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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

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.