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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Aug 31, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Sweden say that over-expression of a podocalyxin-like protein is an independent factor of poor prognosis in colorectal cancer. The protein, PODXL, has been associated with an aggressive tumor phenotype and poor prognosis in several cancer types. For this study, the team evaluated PODXL expression in 536 incidences of colorectal cancer, and found that high expression of the protein was significantly associated with unfavorable clinicopathological characteristics, and shorter cancer-specific survival time.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Singapore and Australia present a study on the sequential expression of putative stem cell markers in gastric carcinogenesis. The team investigated the expression of putative stem cell markers CD44, Musashi-1, and CD133 in relation to prognosis and chemoresponse in gastric carcinogenesis, and found that expression of the three markers was significantly elevated in gastric carcinogenesis, relative to normal gastric mucosa. "Precancerous lesions, including intestinal metaplasia and dysplasia, demonstrated increased expression of CD44 and Musashi-1," the authors write. "CD133 was predominantly expressed along the border between intramucosal carcinoma and connective tissue at later stages." In addition, high levels of CD44 and CD133 correlated with worse patient survival.

Finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers from Spain present a study on the prognostic evaluation of neutropenia in seemingly stable adult cancer patients. The team reviewed 861 episodes of febrile neutropenia in outpatients with solid tumors, including 692 patients with clinically stable disease. "We aimed to investigate the prognosis of this latter group and explore the possibility of stratifying it according to the presenting features," the authors write. The team found that the rates of complications and bacteraemia in apparently stable patients were 7.3 percent and 6.2 percent, respectively, and that a few additional variables like ECOG performance status may help predict the clinical course for these patients. "A very simple assessment is useful to classify the patients with febrile neutropenia according to the risk of complications," the team adds.

The Scan

Myotonic Dystrophy Repeat Detected in Family Genome Sequencing Analysis

While sequencing individuals from a multi-generation family, researchers identified a myotonic dystrophy type 2-related short tandem repeat in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

TB Resistance Insights Gleaned From Genome Sequence, Antimicrobial Response Assays

Researchers in PLOS Biology explore M. tuberculosis resistance with a combination of sequencing and assays looking at the minimum inhibitory concentrations of 13 drugs.

Mendelian Disease Genes Prioritized Using Tissue-Specific Expression Clues

Mendelian gene candidates could be flagged for further functional analyses based on tissue-specific transcriptome and proteome profiles, a new Journal of Human Genetics paper says.

Single-Cell Sequencing Points to Embryo Mosaicism

Mosaicism may affect preimplantation genetic tests for aneuploidy, a single-cell sequencing-based analysis of almost three dozen embryos in PLOS Genetics finds.