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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: Feb 28, 2012


In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers from Washington University School of Medicine report the role of sigma-2 ligands in cancer cell death. The team treated EMT-6 mouse breast cancer cells and MDA-MB-435 human melanoma cells with sigma-2 ligands and found that three of these ligands induced DNA fragmentation, activated caspase-3, and caused PARP-1 cleavage. "These data suggest that sigma-2 ligand-induced apoptosis and caspase activation are partially responsible for the cell death," the authors write. "These data suggest that sigma-2 ligands also impair cell-cycle progression in multiple phases of the cell cycle."

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Germany report that loss of PTEN in salivary gland cancer is associated with worse prognosis. The team studied 287 salivary gland carcinoma samples and found hemizygous PTEN deletion in 15.1 percent of the tumors and homozygous PTEN deletion in 7.3 percent of the samples. The deletions were associated with "high-grade malignancy, lymph node metastases and unfavorable long-term prognosis," the authors write. In addition, they found that "loss of PTEN expression … was significantly correlated to genomic PTEN deletion, high-grade malignancy, increased tumor size, lymph node metastases and worse disease-specific survival."

Finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Japan examine FGFR2 gene amplification in gastric cancer. The team analyzed preserved gastric cancer tissue samples and found that amplification of FGFR2 confers hypersensitivity to FGFR inhibition. "Although the difference was not significant, patients with FGFR2 amplification tended to exhibit a shorter overall survival period," the authors write. "Our results strongly encourage the development of FGFR-targeted therapy for gastric cancers with FGFR2 amplification."

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.