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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jan 4, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Germany report their study of the associations between human chorionic gonadotropin and grade, stage, and patient survival in ovarian cancer. The team gathered data from patients diagnosed and treated for ovarian tumors, and measured their serum hCG concentration. More than 26 percent of the patients with benign tumors and 67 percent of patients with malignant tumors were found to have hCG-positive sera, with significantly higher concentrations found in patients with malignant tumors. "Serum human gonadotropin levels differ in patients with benign and malignant ovarian tumors," the authors write. "HCG is often expressed in ovarian cancer tissue with a certain variable relation to grade and stage. HCG expression correlates with LH-R expression in ovarian cancer tissue, which has previously been shown to be of prognostic value. Both the hormone and its receptor, may therefore serve as targets for new cancer therapies."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Japan write that the down-regulation of the SAV1 gene plays a role in the development of high-grade clear cell renal cell carcinoma. The team analyzed the gene expression of SAV1 in eight renal cell carcinoma cell lines, and found it to be frequently down-regulated in high-grade clear cell renal cell carcinoma. In addition, when the team reintroduced SAV1 to one of these cell lines, colony-forming activity of the cancer cells was significantly reduced. As SAV1 is located in the Hippo pathway, the authors write, this study offers evidence that Hippo signaling could prove to be an effective therapeutic target for this disease.

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Norway and China write that the knock down of certain neuronal elements in glioblastoma cells sensitizes them to treatment with radiotherapy and temozolomide. The team investigated the expressions of class III beta-tubulin, neurofilament protein, microtubule-associated protein 2, and neuron-specific enolase in five GBM cell lines and two GBM biopsies. They found that all of these markers except NFP were expressed in the cell lines and biopsies, and further found that NSE was up-regulated in cellular stress conditions. "NSE knockdown reduced the migration of glioma cells, sensitized them to hypoxia, radio- and chemotherapy," the authors write. "Furthermore, we found that GBM patients in the group with the highest NSE expression lived significantly shorter than patients in the low-expression group."

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.