Klinik und Poliklinik
für Innere Medizin II
Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin II
Direktor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Roland. M. Schmid

Principal Investigator PD Dr. von Figura

Molecular mechanisms of pancreatic cancer development with respect to its cellular origin.



  • Dr. med. Guido von Figura (PI)
  • Dr. med. Leonie Jochheim
  • Markus Kroiß (cand. med.)
  • Ludwig Kübelsbeck (PhD student)
  • Georgios Odysseos (cand. med.)
  • Lina Staufer (B.Sc., MTA)
  • Suyang Zhong (M.Sc., doctoral student)


  • Annett Dannemann (TA)
  • Dr. Ana Hidalgo-Sastre (M.Res., B.Sc., Postdoc)

Research background

Our research group is focusing on the analysis of pancreatic cancer initiation. Pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cancer death in Germany. This is due to a diagnosis at advanced disease stages and a lack of effective therapies. To improve this dismal situation, a better understanding of pancreatic cancer development is necessary.


We investigate the initiation of pancreatic cancer from its two main precursor lesions PanIN and IPMN by using in vivo and in vitro models. In particular, we are focusing on the plasticity of the cell of origin and the underlying epi(genetic) mechanisms during transformation.


  1. Russell R, Perkhofer L, Liebau S, Lin Q, Lechel A, Feld FM, Hessmann E, Gaedcke J, Guthle M, Zenke M, Hartmann D, von Figura G, Weissinger SE, Rudolph KL, Moller P, Lennerz JK, Seufferlein T, Wagner M and Kleger A. Loss of ATM accelerates pancreatic cancer formation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Nat Commun (2015) 6:7677.
  2. Roy N, Malik S, Villanueva KE, Urano A, Lu X, von Figura G, Seeley ES, Dawson DW, Collisson EA and Hebrok M. Brg1 promotes both tumor-suppressive and oncogenic activities at distinct stages of pancreatic cancer formation. Genes Dev (2015) 29(6):658-671.
  3. Hartmann D, von Figura G, Song Z, Harden S, Scott LC, Evans TR, Rudolph KL, Bilsland AE and Keith WN. Plasma N-acetyl-glucosaminidase in advanced gastro-intestinal adenocarcinoma correlates with age, stage and outcome. Future Oncol (2015) 11(2):193-203.
  4. Spinner CD, Wille F, Schwerdtfeger C, Thies P, Tanase U, von Figura G, Schmid RM, Heinz WJ and Klinker HH. Pharmacokinetics of chewed vs. swallowed raltegravir in a patient with AIDS and MAI infection: some new conflicting data. AIDS Res Ther (2015) 12(1):1.
  5. von Figura G, Morris JPt, Wright CV and Hebrok M. Nr5a2 maintains acinar cell differentiation and constrains oncogenic Kras-mediated pancreatic neoplastic initiation. Gut (2014) 63(4):656-664.
  6. von Figura, G*, Fukuda A*, Roy N*, Liku ME*, Morris Iv JP, Kim GE, Russ HA, Firpo MA, Mulvihill SJ, Dawson DW, Ferrer J, Mueller WF, Busch A, Hertel KJ and Hebrok M. The chromatin regulator Brg1 suppresses formation of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Nat Cell Biol (2014) 16(3):255-267.
  7. Sunami Y, von Figura G, Kleger A, Strnad P, Huser N and Hartmann D. The role of telomeres in liver disease. Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci (2014) 125:159-172.
  8. Morris JPt, Greer R, Russ HA, von Figura G, Kim GE, Busch A, Lee J, Hertel KJ, Kim S, McManus M and Hebrok M. Dicer regulates differentiation and viability during mouse pancreatic cancer initiation. PLoS One (2014) 9(5):e95486.
  9. Missios P*, Zhou Y*, Guachalla LM*, von Figura G, Wegner A, Chakkarappan SR, Binz T, Gompf A, Hartleben G, Burkhalter MD, Wulff V,  Gunes C, Sattler RW, Song Z, Illig T, Klaus S, Bohm BO, Wenz T, Hiller K and Rudolph KL. Glucose substitution prolongs maintenance of energy homeostasis and lifespan of telomere dysfunctional mice. Nat Commun (2014) 5:4924.
  10. Khan P, Idrees D, Moxley MA, Corbett JA, Ahmad F, von Figura G, Sly SW, Waheed A and Hassan MI. Luminol-based chemiluminescent signals: clinical and non-clinical application and future uses. Appl Biochem Biotechnol (2014) 173(2):333-355.
  11. Strnad P, von Figura G, Gruss R, Jareis KM, Stiehl A and Kulaksiz H. Oblique bile duct predisposes to the recurrence of bile duct stones. PLoS One (2013) 8(1):e54601.
  12. Triess C*, von Figura G, Stuhrmann M, Butzeck B, Krayenbuehl PA, Strnad P and Kulaksiz H. Diagnosis of hereditary hemochromatosis in the era of genetic testing. Dig Dis Sci (2012) 57(11):2988-2994.
  13. Kopp JL*, von Figura G, Mayes E, Liu FF, Dubois CL, Morris JPt, Pan FC, Akiyama H, Wright CV, Jensen K, Hebrok M and Sander M. Identification of Sox9-dependent acinar-to-ductal reprogramming as the principal mechanism for initiation of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Cancer Cell (2012) 22(6):737-750.
  14. von Figura G, Wagner M, Nalapareddy K, Hartmann D, Kleger A, Guachalla LM, Rolyan H, Adler G and Rudolph KL. Regeneration of the exocrine pancreas is delayed in telomere-dysfunctional mice. PLoS One (2011) 6(2):e17122.
  15. Stephani J, Akinli AS, von Figura G, Barth TF, Weber T, Hartmann B, Adler G and von Boyen GB. Acute Pancreatitis in a patient with hypercalcemia due to tertiary hyperparathyroidism. Z Gastroenterol (2011) 49(9):1263-1266.
  16. Schwarz P, Strnad P, von Figura G, Janetzko A, Krayenbuhl P, Adler G and Kulaksiz H. A novel monoclonal antibody immunoassay for the detection of human serum hepcidin. J Gastroenterol (2011) 46(5):648-656.
  17. Kulaksiz H, Strnad P, Rompp A, von Figura G, Barth T, Esposito I, Schirmacher P, Henne-Bruns D, Adler G and Stiehl A. A novel method of forceps biopsy improves the diagnosis of proximal biliary malignancies. Dig Dis Sci (2011) 56(2):596-601.
  18. Hartmann D, Srivastava U, Thaler M, Kleinhans KN, N'Kontchou G, Scheffold A, Bauer K, Kratzer RF, Kloos N, Katz SF, Song Z, Begus-Nahrmann Y, Kleger A, von Figura G, Strnad P, Lechel A, Gunes C, Potthoff A, Deterding K, Wedemeyer H, Ju Z, Song G, Xiao F, Gillen S, Schrezenmeier G, Mertens T, Ziol M, Friess G, Jarek M, Manns MP, Beaugrand M and Rudolph KL. Telomerase gene mutations are associated with cirrhosis formation. Hepatology (2011) 53(5):1608-1617.
  19. von Figura G, Hartmann D, Pauls S, Barth TF, Adler G, Henne-Bruns D and Kulaksiz H. Difficult diagnosis of a large cystic retroperitoneal tumor mimicking a hepatic origin. Z Gastroenterol (2010) 48(11):1301-1304.
  20. Song Z*, von Figura G, Liu Y, Kraus JM, Torrice C, Dillon P, Rudolph-Watabe M, Ju Z, Kestler HA, Sanoff H and Lenhard Rudolph K. Lifestyle impacts on the aging-associated expression of biomarkers of DNA damage and telomere dysfunction in human blood. Aging Cell (2010) 9(4):607-615.
  21. Kuhlow D, Florian S, von Figura G, Weimer S, Schulz N, Petzke KJ, Zarse K, Pfeiffer AF, Rudolph KL and Ristow M. Telomerase deficiency impairs glucose metabolism and insulin secretion. Aging (Albany NY) (2010) 2(10):650-658.
  22. von Figura G, Stephani J, Wagner M, Wegener M, Wolf C, Adler G and Kulaksiz H. Secondary sclerosing cholangitis after chemotherapy with bevacizumab and paclitaxel. Endoscopy (2009) 41 Suppl 2:E153-154.
  23. von Figura G and Rudolph KL. Cancer and aging – biological mechanisms. Onkologie (2009) 32 Suppl 3:34-38.
  24. von Figura G and Kulaksiz H. Diagnosis and treatment in hereditary hemochromatosis. Dtsch Med Wochenschr (2009) 134(50):2565-2572.
  25. von Figura G, Hartmann D, Song Z and Rudolph KL. Role of telomere dysfunction in aging and its detection by biomarkers. J Mol Med (Berl) (2009) 87(12):1165-1171.
  26. Hilger H, Pust S, von Figura G, Kaiser E, Stiles BG, Popoff MR and Barth H. The long-lived nature of clostridium perfringens iota toxin in mammalian cells induces delayed apoptosis. Infect Immun (2009) 77(12):5593-5601.
  27. Guachalla LM, Ju Z, Koziel R, von Figura G, Song Z, Fusser M, Epe B, Jansen-Durr P and Rudolph KL. Sod2 haploinsufficiency does not accelerate aging of telomere dysfunctional mice. Aging (Albany NY) (2009) 1(3):303-315.
  28. Pust S, Hochmann H, Kaiser E, von Figura G, Heine K, Aktories K and Barth H. A cell-permeable fusion toxin as a tool to study the consequences of actin-ADP-ribosylation caused by the salmonella enterica virulence factor SpvB in intact cells. J Biol Chem (2007) 282(14): 10272-10282.
  29. Hochmann H, Pust S, von Figura G, Aktories K and Barth H. Salmonella enterica SpvB ADP-ribosylates actin at position arginine-177-characterization of the catalytic domain within the SpvB protein and a comparison to binary clostridial actin-ADP-ribosylating toxins. Biochemistry (2006) 45(4):1271-1277.

* contributed equally

Medical theses ⎮ PhD ⎮ Grant support

Medical theses/PhD

For inquiries regarding open PhD, MD and postdoc positions please contact by email.


Grant support


Head: PD Dr. med. Guido von Figura
Klinik und Poliklinik für Innere Medizin II
Klinikum rechts der Isar der TUM
Ismaninger Str. 22
81675 Munich, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0) 89 41 40 - 63 95
Fax: +49 (0) 89 41 40 - 22 58

Email: guido.figura@mri.tum.de