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Int Semin Surg Oncol. 2004 Sep 20;1(1):7.

Evaluation of the Taguchi methods for the simultaneous assessment of the effects of multiple variables in the tumour microenvironment.



The control of proliferation, differentiation and survival of normal and malignant cells in the tumour microenvironment is under the control of a wide range of different factors, including cell:cell interactions, cytokines, growth factors and hormonal influences. However, the ways in which these factors interact are poorly understood. In order to compare the effects of multiple variables, experimental design becomes complex and difficult to manage. We have therefore evaluated the use of a novel approach to multifactorial experimental design, the Taguchi methods, to approach this problem.


The Taguchi methods are widely used by quality engineering scientists to compare the effects of multiple variables, together with their interactions, with a simple and manageable experimental design. In order to evaluate these methods, we have used a simple and robust system to compare a traditional experimental design with the Taguchi Methods. The effect of G-CSF, GM-CSF, IL3 and M-CSF on daunorubicin mediated cytotoxicity in K562 cells was measured using the MTT assay.


Both methods demonstrated that the same combination of growth factors at the same concentrations minimised daunorubicin cytotoxicity in this assay.


These findings demonstrate that Taguchi methods may be a valuable tool for the investigation of the interactions of multiple variables in the tumour microenvironment.

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