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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: May 1, 2012


In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in the Netherlands report on the association between matrix metalloproteinases MMP-2 and MMP-9 in normal mucosa and outcome in colorectal cancer patients. The team analyzed MMP-2 and MMP-9 levels in normal colorectal mucosa from colorectal cancer patients and found that a high protein expression of either one in the normal mucosa was correlated with worse five-year survival. Further, the authors write, "the combination of both parameters was an even stronger prognostic factor."

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Canada report on mitochondrial mutations in the D310 genomic region and their role in the early development of breast cancer. The team genotyped the D310 sequence from neoplastic epithelial cells of 23 patients with both ductal carcinoma in situ and invasive ductal carcinoma, 26 patients with invasive ductal carcinoma only, and 29 patients with ductal carcinoma in situ only. They found that 68.4 percent of ductal carcinoma in situ and 71.4 percent of invasive ductal carcinoma lesions harbor D310 mutations, compared with normal controls, and more frequently identified specific D310 sequences in tumor samples than in normal samples. "Although D310 alterations do not seem to be related to DCIS progression, they were found in histologically normal cells adjacent to tumor," the authors write. "This suggests a field of genetically altered cells, thus D310 mutations could represent a potential marker for the clonal expansion of premalignant breast cancer cells."

Finally in the British Journal of Cancer, a second team of researchers in the Netherlands report their finding that the CXC chemokine receptor 7 is associated with poor disease-free and disease-specific survival in cervical cancer patients. The team determined whether CXCR7, EGFR, CXCR4, or CXCL12 were expressed in 103 cervical cancer samples, and found that CXCR7 was expressed in 43 percent of the specimens, usually along with either EGFR or CXCR4, or both. Further, the team says, CXCR7 expression was associated with tumor size and lymph node metastasis, independently associated with disease-free survival, and strongly associated with disease-specific survival. "CXC chemokine receptor 7 expression predicts poor disease-free and disease-specific survival in cervical cancer patients, and might be a promising new therapeutic marker," the authors write. "In a large majority of cases, CXCR7 is co-expressed with CXCR4 and/or EGFR, supporting the hypothesis that these receptors assist in CXCR7 signal transduction."

The Scan

Rare Genetic Disease Partnership

A public-private partnership plans to speed the development of gene therapies for rare genetic diseases, Stat News writes.

Approval Sought for Alzheimer's Drug

The Wall Street Journal reports Eli Lilly has initiated a rolling submission to the US Food and Drug Administration to seek approval for its drug to treat Alzheimer's disease.

DNA Barcoding Paper Retracted

Science reports that a 2014 DNA barcoding paper was retracted after a co-author brought up data validity concerns.

Nature Papers Present Genomic Analysis of Bronze Age Mummies, Approach to Study Host-Pathogen Interactions

In Nature this week: analysis finds Tarim mummies had local genetic origin, and more.