Inflammation and cancer in the GI-system – Backman Group

Backman Group has a strong focus on prevention of early cancer in the digestive channel due to hereditary, inflammatory or metabolic factors. The group performs studies both from an epidemiological and clinical perspective including pharmaceutical trials.

About our research

The group has a strong focus on prevention of early cancer in the digestive channel due to hereditary, inflammatory or metabolic factors. The group performs studies both from an epidemiological and clinical perspective including pharmaceutical trials. We conduct high-quality studies on the progression and outcomes of high-risk individuals for GI cancer depending on hereditary factors or GI inflammation (Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Other research interests include transition of care from the paediatric to adult care in inflammatory bowel disease as well as technical developments in endoscopy for early and precise detection of lesions with artificial intelligence and also aspects of public health.

The group is composed of clinicians, epidemiologists and have access to research nurses at Ersta hospital and Karolinska clinical trials unit. We have several collaborations with other groups at KI, KTH and SUS as well as a large national and international network.  

The group is part of the Gastroenterology and Rheumatology Unit at the Department of Medicine, Huddinge (MedH).

Ongoing studies on high-risk patients for colorectal cancer (CRC), and prevention of CRC due to hereditary or inflammatory causes

Lynch syndrome patients are a group that has a high risk of developing colorectal cancer in early age. One of our studies is the multinational phase II study MESALAMINE FOR COLORECTAL CANCER PREVENTION PROGRAM IN LYNCH SYNDROME- MESACAPP. The study includes patients at centres at Ersta hospital, Sahlgrenska university hospital, Karolinska university hospital, Norrlands university hospital, Malmö/Lund and Hvidovre hospital in Denmark. MesaCapp is a multicentre, multinational, randomized, 2-arm, double-blind, phase II clinical study with 2000mg mesalamine (5-ASA) or placebo in LS patients for a 2-year treatment. 260 tumour free carriers of a known genetic mutation in a major MMR gene will be randomized 1:1 to receive 2000 mg mesalamine or placebo. Patients are identified through local or national registries and through collaboration with sites. Tumour free patients, assessed by white light high resolution colonoscopy, will be randomized to the study. Histology, blood and stool samples will be collected for analysis of microbiota, ctDNA, inflammation, immunology and potential biomarkers.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease also have an increased risk of colorectal cancer which can be prevented with the right treatment, personalized treatment and surveillance.

We also perform clinical and register-based studies of quality, risk and outcome connected to colonoscopy surveillance or surgery in high-risk groups such as hereditary cancer, inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. Lynch, FAP, IBD) as well as qualitative studies with interviews.

The focus of our research is to achieve and optimize a personalized care for high-risk individuals for CRC.

Group leader

Profile image

Ann-Sofie Backman

MD, PhD, Research leader

Ann-Sofie Backman´s current projects focus on pharmaceutical trials, where she has been instrumental in managing and leading the MESACAPP trial. Ann-Sofie has a wide international network and is currently the Main Supervisor of three PhD students. She is also responsible chair  for the Swedish guidelines for hereditary cancer group, have participated in national Swedish guidelines regarding polypectomy and has been  the Scientific Secretary of the Swedish Society of Gastroenterology between 2018 and 2021 and the Scientific Secretary of the Swedish Society of Internal medicine 2015-2017.

Ann-Sofie Backman received her MD degree from Karolinska Institutet in 1997, and became a specialist in internal medicine (2010) and gastroenterology (2012) at the Karolinska university hospital. Between 2014-2022 she was director of studies of the course of Internal medicine at the Medical undergraduate programme at the Department of medicine, Solna, Karolinska institutet. During 2019 she was the head of the Hereditary cancer unit at Karolinska university hospital. She is a consultant in gastroenterology at the Ersta Hospital since 2022. She defended her thesis in 2010 and is the research and educational leader at the Clinical research unit at Ersta hospital, the gastroenterology unit, since 2022.

Ann-Sofie has received research grants from the Swedish cancer society, The Swedish research council and grants under the ALF-agreement, between the Swedish government and the county councils. She has also received research grants from Karolinska institutet, for pedagogical projects.

Staff and contact

Group leader

All members of the group

Adam Carstens

Affiliated to Research

Izabella Janczewska

Affiliated to Research
Cancer and Oncology Gastroenterology and Hepatology Immunology in the medical area Medical Genetics Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Content reviewer: