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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Feb 7, 2012

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Austria report on the different brain metastasis-free survival times associated with various breast cancer subtypes. The team measured brain metastasis-free survival in 213 breast cancer patients — 46 with luminal breast cancer, 124 with HER2-positive cancer, and 43 with triple-negative cancer. They found that brain metastasis-free survival differed greatly between the subtypes — median survival for triple-negative tumors was 14 months, compared with 18 months for HER2-positive tumors, and 34 months for luminal tumors. These results show that brain metastasis mirror the aggressiveness of the particular subtype, the authors add.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Taiwan report a novel FLT3 kinase inhibitor for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia. The team tested the inhibitor, called BPR1J-097, in vitro and in vivo, and found that it triggered apoptosis in FLT3-driven AML cells and caused tumor growth inhibition and regression in FLT3-driven AML murine xenograft models. "These results indicate that BPR1J-097 is a novel small molecule FLT-3 inhibitor with promising in vivo anti-tumor activities and suggest that BPR1J-097 may be further developed in preclinical and clinical studies as therapeutics in AML treatments," the authors write.

Finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Finland report on the possible role of the NAV3 navigator gene in colorectal cancer. The team analyzed changes in chromosome 12 and NAV3 copy number in tumor samples from 59 colorectal cancer patients and in six colorectal cancer cell lines. They found deletion of NAV3 and chromosome 12 polysomy in 70 percent of microsatellite stability carcinomas, 30 percent of adenomas, and four of the six cancer cell lines. In addition, the team found that NAV3 alterations correlated with lymph node metastasis. "NAV3 copy-number changes are frequent in CRC and in adenomas, and upregulation of IL23R, following NAV3 silencing, strongly correlates with Dukes' staging and lymph node metastases," the authors write. "This suggests that NAV3 has a role in linking tissue inflammation to cancer development in the colon."

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Researchers Retrace Key Mutations in Reassorted H1N1 Swine Flu Virus With Avian-Like Features

Mutations in the acidic polymerase-coding gene boost the pathogenicity and transmissibility of Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses, a PNAS paper finds.

Genome Sequences Reveal Evolutionary History of South America's Canids

An analysis in PNAS of South American canid species' genomes offers a look at their evolutionary history, as well as their relationships and adaptations.

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.