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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Mar 21, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, a team of researchers in China presents its perspective on the dysregulation of microRNAs in colorectal cancer. The potential utility of microRNAs has been extensively researched and studied, especially in the preclinical stage, the team says. The literature shows that there has been progress made in the discovery of noninvasive plasma and fecal microRNAs for early colorectal cancer diagnosis. MicroRNAs are also being studied as novel prognostic and predictive markers, and their association for colorectal cancer phenotypes. "In conclusion, the use of miRNAs as biomarker for CRC is still in its infancy and need further characterization and evaluation," the authors write.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, an international team of researchers discuss their findings on the morphological predictors of BRCA1 mutations in young women with breast cancer. The team studied a population of 452 Australian women with breast cancer diagnosed before the age of 40, and found that the women's probability of being a BRCA1 mutation carrier increased with a number of selected histology features like trabecular growth pattern and mitotic index over 50 mitoses per 10 high-powered field. In conclusion, the authors write, "Pathology review, with attention to a few specific morphological features of invasive breast cancers, can identify almost all BRCA1 germline mutation carriers among women with early-onset breast cancer without taking into account family history."

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the Netherlands present a KRAS mutation analysis, comparing primary tumors and matched liver metastases in 305 colorectal cancer patients. KRAS mutation is a negative predictor for treatment with anti-epidermal growth factor receptor antibody in metastatic colorectal cancer, the authors write. In studying patients with histologically-confirmed colorectal cancer who underwent surgical resection of the primary tumor or corresponding liver metastasis, the researchers found a "high concordance" of KRAS mutation status between the primary colorectal cancer tumor and the corresponding liver metastasis in 96.4 percent of the study's patients. "In this largest and most homogenous study to date, we conclude that both primary tumors and liver metastases can be used for KRAS mutation analysis," the authors write.

The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.