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Prof. dr. (PhD) Leendert Looijenga

Group Leader (50%) and Manager Director Research (50%)
Leendert joined the Princess Máxima Center in 2018. His research group focuses on translational germ cell patho-oncology and fertility.
Investigation of the origin and pathogenesis of the various types of human germ cell tumors will result in optimal (early) diagnosis and personalized treatment. In this approach identification and application of (molecular) clinically informative biomarkers, including those to be studies in liquid biopsies, are a target of investigation. This will result in the most effective treatment with limited side effects, both on the short and long term. In addition, fertility preservation possibilities is a target from a pre-clinical perspective, especially related to prepubertal boys undergoing high risk gonadotoxic treatment. 


Phone +31 (0) 88 972 52 11

Leendert Looijenga studied biology at the University of Groningen and graduated (cum laude) with a specialization in medical cell biology (1989). After being a visiting scientist (Anthropogenetics, Leiden University), he started the Laboratory for Experimental Patho-Oncology at the Daniel den Hoed Cancer Center (Rotterdam). In 1994, he defended his thesis, "Pathobiology of germ cell tumors of the adult testis: views and news" (Erasmus University Rotterdam), and became initiating scientist and staff member. In 1998, the laboratory moved to the Josephine Nefkens Institute, Department of Pathology. In 2005 he became Professor of Translational Patho-Oncology at the Erasmus MC. In 2023 he is appointed as Professor Translational Germ Cell Oncology and Fertility at the UMC Utrecht. Looijenga is leading an active group of clinicians and scientists (in training), related to understanding the processes involved in normal and aberrant gonadal development. This has significant impact on prediction of the individual risk to develop a (malignant) germ cell tumor in time as well as potential for (future) fertility. Identification and application of clinically relevant diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers is one of the targets. These are applied both on tissues as well as liquid biopsies (serum/plasma/cerebrospinal fluid). The targets focused on are development of tools for early diagnosis as well as prediction of clinical behavior of the tumor, including systemic treatment sensitivity. In addition, he investigates the possibility to propagate spermatogonal stem cellls in order to increase the change of success for fertility presevation iof prepubertal boys undergoing gonadotoxic treatment. 

The work is part of the M4C Disease Group Germ Cell Tumors and Gonadal Tumors (linked to both Neuro- and Solid-Oncology). In addition, the work is embedded in the Center of Expertise on Testicular and Mediastinal germ cell tumores, together with the UMC Utrecht. 

  • Familial Male-limited Precocious Puberty (FMPP) and Testicular Germ Cell Tumors

    • nov. 2022
    • Cezanne D., Kooij, et al
    • Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
  • Chromosome 11q loss and MYCN amplification demonstrate synthetic lethality with checkpoint kinase 1 inhibition in neuroblastoma

    • sep. 2022
    • Kaylee M., Keller, et al
    • Frontiers in Oncology
  • Humanised Mice and Immunodeficient Mice (NSG) Are Equally Sensitive for Prediction of Stem Cell Malignancy in the Teratoma Assay

    • mei 2022
    • Monika, Bialecka, et al
    • International journal of molecular sciences
  • Chromosome 3p25.3 Gain Is Associated With Cisplatin Resistance and Is an Independent Predictor of Poor Outcome in Male Malignant Germ Cell Tumors

    • apr. 2022
    • Dennis M, Timmerman, et al
    • Journal of clinical oncology : official journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Differential methylation EPIC analysis discloses cisplatin-resistance related hypermethylation and tumor-specific heterogeneity within matched primary and metastatic testicular germ cell tumor patient tissue samples

    • dec. 2021
    • João, Lobo, et al
    • Clinical Epigenetics
View all publications