Statistical strategies to improve the efficiency of molecular studies of colorectal cancer prognosis

Br J Cancer. 2008 Dec 16;99(12):2001-5. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604792. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


The evaluation of tumour molecular markers may be beneficial in prognosis and predictive in therapy. We develop a stopping rule approach to assist in the efficient utilisation of resources and samples involved in such evaluations. This approach has application in determining whether a specific molecular marker has sufficient variability to yield meaningful results after the evaluation of molecular markers in the first n patients in a study of sample size N (n</=N). We evaluated colorectal tumours for mutations (microsatellite instability, K-ras, B-raf, PI3 kinase, and TGFbetaR-II) by PCR and protein markers (Bcl2, cyclin D1, E-cadherin, hMLH1, ki67, MDM2, and P53) by immunohistochemistry. Using this method, we identified and abandoned potentially uninformative molecular markers in favour of more promising candidates. This approach conserves tissue resources, time, and money, and may be applicable to other studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Prognosis
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Proteins