Professor Klaus Okkenhaug

University of Cambridge

University departments
Department of Pathology

Position: Professor
Personal home page:

PubMed journal articles - click here

Professor Klaus Okkenhaug is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.

Research description

Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are enzymes that act downstream of tyrosine kinase signalling and generate second messenger signalling molecules that can regulate cell survival, metabolism, growth, proliferation, differentiation and migration. We are investigating the regulation of PI3Ks in lymphocytes using genetic and pharmacological approaches. We also investigate how manipulation of PI3K signalling influences different kinds of immune responses including against cancer. Results from these investigations help provide rationale for the use of PI3K inhibitors in therapeutic settings. Indeed, the PI3Kdelta inhibitor idelalisib is already approved for the treatment of certain B cell malignancies (CLL, SLL, FL) and PI3Kdelta inhibitors are also being trialled as immunotherapeutic agents in solid cancer.

Research Programme or Virtual Institute
Haematological Malignancies Virtual Institute
Secondary Programme
Cancer Immunology
Methods and technologies
Confocal microscopy
Fluorescence microscopy
Gene expression profiling
In vivo modelling
Tumour type interests
cell signalling
Recent publications:
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Key publications

PI3K inhibitors are finally coming of age
Vanhaesebroeck B, Perry MWD, Brown JR, André F, Okkenhaug K.
Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2021. 14.
Full text available here:

Phosphoinositide 3‐kinase δ is a regulatory T‐cell target in cancer immunotherapy
EL Lim, K Okkenhaug
Immunology. 2019. 157 (3), 210-218.

Phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ inhibition promotes antitumor responses but antagonizes checkpoint inhibitors
Lim EL, Cugliandolo FM, Rosner DR, Gyori D, Roychoudhuri R, Okkenhaug K.
JCI Insight. 2018. 3(11). pii: 120626.

Okkenhaug K, Graupera M, Vanhaesebroeck B.
Targeting PI3K in Cancer: Impact on Tumor Cells, Their Protective Stroma, Angiogenesis, and Immunotherapy.
Cancer Discov. 2016 O6(10):1090-1105.

Ali K et al. 2014.
Inactivation of PI(3)K p110delta breaks regulatory T-cell-mediated immune tolerance to cancer.
Nature 510: 407-11

Burger JA, Okkenhaug K. 2014.
Haematological cancer: idelalisib-targeting PI3Kdelta in patients with B-cell malignancies.
Nat Rev Clin Oncol 11: 184-6

Okkenhaug K. 2013.
Signaling by the Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase Family in Immune Cells.
Annual Review of Immunology 31: 675-704