I am a biostatistician, working with statistical methods for cancer epidemiology. My main research interest is cancer patient survival and I have published studies on cancer patient survival for a range of cancer sites. I have also worked on international benchmarking of cancer patient survival, for example the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership SURVMARK-2, run by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and in a Nordic collaborative project. I develop statistical methods as well as apply the methods to register-based data to answer important epidemiological and clinical research questions. I believe that an important task for biostatisticians is to communicate the results from complicated statistical methods in a way that is understandable for other researchers, clinicians and healthcare policymakers. Therefore, I put a lot of emphasis on communication and presentation of complex methods in an understandable way. I’m currently working in several projects, a description of two projects I'm heavily involved with currently are described below.
Survival after hematological cancers, with a focus on MPN I am part of a successful collaborative group of hematologists and biostatisticians at KI. We have been studying the prognosis of a range of hematological malignancies, many of the studies have been published in high-impact journals. I have lately focused more on research on myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). Compared to many other hematological malignancies MPNs are rather indolent diseases. Despite efforts to optimize treatment and prophylactic measures, patients with MPNs have a shorter survival than the general population and experience complications, such as thromboembolism and bleedings, due to their MPN. There are few population-based studies on MPNs, and most studies are small with short follow-up time and do not include population controls. It is therefore of great importance to gain a further understanding of the disease trajectory and risk of complications for this group of patients. By taking advantage of the Swedish health registers and novel statistical methods, we will improve the understanding of the clinical course and prognosis among MPN patients.
Loss in life expectancy due to cancer One useful summary measure for survival data is the life expectancy, which is calculated by obtaining the area under a survival curve. Life expectancy is a well-established, easily understood concept that quantifies the expected number of life years remaining. In comparison to many other measures, it takes the whole time scale into account instead of at particular points during follow-up (such as the 1- or 5-year survival). Another statistic, closely related to the life expectancy, is the loss in life expectancy (LLE), a measure of how much a patient's life expectancy is reduced due to a cancer diagnosis. The LLE is defined as the difference in life expectancy between the cancer patients and a comparable group in the general population. The LLE can be used to address a wide range of research questions on both individual and population levels, and to quantify survival differences between groups. Another use of LLE is to quantify the burden of cancer on society as the total number of life years lost in the population; in this way, it can be useful for measuring cancer control progress and to provide guidance for resource allocation. I have developed methods for estimating the LLE for cancer patients, and further extend and evaluate the methodology to enable use of the measure in different contexts.
Current doctoral students
- Main supervisor of Nurgul Batyrebekova, registered at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, KI
- Main supervisor of Yuliya Leontyeva, registered at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, KI
- Main supervisor of Anna Warnqvist, registered at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, KI
- Co-supervisor of Maximilian Zoltek, registered at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery, KI
Former doctoral students
- Co-supervisor of Hannah Bower, dissertation March 2018
- Co-supervisor of Qianwei Liu, dissertation September 2022
- Co-supervisor of Nikolaos Skourlis, dissertation March 2023
- Co-supervisor of Anna Ravn Landtblom, dissertation April 2023
- Elisavet (Betty) Syriopoulou, (https://staff.ki.se/people/elisavet-syriopoulou)
I have been involved in teaching and/or course organising of:
- Survival analysis (biostat III), within the Doctoral Programme in Epidemiology
- Data Management within epidemiological research, including lectures on laws and regulations concerning the use of personal data in research
- Competing risks and multistate models
- IARC summer school on cancer epidemiology, module 1, cancer survival methods for cancer registries.
- Summer school on modern methods in biostatistics and epidemiology. Survival analysis using Stata (a 1-day course) and Statistical Methods for Population-based Cancer Survival (a 1-week course). Treviso, Italy.
- Workshops on epidemiological designs and cancer survival analysis
- Pre-conference courses on Statistical Methods for Population-based Cancer Survival
- Biostatistics/evidence based medicine within the medical program at KI
- 2013, PhD (Medical Sciences), Karolinska Institutet. Title of thesis: Quantifying cancer patient survival; extensions and applications of cure models and life expectancy estimation
- 2007, MSc (Mathematical statistics), Uppsala University.
- 2014 – 2015: Postdoc at the department of medical epidemiology and biostatistics (MEB), KI, working with Keith Humphreys. A project on models for breast cancer tumor growth, micro simulation of the natural history of breast cancer and mammography screening.
- 2015 – 2016: Postdoc at the department of Documentation & Quality, Danish Cancer Society working with Hans Storm and Gerda Engholm. A project on estimation of avoidable cancers in the Nordic countries.
Academic honours, awards and prizes
Docent in Biostatistics at Karolinska Institutet, September 2020