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This Week in BMC Cancer: Sep 26, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in China report that decreased expression of dual-specificity phosphatase 9 in patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma is associated with poor prognosis for those patients. The team determined the expression of DUSP-9 mRNA in hundreds of paired samples of carcinomas and adjacent normal tissue, and found that the mRNA level of DUSP-9 was significantly lower in tumor tissues than in the adjacent normal tissues. Moreover, patients with lower DUSP-9 expression had shorter overall survival time than those with higher DUSP-9 expression. "DUSP-9 may represent a novel and useful prognostic marker for clear cell renal cell carcinoma," the authors write.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in France and Israel report on a novel phenanthrene-derived PARP inhibitor, which de-clusters extra centrosomes to exclusively eradicate human cancer cells. The cells of most human cancers have too many centrosomes, which can cause aberrant chromosome segregation and prevent normal cell division. Using various methods, the team identified a phenanthrene derived PARP inhibitor, "which exclusively eradicated multi-centrosomal human cancer cells (mammary, colon, lung, pancreas, ovarian) while acting as extra-centrosomes de-clustering agent in mitosis." Normal cells weren't impaired, the team says, adding that this discovery "paves the way for a new selective cancer-targeting therapy, efficient in a wide range of human cancers."

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the UK present results from a series of nested case-control studies on the possible links between exposure to statins and risk of common cancers. The team analyzed data from 88,125 patients with primary cancers diagnosed between 1998 and 2008 and 362,254 matched controls, and found that there is a significantly reduced risk of hematological malignancies with any statin use, and a significantly increased risk of colorectal cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer with prolonged statin use. There were no significant associations with other kinds of cancer, the team adds.

The Scan

Booster Push

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With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.