08.03.2021 German…

German Cancer Award For Heidelberg Surgeon Markus Büchler

More than 20 years of scientific and clinical use in the therapy of pancreatic cancer

Prof. Markus W. Büchler, MD, was awarded the German Cancer Prize 2021 in the "clinical research" category on February 3 for his contributions to improving the treatment of pancreatic cancer. The German Cancer Society and the German Cancer Foundation thus honor his outstanding clinical and scientific achievements in cancer medicine over the past 20 years. The prize is one of the highest honors in oncology and is awarded annually in the categories "Clinical Research", "Translational Research" and "Experimental Research". Büchler has been Medical Director of the Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital since 2001, Center Spokesperson of the University Department of Surgery and Head of the European Pancreas Center. "I am extremely pleased and consider it a special honor to receive this award," says Prof. Büchler.


"No other clinic in Germany has more experience in treating inflammation and cancer of the pancreas. The European Pancreas Center Heidelberg is one of the leading institutions of its kind worldwide. This is the great merit of Professor Büchler. We congratulate him on this important award, which recognizes Professor Büchler's outstanding achievements in the field of oncological surgery," said Prof. Dr. Ingo Autenrieth, Chief Medical Director of Heidelberg University Hospital. "With numerous studies, he has made a significant contribution to evidence-based surgery and cancer therapy based on scientific facts, thus advancing the implementation of a worldwide therapeutic standard in the treatment of pancreatic cancer," said Dean Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Kräusslich.

European Pancreas Center in Heidelberg leads the world in therapy and research

The well-coordinated team of specialists around Prof. Büchler at the European Pancreas Center in Heidelberg cares for around 2,000 patients a year and performs more than 700 operations on the pancreas. "This brings with it a great deal of expertise in surgical procedures for cancers of the pancreas and for their further development and evaluation in clinical trials," the surgeon explains.

In addition, the European Pancreas Center maintains its own laboratory, where around 30 scientists and laboratory technicians research possible molecular and genetic causes of pancreatic cancer and work on developing new forms of treatment. These are offered to patients as part of clinical trials. To this end, the experts cooperate with scientists and physicians from the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the University of Heidelberg, and the study center of the German Society for Surgery (SDGC).

The standard of care for aggressive pancreatic cancers includes surgical intervention, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Büchler continuously developed surgical techniques to optimize surgical interventions for pancreatic cancer. He is a co-founder of the European Study Group for Pancreatic Cancer, which was able to prove with the Europe-wide ESPAC1 study that chemotherapy in addition to surgery improves the prognosis for those affected. In this way, the surgeon was instrumental in implementing a new global therapeutic standard in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

About the person

Markus Büchler studied human medicine in Heidelberg and Berlin, completed his doctorate in Heidelberg, and trained as a surgeon at Ulm University Hospital, where he qualified as a professor in 1987. Appointed deputy clinic director in Ulm in 1991, he accepted a call to the Inselspital at the University of Bern, Switzerland, in 1993. A visiting professorship took him to the Yale Scool of Medicine, USA, in 1996. In 2001, Büchler returned to Heidelberg University Hospital as Medical Director of the Clinic for General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery. Since 2003, he has also been the Executive Medical Director of the Surgical University Hospital in Heidelberg. The high relevance of his clinical and scientific work is reflected in numerous high-ranking awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award of the European Pancreatic Club, honorary memberships of international professional societies, including the Royal Society of Medicine of England, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the American Surgical Association and the American College of Surgeons, honorary doctorates and professorships. Büchler has served as president of the German Society of Surgery, the German Society of General and Visceral Surgery, and other professional societies, is a member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and has been a life senator of the German Society of Surgery since 2016.

He is co-author of more than 2,500 surgical publications, primarily on cancers of the digestive tract, pancreatic diseases and surgical issues. Since 2018, Büchler has been listed as one of the most cited and thus most influential physicians in his field worldwide on Clarivate Analytics' list of "Highly Cited Researchers."

The German Cancer Prize

The German Cancer Prize is awarded annually in equal parts for outstanding work in basic experimental oncological research, transfer research, and tumor diagnosis and treatment. The German Cancer Society and the German Cancer Foundation are the founders of the German Cancer Prize. Each category is endowed with 7,500 euros. In the "Translational Research" section, the prize this year goes to the two researchers Prof. Dr. Nikolas von Bubnoff, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, and Prof. Dr. Robert Zeiser, University Medical Center Freiburg, for "Experimental Research" is Prof. Dr. Andrea Ablasser, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, honored.