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This Week in BMC Cancer: May 24, 2011

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This week in BMC Cancer, researchers in China say that attenuated expression of the histamine receptor H4 in colorectal carcinoma may be a potential influence on tumor growth and progression. The researchers aimed to evaluate the clinical and molecular phenotypes of colorectal tumors with abnormal HRH4 expression, and found that HRH4 over-expression caused growth arrest and induced expression of cell-cycle proteins in colorectal cancer cells. "The results from the current study supported previous findings of HRH4 abnormalities in colorectal cancers," the authors write. "These findings suggested a potential role of abnormal HRH4 expression in the progression of colorectal cancers and provided some new clues for the application of HRH4-specific agonist or antagonist in the molecular therapy of colorectal cancers."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers at the University of Washington present findings from a study showing mitochondrial-targeted catalase suppresses invasive breast cancer in mice. Mice in the PyMT model of breast cancer metastasis expressing the catalase had a 12.5 percent incidence of high histological-grade primary tumor invasiveness compared to a 62.5 percent incidence in PyMT mice without the catalase, the authors write. "Targeting catalase within mitochondria of tumor cells and tumor stromal cells suppresses reactive oxygen species-driven tumor progression and metastasis. Therefore, increasing the antioxidant capacity of the mitochondrial compartment could be a rational therapeutic approach for invasive breast cancer," they add.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers at the China Medical University in Shenyang say down-regulation of the NKD1 protein in non-small-cell lung cancer increases the disease's invasive potential and is associated with poor prognosis. Through studying samples of normal lung tissue and tissue from cancer patients, the researchers found that 79 percent of 35 fresh lung cancer tissues exhibited lower levels of NKD1 than their corresponding normal tissues. In 100 samples of non-small-cell lung cancer tissues, 78 percent showed significantly lower expression of NKD1 when compared to normal specimens. "The reduced NKD1 expression was correlated with histological type, poor differentiation, lymph node metastasis, and poor survival," the authors write.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.