Dr Mark Rutherford

Associate Professor of Biostatistics

Mark Rutherford profile

School/Department: Population Health Sciences, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7292



I’m an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Leicester and also hold a visiting scientist position at the Section of Cancer Surveillance International Agency for Research on Cancer. My main areas of interest are in methods for the analysis of population-based registry data.

I have been involved in a number of methodological and applied papers for comparisons of cancer survival metrics; with a focus on developing measures that are intuitive but that retain appropriate fairness when comparing across population groups (e.g. across socioeconomic groups or across countries). A researcher in our group (Sarwar Mozumder) has developed a web-based tool for understanding Cancer Survival measures:

I am also involved in applying and adapting the methods used in cancer epidemiology to other disease areas. I have recently been involved in developing an approach for providing up-to-date estimates of risk from prognostic models. I also collaborate on projects in an RCT and meta-analysis setting; where interest may be in competing risks, multistate modelling or extrapolation of survival functions.


My main research interests are focussed around methods for analysing population-based cancer data including relative survival methodology and applying flexible parametric models to largescale registry data. Within this context I have been involved in a number of applied studies that look to use more intuitive measures of the burden of cancer on life expectancy at an individual level and projects where we assess the population burden of cancer. Some recent methodological work in this area includes setting measures comparing different outcomes for population groups into a causal inference framework when using the relative survival approaches that are common for population-based cancer data. I have also worked on and developed approaches for modelling and projecting cancer incidence and mortality. Some of my recent research has involved applications of relative survival approaches to cardiovascular disease and other disease contexts. Finally I have a broader interest in approaches for extrapolation of survival functions - both in the context of observational data but also in the context RCT data.


Some selected recent papers are given below:

Syriopoulou E. Rutherford M.J. Lambert P.C. "Understanding disparities in cancer prognosis: An extension of mediation analysis to the relative survival framework" (2021) Biometrical Journal 63 (2) pp. 341-353. 10.1002/bimj.201900355

Lambert P.C. Andersson T.M.-L. Rutherford M.J. et al. "Reference-adjusted and standardized all-cause and crude probabilities as an alternative to net survival in population-based cancer studies" (2020) International Journal of Epidemiology 49 (5) pp. 1614-1623. 

Booth S. Riley R.D. Ensor J. Lambert P.C. Rutherford M.J. "Temporal recalibration for improving prognostic model development and risk predictions in settings where survival is improving over time" (2020) International Journal of Epidemiology 49 (4) pp. 1316-1325.

Syriopoulou E. Rutherford M.J. Lambert P.C. "Marginal measures and causal effects using the relative survival framework" (2020) International Journal of Epidemiology 49 (2) pp. 619-628.

Arnold M. Rutherford M.J. et al. "Progress in cancer survival mortality and incidence in seven high-income countries 1995-2014 (ICBP SURVMARK-2): a population-based study" (2019) The Lancet Oncology 20 (11) pp. 1493-1505. 10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30456-5


I am keen to offer supervision of PhD students in a number of areas that align to my research interests which are laid out in fuller detail on the Research tab and Publications tab. In general I supervise student looking at survival analysis methods including extensions to competing risks and multistate models. I am also keen to supervise methodological and applied projects using largescale population based data.


The majority of my teaching is on the MSc in Medical Statistics. I teach on a few sessions for the fundamentals in medical statistics module on a teaching week for the statistical modelling module and a further teaching week in the Epidemiology module. I also supervise summer projects for the MSc Medical Statistics course. Further to this I make other smaller contributions in terms of teaching to undergraduate and postgraduate modules across the College of Life Sciences including further supervision of undergraduate dissertations.

Press and media

My main area of expertise is the calculation and presentation of cancer survival statistics. This includes undertaking and interpreting international comparisons of cancer survival. I have further expertise in approaches for understanding the reasons for differences in cancer survival outcomes seen across countries and population groups within countries (e.g. groups defined by socioeconomic status).


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