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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jun 21, 2011


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

Cell Atlas of Human Lung Development Gives View of Developing Airway

Researchers have generated a cell atlas of human lung development, which they report in Cell.

Study Finds Costs of Genome Sequencing May Limit Utility in Routine Care

Researchers report in the European Journal of Human Genetics that genome sequencing for rare disease diagnoses currently has similar benefits as less expensive exome analysis.

Study Suggests Nursing Mother's Diet Can Impact Offspring's Gut Microbiome

A new Cell Host and Microbe paper finds that mice whose mothers were fed a low-fiber diet during nursing experience lasting microbiota dysbiosis and increased obesity.

Study Links Genetic Risk for ADHD With Alzheimer's Disease

A higher polygenic risk score for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is also linked to cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease, a new study in Molecular Psychiatry finds.