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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jan 16, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, a team of researchers in China compare the usefulness of serum golgi protein 73 and alpha-fetoprotein as biomarkers for hepatocellular carcinoma. The team conducted a review of the available literature, and found that GP73 and AFP were of comparable accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity in diagnosing hepatocellular carcinoma. However, the researchers add, more study is needed to determine the diagnostic utility of GP73 in combination with AFP.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in France assess the variability in the prognostic value of methylation status in colon cancer. The team analyzed paired samples of matched cryo-preserved and FFPE samples from 40 colon cancers, and found that frozen samples gave reliable methylation levels, whereas FFPE samples gave more random methylation results. "The use of FFPE collections to assess DNA methylation by bisulfite methods must not be recommended," the team writes. "This can partly explain the conflicting results on the prognosis of [CpG island methylator phenotype] colon cancers."

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles report a pilot study of transarterial chemoembolization with or without intravenous bevacizumab for the treatment of liver cancer. TACE has been shown to stimulate VEGF in hepatocellular carcinoma, and may contribute to tumor re-growth, the team writes. For this study, the team randomly assigned 30 liver cancer patients undergoing TACE to receive either bevacizumab or placebo. Progression-free survival at 16 weeks of treatment was higher in the bevacizumab arm compared to the control group. "Bevacizumab attenuated the increase in VEGF observed post-TACE," the authors write. "IV bevacizumab was well tolerated in selected HCC subjects undergoing TACE, and appeared to diminish neovessel formation at week 14."

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.