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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Oct 11, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the UK and Canada present results from a Phase I trial of VEGF inhibitor cediranib and chemotherapy for the treatment of platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer. The team randomly assigned a group of 60 ovarian cancer patients to receive carboplatin and paclitaxel, with either a placebo, cediranib followed by placebo, or cediranib followed by cediranib for maintenance. The authors conclude that the addition of cediranib to platinum-based chemotherapy is "sufficiently well tolerated," and recommend the trial move on to Phase II testing.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, a team of US researchers writes that microRNAs 21 and 155 are associated with mitotic activity and lesion depth of borderline melanocytic lesions like malignant melanoma. The team analyzed the miRNA expression profile of different melanocytic lesions, and found that primary cutaneous melanomas had an 8.6-fold over-expression of miRNA-21 and a 7.5-fold over-expression of miRNA-155, compared with benign lesions. These miRNAs were also significantly over-expressed within borderline lesions. "MicroRNA expression profiles can be used to characterize atypical melanocytic lesions," the authors write.

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the UK present a study on the suitability of PSA-detected prostate cancers for focal prostatic ablation, an alternative to more aggressive treatment for the management of small prostatic lesions. The team analyzed surgical specimens from 525 men who underwent prostatectomies, and found that only 33 percent had tumors that were potentially suitable for focal therapy. "Criteria used to select patients for focal prostatic ablation underestimated the cancer's significance in 26 percent of men and resulted in overtreatment in more than half," the authors write. "Only 18 percent of men presumed eligible for focal therapy, actually had significant solitary lesions." The team adds, "Focal therapy appears inappropriate for the majority of men presenting with prostate-specific antigen-detected localized prostate cancer."

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.