Dra. M. Elena Élez Fernández

Institutions of which it is part

Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology


Elena Élez is an attending phisicyan of the Gastrointestinal Tumors Service of the Medical Oncology Service of the Vall d'Hebron University Hospital. She is currently also Principal Investigator of the Gastrointestinal Tumor Group and Endocrine of VHIO, headed by Josep Tabernero, director of VHIO.


Elena Elez MD, PhD is Medical Oncology consultant at Vall Hebron University Hospital. Since her incorporation in 2007 Dr. Élez has participated as principal investigator and sub-investigator in many clinical trials with molecular therapy primarily directed to the signaling pathway of the mapkinases in metastatic colorectal cancer (CCRm). Her interest and contributions to the field, led to a translational proposal that was awarded by the Health Research Fund of the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in 2014. The project of which the Dr. Élez is co-principal investigator jointly with Dr. Josep Tabernero, aims to identify new predictive response markers, primary resistance and acquired to the treatment of CCRm with biological therapies, especially the EGFR inhibitors and the mapkinases pathway. Further to this initiative, has been her contribution in the effort of advancing in the development of a molecular classification of CCR based on the analysis of the gene expression and mutational profile of the tumors.

The results of this research has been crucial for the consolidation of the Gastrointestinal Tumor Group of VHIO as a reference in the CCR research field enabling the leadership of one of the most relevant collaborative clinical projects in Oncology at European level. The MoTriColor project (Molecularly Guided Trials with treatment strategies in patients with newly molecularly defined advances of subtypes of Colorectal Cancer), carried out by a consortium of 10 European centers, offers a molecular screening for patients with CCRm to develop targeted clinical trial therapy for concrete molecular signatures The aforementioned clinical studies have been designed and written by members of the consortium, among which is the Dr. Elena Élez.

Also, Dr. Elez has played a key role in the development of a research program in the mutated BRAF CCR patient population that affects around 5-8%of patients with CRCm while consolidating our center as a reference in this subtype of tumor. In fact, the result of this research, have been highly productive, leading to a number of publications in high-impact journals, among which stands out two publications in The New England Journal of Medicine in 201 and 2019 respectively. Particularly on the liquid biopsy field, Dr. Élez has generated a model for obtaining plasma samples in patients with CCRm for the monitoring of treatments through liquid biopsy, obtaining more than 2000 samples since the implementation of the program in October 2015. This work will be extended and consolidated with the recent granting of two grants. The first one in the 2017 ERA-NET on Translational Cancer Research (TRANSCAN), entitled: “Early detection of relapses in stage III colon cancer patients by longitudinal follow-up following a signature molecular personalized from a blood test: THRuST” of which Dr. Élez is the principal investigator. And the second one through the AECC Lab call, which last year granted a project titled: “Moving liquid biopsy beyond current applications: study of prognostic and predictive values of circulating tumor DNA in metastatic colorectal cancer” were Dr. Elez leads the clinical efforts of the project. She has participated in several international symposia on cancer and new therapies, and has published articles of great impact with 75th in quartile 1 mainly on colorectal cancer, in scientific publications such as “New England Journal of Medicine”, “Nature Medicine”, “Clinical Cancer Research”, “Journal of Clinical Oncology” among others.

Research groups

M. Elena Élez Fernández


Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology


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