prof. Koen Van Herck (MD, PhD)

CRIG group leader
Koen Van Herck

associate professor (dept. of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
group leader / principal investigator - Center for Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer (UGent)


Research focus

Prof. Inge Huybrechts is a visiting professor in our department, and is based in the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in Lyon, France. Her research topics include the link between nutrition and other lifestyle factors and the risk of cancer, and therefore the potential for primary prevention. Heleen Van Puyvelde joined this research line as an FWO doctoral fellow, to study the link between nutritional intake of methyl group donors and (breast) cancer risk.

The Flemish cancer screening programmes (for breast, cervix and colon cancer) are coordinated and implemented by the 'Centrum voor Kankeropsporing', which has local units in Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent and Leuven. Our department hosts the Ghent local unit, and is therefore involved in the implementation and quality assurance for these screening programmes. Research topics include all aspects of population screening, the clinical performance in (digital) mammographic screening and the adherence of the target population to the screening programme for breast cancer.

Research team

Key publications

  • The epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori infection in Europe and the impact of lifestyle on its natural evolution towards stomach cancer: a systematic review. Helicobacter 2018;Published 10/04/2018 (PMID: 29635869)
  • Breast cancer risk is increased in the years following false-positive breast cancer screening. European Journal of Cancer Prevention 2017;26(5):396-403. (PMID: 27749382)
  • Screen-detected versus interval cancers: Effect of imaging modality and breast density in the Flemish Breast Cancer Screening Programme. European Radiology 2017;27(9):3810-3819. (PMID: 28289944)
  • Comparison of anthropometric measurements of adiposity in relation to cancer risk: A systematic review of prospective studies. Cancer Causes & Control 2016;27(3):291-300 (PMID: 26759333)
  • First results of the Flemish colorectal cancer screening program: start-up-period late 2013. Acta Gastro-enterologica Belgica 2016;79(4):421-428. (PMID: 28209100)
  • Quantifying independent risk factors for failing to rescreen in a breast cancer screening program in Flanders, Belgium. Preventive Medicine, 2014. (PMID: 25456812)
  • Impact of the digitalization of mammography on performance parameters and breast dose in the Flemish breast cancer screening programme. European Radiology, 2014 (PMID: 24816932)
  • Technical and clinical breast cancer screening performance indicators for computed radiography versus direct digital radiography. European Radiology, 2013. (PMID: 23689308)

Contact & links