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This Week in BMC Cancer: Mar 22, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Sweden report their findings on the overexpression of the adaptor protein PINCH in colorectal cancer and its impact on patient survival. The researchers performed immunohistochemical staining on samples from 251 primary adenocarcinomas, 149 adjacent normal mucosa, 57 distant normal mucosa, and 75 lymph node metastases, and found that strong staining for PINCH in adjacent normal mucosa was related to worse survival. "PINCH staining at the tumor invasive margin was related to survival in poorly differentiated tumors but not in better differentiated tumors, indicating that the impact of PINCH on prognosis was dependent on differentiation status," the authors add.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in China have made the discovery that resveratrol protects leukemic cells against cytotoxicity induced by proteasome inhibitors. The team treated leukemic cells with proteasome inhibitor MG132 alone and in combination with resveratrol, and found that resveratrol "strongly reduced" the cytotoxic effects of the inhibitor on the leukemic cells. "MG132 in combination with resveratrol caused cell cycle blockade at G1/S transition via p27Kip1 accumulation. Knockdown of p27Kip1 using siRNA dramatically attenuated the protective effects of resveratrol on cytotoxic actions of proteasome inhibitors against leukemic cells," the authors write. Furthermore, "resveratrol induced FOXO1 expression at the transcriptional level, while MG132 increased nuclear distribution of FOXO1. MG132 in combination with resveratrol caused synergistic induction of p27Kip1 through increased recruitment of FOXO1 on the p27Kip1 promoter."

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, a team of researchers from Germany reports its findings on the correlation between the amplification of the SHOX2 gene and DNA methylation in lung cancer tumors. The researchers found a hypermethylation of the SHOX2 locus in tumor tissue in 96 percent of the 55 samples they tested. "Frequent gene amplification correlated with hypermethylation of the SHOX2 gene locus," the authors write. "This concerted effect qualifies SHOX2 DNA methylation as a biomarker for lung cancer diagnosis, especially when sensitive detection is needed."

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.