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This Week in BMC Cancer : Apr 9, 2012

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Reporting on behalf of the SYNCHRONOUS trial group, the University of Heidelberg's Jurgen Weitz and his colleagues present the details of their clinical investigation, in which they aim to assess whether "patients with colon cancer and synchronous unresectable metastases who present without severe symptoms should undergo resection of the primary tumor prior to systemic chemotherapy." In BMC Cancer, the researchers say that eligible patients enrolled in their multicenter, randomized, controlled, superiority trial with a two-group parallel design will undergo resection of the primary tumor as well as systemic chemotherapy, so that they can investigate the safety of both treatment strategies.

In another paper published online in advance in BMC Cancer, investigators at Portugal's University of Coimbra show that oseteosarcoma cells derived from the human MNNG/HOS line "contain a stem-like cell population relatively resistant to conventional chemotherapeutic agents and irradiation." The team isolated such cells with stem-like properties from the MNNG/HOS line using the sphere formation assay, characterizing them according to their self-renewal properties, expression of pluripotency markers, metabolic activity, and tumorigenicity, among other things. Overall, the team says the resistance phenotype it observed in the MNNG/HOS-derived cells with stem-like properties "appears to be related with some stem features, namely the high expression of the drug efflux transporters P-glycoprotein and BCRP and their quiescent nature, which may provide a biological basis for resistance to therapy and recurrence commonly observed in osteosarcoma."

The Scan

Y Chromosome Study Reveals Details on Timing of Human Settlement in Americas

A Y chromosome-based analysis suggests South America may have first been settled more than 18,000 years ago, according to a new PLOS One study.

New Insights Into TP53-Driven Cancer

Researchers examine in Nature how TP53 mutations arise and spark tumor development.

Mapping Single-Cell Genomic, Transcriptomic Landscapes of Colorectal Cancer

In Genome Medicine, researchers present a map of single-cell genomic and transcriptomic landscapes of primary and metastatic colorectal cancer.

Expanded Genetic Testing Uncovers Hereditary Cancer Risk in Significant Subset of Cancer Patients

In Genome Medicine, researchers found pathogenic or likely pathogenic hereditary cancer risk variants in close to 17 percent of the 17,523 patients profiled with expanded germline genetic testing.