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This Week in BMC Cancer: Jun 25, 2012

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in China report that the tumor suppressor BLU inhibits the proliferation of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells by regulating the cell cycle, the activity of c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and the function of the cyclin D1 promoter. "BLU inhibits clonogenic growth of nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells, arrests cell cycle at G1 phase, downregulates JNK and cyclin D1 promoter activities, and inhibits phosphorylation of c-Jun," the authors write. All of the functions allow BLU to exert tumor-suppressive effects on cancer cells, they add.

Also in BMC Cancer, US researchers report that an S100 family protein called hornerin is aberrantly expressed in breast cancer cells. The team studied human breast tissue, breast tumor biopsies, primary breast cells, and breast cancer cell lines, as well as murine mammary tissue, and determined that hornerin is expressed in breast epithelial cells, stromal fibroblasts, and macrophages. Further, they note that hornerin expression is decreased in invasive ductal carcinomas. "Cellular expression of hornerin is altered during induction of apoptosis," the authors write. "Our data opens new possibilities for hornerin and its proteolytic fragments in the control of mammary cell function and breast cancer."

And in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Japan report on circulating endothelial cells and other angiogenesis factors in patients with pancreatic carcinoma who receive gemcitabine chemotherapy. The team measured CEC levels in cancer patients and healthy controls and found that CECs were present in significantly higher levels in the cancer patients than in the controls. In addition, these elevated CEC levels were associated with decreased overall and progression-free survival and higher levels of VEGF, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10. "Several chemokines and proangiogenic factors promote the release of CEC, and the levels of CEC may be a useful prognostic marker in pancreatic carcinoma patients undergoing gemcitabine-based chemotherapy," the team adds.

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.