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This Week in BMC Cancer: Mar 19, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Brazil report on the efficacy of bevacizumab when added to first-line chemotherapy in the treatment of advanced colorectal cancer. The team conducted a meta-analysis of clinical trials using bevacizumab in first-line metastatic colorectal cancer — six trials and 3,060 patients in total. They found that there was an advantage to using bevacizumab for overall survival and progression-free survival. However, subgroup analyses show that the overall survival advantage of bevacizumab is restricted to irinotecan-based regimens, the team says. "Bevacizumab has efficacy in first-line treatment of advanced colorectal cancer, but the current data are insufficient to support efficacy in all regimens, especially infusional fluorouracil regimens, like FOLFIRI and FOLFOX," they add.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Japan examine the expression of EGFR ligands AREG and EREG, and the correlation of their expression between primary colorectal cancer and corresponding liver metastases. The team evaluated 120 colorectal cancer patients — 100 with synchronous liver metastases and 20 with metachronous liver metastases — and measured their AREG and EREG mRNA expression from both the primary tumor and site of metastasis. "Modest, but significant, correlations were observed between primary tumor and corresponding liver metastases in both AREG mRNA expression and EREG mRNA expression," the team writes. "AREG and EREG mRNA expression was strongly correlated in both the primary tumor and the liver metastases. No significant survival difference was observed between low and high AREG or EREG patients when all 120 patients were analyzed. However, when divided by KRAS status, KRAS wild-type patients with low EREG mRNA levels in the primary site showed significantly better overall survival rates than those with high levels."

And finally in BMC Cancer this week, a team of US researchers report on the survival of patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors. "Inflections in gender ratios by age at diagnosis in years delineated two distinct groups: above and below age 35 at diagnosis," the team writes. "Closer analysis confirmed the above 35 age group as previously reported for adult-type GIST, typified by mixed primary tumor sites and gender, KIT or PDGFRalpha mutations, and shorter survival times. The pediatric group (

The Scan

Booster for At-Risk

The New York Times reports that the US Food and Drug Administration has authorized a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine for people over 65 or at increased risk.

Preprints OK to Mention Again

Nature News reports the Australian Research Council has changed its new policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications.

Hundreds of Millions More to Share

The US plans to purchase and donate 500 million additional SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses, according to the Washington Post.

Nature Papers Examine Molecular Program Differences Influencing Neural Cells, Population History of Polynesia

In Nature this week: changes in molecular program during embryonic development leads to different neural cell types, and more.