Master students Marianne Guriby and Deeqa Ali finished their master's degrees in February and March 2010, respectively.

Marianne Guriby (left), affiliated with the University of Life Sciences at Ås, defended her thesis "New epigenetic biomarkers examined for added value in lymph node diagnostics of colon cancer" in February. The project was a collaborative study with Stavanger University Hospital, Dr. Oddmund Nordgaard and others. Six biomarkers were analyzed in ~600 lymph nodes from 155 patients with the aim to identify the patients with tumor cells in the lymph nodes overseen by standard pathology diagnostics. About 25% of the patients diagnosed with a local disease experience relapse. Most of the patients diagnosed with lymph node metastasis were also positive for the new markers, and in addition 11% of the patients reported to have a localized disease were positive. The study is performed blinded and 3 year survival data are currently being recorded by the clinicians at Stavanger University Hospital. The study was supervised by Terje Ahlquist and Ragnhild A. Lothe.

Deeqa Ali (right) defended her thesis "Identification of novel epigenetic biomarkers in colorectal cancer, GLDC and PPP1R14A" at the University of Oslo the 11th of March. By using a genome wide approach and strict selection criteria she has identified two novel targets inactivated by DNA methylation in colorectal cancer. The methylation of GLDC and PPP1R14A was specific for tumor samples and was not found in normal mucosa, indicating a diagnostic potential. Deeqa is continuing her epigenetic studies at the Department of Cancer Prevention as a PhD student funded from the Norwegian Cancer Society. The project was supervised by Guro E. Lind and Ragnhild A. Lothe
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