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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jul 11, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Colorado discuss the protocol for the CHOICE study, that aims to determine what effect low-fat and low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets have on biomarkers of long-term survival in breast cancer patients. Weight loss in overweight or obese patients is associated with improved prognosis for long-term survival, but it is not clear if there is a difference between weight-loss plans that could affect a patient's biomarkers, the team writes. The researchers plan to enroll about 370 obese or overweight postmenopausal breast cancer survivors, assign them to one of two weight-loss groups — either a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet or a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet — or the non-intervention control group, and screen them for levels of certain proteins. "While clinical data indicate that excess weight for height is associated with poor prognosis for long-term survival, little attention is paid to weight control in the clinical management of breast cancer. This study will provide information that can be used to answer important patient questions about the effects of dietary pattern and magnitude of weight loss on long term survival following breast cancer treatment," the authors write.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the UK report that the sustained platelet-sparing effect of weekly low-dose paclitaxel allows for effective and tolerable delivery of extended dose-dense weekly carboplatin in platinum resistant, refractory epithelial ovarian cancer. While platinum agents have shown effectiveness in treating patients with platinum-resistant, recurrent ovarian cancer when they are delivered in a dose-dense way, the development of thrombocytopenia limits the administration of carboplatin, the authors write. But when they treated seven patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer with paclitaxel, the researchers were able to increase the dose of carboplatin with no thrombocytopenia. "We conclude that this regimen may be feasible and active, and could be formally developed as a 'platinum-focused dose-dense scaffold' into which targeted therapies that reverse platinum resistance can be incorporated, and merits further evaluation," the team writes.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.