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This Week in BMC Cancer: Apr 2, 2012

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In a paper published online in advance in BMC Cancer this week, investigators at the Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg in Germany present their analysis of the mRNA expression levels of different osteopontin splice variants in tumor samples from 124 soft tissue sarcoma patients. When the researchers applied a multivariate Cox's proportional hazard regression model, they found that high mRNA expression levels of osteopontin splice variants "are significantly associated with poor prognosis in STS [soft tissue sarcoma] patients." Further, the researchers found that "high mRNA expression levels of OPN [osteopontin]-b and OPN-c correlated with a high risk of tumor-related death in STS patients that received radiotherapy," they write.

Elsewhere in the journal, researchers at China's Sun Yat-sen University show that "expression of the phosphorylated MEK5 protein is associated with TNM [tumor, node, metastasis] staging of colorectal cancer," or CRC. Specifically, the Sun Yat-sen team shows in a Western blotting analysis involving 19 cases of primary CRC lesions paired with normal mucosa that "overexpression of pMEK5 in CRC tissues was significantly correlated to the depth of invasion, lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis, and high preoperative CEA [carcinoembryonic] antigen level." Overall, the authors say that "pMEK5 expression is correlated with the staging of CRC, and its expression might be helpful to the TNM staging system of CRC."

The Scan

Study Reveals New Details About Genetics of Major Cause of Female Infertility

Researchers in Nature Medicine conducted a whole-exome sequencing study of mote than a thousand patients with premature ovarian insufficiency.

Circulating Tumor DNA Shows Potential as Biomarker in Rare Childhood Cancer

A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology has found that circulating tumor DNA levels in rhabdomyosarcoma may serve as a biomarker for prognosis.

Study Recommends Cancer Screening for Dogs Beginning Age Seven, Depending on Breed

PetDx researchers report in PLOS One that annual cancer screening for dogs should begin by age seven.

White-Tailed Deer Harbor SARS-CoV-2 Variants No Longer Infecting Humans, Study Finds

A new study in PNAS has found that white-tailed deer could act as a reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 variants no longer found among humans.