van Kuilenburg (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Close collaboration has also been established with Professor M. Merlano’s team (Cuneo, Italy) for pre-clinical studies in particular.

The Oncopharmacology laboratory is involved in the following courses

  • various national IUDs in oncology.
  • National Chemistry Course of the IGR.
  • Reception of trainees from different sectors of scientific training in the Nice region.
  • reception of Master II students
  • reception of students (doctors for the most part) in university thesis.

The laboratory has significantly contributed to the training and obtaining of critical publications of future PU-PH physicians at local and national level.





Droplet PCR (Bio-Rad QX200)




MassARRAY Analyzer 4 (Sequenom Agena) with chip 96 spots





LightCycler 480 (PCR quantitative), Roche, with block 96





Sequencer – Beckman CEQ 8800








UPLC-MSMS (Xevo TQD Waters)


The Oncopharmacology team at Lacassagne has published more than 300 articles in international peer-reviewed journals and regularly presents papers at major American conferences in the specialty (ASCO, AACR).


L’équipe d’oncopharmacologie du Centre Antoine Lacassagne a publié au total plus de 300 articles dans des journaux internationaux à comité de lecture et présente régulièrement des communications aux congrès américains majeurs dans la spécialité (ASCO, AACR).

Cinq principales publications des 5 dernières années
– Van Kuilenburg AB, Etienne-Grimaldi MC, Mahamat A, Meijer J, Laurent-Puig P, Olschwang S, Gaub MP, Hennekam RC, Benchimol D, Houry S, Letoublon C, Gilly FN, Pezet D, Andre T, Faucheron JL, Abderrahim-Ferkoune A, Vijzelaar R, Pradere B, Milano G. Frequent intragenic rearrangements of DPYD in colorectal tumours. Pharmacogenomics J. 2015;15(3):211-8.

-Thariat J, Bensadoun RJ, Etienne-Grimaldi MC, Grall D, Penault-Llorca F, Dassonville O, Bertucci F, Cayre A, De Raucourt D, Geoffrois L, Finetti P, Giraud P, Racadot S, Morinière S, Sudaka A, Van Obberghen-Schilling E, Milano G. Contrasted outcomes to gefitinib on tumoral IGF1R expression in head and neck cancer patients receiving postoperative chemoradiation (GORTEC trial 2004-02). Clin Cancer Res. 2012;18(18):5123-33.

-Thariat J, Etienne-Grimaldi MC, Grall D, Bensadoun RJ, Cayre A, Penault-Llorca F, Veracini L, Francoual M, Formento JL, Dassonville O, De Raucourt D, Geoffrois L, Giraud P, Racadot S, Moriniere S, Milano G, Van Obberghen-Schilling E. Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor protein detection in head and neck cancer patients: a many faceted picture. Clin Cancer Res. 2012;18(5):1313-1322.

-Bozec A, Sudaka A, Etienne-Grimaldi MC, Brunstein Mc, Fischel JL, Milano G. Antitumor activity of cetuximab associated with the taxotere-cisplatin-fluorouracil (TPF) combination on an orthotopic head and neck cancer model. Oral Oncol. 2011;47(10):940-5.

-Etienne-Grimaldi MC, Formento P, Degeorges A, Pierga Jy, Delva R, Pivot X, Dalenc F, Espie M, Veyret C, Formento JL, Francoual M, Piutti M, De Cremoux P, Milano G. Prospective analysis of the impact of VEGF-A gene polymorphisms on pharmacodynamics of bevacizumab-based therapy in metastatic breast cancer patients. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011;71(6):921-8.

Sélection Pharmacogénétique et DPD

-Beauclair S, Formento P, Fischel JL, Lescaut W, Largillier R, Chamorey E, Hofman P, Ferrero JM, Pages G, Milano G. Role of the HER2 [Ile 655 Val] genetic polymorphism in tumorogenesis and in the risk of Trastuzumab-related cardiotoxicity. Annals of Oncology 2007;18 : 1335-1341.

-Etienne MC, Cheradame S, Fischel JL, Formento P, Dassonville O, Renée N, Schneider M, Thyss A, Demard F, Milano G. Response to fluorouracil therapy in cancer patients : the role of tumoral dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase activity. J Clin Oncol 1995;13:1663-1670.
-Milano G, Etienne MC, Renée N, Thyss A, Schneider M, Ramaioli A, Demard F. Relationship between fluorouracil systemic exposure and tumor response and patient survival. J Clin Oncol 1994, 12: 1291-1295.
-Milano G, Etienne MC, Thyss A, Santini J, Frenay M, Renée N, Schneider M, Demard F. Influence of sex and age on fluorouracil clearance. J Clin Oncol 1992, 10:1171-1175.

-Fleming R, Milano G, Thyss A, Etienne MC, Renée N, Schneider M, Demard F. Correlation between dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase activity in peripheral mononuclear cells and systemic clearance of fluorouracil in cancer patients. Cancer Res 1992, 52: 2899-2902.

Sélection Ciblage du REGF

-Largillier R, Etienne-Grimaldi MC, Formento JL, Ciccolini J, Nebbia JF, Ginot A, Francoual M, Renée N, Ferrero JM, Foa C, Namer M, Lacarelle B, Milano G. Pharmacogenetics of capecitabine is related to clinical outcome in advanced breast cancer patients. Clin Cancer Res 2006, 12: 5496-5502.

-Francoual M, Etienne-Grimaldi MC, Formento JL, Benchimol D, Bourgeon A, Chazal M, Letoublon C, Andre T, Gilly N, Delpero JR, Lasser P, Spano JP, Milano G. EGFR in colorectal cancer : more than a simple receptor. Annals Oncology 2006, 17: 962-967.

-Magne N, Fischel JL, Tiffon C, Formento P, Dubreuil A, Renée N, Formento JL, Francoual M, Ciccolini J, Etienne MC, Milano G. Molecular mechanisms underlying the interaction between ZD1839 (‘Iressa’) and cisplatin/5-fluorouracil. British Journal of Cancer 2003, 89: 585-592.

-Magne N, Fischel JL, Dubreuil A, Formento P, Marcie S, Lagrange JL, Milano G. Sequence-dependent effects of ZD1839 (‘Iressa’) in combination with cytotoxic treatment in human head and neck cancer. British Journal of Cancer 2002, 86: 819-827.

-Dassonville O, Formento JL, Francoual M, Ramaioli A, Santini J, Schneider M, Demard F and Milano G. Expression of epidermal growth factor receptor and survival in upper aerodigestive tract cancer. J Clin Oncol 1993, 11, 1873-1878.