Oncology Bern: Prof. Dr Adrian Ochsenbein

Prof. Dr Adrian Ochsenbein
Clinic Director and Chief Physician
Specialist in Oncology
Bern, Switzerland

Inselspital, University Hospital Bern Department of Medical Oncology - Logo

Treatment Focus

  • Immune-Oncology
  • Pulmonary and Thoracic Tumours
  • Neuroendocrine Tumours
  • Neuro-Oncology
  • Haemato-Oncology

Medical Range

Range of Diagnostic Services

Clarification of all tumour types

  • Radiology
  • with nuclear medicine methods (PET)
  • Biopsies
  • Excisions


Range of Therapeutic Services

  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Targeted therapies
  • Antibody therapies
  • Immunotherapies
  • CAR-T cell therapy
  • Cellular therapies
  • Autologous transplantation
  • Clinical trials
  • Risk and prevention consultation
  • Genetic counselling
  • Palliative care consultation
  • Cancer survivorship
  • Second opinion
  • Ambulatory prevention and rehabilitation programme
  • Palliative care
  • Psycho-oncology
  • Pastoral care and spiritual accompaniment
  • Social services

About Prof. Dr Adrian Ochsenbein

Prof. Dr Adrian Ochsenbein is a specialist in oncology. His positions in this field include Clinic Director and Chief Physician of the Department of Medical Oncology as well as board member of the Tumour Centre at Inselspital Bern.

The team led by Prof. Ochsenbein performs both outpatient and inpatient treatments for cancers of any kind, during which, depending on the origin of the malignant tissue and its special properties, different cancer therapies are applied.

Modern Cancer Therapy at the Bern Tumour Centre

A diagnosis of cancer is always a shock to those affected. Medical progress, however, means that, today, half of all cancer patients can be completely cured. In many other cases, it is possible to shrink the cancerous tissue to such an extent that surgical or radiotherapeutic therapy is possible; and in again further cases, to control the cancer cells, thus maximising quality of live for the longest time frame attainable. At the Bern Oncology Department, every patient is individually examined and treated. The best possible therapy is discussed and defined in an interdisciplinary tumour board.

It is not always possible or useful to perform a cancer therapy on an outpatient basis. A combination of different therapy methods or the general poor condition of a patient can lead to inpatient cancer therapy. At the Bern Oncology Department, cancer patients are looked after by specialised staff around the clock. The Tumour Centre offers a variety of services to support both patients and their relatives during and after cancer treatment.

Modern Outpatient and Inpatient Chemotherapy Treatments

The announcement of chemotherapy triggers fear and anxiety in many patients. During chemotherapy, an infusion introduces cell toxins into the body, causing tumour cells to die off or to prevent cell division. These cytotoxins do not only attack the tumour, but can also affect the entire body. However, modern chemotherapies are much more tolerable today than they were a few years ago. Side effects such as fatigue, hair loss, nausea, and vomiting or diarrhoea can be alleviated by concomitant medication. Chemotherapy is an effective weapon in cancer therapy armoury. It can be used either as a stand-alone therapy or a treatment before or after surgery, or respectively radiation therapy. At the Bern Tumour Centre, chemotherapy is performed both on an outpatient and inpatient basis.

Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation

In some cases, haematopoietic growth factors are administered prior to high-dose chemo- or radiotherapy. Stem cells are then removed from the patients’ body which in return may result in the alleviation of the high dose chemotherapy side effects. In addition, autologous transplantation offers an opportunity for leukaemia or lymphoma patients, for whom radiation or chemotherapy treatment had not been successful.

Hormone Therapies for Cancer

In hormone-dependent cancers such as breast cancer or prostate cancer, the withdrawal of hormonal stimulation may halt cancer growth. About two-thirds of all malignant breast tumours grow in dependence on female sex hormones, especially on oestrogens. In most cases, hormone therapy eliminates the need for ovaries removal, thus maintaining patients’ fertility. Male sex hormones, known as androgens, play an important role in the growth of malignant prostate cells. Hormone therapy is often used in advanced prostate cancer. This delays the progression of the disease, preventing complications of the tumour and relieving symptoms. At the Bern Oncology Department, hormone treatments are performed on an outpatient basis by administering pills or giving injections as a sole therapy, or in combination with other cancer therapies.

Targeted Cancer Therapies

Targeted therapies are new types of cancer treatments targeting the growth-controlling properties of the tumour. For this purpose, small molecules are usually administered in tablet form, which inhibit the cell growth of the respective tumour. Targeted drugs are usually used if the tumour disease is already advanced and metastatic. This treatment method does not usually lead to a cure, but it can inhibit the progression of the condition and mitigate its effects. Prof. Ochsenbein and his medical team use targeted therapies both as a single therapy and combined with other cancer treatments.

Antibody Therapy and Immunotherapy

Antibody therapy and immunotherapy belong to the category of ‘targeted therapies’, referring to newer approaches of modern cancer treatments. During this process, antibodies target specific cancer cells by attaching to their surfaces and thus destroying respective cancer tissues. A further task of antibodies is to ‘entice’ immune cells to the tumour, which leads to a combat. Particular antibodies are also able to break the tumour's protective mechanism, guarding the tumour from the body's own defence system. Many monoclonal antibodies have already been approved as drugs in cancer treatment. They are usually administered intravenously by infusion. This medication can be given on an outpatient basis.

CAR T-Cell Therapy (Cellular Therapies)

The innovative CAR-T cell therapy is an immunotherapy based on the body's own altered immune cells. T-cells are extracted from patients’ blood and genetically reprogrammed outside the treated person’s body in order to be able to target the cancer cells efficiently and productively. This method has been proven effective in the treatment of young adults with acute lymphocytic leukaemia and in adults with aggressive lymphoma where conventional therapies have failed. CAR-T cell therapy is currently applied on an inpatient basis at the Bern Oncology Department. Other cellular therapies also use the body's own defence mechanisms to detect and destroy cancer cells. Many cellular treatments are currently still in the development and testing phase. The University Hospital of Medical Oncology in Bern is involved in numerous clinical trials, so patients are privileged to benefit from new therapy concepts at an early stage.

You can access Prof. Ochsenbein's website here.

Curriculum Vitae

1986 - 1992 Study of human medicine, University of Bern
Dec 1992 Doctorate
Jul 1993 - Oct 1993 Doctor in the Swiss Army (Lieutenant)
Oct 1993 - Dec 1995 Assistant Physician (Assistenzarzt), Internal Medicine (Prof. Dr. H. Bürgi) Bürgerspital Solothurn
Feb 1996 - Oct 1996 Postgraduate Course for Experimental Medicine and Biology
Nov 1996 - Jun 1999 Postdoctoral Research, Institute of Experimental Immunology (Prof. Dr. R.M. Zinkernagel), University Hospital Zürich
Jul 1999 - Oct 2001 Assistant Physician, Institute of Medical Oncology (Prof. Dr. M.F. Fey), University Hospital Bern
Aug 2001 Habilitation
Dec 2001 - Dec 2002 Postdoctoral Research, Department of Clinical Research (Prof. P.D. Greenberg), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre, Seattle
Jan 2003 Assistant Professor, Medical Faculty, University of Bern
Jan 2003 - Jun 2005 Senior Physician, Institute of Medical Oncology (Prof. Dr. M.F. Fey), University Hospital Bern
Since Jan 2003 Head of the Tumor Immunology Research Group, Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern
(Jan 03- Dec 07 SNF-Professorship)
Jan 2004 - Jul 2005 External Consultant for Medical Oncology, Hospital Burgdorf
Nov 2004 Umhabilitation, Field: Medical Oncology, University of Bern
Since Jul 2004 local Principal Investigator for Clinical Trials (including trials form collaborative groups such as SAKK and industry) with a focus on thoracic oncology, neuro-oncology, melanoma and immunisation protocols
Jul 2005 - Apr 2011 Consultant, Institute of Medical Oncology (Prof. Dr. M.F. Fey), University of Bern
Head External Oncology Service of the Canton of Bern
External Consultant for Medical Oncology, Hospital Interlaken
Consultant for Thoracic Oncology, University Hospital of Bern
Consultant for Neuro-oncology, University Hospital of Bern
Feb 2006 Titular Professor, Medical Faculty, University of Bern
Feb 2008 Associate Professor, Medical Faculty, University of Bern
Jan 2011 - Apr 2011 Deputy Chief Physician, Institute of Medical Oncology (Prof. Dr. M.F. Fey), University of Bern
Since May 2011 Chief Physician, Institute of Medical Oncology (Prof. Dr. M.F. Fey), University of Bern
May 2011 - Aug 2017 Deputy-Chairman, Department of Medical Oncology, University of Bern
Sep 2011 Extraordinary Professor (Extraordinarius), Medical Faculty, University of Bern
Sep 2017 Ordinary Professor (Ordinarius), Medical Faculty, University of Bern and Chairman, Department of Medical Oncology

Medical Team

  • Prof. Dr Thomas Pabst
    Deputy Clinic Director and Chief Physician
  • Prof. Dr Jörg Beyer
    Chief Physician Outreach
  • PD Dr Urban Novak
    Leading Physician
  • PD Dr et phil. nat. Julian Schardt
    Leading Physician
  • Dr Attila Kollàr
    Spitalfacharzt med. Onkologie
  • Dr Manuela Rabaglio
  • Prof. Dr Martin Fey
  • PD Dr Martin D. Berger
  • Dr et phil. nat. Simon Häfliger
    Senior Physician
  • Dr Barbara Jeke
    Senior Physician
  • Dr Daniel Rauch
    Senior Physician
  • Dr Stephan Schobinger
    Senior Physician
  • Dr Amina Scherz
    Senior Physician
  • Dr Franziska Zenger
    Senior Physician
  • Dr Susanne Bürki
    Deputy Senior Physician
  • Dr et phil. nat. Julian Wampfler
    Deputy Senior Physician


Bern Railway Station 1 km
Bern-Belp Airport 10 km
Basel Airport 106 km
Zurich Airport 129 km
Geneva Airport 152 km

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Prof. Dr Adrian Ochsenbein
Clinic Director and Chief Physician

Inselspital, University Hospital Bern
Department of Medical Oncology
Freiburgstrasse 41G Lory Haus, CH-3010 Bern

T: +41 31 511 6160
F: +41 31 632 4119
E: ochsenbein@primomedico.com


Monday to Friday 8am – 6pm
By appointment

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