Gerald Hoefler


Projects within the DK-MCD

ATGL downregulation enhances tumor growth suggesting a
function as metabolic tumor suppressor protein
Wael Al Zoughbi

Neuroprotective effects of Astaxanthin in preclinical models of
Alzheimer's disease

Joshua Adekunle Babalola

B-cell lymphoma in mice modulating lipid metabolism
favors tumor growth

Jianfeng Huang

Adipose triglyceride lipase is needed for normal bronchiolar club cell

Manu Manjunath Kanti

Tracing metabolic evolution: From normal to cancerous

Shirony Nicholson Puthen Veedu

Regulation of sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP)-1 by monoglyceride lipase (MGL)

Paola Peña de la Sancha

Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) is needed for normal lung

Isabelle Strießnig-Bina

Regulation of sterol regulatory element binding proteins
(SREBPs) by lipolysis products

Beatrix Irene Wieser

Research interest

Altered cellular metabolism is a hallmark of tumor cells since they must adapt their metabolic machinery to increase proliferation. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) catalyzes the initial step in triglyceride hydrolysis thus providing fatty acids as building blocks for biomass as well as an energy source. We have recently discovered that ATGL expression is lost early in the development of human pancreatic cancer and is virtually absent in the majority of adencarcinoma of the lung as well as in leiomyosarcoma. Remarkeably, experimental Bcr-Abl translocation positive B-cell lymphomas that are deficient in ATGL exhibit a dramatically increased growth rate and aggressive metastatic behaviour. Similar effects were observed in Lewis Lung Carcinoma and B16F10 melanoma cells transfected with an ATGL regulatory shRNA. In mice, ATGL-/- tumors showed enhanced angiogenesis and reduced T-cell infiltration. Based on these observations we postulate that ATGL might function as a metabolic tumor suppressor.

Cancer-associated cachexia is characterized by a profound loss of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle wasting that frequently complicates malignancies and accounts for about 20% of cancer deaths. We have recently published that inhibition of lipolysis through genetic ablation of ATGL or hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) prevents or reduces cancer-associated cachexia in mice. Remarkably, we could also correlate the severity of cachexia with ATGL activity in white adipose tissue of cancer patients. Furthermore, cachexia is correlated to tumor size and possibly to loss of ATGL expression in experimental B-cell tumors.

Our students aim at elucidating the pathogenetic connection of lipase activity leading to tumor growth and initiation and investigate the mechanism(s) leading to downregulation of ATGL expression in cancer development.


Curriculum vitae

  1977 - 1984 University education in Medicine at the University of Graz
  1984 MD at the University of Graz
  1985 - 1986 Department of Pediatrics, Laboratory of Clinical Chemistry and Metabolism, University of Graz
  1986 - 1988 Erwin-Schrödinger Fellowship of the FWF, Kennedy Institute for Handicapped Children, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
  1989 - 1990 Otto Loewi Fellowship, Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Graz
  1990 - 1992 Assistant at the Department of Pathology, University of Graz
  1992 - 2005 Associate Professor for Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Graz
  1995 Board certification for Laboratory Medicine
  1997 Board certification for Pathology and Genetics
  1998 - 2006 Scientific advisory board, Section for Molecular Pathology, German society for Pathology
  2000 - 2005 Associate Professor for Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Graz
  2000 - 2007 Steering Group on Quality Assurance and Proficiency Schemes for Molecular Genetic Testing in OECD countries
  2002 - 2006 Austrian Society for Biochemistry, board member
  2004 - 2009 EU-working group: Genetic Testing (Quality Assurance, Networking, Rare Diseases)
  2005 - Full Professor for Pathology, Department of Pathology, Medical University of Graz
  2006 - European Society for Pathology, European Group for Molecular Pathology, board member
  2006 - Head, working group for Hereditary Colon Cancer, Austrian Society for Pathology
  2007 - 2014 Austrian Science Foundation (FWF), board member
  2008 - Chairman of the Department of Pathology, Medical University of Graz
  2009 - Member of the Senate of the Medical University of Graz
  2012 - Secretary of the European Group for Molecular Pathology, European Society for Pathology
  2017 - 2019 President, Austrian Society of Pathology



Univ.-Prof. Gerald Hoefler

Diagnostic and Research Institute of Pathology
Medical University of Graz
Neue Stiftingtalstrasse 6/5
8010 Graz, Austria

tel.: +43 (0)316 385 71737