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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Jul 12, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Europe and Canada present findings from a study of biomarkers of clinical benefit for anti-epidermal growth factor receptor agents in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer. Chemotherapy has a minimal impact on long-term survival of patients with non-small-cell lung cancer, but EGFR inhibitors have demonstrated some significant activity in the disease, the authors write. In this paper, the team presents evidence that several molecular biomarkers, such as EGFR mutation status, can be used to select non-small-cell lung cancer patients for anti-EGFR treatments who are most likely to respond.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Norway write that there is an association between glomeruloid microvascular proliferation and lack of response to chemotherapy in breast cancer. Glomeruloid microvascular proliferation has been associated with decreased survival in several human cancers, the authors write. In this study, the team evaluated 112 locally advanced breast cancers and found that the presence of glomeruloid microvascular proliferation "was significantly associated with high-grade tumors and TP53 mutations in addition to the basal-like and HER2 subtypes of breast cancer as defined by gene expression data." It was also associated with lack of treatment response and progressive disease.

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, another set of Norwegian researchers investigates the effect of coffee intake on esophageal cancer. The team followed a total of 389,624 men and women for an average of 14.4 years — in total, 450 squamous oral or esophageal cancers were detected during the follow-up period. "This study does not support an inverse relationship between coffee intake and incidence of cancer in the mouth or esophagus, but cannot exclude a weak inverse relationship," the authors write.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.