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A Markov model approach shows a large variation in the length of S phase in MCF-7 breast cancer cells

  • Sara Larsson
  • Maria C Johansson
  • Stina Oredsson
  • Ulla Holst
Publishing year: 2005
Language: English
Pages: 15-25
Publication/Series: Cytometry Part A
Volume: 65A
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Abstract english

Background: The potential doubling time of a tumor has been suggested to be a measurement of tumor aggressiveness; therefore, it is of interest to find reliable methods to estimate this time. Because of variability in length of the various cell cycle phases, stochastic modeling of the cell cycle might be a suitable approach. Methods: The relative movement curve and the DNA synthesis time were estimated by using local polynomial regression methods. Further, the rate of nucleotide incorporation was estimated by using a Markov pure birth process with one absorbing state to model the progression of the DNA distribution through S phase. Results: An estimate of the DNA synthesis time, with confidence intervals, was obtained from the relative movement curve. The Markov approach provided an estimate of the distribution of the time to complete S phase given the initial distribution. Using the Markov approach we also made an estimate of the mean number of active replicons during S phase. Conclusions: A Markov pure birth process has shown to be useful to model the progression of cells through S phase and to increase knowledge about the variability in the length of S phase and a large variation is shown.


  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Markov pure birth process
  • flow cytometry
  • movement
  • relative
  • DNA synthesis time
  • cell cycle kinetics
  • bromodeoxyuridine
  • local polynomial
  • regression


  • ISSN: 1552-4930
Stina Oredsson
E-mail: stina [dot] oredsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Functional zoology

+46 46 222 94 97



Principal investigator

LUCC - Lund University Cancer Centre

Research group

Animal Physiology


Cell proliferation

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD Students, main supervisor

Wendy Soria Sotillo

PhD Students, assistant supervisor

Atena Malakpour Permlid