Tom Roggeman

CRIG member
Tom Roggeman


Doctoral Fellow  & assistant academic staff – Small Animals Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UGent)
Anesthetist – Small Animal Teaching Hospital (UGent)
Principal investigators: prof. Hilde De Rooster (PhD) & prof. Ingeborgh Polis (PhD)


Research focus

Cancer is a major cause of mortality in companion animals. Anaesthesia is often required during the initial workup, surgical intervention, and follow-up of oncological patients. Peri-anaesthetic immunosuppression has been implicated as a factor in accelerated tumor progression, and the choice of anaesthetic technique may influence this phenomenon. Companion animals can play an important role in elucidating these effects since they are immunocompetent and develop spontaneous tumors while being exposed to environmental factors. Their shorter lifespan and faster progression of disease make it possible to measure short- & long-term outcomes. 
To our knowledge only two veterinary studies have prospectively examined the direct impact of anaesthetic technique on the immune system. Miyata et al. (2013) established that anaesthesia with isoflurane has a transient immunosuppressive effect by decreasing natural killer cytotoxic activity. Tomihari et al. (2015) showed that compared to propofol, isoflurane had a more pronounced immunosuppressant effect. State-of-the-art anesthetic techniques, however, encompass the use of balanced protocols and multimodal analgesic approaches. Although the associated reduction of side effects observed with the use of multimodal techniques is beneficial for the patient, the complex nature of these techniques makes it difficult to assess their impact on the immune system.
With our study we want to prospectively evaluate the immunological effects of two modern multimodal anesthetic protocols on healthy dogs with and without surgical intervention. We will follow-up on a wide array of biomarkers in blood to assess the immunological status of the animals in the peri-anesthetic period. In a later phase, dogs with solid tumors will be enrolled to evaluate these effects in oncological patients.


As a small animal anesthetist I provide anesthesia for oncological procedures on a daily basis. My research focuses on optimizing the peri-operative care for these patients and thus helps to safeguard their immune system to prevent metastatic spreading.

Contact & links

  • Lab address: Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, 
    Salisburylaan 133, entrance 20, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium 
  • Tom Roggeman is interested to receive invitations for presentations or talks