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Semmelweis University Gallery


Krompecher, Ödön


(B. 15th February, 1870, Poprád – D. on 26th August, 1926, Budapest)

Dean: 1918/19

He was an offspring of a Saxon family with six children in Szepesség. His father was a merchant, then director of the Poprád-Felkai Savings Bank. The family changed their surname to Korompay in 1944. Ödön attended secondary school in Miskolc, then Igló, and enrolled at the Medical Faculty of the Budapest University in 1889. He was conferred his medical degree on 22nd December, 1894, but thanks to his talent, from 1893 he worked under Otto Pertik, an excellent school founder, in the 2nd Institute of Pathology where he was offered a post right after his graduation. His first study which was on cell proliferation was presented at the Academy on 1th December, 1893. After his graduation, he went to the Pasteur Institute in Paris with the help of Petrik where he spent nine months. Thanks to his professor, he could devote all his time to research instead of doing every day jobs. Thus he studied multiple indirect cell proliferation in animal and plat cells as well as in embryonal and tumour cells. Pertik showed results of this study to Waldeyer who appreciated Krompecher’s work so much that he invited Krompecher to Basel where he held a highly successful lecture titled Die mehrfache indirekte Kernteilung on the 9th meeting of the Anatomische Gesellschaft on 18th April, 1895. He was granted habilitation in pathohistology and bacteriology in 1902. He was appointed professor extraordinarius in 1910 and professor ordninarius in 1912. After the death of Pertik, he took over the lead of the 2nd Institute of Pathology on 17th December, 1913, when he was appointed professor ordinarius. The Academy elected him corresponding member on 6th May, 1915. During his rather short life, he wrote several significant works, mostly in German. The most important result of his research was the discovery of “basal cell cancer” in his terminology, today known as basalioma, and its distinction from other types of skin cancer. His major book, Der Basalzellenkrebs (Basal cell cancer) which was published in Jena in 1903 represented the peak of his professional development. The exact histogenetical definition of basal cell carcinoma became an accepted datum in world literature which is today called Krompecher-tumour. The Hungarian Academy of Sciences awarded him the annual grand prize for it in 1926. His research on cell proliferation, giant cells, metaplasia, different tumours, inflammations and tuberculosis was significant. He remarked that crystallization exists in the living world, too. Beside his profession, he was also keen on arts and ornithology and published an interesting study on the birdsong. He was a passionate mountaineer, hiker and gardener. He was an active member of the Hungarian Association of Philosophy. He wrote the history of his own family between 1341 and 1926 in his last study. He served as dean of the Faculty of Medicine in a particularly difficult academic year (1918/19). Aware of his severe incurable disease, he died by his own hand at the age of 56.

His memory is kept alive by annual competitions announced by the 2nd Institute of Pathology for medical and dental students as well as by memorial prizes awarded by the Hungarian Society of Pathologists and the Hungarian Society of Oncologists.

(Major works: Die mehrfache indirekte Kernteilung. Wiesbaden, 1895.; Recent data on plasma cells. In: M. Orvosi Archívum (Hungarian Medical Archive), 1899.; On testicle cancers, testicle entdotheliomas in special. Bp., 1899.; Der Basallzellenkrebs. Jena, 1903.; Kristallisation, Fermentation, Zellen und Leben. Wiesbaden, 1907.; Zur Histogenese und Histologie des Krebses. In: Zeitschrift für Krebsforschung, 1914.; On the pathology and morphology of cancer. In: Orvosképzés (Medical Training), 1914.; On the pathology and cancer of diseases of breast sac. In: Math. és Természettud. Ért. (Mathematical and Science Dissertations), 1916.; Histology, pathology and pathohistology of female genital organs. In: Handbook of Gynaecology I. /ed. Vilmos Tauffer, István Tóth/ Bp., 1916.; On the origin and histology of adamantioma. In: Math. és Természettud. Ért. (Mathematical and Science Dissertations) 1918.; On primary cancer of the lung. In: Magyar Orv. Archívum (Hungarian Medical Archive), 1925.)