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PhD course

Methods in Cancer Biomarker Research

  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterSpring, Autumn
  • Course codeCCBIO905
  • Resources

Main content

Course description

Language of instruction


Course content

The course covers theoretical and practical aspects of molecular cancer biomarkers and how these can be studied in patient samples and material from various types of experimental models. The course will focus on methods to study tissue samples, blood samples, urin samples, and other biologic materials, like immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, PCR-techniques and sequencing, Western blot and ELISA, microarray methods, proteomics, circulating tumor cells and DNA, flow cytometry, bioinformatics and biobanks. Changes in nucleic acids and proteins in different settings will be covered.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this course the candidate should have:

Knowledge regarding

  • Evaluation of the expediency and application of basic methods in biomarker research on tissue samples, such as immunohistochemistry protocols and in situ hybridization.
  • Good understanding of:
    • PCR techniques and sequencing strategies
    • Western blot and ELISA techniques
    • Microarray analysis
    • Proteomics
    • Circulating and disseminated tumor cells
    • Flow cytometry
    • Cell free DNA analysis
    • Bioinformatics strategies
    • Biobanking
    • Image Mass Cytometry


  • Can formulate problems, plan and carry out research on cancer biomarkers.
  • Be able to assess the expediency and application of different methods in biomarker cancer research.
  • Be able to communicate relevant literature and methods concerning molecular cancer biomarkers

General Competency

  • Be able to evaluate how knowledge about molecular cancer biomarkers can help in understanding tumor biological mechanisms and as a guide to improved diagnosis, targeted treatment and follow up of cancer patients.

Study period

October 27th-29th 2020

Credits (ECTS)

5 study points (125-150 hours student work time).

Specific terms

Course registration and deadlines

Note that there are 2 registration links:

With ECTS: For those who attend the complete course, incl. group assignments, and be eligible for the 6 ECTS or a course diploma: Reg. link full course. Also remember to register for this course in StudentWeb, where deadline is September 1.

No ECTS: For those who are only interested in the lectures and want to hop in and out as they please (will not get ECTS or diploma): Reg. link lectures.

Deadline: September 1st 2020


Master's degree or equivalent education level is required, with the exception of students on the Medical Student Research Programme.

Recommended previous knowledge

Medical or health related educational background or PhD project related to medical / health related research.

Part of training component

Recommended as part of the training component for all candidates affiliated with the Research School for Cancer Studies (RSCS).

Form of assessment

To pass the course, the candidate must:

  • Participate during at least 90% of the course.
  • Participate actively in the group.
  • 10-15 min long oral presentation to the other participants about a method related to own project.
  • Pass a one hour written exam. The exam will be evaluated by the course-coordinator.

Grading scale:

pass / fail.

Course overlap


Who may participate

The course is primarily intended for PhD candidates who are affiliated with the Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO), but is also open to other students, PhD candidates and students at the Medical Student Research Program.

Addtional information


3 full days with lectures and seminars.

Group discussions with individual presentations.

Reading curriculum (see mandatory reading).

More information and registration click here.


Course coordinator
Ingeborg Winge

Academic responsibility

Lars A. Akslen and Agnete Engelsen

Kjetil Utvik Harkestad



Reading list

Cancer Biomarkers: Minimal and Noninvasive Early Diagnosis and Prognosis by Debmalya Barh, Angelo Carpi, Mukesh Verma and Mehmet Gunduz (2014) 973 pages.

Cancer Biomarkers by Alexandros G Georgakilas (2012) 382 pages.

Biomarkers of the tumor microenvironment: basic studies and practical applications by LA Akslen, RS Watnick (2017) 533 pages.

(Total 1888 pages).

Course location



Study period

October 27th-29th 2020