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This Week in BMC Cancer: Feb 20, 2012


This week in BMC Cancer, researchers in China report associations between polymorphisms in the XRCC1 gene and clinical outcomes for lung cancer patients. The team conducted an analysis of the available literature, and found that the Arg194Trp and Arg399Gln polymorphisms in XRCC1 were significantly associated with response to treatment. Further, "patients with C/T genotype, T/T genotype and minor variant T allele at Arg194Trp were more likely to respond to platinum-based chemotherapy compared with those with C/C genotype, the authors write. "For XRCC1 Arg399Gln, G/A genotype, A/A genotype and minor variant A allele were associated with objective response in all patients."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Canada elucidate a possible mechanism of p53 response during the development of retinoblastoma. The team studied human fetal retinas, adult retinas, and retinoblastoma cells, and determined that p14ARF mRNA was disproportionally high in retinoblastoma cells, in relation to p14ARF protein expression. This, the authors write, suggests "a perturbation of p14ARF regulation." They add: "In retinoblastoma cells where high levels of p14ARF mRNA are not accompanied by high p14ARF protein, we found a correlation between miR-24 expression and low p14ARF protein. p14ARF protein levels were restored without change in mRNA abundance upon miR-24 inhibition suggesting that miR-24 could functionally repress expression, effectively blocking p53 tumor surveillance. "

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Germany examine the different functions of MYBBP1A in primary versus recurrent head and neck squamous cells carcinoma tumors. The team examined gene expression from samples derived from a mouse model for oral cancer recurrence, and found several that had differential expression between primary and recurrent tumors. One in particular, MYBBP1A, exhibits reduced protein levels in recurrent tumors compared to primary tumors, the team says. "Interestingly, silencing of MYBBP1A expression in murine SCC7 and in human HNSCC cell lines elicited increased migration but decreased cell growth," they add. "MYBBP1A is an important molecular switch in the regulation of tumor cell proliferation versus migration in HNSCC and it will be a major challenge for the future to proof the concept whether regulation MYBBP1A expression and/or function could serve as a novel option for anti-cancer therapy."

The Scan

Booster Push

New data shows a decline in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy over time, which the New York Times says Pfizer is using to argue its case for a booster, even as the lower efficacy remains high.

With Help from Mr. Fluffington, PurrhD

Cats could make good study animals for genetic research, the University of Missouri's Leslie Lyons tells the Atlantic.

Man Charged With Threatening to Harm Fauci, Collins

The Hill reports that Thomas Patrick Connally, Jr., was charged with making threats against federal officials.

Nature Papers Present Approach to Find Natural Products, Method to ID Cancer Driver Mutations, More

In Nature this week: combination of cryogenic electron microscopy with genome mining helps uncover natural products, driver mutations in cancer, and more.