Increased MELK transcript levels in breast cancer are associated with poor patient survival. (a) RNA was isolated from tumour and adjacent normal tissue (n = 11 patients), was reverse transcribed, and MELK and ALAS1 transcript levels were determined using Taqman assays and real-time PCR using a relative standard curve protocol (cDNA from T-47D cells as standard). The MELK/ALAS1 transcript ratio is elevated in tumour tissue. *P = 0.022; paired Student's t test on log-transformed data. Inset: scattergram of data. (b) Kaplan–Meier survival curve showing significantly reduced overall breast-cancer-specific survival in invasive breast cancer with higher MELK expression levels (P = 0.001).