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Tumour proliferation is one of the main biological phenotypes limiting cure in oncology. Extensive research is being performed to unravel the key players in this process. To exploit the potential of published gene expression data, creation of a signature for proliferation can provide valuable information on tumour status, prognosis and prediction. This will help individualizing treatment and should result in better tumour control, and more rapid and cost-effective research and development. From in vitro published microarray studies, two proliferation signatures were compiled. The prognostic value of these signatures was tested in five large clinical microarray data sets. More than 1000 patients with breast, renal or lung cancer were included. One of the signatures (110 genes) had significant prognostic value in all data sets. Stratifying patients in groups resulted in a clear difference in survival (P-values <0.05). Multivariate Cox-regression analyses showed that this signature added substantial value to the clinical factors used for prognosis. Further patient stratification was compared to patient stratification with several well-known published signatures. Contingency tables and Cramer's V statistics indicated that these primarily identify the same patients as the proliferation signature does. The proliferation signature is a strong prognostic factor, with the potential to be converted into a predictive test. Furthermore, evidence is provided that supports the idea that many published signatures track the same biological processes and that proliferation is one of them.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





1884 - 1890


Area Under Curve, Cell Proliferation, Gene Expression, Gene Expression Profiling, Humans, Kaplan-Meier Estimate, Neoplasms, Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis, Predictive Value of Tests, Prognosis, ROC Curve