Circulating Biomarkers in Liver Malignancy

Project Details

Surgical resection is the preferred therapeutic option in patients with metastases confined to the liver. Liver resection in conjunction with chemotherapy offers the best chance of cure, but is associated with recurrent disease in up to two thirds of these patients. In order to focus therapy, clinical risk scores and response evaluation criteria in solid tumours (RECIST) are currently used as guides for prognostication and response to therapy. These criteria have poor sensitivity and specificity and do not accurately represent individual tumour biology.

Recently, circulatory biomarkers have been identified which accurately reflect underlying tumour status and are more sensitive and specific predictors of recurrence than currently used parameters. These biomarkers include circulating tumour cells (CTCs), circulating tumour DNA (ctDNA) and circulating microRNA (miRNA).

Our current project investigates if the presence of circulating tumour cells, circulating tumour DNA and tumour-related microRNA can be used as independent prognostic biomarkers of 5 year survival in patients undergoing liver resection for colorectal liver metastases.

The sensitivity and specificity of circulating biomarkers will be compared to more conventional guidelines and risks scores.



  • Associate Professor Alexander Dobrovic
  • Professor Damian Hussey
  • Professor Robert Padbury
  • Associate Professor Niall Tebbutt

Research Outcomes

1. Tsao S C-H, Behren A, Cebon J, Christophi C.  The role of circulating microRNA in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Frontiers in Bio Science (in press – manuscript number 2705) – 2014.

Research Group

Liver Group

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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