dr. Isabelle Hoorens (MD, PhD)
postdoctoral researcher, FWO – Dermatology research unit (DRU), Ghent University Hospital (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
resident – Department of Dermatology (University Hospital Ghent)
member of the scientific advisory committee of the Belgian Dermoscopy Group (BDG)
Principal investigator: prof. Lieve Brochez (MD,PhD)
Skin cancer is by far the most frequent cancer worldwide. Non-melanoma skin cancer is responsible for about 90% of all skin cancers and originate mainly from keratinocytes (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma). The remaining 10% are melanomas, arising from malignant degeneration of melanocytes. In Belgium melanoma is responsible for more than 400 deaths every year.
Based on our previous research, a high economic burden resulted in a total cost of €107 million in 2014 and a cumulative cost of €3.2 billion by 2034 for skin cancer alone in Belgium. Although they have a relatively benign course, keratinocyte cancer (KC) accounts for 35.2% of these costs. Since their prevalence and cost is predicted to triple by 2034, an evidence-based management approach is highly needed. Dermatologist-led screening of the population for KC is not cost-effective. It is also clear that there is a lack of studies evaluating the health- and economic balance of KC treatment and follow-up guidelines. With our current FWO research project we will map the exact impact of KC on the patient’s quality of life, and characterize the natural behaviour of basal cell carcinomas using in vivo state of the art imaging techniques (confocal microscopy and high-definition optical coherence tomography). The clinical trials will allow to implement more cost-effective treatment procedures and follow-up regimens for our patients in daily practice, especially in patients with a limited life expectancy. In addition, our group is interested in the development and clinical validation of devices for early diagnosis of skin cancer, and working on artificial intelligence for skin cancer diagnostics.