Prof. PhD R.M. Luiten

Full Professor
Main activities
Education, Research, Other
immunology, oncology, dermatology
Focus of research


Key publications
  • Teulings Hansje-Eva, Limpens Jacqueline, Jansen Sophia N., Zwinderman Aeilko H., Reitsma Johannes B., Spuls Phyllis I., Luiten Rosalie M. Vitiligo-Like Depigmentation in Patients With Stage III-IV Melanoma Receiving Immunotherapy and Its Association With Survival: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Journal of clinical oncology 2015;33 (7):773-781 [PubMed]
  • van den Boorn Jasper G., Picavet Daisy I., van Swieten Paul F., van Veen Henk A., Konijnenberg Debby, van Veelen Peter A., van Capel Toni, Jong Esther C. de, Reits Eric A., Drijfhout Jan W., Bos Jan D., Melief Cornelis J. M., Luiten Rosalie M. Skin-Depigmenting Agent Monobenzone Induces Potent T-Cell Autoimmunity toward Pigmented Cells by Tyrosinase Haptenation and Melanosome Autophagy Journal of investigative dermatology 2011;131 (6):1240-1251 [PubMed]
  • Kammeyer A., Luiten R. M. Oxidation events and skin aging Ageing research reviews 2015;21:16-29 [PubMed]
  • Teulings Hansje-Eva, Tjin Esther P. M., Willemsen Karina J., van der Kleij Stephanie, Meulen Sylvia ter, Kemp E. Helen, Krebbers Gabrielle, van Noesel Carel J. M., Franken Cornelis L. M. C., Drijfhout Jan W., Melief Cornelis J. M., Nieuweboer-Krobotova Ludmila, Nieweg Omgo E., van der Hage Jos A., van der Veen J. P. Wietze, Relyveld Germaine N., Luiten Rosalie M. Anti-Melanoma immunity and local regression of cutaneous metastases in melanoma patients treated with monobenzone and imiquimod; a phase 2 a trial Oncoimmunology 2018;7 (4) [PubMed]
  • Tjin Esther P. M., Krebbers Gabrielle, Meijlink Kimberley J., van de Kasteele Willeke, Rosenberg Efraim H., Sanders Joyce, Nederlof Petra M., van de Wiel Bart A., Haanen John B. A. G., Melief Cornelis J. M., Vyth-Dreese Florry A., Luiten Rosalie M. Immune-escape markers in relation to clinical outcome of advanced melanoma patients following immunotherapy Cancer immunology research 2014;2 (6):538-546 [PubMed]
All Publications
Research programmes

Prof. PhD R.M. Luiten (Pigment cell disorders of the skin)

Luiten's research team is specialized in the immunopathogenesis and treatment of pigment cell disorders of the skin, including vitiligo and melanoma. Luiten's research has clearly established a positive relation between vitiligo and melanoma regression, by showing that 1) vitiligo patients have a three-fold decreased life-time risk of developing melanoma , 2) vitiligo is an autoimmunity against melanocytes in the skin, leading to loss of skin pigmentation, 3) melanoma patients who develop vitiligo, referred to as melanoma-associated leucoderma or vitiligo (MAL), have immunity reactive with both melanocytes and melanoma cells, 4) the appearance of MAL in melanoma patients is associated with favorable clinical outcome (progression free- and overall survival), and 5) vitiligo-inducing compound monobenzone combined with imiquimod and/or CpG induces anti-melanoma immunity and suppresses melanoma growth in mice and patients. This highlights vitiligo as a favorable sign for melanoma patients and the importance of its mechanism of action for melanoma treatment. The group has developed a new melanoma therapy consisting of monobenzone and immune stimulation (patent granted, preclinical and clinical proof-of-concept obtained). Their investigator-initiated clinical trial at the NKI-AVL shows local clinical responses of skin metastases and successful induction of anti-melanoma immunity in most patients. This therapy is developed further clinically. New projects include biomarker research for response of melanoma patients to immune checkpoint inhibitors, targeting of melanoma cell heterogeneity by vaccination immunotherapy and diagnosis and treatment of lentigo maligna. Vitiligo clinical research aims at improving skin suspension transplantation therapy and the development of  scoring systems for vitiligo disease activity. Biomarkers for the differential diagnosis of vitiligo and melanoma-associated vitiligo are studied, applicable in preventing immunesuppressive therapy in vitiligo patients with an undiagnosed melanoma. Luiten's group joined forces of the NFU expertise center on Pigment Disorders (AMC) with the skin tissue engineering expertise of prof Gibbs (VUMC), to apply this technology in vitiligo and melanoma immunotherapy research. 


PhD W.J. Bakker
MD PhD M.W. Bekkenk
MD PhD M.A. Middelkamp Hup
MD PhD A. Wolkerstorfer

PhD W. Ouwerkerk

BEng S. Chielie
BEng G. Krebbers
N.O.P. van Uden

Current research funding
  • AMC
  • Novartis Pharma AG
  • Stichting Pigmentfonds Nederland