Laboratory of Tumor Inflammation and Angiogenesis

Solid tumors are not simply clones of malignant cells. Instead, they can be considered dysfunctional organs, end-product of the altered interplay, within the tumor microenvironment (TME), among cancer cells and stromal cells (e.g. endothelial cells, macrophages, neutrophils, T cells, etc.). This concept has thrown a spotlight on the TME as the central unit governing tumor progression, metastasis and resistance to antitumor therapies.

Massimiliano Mazzone

Group Leader
VIB Group leader since February 2009
Postdoc Fellow at VIB, Vesalius Research Center, Univ. of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2006-2009
PhD: Univ. of Torino, Torino, Italy, 2007

Research focus

Our mission is to bridge the current gap between cancer cell biology - autonomous traits of malignant cells - and tumor biology - non-autonomous traits where, the unique features of the TME along with its cellular cross-talks are the main drivers of malignancy. We believe that only a comprehensive understanding of the environmental cues and molecular pathways that participate in the interaction between cancer cells and stromal cells within the harsh TME (at the primary site and metastatic niche) will enable us to conceive brand new and specific therapeutic strategies.


De facto, the research topics of the lab span the fields of tumor and inflammation, focusing on functional characterization of the hypoxia-response, a key environmental cue of the TME, on the consequent involvement of tumor metabolism in dictating the immune landscape, and on how immune cell positioning within the tumor impacts on function and phenotypic skewing of immune cells. To address these points, we take advantage of tissue-specific gene targeting and pharmacologic approaches in mice and combine the phenotype discovery with an extensive phenotypic characterization.

In particular, we are using state-of-the-art genetic, cell biological, biochemical and structural methods, all complemented by specific multi-omics profiling and following (meta)-analysis of human and mouse datasets (i.e. transcriptomic and metabolomics data). Our investigations will increase the knowledge on the molecular and cellular partners controlling inflammatory cell skewing in the TME and its significance in cancer and those conditions where imbalanced immune response contributes to the pathogenesis of life-threatening disorders (i.e. chronic infections and autoimmunity).


To showcase the world-class scientific research of the Massimiliano Mazzone Lab, you can discover their scientific papers in more detail.


We are always on the lookout for highly motivated colleagues to join our team, please contact us.


The Massimiliano Mazzone Lab can only thrive thanks to the dedication and commitment of its people, no matter what their function or seniority.


To stay up to date in rapidly developing fields, scientists regularly interact with (international) colleagues. Conferences and other (scientific) events are an excellent way to facilitate such a continent-spanning knowledge exchange.