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This Week in the British Journal of Cancer: May 25, 2011

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This week in the British Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UK's universities of Aberdeen, Hull, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Stirling present results from a study of modifiable and fixed factors that predict quality of life for colorectal cancer patients. The researchers surveyed 496 such patients, and found that of the fixed factors, being female, having more self-reported co-morbidities, and the number of metastases at diagnosis significantly predicted lower quality of life. Modifiable factors like fatigue, anorexia, and depression were also predictors of poor quality of life and tended to have more impact on quality of life than the unmodifiable factors, the researchers write. "There appears to be potential for interventions to improve quality of life in patients with colorectal cancer," the authors add.

Also in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers led by a team at the Seoul National University College of Medicine in South Korea say that an increase in a breast cancer patient's cancer stem cell population after primary systemic therapy is a poor prognostic factor. The researchers obtained paired samples of breast cancer tissue, before and after primary systemic therapy from clinical stage II or III patients. They found that samples with a higher proportion of CD44+ or CD24- tumor cells after treatment had significantly shorter disease-free survival time than those with no change or a reduced number of cancer stem cells. "The present study provides the clinical evidence that the putative cancer stem cells in breast cancer are chemoresistant and are associated with tumor progression, emphasizing the need for targeting of cancer stem cells in the breast cancer therapeutics," the authors write.

And finally in the British Journal of Cancer this week, researchers in Italy publish a novel, fully human, antitumor immunoRNase that targets ErbB2-positive tumors. "This novel immunoRNase [called Erb-hcAb-Rnase] is endowed with an effective and selective antiproliferative action for ErbB2-positive tumour cells both in vitro and in vivo," the authors write. "Erb-hcAb-RNase could be a promising candidate for the immunotherapy of ErbB2-positive tumors."

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.