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This Week in BMC Cancer: May 10, 2011


In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the US and Europe present findings from a study on the influence of family size and birth order on cancer risk. The researchers studied more than 5.7 million offspring with identified parents but no parental cancer. They found negative associations for increasing birth order for endometrial, testicular, skin, thyroid and connective tissue cancers and melanoma, but positive associations between birth order and lung, male and female genital cancers. "Family size was associated with decreasing risk for endometrial and testicular cancers, melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma; risk was increased for leukemia and nervous system cancer," the authors write. "Our findings suggest that the effect of birth order decreases from early to late adulthood for lung and endometrial cancer."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, a team of researchers from Belgium and Canada says that glycoprotein CD248 facilitates tumor growth through its cytoplasmic domain. The researchers generated mice lacking the cytoplasmic domain of CD248 and evaluated them in tumor models, compared with wild-type mice. They found that growth of fibrosarcomas and Lewis lung carcinomas was significantly reduced in the CD248 deficient mice, as compared to the wild-type mice. The researchers also observed that the fibroblasts in the altered mice expressed higher transcripts of tumor suppressor factors. "The multiple pathways regulated by the cytoplasmic domain of CD248 highlight its potential as a therapeutic target to treat cancer," the authors write.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Germany explore the loss of aquaporin-4 expression and function in non-small cell lung cancer. Aquaporins have been recognized as promoters of tumor progression and metastasis, the authors write. In analyzing the presence of all aquaporin transcripts in 576 different normal lung and non-small cell lung cancer samples, the team found variable expression of several aquaporins in both the cancer and normal lung samples. "Furthermore, we identified remarkable differences between NSCLC subtypes in regard to AQP1, -3 and -4 expression," the researchers write. "Higher transcript and protein levels of AQP4 in well-differentiated lung adenocarcinomas suggested an association with a more favorable prognosis."

The Scan

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.

Gut Microbiomes Allow Bears to Grow to Similar Sizes Despite Differing Diets

Researchers in Scientific Reports find that the makeup of brown bears' gut microbiomes allows them to reach similar sizes even when feasting on different foods.

Finding Safe Harbor in the Human Genome

In Genome Biology, researchers present a new approach to identify genomic safe harbors where transgenes can be expressed without affecting host cell function.

New Data Point to Nuanced Relationship Between Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder

Lund University researchers in JAMA Psychiatry uncover overlapping genetic liabilities for major depression and bipolar disorder.