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This Week in BMC Cancer: Nov 21, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the US and Spain report their characterization of a novel PTEN mutation in a breast cancer cell line. The team evaluated PTEN expression in several human breast carcinoma cell lines and were able to generate a novel mutation in the PTEN gene in the MDA-MB-453 cell line. The mutation alters the gene's sub-cellular distribution and could lead to a predisposition of breast epithelial cells to transform into cancer cells, the authors write. Tumor cells harboring this mutation, they add, may be less susceptible to chemotherapeutic agents.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, a team of South Korean researchers analyze the prognostic significance of systemic inflammation in response to first-line palliative chemotherapy in recurrent or metastatic gastric cancer patients. The team analyzed data from 402 patients with advanced gastric cancer who had received first-line chemotherapy from 2004 to 2009, and found that the presence of a systemic inflammatory response was significantly associated with shorter progression-free survival and overall survival.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the US, Singapore, and China report on clinicopathologic and gene expression parameters that can predict prognosis in patients with liver cancer. The team collected tumor and adjacent healthy liver tissue from 272 patients that received curative surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma. They found that disease prognosis was significantly associated with six clinicopathologic parameters, which partitioned the patients into good and poor prognosis groups, and that gene expression data further divided the patients into sub-groups. "Our predictive genes significantly overlap with previously published gene sets predictive of prognosis," the authors write. "Moreover, the predictive genes were enriched for genes that underwent normal-to-tumor gene network transformation." When applied separately, clinicopathologic parameters and gene expression were similar in their prognostic power, the team adds. But when combined, the two modalities had greatly increased power to predict prognosis.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.