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This Week in BMC Cancer: Nov 7, 2011


In BMC Cancer this week, UK researchers report their findings from an analysis of HPV from non-cervical sites of women with abnormal cervical cytology. The team took swabs from the oro-pharyngeal, anal, and cervical sites of 100 non-HIV-positive women with abnormal cervical cytology and analyzed HPV expression. They found a high prevalence of HPV in all three sites — 96 percent at the cervix, 91.4 percent at the anus, and 92.4 percent at the oro-pharynx — and multiple HPV subtypes at all three sites. "HPV 16 infection was highly dominant across all mucosal sites, with over a 2-fold increase over the next most prevalent subtype (HPV 31)," the authors write. "Women with abnormal smears have widespread infection with high-risk HPV at the cervical, anal and oro-pharyngeal mucosal sites and may represent a higher risk population for HPV disease in the future."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Italy write that over-expression of the polycomb transcription factor Yin Yang 1 in osteosarcoma patients is associated with poor clinical outcome. The team studied the YY1 expression of 41 osteosarcoma patients, and found that over-expression was predictive of both low metastasis-free survival and poor overall survival, regardless of age, gender, and disease histology. "No statistical difference was found in histology, anatomic sites, or response to chemotherapy between the two degrees of YY1 expression," the authors write. "Over-expression of YY1 in primary site of osteosarcoma is associated with the occurrence of metastasis and poor clinical outcome."

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, a team of US researchers reports that a vitamin E analog can enhance the anti-tumor activity of trastuzumab in HER2-positive breast cancers. The team studied the effects of vitamin E analog alpha-tocopheryloxyacetic acid combined with HER2-specific antibody treatment on HER2-positive breast cancer cells in vitro and a human xenograft tumor model in vivo. They found in vitro that alpha-TEA combined with an anti-HER2 antibody has an increased cytotoxic effect against mammary tumor cells. "More importantly," the authors write, "in a human breast cancer xenograft model, the combination of alpha-TEA plus trastuzumab resulted in faster tumor regression and more tumor-free animals than trastuzumab alone."

The Scan

Sick Newborns Selected for WGS With Automated Pipeline

Researchers successfully prioritized infants with potential Mendelian conditions for whole-genome sequencing or rapid whole-genome sequencing, as they report in Genome Medicine.

Acne-Linked Loci Found Through GWAS Meta-Analysis

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics find new and known acne vulgaris risk loci with a genome-wide association study and meta-analysis, highlighting hair follicle- and metabolic disease-related genes.

Retina Cell Loss Reversed by Prime Editing in Mouse Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa

A team from China turns to prime editing to correct a retinitis pigmentosa-causing mutation in the PDE6b gene in a mouse model of the progressive photoreceptor loss condition in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

CRISPR Screens Reveal Heart Attack-Linked Gene

Researchers in PLOS Genetics have used CRISPR screens to home in on variants associated with coronary artery disease that affect vascular endothelial function.