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This Week in BMC Cancer: Apr 26, 2011

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In BMC Cancer this week, researchers in China present findings from a study of promoter methylation and PIK3CA amplification in non-small cell lung cancer. The researchers observed "highly frequent" promoter methylation and frequent amplification of PIK3CA in non-small cell lung cancer, the latter of which was associated with certain clinicopathologic features likes smoking history, histological type, and pleural indentation. "Importantly, aberrant promoter methylation of certain genes was significantly associated with PIK3CA amplification," the researchers write, "… suggesting that these epigenetic events may be a consequence of overactivation of PI3K/Akt pathway."

Also in BMC Cancer this week, researchers in Indiana say docosahexaenoic acid and curcumin in combination can have antiproliferative effects across multiple breast cancer cell lines, and can trigger cell signaling events no predicted by the activity of either compound alone. Genes involved in cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, inhibition of metastasis, and cell adhesion were upregulated and genes involved in cancer development and progression, metastasis, and cell cycle progression were downregulated in the breast cancer cells when the two compounds were administered in combination. "The combination of DHA and CCM is potentially a dietary supplemental treatment for some breast cancers, likely dependent upon molecular phenotype," the researchers write. "Transcriptomic data show that the antiproliferation synergy accompanies many signaling events unique to the combined presence of the two compounds."

Finally in BMC Cancer this week, another group of researchers in China say isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate inhibits tumor growth and metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma in nude mice. The isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell apoptosis of three different hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines, and also significantly suppressed cell adhesion, migration, and invasion of cell line HCCLM3 in vitro, the researchers write. "[Isomalto oligosaccharide sulfate] is a potential anti-HCC candidate through inhibition of ERK and JNK signaling independent of p53 and worth studying further in patients with HCC, especially at advanced stages," they add.

The Scan

UK Pilot Study Suggests Digital Pathway May Expand BRCA Testing in Breast Cancer

A randomized pilot study in the Journal of Medical Genetics points to similar outcomes for breast cancer patients receiving germline BRCA testing through fully digital or partially digital testing pathways.

Survey Sees Genetic Literacy on the Rise, Though Further Education Needed

Survey participants appear to have higher genetic familiarity, knowledge, and skills compared to 2013, though 'room for improvement' remains, an AJHG paper finds.

Study Reveals Molecular, Clinical Features in Colorectal Cancer Cases Involving Multiple Primary Tumors

Researchers compare mismatch repair, microsatellite instability, and tumor mutation burden patterns in synchronous multiple- or single primary colorectal cancers.

FarGen Phase One Sequences Exomes of Nearly 500 From Faroe Islands

The analysis in the European Journal of Human Genetics finds few rare variants and limited geographic structure among Faroese individuals.