Serum biomarkers of brain cancer

Project Details

This project aims to discover new biomarkers in the circulation that can predict the behaviour of brain cancer. Currently brain tumours are monitored using contrast-enhanced MRI, however this imaging modality has a number of limitations. For instance, contrast enhancement can be switched off after treatment with anti-angiogenic drugs. Furthermore, MRI is expensive and inconvenient for patients. We aim to find biomarkers using a simple blood test - otherwise known as a 'liquid biopsy'. The advantages of this are rapid, frequent minimally invasive assessment, even at a distance for patients who don't live in major city centres. Various biological parameters have been envalutated including circulating endothelial cells, circulating DNA and protein growth factors. Our current strategy utilises high throughput Nanostring sequencing technology to screen micro-RNA. We integrate our laboratory with large clinical databases of brain tumour patients linked with molecular and radiological data to determine statistical correlations with outcomes.

Circulating MicroRNA as Biomarkers - Interview (watch video here)


Dr Andrew Morokoff - Neurosurgeon and Senior Lecturer
Professor Andrew Kaye, Neurosurgeon
A/Prof Kate Drummond - Neurosurgeon and Researcher
Dr Rod Luwor - Senior Scientist
Dr Stanley Stylli - Senior Scientist
Professor Tali Siegal- Neuro-Oncologist (Rabin Medical Centre, Tel Aviv, Israel)
Dr Iris Lavon (Hadassah Medical Centre, Israel)
Dr Chenkai Ma - PhD student


Dr Rachel Koldej -Senior Scientist

Dr Andrew Webb, WEHI

Dr Jason Li - Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute

Professor Izhak Haviv (Bar-Ilan University, Safed, Israel)

Igal Sherman (Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel)


Cure Brain Cancer Foundation
Brain Foundation
Royal Melbourne Hospital Neuroscience Foundation
Royal Melbourne Hospital Watt-Geyer Neuro-Oncology Research Fellowship
Beanies fo Brain Cancer Fund

Research Publications

1.Siegal, T., Charbit, H., Paldor, I., Zelikovitch, B., Canello, T., Benis, A., Wong, M. L., Morokoff, A. P., Kaye, A. H., and Lavon, I. (2016). Dynamics of circulating hypoxia-mediated miRNAs and tumor response in patients with high-grade glioma treated with bevacizumab. J Neurosurg, 1-8.
2.Areeb, Z., Stylli, S. S., Koldej, R., Ritchie, D. S., Siegal, T., Morokoff, A. P., Kaye, A. H., and Luwor, R. B. (2015). MicroRNA as potential biomarkers in Glioblastoma. J Neurooncol 125, 237-248.
3.Bennett, I. E., Guo, H., Kountouri, N., D'Abaco G, M., Hovens, C. M., Moffat, B. A., Desmond, P., Drummond, K., Kaye, A. H., and Morokoff, A. P. (2015). Preoperative biomarkers of tumour vascularity are elevated in patients with glioblastoma multiforme. J Clin Neurosci 22, 1802-1808.

Research Group

Brain Tumours and Epilepsy

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cancer in Medicine

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


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