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This Week in BMC Cancer: Nov 7, 2011

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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

Comfort of Home

The Guardian reports that AstraZeneca is to run more clinical trials from people's homes with the aim of increasing participant diversity.

Keep Under Control

Genetic technologies are among the tools suggested to manage invasive species and feral animals in Australia, Newsweek says.

Just Make It

The New York Times writes that there is increased interest in applying gene synthesis to even more applications.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on OncoDB, mBodyMap, Genomicus

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database to analyze large cancer datasets, human body microbe database, and more.