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This Week in BMC Cancer: May 21, 2012


In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Japan report on a trial of customized chemotherapy for elderly non-small-cell lung cancer patients based on their EGFR mutation status. The team screened 57 chemotherapy-naïve patients, aged 70 years or older, with confirmed non-small-cell lung cancer — they gave 22 patients with EGFR mutations gefitinib and 32 patients without EGFR mutations vinorelbine or gemcitabine. In patients with EGFR mutations, the response rate to treatment was 45.5 percent, the team writes, compared to 18.8 percent in patients without EGFR mutations. Further, median overall survival was 27.9 months in patients with EGFR mutations and 14.9 months in patients without EGFR mutations. "Treatment customization based on EGFR mutation status deserves consideration, particularly for elderly patients who often cannot receive second-line chemotherapy due to poor organ function or comorbidities," the team adds.

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Denmark report on interactions between interleukin-10 polymorphisms and dietary fiber, and their relation to colorectal cancer risk. The team assessed the functional IL10 polymorphism C-592A and the marker rs3024505 in relation to diet and lifestyle in a nested case-cohort study. They found no associations between the IL10 rs3024505 polymorphism and colorectal cancer risk, but they did find interactions between rs3024505 and dietary fiber — carriers of the homozygous wildtype rs3024505 had a 27 percent reduced risk of developing colorectal cancer with every 10 grams of daily fiber intake. Variant carriers, however, did not have a similar risk reduction. The team also found that those with the IL10 C-592A variant allele eating less than 17 grams a day of fiber had a statistically significantly higher risk of colorectal cancer than those with the homozygous wildtype allele. "We found interaction between IL10 and dietary fiber in CRC carcinogenesis," the authors write. "High intake of fiber seems to protect against CRC among individuals with IL10 related genetic susceptibility to CRC. This finding should be evaluated in other prospective and population-based cohorts with different ethnic groups."

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in India report that the flavonoid chrysin can arrest cell growth in a human melanoma cell line. The team applied chrysin and its analogues to melanoma cell line and found that it causes cell cycle arrest and inhibits HDAC-2 and HDAC-8. "Chrysin shows in vitro anti-cancer activity that is correlated with induction of histone hyperacetylation and possible recruitment of STAT-1, 3, 5 proteins at STAT (-692 to -684) region of p21 promoter," the authors write. "Our results also support an unexpected action of chrysin on the chromatin organization of p21WAF1 promoter through histone methylation and hyper-acetylation."

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.