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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jun 21, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the US and Mexico say expression of the phosphorylated Raf kinase inhibitor protein in lung cancer patients could be a predictor of survival. The researchers examined the expression levels of both the Raf-1 kinase inhibitor protein and the phosphorylated Raf kinase inhibitor protein in human lung cancer tissue samples, and found that total RKIP and pRKIP expression levels were similar in normal and cancerous tissues, with pRKIP levels slightly decreased in metastatic lesions. However, the team writes, the expression levels of pRKIP "displayed significant predictive power for outcome with normal expression of phospho-RKIP predicting a more favorable survival compared to lower levels," especially in patients with early-stage lung cancer.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in China and Colorado examine the therapeutic potential of cladribine in combination with a STAT3 inhibitor in the treatment of multiple myeloma. In examining the combination therapy on multiple myeloma cell lines, the researchers found that cladribine inhibited cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, although the three cell lines tested all reacted differently to the compound. The combination of cladribine and a STAT3 inhibitor, though, induced apoptosis in all three multiple myeloma cell lines. "Our data suggest that multiple myeloma patients with the features of MM1.S cells may particularly benefit from cladribine monotherapy, whereas cladribine in combination with STAT3 inhibitor exerts a broader therapeutic potential against multiple myeloma," the authors write.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, a team of Canadian researchers presents findings on a study of the clinical relevance of DNA microarray analyses that use archival formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded breast cancer samples. The team performed a modified RNA extraction method and a recently developed DNA microarray technique — cDNA-mediated annealing, selection, extension, and ligation from Illumina — and compared the gene profiles generated from FFPE samples to those generated from fresh needle biopsy samples. They found that although RNA isolated from FFPE samples was relatively more degraded than that isolated from biopsy samples, more than 80 percent of the samples were considered suitable for assay. Despite a higher noise level, genes obtained from FFPE samples correlated with genes obtained from fresh samples, and could differentiate breast cancer subtypes. "FFPE specimens retained important prognostic information that could be identified using a recent gene profiling technology. Our study supports the use of FFPE specimens for the development and refinement of prognostic gene signatures for breast cancer," the authors write.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.