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This Week in BMC Cancer: Aug 29, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, a group of European researchers reports its results of a study searching for early breast cancer biomarkers by serum protein profiling of serum obtained from patients before the cancer could be diagnosed. The team compared 68 women diagnosed with breast cancer with 68 matched controls for differences in serum protein profiles, and found what are likely to be higher levels of doubly charged apolipoprotein C-I and C3a des-arginine anaphylatoxin in pre-diagnostic breast cancer serum compared to the controls. "We show that serum protein profiles are already altered up to three years before breast cancer detection," the team adds.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, US researchers say that p53 suppresses expression of the 14-3-3gamma oncogene. The 14-3-3 proteins are involved in a wide range of cellular processes, and recent studies show that some of these proteins have oncogenic activity and may promote tumorigenesis. In particular, 14-3-3gamma is over-expressed in human lung cancers. For this study, the team examined 14-3-3gamma expression in non-small-cell lung cancer and found that it is elevated in the majority of these cancers. Furthermore, the expression pattern of 14-3-3gamma is correlated with p53 mutations, suggesting that p53 might suppress 14-3-3gamma expression. "Analysis of the gamma promoter sequence revealed the presence of a p53 consensus binding motif and in vitro assays demonstrated that wild-type p53 bound to this motif when activated by ionizing radiation. Deletion of the p53 binding motif eliminated p53's ability to suppress 14-3-3gamma expression," the authors write. "Hence, we propose that 14-3-3gamma's oncogenic activities cooperate with loss of p53 to promote lung tumorigenesis."

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Germany suggest that bialletic methylation is indicative of poor prognosis and tissue-specific methylation in uveal melanoma, a rare eye tumor. The team performed detailed embryonal Fyn-associated substrate methylation analyses in cultured uveal melanocytes and normal tissues. An analysis of 16 uveal melanomas from a cohort of 262 samples showed full methylation of the EFS CpG island in eight of the samples, partial methylation in three of the samples, and no methylation in five of the samples. "Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed a higher risk of metastatic progression for tumors with EFS methylation," the authors write. "This correlation was confirmed in an independent set of 24 tumors randomly chosen from the same cohort excluding the first set of samples. Notably, only uveal melanomas with EFS methylation gave rise to metastases."

The Scan

Unwrapping Mummies' Faces

LiveScience reports that Parabon NanoLabs researchers have reconstructed how three Egyptian mummies may have looked.

Study on Hold

The Spectrum 10K study has been put on hold due to a backlash, leading the researchers to conduct consultations with the autism community, Nature News reports.

Others Out There Already

Reuters reports that Sanofi is no longer developing an mRNA-based vaccine for SARS-CoV-2.

PNAS Papers on GWAS False Discovery, PRAMEF2 Role in Tumorigenesis, RNA Virus Reverse Genetics

In PNAS this week: strategy to account for GWAS false-discovery rates, role of PRAMEF2 in cancer development, and more.