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This Week in BMC Cancer: Mar 5, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Sweden and Finland report that DYX1C1, the dyslexia candidate gene, may serve as a prognostic marker in patients with breast cancer. DYX1C1 has been shown to regulate and interact with estrogen receptors, the researchers write. For this study, the team assessed the gene's mRNA expression in three patient cohorts, and found that DYX1C1 mRNA is significantly more highly expressed in breast tumor classified as ER-alpha and PR-positive. "The expression of DYX1C1 among the molecular subtypes shows the lowest median expression within the basal type tumors, which are considered to have the worst prognosis," the team says. "Positive protein expression was significantly correlated to overall survival of the patients but not to any of the variables linked with mRNA expression."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, describe their isolation and genomic analysis of circulating tumor cells from castration-resistant metastatic prostate cancer. The team developed a novel method for isolating CTCs from hematopoietic cells, using immunomagnetic enrichment followed by fluorescence activated cell sorting. Of 20 patients assayed, 12 were found to be positive to CTCs. Of those 12, nine patients' CTCs had multiple copy-number aberrations, the researchers say. "Our assay may be utilized to explore genomic events involved in cancer progression, e.g. development of castration resistance and to monitor therapeutic efficacy of targeted therapies in clinical trials in a relatively non-invasive manner," they add.

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Austria present a retrospective study of the ADAM8 gene in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The team assessed ADAM8 levels in the serum of head and neck cancer patients at the time of diagnosis, three months after treatment, and one year after treatment, and found that patients with high ADAM8 expression in the tumor have "the worst survival rates." This suggests, the team adds, that ADAM8 expression is a useful prognostic factor for survival in patients with head and neck cancers.

The Scan

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.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.