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This Week in Cancer Research: Sep 30, 2011

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In Cancer Research this week, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, report that microRNA-708 induces apoptosis and suppresses tumorigenicity in renal cancer cells. MiR-708 is part of a family of miRNAs that has been implicated in stress control. The researchers analyzed the expression of miR-708 in human renal cancer cell samples, and found that restoration of miR-708 expression in the cells caused a decrease in cell growth, cell invasion, and migration, and significantly increased apoptosis. "Moreover, intratumoral delivery of miR-708 was sufficient to trigger in vivo regression of established tumors in murine xenograft models of human RCC," the authors write. "Taken together, our findings define a major tumor suppressive role for miR-708, which may offer an attractive new target for prognostic and therapeutic intervention in RCC."

Also in Cancer Research this week, researchers in the US show that protein Wnt5a suppresses epithelial ovarian cancer by promoting cancer cell aging. In their study, the researchers show that Wnt5a is expressed at significantly lower levels in human epithelial ovarian cancer cells compared with normal ovarian surface epithelium or fallopian tube epithelium. "Notably, a lower level of Wnt5a expression correlates with tumor stage and predicts shorter overall survival in epithelial ovarian cancer patients," the authors write. "Significantly, restoration of Wnt5a expression inhibits the proliferation of human epithelial ovarian cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo in an orthotopic mouse model." The protein promotes senescence in the cancer cells, and could be used to drive senescence in cancer cells as part of a therapeutic strategy, the team adds.

And finally in Cancer Research this week, an international team of researchers associates common breast cancer susceptibility loci with triple-negative breast cancer. The team analyzed data from 2,980 Caucasian women with triple-negative breast cancer, as well as from 4,978 healthy controls, and identified six SNPs significantly associated with disease risk. "Together, our results provide convincing evidence of genetic susceptibility for triple-negative breast cancer," the team writes.

The Scan

Researchers Compare WGS, Exome Sequencing-Based Mendelian Disease Diagnosis

Investigators find a diagnostic edge for whole-genome sequencing, while highlighting the cost advantages and improving diagnostic rate of exome sequencing in EJHG.

Researchers Retrace Key Mutations in Reassorted H1N1 Swine Flu Virus With Avian-Like Features

Mutations in the acidic polymerase-coding gene boost the pathogenicity and transmissibility of Eurasian avian-like H1N1 swine influenza viruses, a PNAS paper finds.

Genome Sequences Reveal Evolutionary History of South America's Canids

An analysis in PNAS of South American canid species' genomes offers a look at their evolutionary history, as well as their relationships and adaptations.

Lung Cancer Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors Reflected in Circulating Tumor DNA

In non-small cell lung cancer patients, researchers find in JCO Precision Oncology that survival benefits after immune checkpoint blockade coincide with a dip in ctDNA levels.