Improving cancer detection through combinations of cancer and immune biomarkers: a modelling approach

Raluca Eftimie (Lead / Corresponding author), Esraa Hassanein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
200 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Early cancer diagnosis is one of the most important challenges of cancer research, since in many cancers it can lead to cure for patients with early stage diseases. For epithelial ovarian cancer (which is the leading cause of death among gynaecologic malignancies) the classical detection approach is based on measurements of CA-125 biomarker. However, the poor sensitivity and specificity of this biomarker impacts the detection of early-stage cancers.

Methods: Here we use a computational approach to investigate the effect of combining multiple biomarkers for ovarian cancer (e.g., CA-125 and IL-7), to improve early cancer detection.

Results: We show that this combined biomarkers approach could lead indeed to earlier cancer detection. However, the immune response (which influences the level of secreted IL-7 biomarker) plays an important role in improving and/or delaying cancer detection. Moreover, the detection level of IL-7 immune biomarker could be in a range that would not allow to distinguish between a healthy state and a cancerous state. In this case, the construction of solution diagrams in the space generated by the IL-7 and CA-125 biomarkers could allow us predict the long-term evolution of cancer biomarkers, thus allowing us to make predictions on cancer detection times.

Conclusions: Combining cancer and immune biomarkers could improve cancer detection times, and any predictions that could be made (at least through the use of CA-125/IL-7 biomarkers) are patient specific.
Original languageEnglish
Article number73
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Translational Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2018


  • ovarian cancer
  • mathematical model
  • CA-125 biomarker
  • IL-7 biomarker
  • cancer detection times
  • Mathematical model
  • Cancer detection times
  • Ovarian cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving cancer detection through combinations of cancer and immune biomarkers: a modelling approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this