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Dr Matthew Murray

Dr Matthew Murray

University Lecturer

Division of Cellular and Molecular Pathology

Honorary Consultant Paediatric Oncologist

Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 765066

Research Interests

Our lab works on the clinical and molecular aspects of solid tumours of childhood, particularly germ cell tumours (GCTs) – of which testicular cancer is the most common form. Our work has established emphasis on the role of non-coding RNAs such as microRNAs, which are short, non-protein-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally and are aberrantly expressed in cancer. We demonstrated for the first time that the miR-371~373 and miR-302/367 clusters are highly over-expressed in all malignant GCTs, regardless of patient age, histological subtype or anatomical site (published in Cancer Research in 2010). This is a specific change, as these microRNAs are not co-ordinately dysregulated in any other malignancy or disease state. We subsequently were the first to demonstrate the potential utility of specific circulating microRNAs for diagnosis, disease-monitoring and detection of relapse in GCTs as well as other childhood tumours.

Our current research has two main overarching themes:

1)  Improving diagnostic and disease-monitoring approaches for solid tumours of childhood

Having demonstrated that levels of microRNAs from the miR-371~373 and miR-302/367 clusters are elevated in the serum at malignant GCT diagnosis and may be tracked during treatment and are sensitive for relapse detection (published in American Journal of Clinical Pathology, Nature Reviews Urology and British Journal of Cancer), we now have serum microRNA outcomes embedded in prospective international clinical trials and are developing the assay for clinical use. We are also identifying serum microRNAs that can be used for risk-stratification and prognosis.


2)  Novel therapeutic approaches in malignant germ cell tumours

Having investigated the effects of restoring levels of under-expressed microRNAs in malignant GCTs, highlighting the importance of the LIN28/let-7 axis (published in Cancer Research), we are now exploring the potential of replenishing other putative tumour-suppressor microRNAs, as well as investigating the consequences of targeting over-expressed microRNAs, in this disease.

Key Publications

  1. Murray MJ, Turnbull C. Testicular Cancer in 2017 - advances in molecular understanding through large-scale sequencing studies. Nature Reviews Urology, 2017, In Press.
  2. Murray MJ, Ward D, Scarpini CG, Coleman N. A circulating microRNA panel for malignant germ cell tumor diagnosis and monitoring. Protocol Chapter. Editor: Aditya Bagrodia and James Amatruda. Title: Testicular Germ Cell Tumors. Methods in Molecular Biology 2017, In Press.
  3. Murray MJ, Watson HL, Ward D, Bailey S, Ferraresso M, Nicholson JC, Gnanapragasam VJ, Thomas B, Scarpini CG, Coleman N. ‘Future-proofing’ blood processing for measurement of circulating microRNAs in samples from biobanks and prospective clinical trials. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, 2017, In Press.
  4. Calaminus G, Frappaz D, Kortmann RD, Krefeld B, Saran F, Pietsch T, Vasiljevic A, Garre ML, Ricardi U, Mann JR, Goebel U, Alapetite C, Murray MJ, Nicholson JC. Outcome of patients with intracranial non-germinomatous germ cell tumors - lessons from the SIOP-CNS-GCT-96 trial. Neuro-Oncology, 2017, 2017 Jul 5. doi: 10.1093/neuonc/nox122. [Epub ahead of print]
  5. Murray MJ, Bailey S, Heinemann K, Mann J, Göbel UK, Saran S, Hale JP, Calaminus C, Nicholson JC. Treatment and outcomes of UK and German patients with relapsed intracranial germ cell tumors following uniform first-line therapy, International Journal of Cancer, 2017;141:621-635.
  6. Bell E, Watson HL, Bailey S, Murray MJ*, Coleman N*. A robust protocol to quantify circulating cancer biomarker microRNAs. Protocol Chapter. Editor: Tamas Dalmay. Title: MicroRNA detection and target identification. Methods in Molecular Biology 2017;1580:265-279 *joint senior authors.
  7. Murray MJ, Huddart RA, Coleman N. The present and future of serum diagnostic tests for testicular malignant germ cell tumours. Nature Reviews Urology, 2016;13:715-725.
  8. Shaikh F, Murray MJ, Amatruda JF, Coleman N,  Nicholson JC, Hale JP, et al. Paediatric extracranial germ cell tumours. Lancet Oncology, 2016;17:e149-62.
  9. Lee CQE, Gardner L, Turco M, Zhao N, Murray MJ, Coleman N, Rossant J, Hemberger M, Moffett A. What is trophoblast? A combination of criteria define human first-trimester trophoblast. Stem Cell Reports, 2016;6:257-72.
  10. Murray MJ*, Bell E*, Raby K, Rijlaarsdam M, Gillis A, Looijenga LH, et al. A pipeline to quantify serum and cerebrospinal fluid microRNAs for diagnosis and detection of relapse in paediatric malignant germ cell tumours. British Journal of Cancer, 2016;114:151-62. *joint first authors
  11. Murray MJ, Bartels U, Nishikawa R, Fangusaro J, Matsutani M, Nicholson JC. Consensus in the management of intracranial germ-cell tumours. Lancet Oncology, 2015;16:e470-7.
  12. Olson TA, Murray MJ, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Nicholson JC, Billmire DF, Krailo MD, et al. Pediatric and Adolescent Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors - The Road to Collaboration. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2015;33:3018-3028.
  13. Frazier AL, Hale JP, Rodriguez-Galindo C, Dang H, Olson T, Murray MJ, et al. Revised Risk Classification for Pediatric Extracranial Germ Cell Tumors Based on 25 Years of Clinical Trial Data from the United Kingdom and United States. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2015;33:195-201.
  14. Murray MJ, Raby KL, Saini HK, Bailey S, Wool SV, Tunnacliffe JM, Enright AJ, Nicholson JC, Coleman N. Solid tumors of childhood display specific serum microRNA profiles. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 2015;24:350-60.
  15. Murray MJ, Nicholson JC, Coleman N. Biology of childhood germ cell tumours, focussing on the significance of microRNAs. Andrology, 2015;3:129-139.
  16. Bailey S, Raby KL, Coleman N, Murray MJ. Serum microRNA screening for DICER1-associated pleuropulmonary blastoma. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 2014;61:2329-30.
  17. Murray MJ, Bailey S, Raby KL, Saini HK, de Kock L, Burke GAA, Foulkes WD, Enright AJ, Coleman N, Tischkowitz MD. Serum levels of mature microRNAs in DICER1-mutated pleuropulmonary blastoma. Oncogenesis, 2014;3:e87.
  18. Collinson K, Murray MJ, Orsi NM,Cummings M, Shipley J, Joffe J, Coleman N, Stark D. Age-related biological features of germ cell tumours. Genes, Chromosomes & Cancer, 2014; 53:215-227.
  19. Murray MJ, Saini HK, Siegler CA, Hanning JE, Barker EM, van Dongen S, et al. LIN28 expression in malignant germ cell tumors downregulates let-7 and increases oncogene levels. Cancer Research, 2013;73:4872-84.
  20. GillisAJM, RijlaarsdamMA, Eini R, Dorssers LCJ, Biermann K, Murray MJ, et al. Targeted Serum miRNA (TSmiR) test for diagnosis and follow-up of (testicular) germ cell cancer patients: a proof of principle. Molecular Oncology, 2013;7:1083-1092.
  21. Witkowski L, Mattina J,  Schönberger S, Murray MJ, et al. DICER1 hotspot mutations in non-epithelial gonadal tumours. British Journal of Cancer, 2013;109:2744-50.
  22. Murray MJ, Coleman N. Testicular cancer: A new generation of biomarkers for malignant germ cell tumours. Nature Reviews Urology, 2012;9:298-300.
  23. Murray MJ, Halsall D, Williams DM, Hook CE, Nicholson JC, Coleman N. Identification of MicroRNAs from the miR-371~373 and miR-302 Clusters as Potential Serum Biomarkers of Malignant Germ Cell Tumors. American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 2011;135:119-125.
  24. Palmer RD*, Murray MJ*C, Saini HK*, van Dongen S, Abreu-Goodger C, Muralidhar B, Pett MR, Thornton C, Nicholson JC, Enright AJ, Coleman N. Malignant Germ Cell Tumors Display Common MicroRNA Profiles Resulting in Global Changes in Expression of Messenger RNA Targets. Cancer Research, 2010;70:2911-23. *joint first authors