Professor Riccardo Dolcetti

Research Chair of Cancer Med

The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute
Faculty of Medicine
+61 7 344 36953


Prof. Riccardo Dolcetti is a clinician scientist with MD specializations in Oncology and Clinical Immunology with >20 y research experience in cancer cell biology and immunology. His main scientific background and expertise are in the areas of tumour immunology/immunotherapy and infection-driven tumours. He has been the Director of the Cancer Bio-Immunotherapy Division at the CRO-National Cancer Institute of Aviano, Italy, where he had the opportunity to perform cutting-edge science in the fields of pathogenesis and novel immune-based therapies for cancer. His activity was also devoted to the clinical translation of new cancer immunotherapies and the development of diagnostic assays to improve monitoring of cancer immunotherapy responses. At the end of 2015 he relocated from Italy to Brisbane in the position of Research Chair in Cancer Medicine, Diamantina Institute, University of Queensland. He had the privilege to be the President of the Italian Society for Cancer Research in 2012-13. He has >220 publications in peer-reviewed international journals and 20 book chapters.

Research Interests

  • Cancer immunotherapy
    Development and transfer into the clinic of new cancer immunotherapies. Particular focus on the development of a novel and versatile platform of cancer vaccines with enhanced therapeutic efficacy. Exploitation of immunogenic chemotherapy in combination with established and novel immunotherapeutic approaches to improve the rate of clinical responses in cancer patients.
  • Advanced monitoring of immune responses in cancer patients
    Assessment of immune proficiency and identification of markers predictive of the response to (immuno)therapy in cancer patients.
  • Pathogenesis and treatment of infection-driven tumors
    Characterization of virus-host interactions of pathogenic relevance in the development of tumours associated with Epstein-Barr infection or arising in HIV-infected patients. Development of assays for the identification of individuals at increased risk of infection-driven tumors and development of novel strategies of (immuno)therapy for an improved control of these tumors.

Research Impacts

Main contributions to science and health:

- Contribute to the development of an innovative platform of cancer vaccines based on nanoemulsions targeting cross-presenting dendritic cells in vivo with high flexibility and therapeutic efficacy.

- Development of an innovative and highly effective protocol of adoptive immunotherapy for EBV-driven malignancies.

- Co-inventor of a novel monoclonal antibody therapy for EBV-associated cancers

- Developed a patented “off-the-shelf” idiotypic vaccine for lymphoma.

- Discovered the pathogenic link between Chlamydophila psittaci infection and ocular adnexal lymphomas and translated the discovery to provide a new first-line treatment for these lymphomas

- Provided the first compelling evidence of a direct oncogenic role of HIV proteins in HIV-associated lymphoma

- Within a co-led clinical trial, identified an immunological signature with the capability to predict breast cancer patients’ response to neoadjuvant immuno-chemotherapy

- Identified critical signaling pathways, leading to development of novel targeted therapeutic strategies for mantle cell lymphoma

- Discovered the prognostic role of activated intraepithelial cytotoxic T lymphocytes in colon carcinomas with microsatellite instability, providing the bases for new immunotherapeutic approaches for these tumours.


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Unife
  • Allergology and Clinical Immunology Specialty, Unife.
  • General Oncology Specialty, Unife.


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  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

  • Doctor Philosophy

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Featured Publications

Book Chapter

  • De Re, Valli and Dolcetti, Riccardo (2019). Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in gastric cancer. Gastric cancer in the precision medicine era: diagnosis and therapy. (pp. 25-40) edited by Vincenzo Canzonieri and Antonio Giordano. Cham, Switzerland: Humana. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-04861-7_2

  • Dolcetti, Riccardo and De Re, Valli (2019). Immunomodulation and immunotherapy for gastric cancer. Gastric cancer in the precision medicine era: diagnosis and therapy. (pp. 189-212) edited by Vincenzo Canzonieri and Antonio Giordano. Cham, Switzerland: Humana. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-04861-7_12

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision