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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Dec 13, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the Netherlands analyze the risk of renal cancer and pneumothorax in 35 families with Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome, an autosomal dominant condition caused by mutations in the FLCN gene. The team confirmed a high yield of FLCN mutations in clinically defined BHD families, and found that they carried a substantially increased lifetime risk for renal cancer of 16 percent. The patients also had a 29 percent increased risk for pneumothorax. "The majority of tumors showed characteristics of both eosinophilic variants of clear cell and chromophobe carcinoma," the authors write.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago report their findings that certain gene copy numbers are associated with poor outcome for non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with gefitinib. For this study, the team conducted analyses of PTEN, PIK3CA, EGFR and CEN7 in lung tumor samples from patients treated with gefitinib and found that progression-free survival and overall survival were significantly shorter in patients whose tumors had a low CEN7 copy number, PTEN loss, and PI3KCA gain. These markers "may be useful for identifying NSCLC patients unlikely to benefit from treatment with EGFR (TKIs)," the authors write.

Finally in the British Journal of Cancer , researchers in Canada and Germany write that disease stage in some types of cancer can be a predictor of a patient's post-diagnosis anxiety and depression. The team analyzed data from 3,850 patients and found that female cancer patients reported more anxiety and depressive symptoms than men. In addition, older age was associated with less anxiety and depression, though not for lung cancer. The presence of metastasis caused anxiety and depression in patients with gastrointestinal, lung, and prostate cancer, but not for patients with breast cancer, the team says. Early disease stage was associated with less depression in older prostate cancer patients, while men with early lung cancer suffered less depression than men with advanced disease, or women overall. "As hypothesized, disease stage was directly associated with emotional distress, except for patients with breast cancer," the authors write. "Furthermore, age and gender moderated some of these effects."

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.