Psycho-oncology research centres in Europe



Innsbruck Medical University


The Consultation-Liaison-Service is a division from the Department of Biological Psychiatry at Innsbruck Medical University. Our team comprises eight clinical psychologists and seven psychiatrists as well as a number of graduate and post-graduate students involved in various research projects.

The primary aim of our multiprofessional consultation-liaison service is to support patients with severe chronic diseases and their relatives in their coping with the illness.

Another emphasis in our activity is research with a special focus on "PRO - Patient-reported Outcomes" (in particular quality of life in cancer patients) and psychoneuroimmunology. In addition, we are concerned with further education of medical and psychological professionals as well as university teaching.

Our main areas of research are:

  • Patient-reported Outcome (PRO) Monitoring (focus on Quality of Life)

  • Software development for the computerised assessment of PRO-data

  • Computer-adaptive Testing (CAT)

  • Psychoneuroimmunology

Contact: Barbara Sperner-Unterweger, Prof. MD

Contact: Bernhard Holzner, Assoc.Prof. PhD




The Cédric Hèle institute



The Cédric Hèle Institute vzw is the Flemish* institute for psychosocial oncology.

(* Flanders is the Dutch speaking part of Belgium)

CHi background: The need to expand and increase the quality of psychosocial care in oncology is substantial in Belgium. Not enough cancer patients or their relatives have access to professional psychosocial support. Moreover a lot of caregivers feel the need to deepen the psychosocial dimension of their interventions. A team of specialised caregivers shared their knowledge and started to exchange their experiences and best practices in the field of psychosocial oncology. Under the impulse of the Flemish League against Cancer (Vlaamse Liga tegen Kanker), an institute for psychosocial oncology was founded: the Cédric Hèle institute.
The CHi has the following objectives: towards caregivers: organise and coordinate training in psychosocial care in oncology, create and support an inter- and intra-disciplinary network of caregivers, inventory existing scientific research, encourage interesting research, and make the results accessible to a broader audience toward cancer patients: create a platform to communicate the psychosocial needs of both the cancer patients, as well as the needs of their relatives towards governmental institutions: identify and communicate needs in psychosocial oncology
Methods: the daily board of the institute is a multidisciplinary team of specialised caregivers.  Objectives and methods are discussed, in close co-operation with the care providers and policy agents.

Contact: Sofie Eelen


Psycho-Oncology and Subjective Health Measures Research Group

Institut Jules Bordet/University of Brussels.


Members: Pr Darius Razavi, Isabelle Merckaert, Yves Libert, Aurore Liénard

For more information please click here.


Psycho-oncology Research Unit

Aarhus University Hospital and the University of Aarhus


The Psychooncology Research Unit (PRU) is a behavioural health and cancer research unit established in collaboration between the Department of Oncology, Aarhus University Hospital, and the Department of Psychology, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.

Main focus of research activities are: The role of psychosocial factors in prognosis of cancer, Behavioral aspects of cancer and its treatment, Patient communication in oncology.

Current staff includes 3 senior researchers, two post-doc researchers, 6 PhD-fellows, and a number of research assistants.

Among the current psychosocial cancer research projects are: 1) Psychosocial factors in breast cancer, a national cohort study, 2) Expressive writing intervention in a nationally representative sample of women with primary breast cancer, 3) Complementary and alternative medicine use among Danish breast and lung cancer cancer patients – associations with quality of life and health outcomes, 4) Children with a parent with cancer. 5) Religious beliefs and spirituality among cancer patients - associations with quality of life, 6) Infections in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy – the role of stress, self-efficacy, and social support, 7) Improving patient-staff communication in oncology and patient empowerment – an intervention study.

Among the non-cancer research activities are: 1) Quality of life in dermatological diseases, 2) The placebo phenomenon – effects and mechanisms, 3) The influence of psychosocial factors on the outcome of IVF-treatment, 4) Health behaviors and treatment adherence in diabetes and heart disease.


Contact: Robert Zachariae (Professor)

Website: Aarhus University Hospital:

Website: Dept Psychology, University of Aarhus:


Milieu for Humanistic Psychosocial Cancer Research

University of Southern Denmark, Institute of Public Health, Research Unit: Man, Health and Society, Odense


The Milieu for Humanistic Cancer research ( is an interdisciplinary research network established in 2007 on grants from The Danish Cancer Society, the Psychosocial Research Committee. It focuses on cancer patients’ existential questions and problems, especially in relation to ethics and aesthetics. The network is based on the humanistic research tradition with its use of theory based qualitative methods such as qualitative interviews, focus group discussions, participant-observation and ethnographic fieldwork.

The main focus and aims of the activities in the milieu are:

  • To strengthen and develop the ongoing humanistic cancer research in Denmark through a scientific exchange and synergy of theoretical, methodical and empirical knowledge gathered in the Danish and foreign research fields.

  • To inspire and initiate influential and relevant research and to establish and consolidate scientific collaboration with international psychosocial cancer research milieus.

  • To support researchers and the humanistic branch of cancer research as a necessary and relevant part of cancer research as a whole, thereby strengthening the milieu that is necessary in order to recruit and retain researchers (with a ph.d) in the research area.

  • To develop and initiate descriptive as well as intervening projects, that can uncover and meet the needs, wishes and demands of cancer patients, thereby contributing to the advancement of patient care of the highest international standard for the individual cancer patients from the first symptom to either cure, rehabilitation, palliation or death.

Currently the milieu’s members include senior researches and doctors, post docs as well as Ph.D students all coming from a broad field of disciplines including anthropology, theology, sociology, psychology, gynecology, lung cancer research, epidemiology as well as public health research.

Among the current humanistic psychosocial cancer research projects are: 1) Women, cancer and rehabilitation. An Anthropological investigation, 2) Cancer patients, rehabilitation and aesthetic technologies of the self. A study of cancer narratives, 3) Cancer survivors’ aesthetic experiences and management of their changed bodily appearance in everyday life and 4) Internet based support in the rehabilitation of cancer patients.


Contact: Helle Ploug Hansen (Professor, Head of the network)


Website: and


Psycho-Oncology and Subjective Health Measures Research Group


This group gathers French-speaking researchers mainly working in the psycho-oncology field.
This group meets twice a year (June and December); it is composed of oncologists, epidemiologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, psychometricians, social scientists, health economists and statisticians from different regions in France, Belgium, Italy, Swiss and Germany. It is linked with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (through Anne Brédart).
The main themes of collaborative research are the following:

  • Validation of psychological distress screening tools (HADS, Distress thermometer)

  • Validation of French-language subjective measures like quality of life modules, mood, coping, social support, sexuality, patient satisfaction questionnaires

  • Assessment of quality of life, health care needs, psychological distress, sexuality issues, satisfaction with care in various specific cancer patient populations (adolescents/young adults, breast cancer survivors, family members of cancer patients)

  • Assessment of medical interventions on quality of life, psychological distress, satisfaction with care (genetic testing, screening, new medical technology)

  • Assessment of psychological interventions (psycho-educational group; couple/family interventions), modes of care organisation (supportive care departments; communication of cancer diagnosis and treatment consultations)

  • Assessment of psychotropic drugs

  • Assessment of communication skills training and shared medical decision making

The main participants are:


Institut Gustave Roussy: Dr Sarah Dauchy

Institut Curie: Dr Sylvie Dolbeault, Anne Brédart

European Hospital Georges Pompidou: Pr Silla Consoli, Dr Nicole Pelicier

Hospital Paul Brousse: Pr Bruno Falissard

University Paris Descartes in Paris: Pr Serge Sultan

University of Bordeaux: Florence Cousson-Gelie

University of Lille: Véronik Christophe

Oscar Lambret Cancer Centre, Lille: Dr Michel Reich

University of Nancy: Pr Jean-Luc Kop


Institut Jules Bordet/University of Brussels: Pr Darius Razavi, Isabelle Merckaert, Yves Libert, Aurore Liénard


European Institute of Oncology: Drssa Florence Didier

Sant'Andrea Hospital: Drssa Anna Costantini


University Hospital Vaudois: Pr Patrice Guex, Pr Fredrick Steifel, Stagno Danielé


Psychoonkologische Projektgruppe, Abt. Für Psychotherapie und psychosomatik

Klinik für psychiatrie und psychotherapie , Munich: Dr Frick Eckhard


Contact:  Anne Bredart 



Psycho-Oncology and Subjective Health Measures Research Group

Psychoonkologische Projektgruppe, Abt. Für Psychotherapie und psychosomatik

Klinik für psychiatrie und psychotherapie, Munich.


Member: Dr Frick Eckhard

For more information please click here



Psycho-Oncology and Subjective Health Measures Research Group

European Institute of Oncology: Drssa Florence Didier Sant'Andrea Hospital.


Member: Drssa Anna Costantini

For more information please click here



Department of Medical Decision Making,

Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands

The research activities of our department operate in the field of medical decision making, i.e., describing, analyzing, and supporting medical decisions. Our research and teaching activities take place at the crossing between the fields of decision analysis, psychology, epidemiology, ethics, quality of life, information and communication technology, and statistics.

  • Newly diagnosed and treated patients' and oncologists' preferences regarding preferred decision making roles and preferences for treatment options, using survey or interview techniques and various preference elicitation methods, including adaptive conjoint analysis, treatment tradeoff, and time tradeoff methodology and decision analysis
  • Actual communication about treatment options in oncology, including the use of risk prediction models, using audiotaped actual doctor-patient interactions
  • Shared decision making in oncology
  • Quality of life during and after treatment

Anne M. Stiggelbout, PhD - email:

Arwen H. Pieterse, PhD -email:

Dept. of Radiation Oncology and Dept. of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and HTA

Radboud University Nijmegen MC, The Netherlands


Evidence based medicine (EBM) requires the integration of 1) the best research evidence 2) clinical expertise 3) patient values 4) patient circumstances. The latter two issues have received relatively little attention in EBM. The research field of Shared Decision Making (SDM) employs decision aids designed to help people and patients make specific and deliberative choices among options by providing information about the options and outcomes that are relevant to the person's health status. Therefore, SDM can be considered as a tool to help EBM with the integration of patient values and circumstances into decision making. Additional reasons for SDM are, for instance, the rise of empowerment of patients with an emphasis on informed choice rather than informed consent, the standards for informed consent, and the desire to bring evidence based practice to the patient.

Our research into SDM focuses on 2 main topics: 1) the development of decision aids, 2) the effects of decision aids regarding psychological, clinical, and organisational issues. The first topic brings together themes from decision making (normative, descriptive, and prescriptive decision making), and cognitive psychology (valuation of outcomes assessment, risk perception, biases and heuristics). The second topic brings together topics from medical psychology (communication research, psychological models of involvement and control, determinants of choice behavior and adherence).


Contact: Dr. P.F.M. Stalmeier


Health Psychology Research Program

Department of Health Sciences & Graduate School for Health Research SHARE


University Medical Center Groningen

University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands


As part of a broader program on the adjustment to chronic illness, the Health Psychology Research Program has a strong focus on cancer. Basically two lines of research can be distinguished:

  1. observational studies examining the adjustment to cancer, which focus on psychological mechanisms underlying inter-individual differences in psychological outcomes of adjustment;

  2. screening and intervention studies, which focus on the development and testing of screening and intervention programs for cancer patients and on the mechanisms underlying effectiveness of psychological interventions.

Different sub-themes can be distinguished:

  • Outcomes of cancer: negative and positive outcomes, including benefit finding and meaning in life

  • The role of individual characteristics in the adjustment to cancer: perceived control, goal adjustment, mindfulness

  • Social factors and cancer: dyadic coping, partner relations, social support, partner communication

  • Intervention studies: problem solving and depression, interventions for couples, brief psychological interventions for cancer patients, systematic reviews of interventions for cancer patients

Contact: Prof. Dr. A. V. Ranchor






National Research Center for Hematology

Moscow, Russia


Since 2000 the National Research Center for Hematology, Moscow, Russia has been carrying out work in the field of psycho-oncology, particularly with hematological patients.  Our patients undertake psychiatric and psychological examinations and receive corresponding treatment and psycho-social support.  NRCH attends the local and international psycho-oncological conferences.

Contact: Dr. Dmitry Vybornykh




University Hospital Sant Joan de Reus

Tarragona, Spain


The Psycho-oncology Unit is focused in the clinical work with cancer patients and their families along the whole trajectory of illness from diagnosis to palliative care. We work with women who attend breast cancer screening programs and we also work in collaboration with the Genetic Counselling Clinic in the assessment and support to patients and relatives attending the Genetic Counselling Unit. We lead group intervention for cancer patients and develop some University teaching in the School of Medicine and the School of Psychology at both undergraduate and Masters degrees.

Our main research interests are those of prevalence of emotional distress among cancer patients, groups interventions and psychoneurological deficits in breast cancer women receiving chemotherapy. 


Contact: Agustina Sirgo




Psycho-Oncology and Subjective Health Measures Research Group

University Hospital Vaudois


Members: Pr Patrice Guex, Pr Fredrick Steifel, Stagno Danielé

For more information please click here



Psychosocial Oncology and Clinical Practice Research Group

Leeds, United Kingdom


The Psychosocial Oncology and Clinical Practice Research Group (POCPRG), led by Galina Velikova, is based in the Cancer Research UK Clinical Centre in Leeds, which is part of the University of Leeds Faculty of Medicine and Health at St James's University Hospital. There are five Cancer Research UK Clinical Centres in the UK, the other four being in London, Edinburgh and Oxford.

The main research focus of the group is on patient-centred assessment of symptoms and problems and the use of information in individual patient care. It approaches this research area from the perspective of oncologists with direct access to large clinical practices, in collaboration with psychologists, psychiatrists, biomedical statisticians and epidemiologists from Leeds, elsewhere in the UK and across the world.

The specific aims of the research are to: Implement regular patient-reported assessment of symptoms, social difficulties, psychological distress and quality of life in oncology practice, using computer touch-screen technology. To evaluate the impact on process of care and patient outcomes using randomised clinical trials. Continue the development (or adaptation) of measurement tools for use in daily practice, using qualitative and statistical approaches.

POCPRG is funded primarily by Cancer Research UK, the UK's leading charity dedicated to cancer research. The group also receives funding from the National Cancer Research Institute, the Yorkshire Cancer Research Network and the National Institute for Health Research, amongst others.


Contact: Amanda Cass