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This Week in Clinical Cancer Research: Apr 13, 2012

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In Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers in Canada report on the L1 cell adhesion molecule in non-small cell lung cancer. The team analyzed four independent, published mRNA expression datasets of primary non-small-cell lung cancers, and found that the molecule is an independent prognostic marker in resected cancer patients, with over-expression indicating a poor prognosis. "L1CAM downregulation significantly decreased cell motility and invasiveness in lung cancer cells and reduced tumor formation and growth in mice," the authors write. "Cells with L1CAM downregulation were deficient in constitutive extracellular signal–regulated kinase activation. Orthotopic studies showed that L1CAM suppression in highly metastatic lung cancer cells significantly decreases spread to distant organs, including bone and kidney."

Also in Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers in the US and China explore the frequency of driver mutations in lung adenocarcinomas from female never smokers. The team genotyped 349 resected lung tumors from female never smokers and found that 266 harbored EGFR mutations, 16 had HER2 mutations, 15 had EML4-ALK fusions, seven had KRAS mutations, and two had BRAF mutations. "In univariate analysis, patients harboring EGFR mutations were significantly older, whereas patients harboring HER2 mutations were significantly younger," the authors write. "Higher prevalence of KRAS and HER2 mutations was found in invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma. The frequency of EGFR mutations was positively correlated with acinar predominant tumors."

Finally in Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers in the US and Canada have identified RFC3 as an amplified candidate oncogene in esophageal cancer. "Whole genome tiling-path array comparative genomic hybridization was used to identify significant regions of copy number alteration in 20 [esophageal adenocarcinomas] and 10 matching [Barrett's esophagus] tissues," the authors write. "We identified RFC3 as a novel, candidate oncogene activated by amplification in approximately 25 percent of EAC samples."

The Scan

Comfort of Home

The Guardian reports that AstraZeneca is to run more clinical trials from people's homes with the aim of increasing participant diversity.

Keep Under Control

Genetic technologies are among the tools suggested to manage invasive species and feral animals in Australia, Newsweek says.

Just Make It

The New York Times writes that there is increased interest in applying gene synthesis to even more applications.

Nucleic Acids Research Papers on OncoDB, mBodyMap, Genomicus

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: database to analyze large cancer datasets, human body microbe database, and more.