Yngvar Nilssen

Yngvar Nilssen has worked at the Cancer Registry of Norway since the autumn 2012, and up until September 2017, except for his period as a PhD-student, he has been employed as a statistician at the Department of Registration. From the autumn 2017 Nilssen has been in a split position: 75% postdoc on the project “Evaluation of cancer patient pathways in Norway” and 25% statistician for the national quality register for lung cancer.

Nilssen has a great interest in data analysis and statistical modelling. Through a stay abroad during his time as a phd-student, Nilssen established a collaboration with the Research Division at Cancer Council NSW, Australia.


Nilssen became a civil engineer in physics and mathematics from NTNU in Trondheim spring 2011 after submitting the following master “Survival Analysis using Integrated Nested Laplace Approximations: A Case Study of House Sparrows from Aldra”.

After working as a statistician at the Cancer Registry of Norway for a year, Nilssen started his PhD in 2013, and in 2016, he submitted his thesis to the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, entitled «A population-based study of lung cancer in Norway – the importance of resection rate and factors associated with treatment and survival».


Evalation of cancer patient pathways in Norway

Through the implementation of standardized cancer pathways in Norway in 2015, the Directorate of Health aimed for a well-organized, coherent and a predictable pathway for patients, without unnecessary non-medically justified delays related to assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. The patient pathways is intended to result in predictable paths and safety for patients and their relatives. This project evaluates the implementation of patient pathways by looking at both inclusion into a package, the pathway itself, and various outcomes.

The project links data from the Cancer Registry of Norway, Statistics Norway and the Norwegian Patient Register. By linking these data sources, we want to explore the following:

-          Is there a selection in which patients are included in a standardized pathway?

-          Are waiting times different for patients inside vs outside the package?

-          Have waiting times been reduced?

-          Are there socioeconomic differences with regards to waiting times?

-          Has the implementation of cancer pathways led to a more similar healthcare in Norway, independent of where the patient lives?

-          Have there been any changes in prognosis in general or after surgery?


INEC – Safety and feasibility of irradiation and nivolumab in esophageal cancer - A phase I/II trial

In this project we want to study the safety and feasibility of addition of a PD-1 inhibitory antibody (Nivolumab) to the standard therapy in three different cohorts of patients with esophageal cancer, i.e. one cohort with palliative intention and two cohorts of curative intended treatment. This project seeks to evaluate the incorporation of PD-1 blocking therapy in standard treatment regimens for these patients, and monitor adverse events.

Selected publications

Robsahm TE, Helsing P, Nilssen Y, Vos L, Rizvi SMH, Akslen LA, Veierød MB (2018)
High mortality due to cutaneous melanoma in Norway: a study of prognostic factors in a nationwide cancer registry
Clin Epidemiol, 10, 537-548
PubMed 29780262
Skyrud KD, Bray F, Eriksen MT, Nilssen Y, Møller B (2016)
Regional variations in cancer survival: Impact of tumour stage, socioeconomic status, comorbidity and type of treatment in Norway
Int J Cancer, 138 (9), 2190-200
PubMed 26679150
Nilssen Y, Strand TE, Fjellbirkeland L, Bartnes K, Møller B (2015)
Lung cancer survival in Norway, 1997-2011: from nihilism to optimism
Eur Respir J, 47 (1), 275-87
PubMed 26541525
Nilssen Y, Strand TE, Fjellbirkeland L, Bartnes K, Brustugun OT, O'Connell DL, Yu XQ, Møller B (2015)
Lung cancer treatment is influenced by income, education, age and place of residence in a country with universal health coverage
Int J Cancer, 138 (6), 1350-60
PubMed 26421593
Nilssen Y, Strand TE, Wiik R, Bakken IJ, Yu XQ, O'Connell DL, Møller B (2014)
Utilizing national patient-register data to control for comorbidity in prognostic studies
Clin Epidemiol, 6, 395-404
PubMed 25368532
Fosså SD, Nilssen Y, Kvåle R, Hernes E, Axcrona K, Møller B (2013)
Treatment and 5-year survival in patients with nonmetastatic prostate cancer: the Norwegian experience
Urology, 83 (1), 146-52
PubMed 24238563