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This Week in Cancer Cell: Sep 23, 2011

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In Cancer Cell this week, US researchers, including NCI's Harold Varmus, present a study on lung cancer signatures in plasma, based on proteome profiling of mouse tumor models. The team compared plasma protein profiles of four mouse models of lung cancer with profiles of models of pancreatic, ovarian, colon, prostate, and breast cancer, and two models of inflammation. "A protein signature for Titf1/Nkx2-1, a known lineage-survival oncogene in lung cancer, was found in plasmas of mouse models of lung adenocarcinoma. An EGFR signature was found in plasma of an EGFR mutant model, and a distinct plasma signature related to neuroendocrine development was uncovered in the small-cell lung cancer model," the authors write. These results demonstrate that the protein signatures identified in mouse models have relevance to human lung cancer, they add.

Also in Cancer Cell this week, researchers in the Netherlands and Japan report that mesenchymal stem cells induce resistance to chemotherapy by releasing platinum-induced fatty acids. Endogenous mesenchymal stem cells become activated during treatment with platinum analogs, the team writes. The researchers identified two distinct platinum-induced polyunsaturated fatty acids that can induce resistance to a broad range of chemotherapeutics, even when they are present in minute quantities. "Interestingly, blocking central enzymes involved in the production of these platinum-induced polyunsaturated fatty acids prevents MSC-induced resistance," the authors write. "Our findings show that MSCs are potent mediators of resistance to chemotherapy and reveal targets to enhance chemotherapy efficacy in patients."

And finally in Cancer Cell this week, researchers in Texas and Taiwan report that the BIKDD gene eliminates breast cancer initiating cells, and combines effectively with lapatinib to treat breast cancer. BIKDD is a constitutively active mutant form of pro-apoptotic gene BIK. In this study, the authors show that it effectively induces apoptosis of breast cancer cells. "We developed a cancer-specific targeting approach for breast cancer that selectively expresses BikDD in breast cancer cells including breast cancer initiating cells, and demonstrated its potent antitumor activity and synergism with lapatinib in vitro and in vivo," the authors write.

The Scan

Boosters Chasing Variants

The New York Times reports that an FDA advisory panel is to weigh updated booster vaccines for COVID-19.

Not Yet

The World Health Organization says monkeypox is not yet a global emergency, the Washington Post reports.

More Proposed for Federal Research

Science reports that US House of Representatives panels are seeking to increase federal research funding.

PLOS Papers on Breast Cancer Metastasis, Left-Sided Cardiac Defects, SARS-CoV-2 Monitoring

In PLOS this week: link between breast cancer metastasis and CLIC4, sequencing analysis of left-sided cardiac defects, and more.