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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jan 30, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Mexico report that cancer-initiating cells derived from established cervical cancer cell lines contain stem cell markers and show increased resistance to radiotherapy. After culturing the cells, the researchers examined them for expression of CD34, CD49f, and CD133 antigens. They found that, when injected into mice, the cancer-initiating cells induced the development of tumors in the majority of test animals. "More importantly, gene expression analysis indicated that genes required for radioresistance were also up-regulated, including components of the double-strand break DNA repair machinery and the metabolism of reactive oxygen species," the authors write. "Dose-dependent radiation assay indicated indeed that CICs-enriched populations exhibit an increased resistance to ionizing radiation."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Spain identify a biomarker panel to diagnose colorectal cancer. The team conducted a genomic study of 31 colorectal tumor samples in different stages of disease and 33 non-tumoral samples, and assembled a dataset of about 8,100 probes. After classifying the data to find the most relevant genes, the team singled out seven genes — two of which are directly involved in cancer progression, and in colorectal cancer in particular. "We have developed a tentative model for the diagnosis of colorectal cancer based on a biomarker panel," the authors write. "Our results indicate that the gene profile described herein can discriminate between non-cancerous and cancerous samples with 94.45 [percent] accuracy using different supervised classifiers."

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in the Netherlands report that a patient's age can determine the prognostic utility of a breast cancer stem cell marker, ALDH1. The team analyzed ALDH1 expression data from 574 breast cancer patients, and found a complete lack of it in 40 percent of the tumors. "With increasing age more tumors showed complete absence of ALDH1 expression," the authors write. "In patients aged [more than] 65 years, ALDH1 status was not associated with any clinical outcome. Conversely, in patients aged [less than] 65 years, ALDH1 positivity was an independent risk factor of worse outcome for relapse free period and relative survival."

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.