Professor Philip Debruyne

Honorary Visiting Professor

Medical Technology Research Centre

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Life Sciences
Areas of Expertise:
Research Supervision:

Philip R. Debruyne, MD, PhD, MSc, FRCP(Glasg), FCP is a Consultant Medical Oncologist and Clinical Pharmacologist at the OECI-designated Clinical Cancer Centre of Az Groeninge (hospital) in Kortrijk (Belgium). He is also an honorary visiting professor at the Medical Technology Research Centre at Anglia Ruskin University. He is interested in early clinical trials and the management of vulnerable patients such as older and head and neck cancer patients.

Philip Debruyne - ResearchGate
Philip Debruyne - ORCID


Philip completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and training in translational cancer research at Ghent University (Belgium). Thereafter he completed post-doctoral training in clinical pharmacology at Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, USA) and clinical training in medical oncology at Leuven University Hospitals (Belgium). Prior to joining Az Groeninge in 2008, he held the positions of Clinical Senior Lecturer in Medical Oncology at the University of Glasgow and the position of Honorary Consultant Medical Oncologist at the Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre. Prior to joining Anglia Ruskin University in 2016 he was an Honorary Senior Fellow at the University of Greenwich.

Spoken Languages
  • Dutch
  • French
  • English
Research interests

  • Early clinical trials in oncology (phases 1 and 2)
  • Geriatric oncology and geriatric assessment
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Chemobrain

Philip’s main research theme is optimization of cancer care of vulnerable cancer patient populations. Older cancer patients are at increased risk of health deterioration during treatment. Accurately identifying fit, vulnerable and frail patients is a critical step to guide individualised treatment and improve quality of life. Philip also involved in a number of clinical trials related to management of elderly cancer patients, cancer patients dealing with cognitive impairments and other vulnerable groups such as patients suffering from head and neck cancer. At Az Groeninge he coordinates the early clinical cancer trials programme.

Areas of research supervision
  • 2011 – 2014: PhD student co-advisor, Lies Pottel, Ghent University
  • 2013 – 2018: PhD student co-advisor, Michelle Lycke, Ghent University
  • 2016 – Present: PhD student co-advisor, Tessa Lefebvre, Ghent University
  • 2016 – Present: PhD student co-advisor, Lieselot Cool, Ghent University
  • 2016 External Examiner, PhD Examination Committee, Anja Velghe, Ghent University
  • 2016 – 2018: Postgraduate oncopsychology, 1th advisor, Evi Martens, Cédric Hèle Institute, Belgium 
  • 2017 – Present : MSc Hospital Pharmacy student 1th advisor, Lorenz Vanneste, University of Leuven

Philip is an Academic Consultant at the Faculty of Medicine of the Catholic University of Leuven. He is affiliated with the Specialised Programme Academic Consultants Unit and serves as the supervisor for the medical oncology registrar’s rotations at Az Groeninge.


  • 1989-1996: Medical education (BSc, MBChB), Ghent University
  • 1995-1996: Certificate Postgraduate training ECG, Ghent University
  • 1997: Standard ECFMG Certificate, ECFMG, PA (USA)
  • 1997-2001: Certificate Interuniversity Doctoral Training Program in Medical Sciences, Ghent University
  • 1998-2002: PhD in Medical Sciences, Ghent University
  • 2003-2005: MSc Pharmacology (Human Investigation track), Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA
  • 2004: FSMB USMLE Step 3 (MD equivalent), Federation of State Medical Boards, TX (USA)
  • 2007: FRCP (Glasg), Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow)
  • 2013: FCP, Fellow American College of Clinical Pharmacology (ACCP), MD (USA)

Board Certifications

  • 2004: Specialty Certification in Internal Medicine (Ghent University/ Fed. Government Belgium
  • 2006: Specialty Certification in Medical Oncology (Leuven University, Belgium)
  • 2006: Specialty Certification in General (Internal) Medicine (GMC, UK)
  • 2005: Diplomate in Clinical Pharmacology,  American Board of Clinical Pharmacology (ABCP, TX, USA) 
  • 2009: Specialty Certification in Medical Oncology (Fed. Government Belgium)
  • 2016: Specialty Certification in Medical Oncology (GMC, UK)
Memberships, editorial boards
  • 2012-2015: Associate Editor, European Journal of Cancer Care
  • 2013-2016: Associate Editor, BMC Pharmacology & Toxicology
Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange
  • Fund Suzanne Duchesne (King Baudoin Foundation, Brussels, Belgium) & Kom op tegen Kanker (KOTK); Call 2015; E007 A multicenter randomized trial on behalf of the BSMO Cancer Survivorship Taskforce on the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques to reduce cognitive complaints in cancer survivors. (94.850; CI; 2015 –  2018)
  • Kom op tegen Kanker (KOTK) 2016 Call for Clinical Research; STRENGTH - A multi-centre, double-blind, randomized-controlled trial to study the efficacy and safety of gabapentin to reduce the need for strong opioid use in the management of radiation-induced pain in head and neck cancer’  (310.000 €; CI; 2017-2020)
  • Stichting tegen Kanker (Belgian Foundation against Cancer; Brussels, Belgium)   Social Grants 2017
    Oprichten van een centrum voor artistieke therapie binnen het zorgpogramma oncologie, voor het ondersteunen en begeleiden van (ex-) kankerpatiënten en naasten (translation: foundation of an art therapy centre for cancer patients) (2017-062; 31.500 €;  CI;  2017 –  2019)
Selected recent publications
  1. Pottel. L., Boterberg, T., Pottel, H.,, Goethals, L., Van Den Noortgate, N., Duprez, F., De Neve, W., Rottey, S., Geldhof, K., Van Eygen, K., Kargar-Samani, K., Ghekiere, V., Cornelis, F., Mohile, S., and Debruyne, P.R.; Determination of an adequate screening tool for identification of vulnerable elderly head and neck cancer patients treated with radio(chemo)therapy. J Geriatr. Oncol. ., IF 2.257, 3(1), 24-32, 2012.
  2. Ketelaars, L., Pottel, L., Lycke, M., Goethals, L., Ghekiere, V., Santy, L., Boterberg, T., Van Den Noortgate, N., Pottel, H., and Debruyne, P.R.. Use of the Freund Clock Drawing Test within the Mini-Cog as a screening tool for cognitive impairment in elderly patients with or without cancer. J Geriatr. Oncol., IF2.257,. 4: 174-182, 2013.
  3. Pottel, L., Lycke, M., Boterberg, T., Pottel, H., Goethals, L., Duprez, F., Van Den Noortgate, N., De Neve, W., Rottey, S., Geldhof, K, Buyse, V., Kargar-Samani, K., Ghekiere, V., and Debruyne, P.R.. Serial Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment  in elderly head and neck cancer patients undergoing curative radio(chemo)therapy identifies evolution of multidimensional health problems and is indicative of quality of life. Eur. J. Cancer Care (Engl.) 23(3): 401-12, 2014.
  4. Lycke, M., Ketelaars, L., Boterberg, T., Pottel, L., Pottel, H., Vergauwe, P., Goethals, L., Van Eygen, K., Werbrouck, P., Debruyne, D., Derijcke, S., Borms, M., Ghekiere, V., Wildiers, H. and Debruyne, P.R. Validation of the Freund Clock Drawing Test as a screening tool to detect cognitive dysfunction in elderly cancer patients undergoing comprehensive geriatric assessment. Psycho-Oncology 23(10):1172-7, 2014.
  5. Pottel L, Lycke M, Boterberg T, Pottel H, Goethals L, Duprez F, Maes A, Goemaere S, Rottey S, Foubert I, and Debruyne PR. Echium oil is not protective against weight loss in head and neck cancer patients undergoing curative radio(chemo)therapy: a randomised-controlled trial; BMC Complement Altern Med. 14(1):382, 2014.
  6. Pottel L, Lycke M, Boterberg T, Pottel H, Goethals L, Duprez F, Rottey S, Lievens Y, Van Den Noortgate N, Geldhof K, Buyse V, Kargar-Samani K, Ghekiere V, Debruyne PR; G-8 indicates overall and quality-adjusted survival in older head and neck cancer patients treated with curative radiochemotherapy, BMC Cancer IF 3.362, 15: 875, 2015.
  7. Lycke M, Boterberg T, Martens E, Ketelaars L, Pottel H, Lambrecht A, Van Eygen K, De Coster L, Dhooge I, Wildiers H, Debruyne PR. Implementation of uHear™ - an iOS-based application to screen for hearing loss - in older cancer patients undergoing a comprehensive geriatric assessment. J Geriatr. Oncol., IF 2.257, 7:126-133, 2016.
  8. Lycke, M., Pottel L, Pottel H, Ketelaars, L, Stellamans K, Van Eygen, K, Vergauwe P, Werbrouck P, Boterberg T, Schofield P and Debruyne PR. Predictors of baseline cancer-related cognitive impairment in cancer patients scheduled for a curative treatment". Psycho-Oncology (IF 3.256), May;26(5):632-639, 2017.
  9. Lycke M, Lefebvre T, Pottel L, Pottel H, Ketelaars L, Stellamans K, Eygen KV, Vergauwe P, Werbrouck P, Cool L, Boterberg T, Liefhooghe, N., Schofield P  Debruyne PR.  Subjective, but not objective, cognitive complaints impact long-term quality of life in cancer patients; J Psychosoc. Oncol. (IF 1.246) in press, 2019.
  10. Lycke M, Ketelaars L, Martens E, Lefebvre T, Pottel H, Van Eygen K, Cool L, Pottel L, Kenis C, Schofield P, Boterberg T, Debruyne PR. The added value of an assessment of the patient’s hand grip strength to the comprehensive geriatric assessment in G8-abnormal older patients with cancer. J Geriatr. Oncol.,(IF 3,359) in press, 2019.
Recent presentations and conferences
Awards ceremony Social Grants 2017 and Beauty 2018
Foundation against Cancer, Brussels, Belgium
Presentation of a project (invited lecture) 2018