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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jan 9, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Brazil and California report a study on the impact of NOTCH-1 mutations in pediatric T-cell leukemia. The team assessed the effects of mutations in several genes on overall survival and event-free survival in pediatric T-cell leukemia patients, and found 43.5 percent of the cases tested had NOTCH-1 mutations. NOTCH-1 mutation status was not associated with outcome, the authors write, but the presence of complex NOTCH-1 mutations was associated with longer overall survival compared with point mutations.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Germany assess the utility of nucleosomes and serum biomarkers as prognostic indicators in patients with metastasized colorectal cancer undergoing selective internal radiation therapy, or SIRT. The team took blood samples from 49 colorectal cancer patients with extensive liver metastases, both before and after SIRT, and found that pretherapeutical levels of CYFRA 21-1, carcinoembryonic antigen, cancer antigen 19-9, asparate-aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase as well as nucleosome levels 24 hours after SIRT were significantly higher in patients whose disease progressed compared to patients whose disease had not progressed. "Panels of biochemical markers are helpful to stratify pretherapeutically colorectal cancer patients for SIR-therapy and to early estimate the response to SIR-therapy," the authors write.

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in China examine the TERT rs2736100 polymorphism and its impact on cancer risk. The team conducted a search of the literature for publications on TERT rs2736100, and found a significant association between the polymorphism and cancer susceptibility in a meta-analysis of 25 case-control studies. "In all genetic models, the association between the TERT rs2736100 polymorphism and cancer risk was significant," the authors write. "This meta-analysis suggests that the TERT rs2736100 polymorphism may be a risk factor for cancer. Further functional studies between this polymorphism and cancer risk are warranted."