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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: May 16, 2011

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In the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in France and Canada evaluate compliance and persistence of use of tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitors in a population-based cohort of 13,479 women with breast cancer. Overall, the researchers write, 18.9 percent of women on aromatase inhibitors discontinued their treatments within the first five years, as compared to 31 percent of women on tamoxifen. Among older women, fewer discontinued treatment with aromatase inhibitors than with tamoxifen. "Among older women, the real-life patterns of use of aromatase inhibitors show high rates of compliance. In younger women, tamoxifen is prematurely discontinued for half of patients," the authors add.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Sweden and at the University of Minnesota say growth differentiation factor 15 can be used as a prognostic marker of recurrence in colorectal cancer. GDF15 has been associated with activation of the p53 pathway in human cancers, the researchers write. The team analyzed GDF15 protein expression in 320 patients with colorectal cancer, and found that patients with moderate to high intensity of GDF15 immunostaining had a higher cancer recurrence rate than patients with no or low GDF15 intensity. "Patients with high plasma levels of GDF15 had statistically shorter time to recurrence and reduced overall survival," the authors write. "Growth differentiation factor 15 serves as a negative prognostic marker in colorectal cancer."

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers at Duke University Medical Center and North Carolina Central University suggest that targeting expression of the GLI1 gene in human inflammatory breast cancer cells enhances apoptosis and attenuates migration of cancer cells. By evaluating a panel of breast cancer cell lines, the researchers found that downregulation of GLI1 expression in the SUM149 and rSUM149 cells lines resulted in decreased proliferation of cancer cells and increased apoptosis. GLI1 suppression also inhibited cell migration, the authors write, which "supports the feasibility of targeting GLI1 as a novel therapeutic strategy for inflammatory breast cancer patients."

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.