Biomarkers and tumor biology in clinical practice

Ph.D. -course

Course description

Course content

The course covers broad tumorbiological topics that are important for understanding how cancer occurs, the mechanisms that control tumor growth, proliferation and morbidity. The course will focus especially on tumor biological changes that may have or already have significance for personalized cancer treatment and clinical trial studies of new diagnostics and treatment

The course includes lectures, demonstrations, group work, curriculum and a written exam, and aims to give PhD candidates who does cancer research, a broad understanding of all aspects of tumor biology based on updated knowledge. The PhD candidates will also gain deeper insight into how knowledge about tumor biological changes affects our strategies to customize assessment and treatment for this group of patients.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing this course the candidate should have:

Knowledge regarding

  • Evaluation of the purpose and advantage of using methods to detect molecular changes in malignant lesions.
  • Deeper insight into:

    • Tumor biological aspects of cancer.
    • Oncogenes, tumor-suppressor genes, gene re-arrangements, DNA repair, apoptosis and growth factors.
    • Different methods applied for "Gen-mapping". DNA analysis and sequencing.
    • Principals for cytokine therapy, gene therapy, rational "drug design," monoclonal antibodies and protein engineering.
    • The interaction between tumor cells and microenvironment.
    • Relevant methods for specimen collection in the clinical setting for use of molecular techniques.


  • Can formulate problems and suggest research of molecular biological aspects in cancer and cancer development in order to map tumor biological mechanisms.
  • Be able to critically assess the expediency and challenges of using different methods for researching molecular biological aspects of cancer.
  • Be able to select relevant literature that deals with molecular aspects important in cancer.

General Competency

  • Be able to evaluate how knowledge about molecular changes in cancer may provide a better and more precise diagnosis.
  • Be able to propose new strategies for development of more targeted therapies and testing of cancer drugs.

Be able to understand challenges and possibilities for introducing more targeted therapies and better follow up of cancer patients.

Study period

29.-31. May 2024

Credits (ECTS)

4 credits (125-150 hours student work time).

Course location

Language of instruction
Course registration and deadlines

February 1st at Studentweb for candidates at UiB.

External candidates may apply for admission to the course through Søknadsweb by February 1st.

Master's degree or equivalent education level is required, with the exception of students on the Medical Student Research Programme.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Master's degree or equivalent education level is required, with the exception of students on the Medical Student Research Programme.
Part of training component
Recommended as part of the training component for all candidates affiliated with the Research School for Cancer Studies (RSBS).
Form of assessment

To pass the course, the candidate must:

  • Participation of minimum 90% during the course.
  • Prepare for and participate actively in the group assignments, and also prepare an oral presentation together with the group.
  • Pass a one hour written exam. The exam will be evaluated by the course-coordinator.

Grading scale:

Pass / Fail.

Course overlap
The course corresponds partly with the Medical Association's annual tumor biology course, but will have a stronger focus on the significance of tumor biological knowledge for clinical trials and thus have a different target group.
Who may participate
The course is primarily intended for PhD candidates who are affiliated with the Centre for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO), but is also open to other students, PhD candidates and students attending the designated Medical Student Research Program (forskerlinjen)

3 full days with lectures and seminars.

Group discussions with individual presentations.

Reading curriculum (see suggested reading).

Academic responsible
Oddbjørn Straume
Reading list

Suggested reading: