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1.  A simple method for assigning genomic grade to individual breast tumours 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:306.
The prognostic value of grading in breast cancer can be increased with microarray technology, but proposed strategies are disadvantaged by the use of specific training data or parallel microscopic grading. Here, we investigate the performance of a method that uses no information outside the breast profile of interest.
In 251 profiled tumours we optimised a method that achieves grading by comparing rank means for genes predictive of high and low grade biology; a simpler method that allows for truly independent estimation of accuracy. Validation was carried out in 594 patients derived from several independent data sets. We found that accuracy was good: for low grade (G1) tumors 83- 94%, for high grade (G3) tumors 74- 100%. In keeping with aim of improved grading, two groups of intermediate grade (G2) cancers with significantly different outcome could be discriminated.
This validates the concept of microarray-based grading in breast cancer, and provides a more practical method to achieve it. A simple R script for grading is available in an additional file. Clinical implementation could achieve better estimation of recurrence risk for 40 to 50% of breast cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC3150343  PMID: 21777443
Breast Neoplasms; Microarray Analysis; Histology; Prognosis; Female
2.  Robust assignment of cancer subtypes from expression data using a uni-variate gene expression average as classifier 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:532.
Genome wide gene expression data is a rich source for the identification of gene signatures suitable for clinical purposes and a number of statistical algorithms have been described for both identification and evaluation of such signatures. Some employed algorithms are fairly complex and hence sensitive to over-fitting whereas others are more simple and straight forward. Here we present a new type of simple algorithm based on ROC analysis and the use of metagenes that we believe will be a good complement to existing algorithms.
The basis for the proposed approach is the use of metagenes, instead of collections of individual genes, and a feature selection using AUC values obtained by ROC analysis. Each gene in a data set is assigned an AUC value relative to the tumor class under investigation and the genes are ranked according to these values. Metagenes are then formed by calculating the mean expression level for an increasing number of ranked genes, and the metagene expression value that optimally discriminates tumor classes in the training set is used for classification of new samples. The performance of the metagene is then evaluated using LOOCV and balanced accuracies.
We show that the simple uni-variate gene expression average algorithm performs as well as several alternative algorithms such as discriminant analysis and the more complex approaches such as SVM and neural networks. The R package rocc is freely available at
PMCID: PMC2966465  PMID: 20925936
3.  An electronic application for rapidly calculating Charlson comorbidity score 
BMC Cancer  2004;4:94.
Uncertainty regarding comorbid illness, and ability to tolerate aggressive therapy has led to minimal enrollment of elderly cancer patients into clinical trials and often substandard treatment. Increasingly, comorbid illness scales have proven useful in identifying subgroups of elderly patients who are more likely to tolerate and benefit from aggressive therapy. Unfortunately, the use of such scales has yet to be widely integrated into either clinical practice or clinical trials research.
This article reviews evidence for the validity of the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) in oncology and provides a Microsoft Excel (MS Excel) Macro for the rapid and accurate calculation of CCI score. The interaction of comorbidity and malignant disease and the validation of the Charlson Index in oncology are discussed.
The CCI score is based on one year mortality data from internal medicine patients admitted to an inpatient setting and is the most widely used comorbidity index in oncology. An MS Excel Macro file was constructed for calculating the CCI score using Microsoft Visual Basic. The Macro is provided for download and dissemination.
The CCI has been widely used and validated throughout the oncology literature and has demonstrated utility for most major cancers. The MS Excel CCI Macro provides a rapid method for calculating CCI score with or without age adjustments. The calculator removes difficulty in score calculation as a limitation for integration of the CCI into clinical research. The simple nature of the MS Excel CCI Macro and the CCI itself makes it ideal for integration into emerging electronic medical records systems.
The increasing elderly population and concurrent increase in oncologic disease has made understanding the interaction between age and comorbid illness on life expectancy increasingly important. The MS Excel CCI Macro provides a means of increasing the use of the CCI scale in clinical research with the ultimate goal of improving determination of optimal treatments for elderly cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC545968  PMID: 15610554

Results 1-3 (3)