Work packages

Circulating Tumour DNA

DNA fragments from cancer cells can be found in peripheral blood from many cancer patients, an entity called circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA). The level of ctDNA in blood samples has been shown to reflect disease stage and characteristics in several cancer types. Blood contains a lot of DNA fragments from dying blood cells, which means that methods with high accuracy are needed to detect ctDNA. We have developed highly accurate methods for this purpose, which we have used to demonstrate the clinical utility of ctDNA.

Cell-free DNA from dying tumor cells, called circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA), can be found in peripheral blood from many cancer patients. Created with © O. Nordgård.

Using these methods, we have recently demonstrated that monthly ctDNA measurements can reveal treatment response and disease progression earlier than conventional radiological imaging in a large group of patients. These findings have been published in acknowledged scientific journals JournalsRef1, Ref2 . More information about this project can be found on the project page in the CRISTIN system.

In collaboration with other research groups we are now investigating whether ctDNA detection can provide similar information in a trial of sonoporation-enhanced chemotherapy. We will also measure ctDNA levels over time in patients undergoing surgery for pancreatic cancer.

In collaboration with Eli Marie Grindedal at Oslo University Hospital (work package “Medical genetics”) we will investigate whether ctDNA can be used for early detection of pancreatic cancer in individuals with a high hereditary risk for developing the disease (CRISTIN).


  • Odd Helge Gilja, University of Bergen

  • Anders Molven (work package “Animal models”), University of Bergen

  • Knut Jørgen Labori (work package “Surgery”), Oslo University Hospital

  • Elin Kure (work package “Omics and biomarkers”), Oslo University Hospital

  • Eli Grindedal (work package “Medical genetics”), Oslo University Hospital

  • Trygve Eftestøl, University of Stavanger