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This Week in BMC Cancer: May 30, 2011


In BMC Cancer this week, researchers at the University of Ulsan College of Medicine in South Korea present findings from a retrospective study of systemic chemotherapy for the treatment of advanced small bowel adenocarcinoma. The researchers analyzed data from 91 patients diagnosed with advanced small bowel adenocarcinoma between January 1989 and December 2009, and split the patients into two groups — those who did receive palliative chemotherapy, and those that did not. Overall, 81 patients died at a median survival time of 6.6 months. Of those, 40 patients receiving chemotherapy showed overall response and disease control rates of 11.1 percent and 37 percent, respectively, with overall survival of 11.8 months and progression-free survival of 5.7 months, the researchers write. In comparison, the 41 patients who did not receive chemotherapy had an overall survival rate of 4.1 months and a progression-free survival of 1.3 months. "The group that did not receive chemotherapy was at a significantly higher risk of mortality than were patients receiving chemotherapy," the team says. "Palliative chemotherapy may improve survival outcomes in patients with advanced small bowel adenocarcinoma."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, a team of researchers in France present a study on the prognostic value of the expression of c-chemokine receptors 6 and 7 and their ligands in non-metastatic breast cancer. The researchers evaluated biomarker expression levels on 207 samples of breast cancer tissue, and found that c-chemokine receptor 6 was expressed by tumor cells in 35 percent of the samples, and that receptor 7 was expressed by spindle-shaped stromal cells in 43 percent of the cases, though not by the tumor cells. The expression of the c-chemokine receptors correlated with histological features of aggressive disease, the team writes.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Canada present the prognostic significance of IL-6 and IL-8 ascites levels in ovarian cancer patients. The researchers measured IL-6 and IL-8 levels in the ascites of 39 patients with newly-diagnosed epithelial ovarian cancer, and found that these levels were significantly lower in patients that have received prior chemotherapy before surgery. The analysis also found that high IL-6 ascites levels were significantly correlated with shorter progression-free survival, making these high IL-6 levels an independent predictor of shorter survival time, the authors write.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.