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This Week in Clinical Cancer Research: Jun 21, 2012


In Clinical Cancer Research this week, researchers in South Korea report that chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 is associated with progression of gallbladder cancer and could be used as a novel independent factor of poor prognosis. Using immunohistochemistry, the team analyzed CXCL12 expression in 72 tumor samples and found that it was differentially expressed in gallbladder cancer tissues. Additionally, CXCL12 expression was significantly associated with high histologic grade and nodal metastasis. "CXCL12 significantly increased anchorage-dependent and -independent growth, migration, invasion, adhesiveness, and survival of GBC cells in vitro, and these effects were dependent on CXCR4," the authors write. "Consistent with these results, overexpression of CXCL12 significantly promoted GBC tumorigenicity in a xenograft model."

Also in Clinical Cancer Research this week, an international team of researchers reports its profiling of the 3D nuclear telomeric architecture of myelodysplastic syndromes and acute myeloid leukemia. The team carried out 3D quantitative FISH of telomeres in nuclei from bone marrow samples from 56 MDS patients and 38 AML patients. "We defined three-dimensional nuclear telomeric profiles on the basis of telomere numbers, telomeric aggregates, telomere signal intensities, nuclear volumes, and nuclear telomere distribution," the authors write. Using this data, they were able to subdivide the MDS patients into nine subgroups, and the AML patients into six subgroups. "Three-dimensional telomeric profiles are linked to the evolution of telomere dysfunction, defining a model of progression from MDS to AML," the team adds.

Finally in Clinical Cancer Research this week, US researchers define a gene promoter methylation profile in sputum that could be used for the assessment of lung cancer risk. The team interrogated lung cancer cases and controls for methylation of up to 31 genes and saw a large increase in case discrimination for the PAX5α, GATA5, and SULF2 genes. A 22-fold increase in risk was seen for cases with five or more genes methylated, the team says, although sequence variants associated with lung cancer didn't improve the accuracy of the methylation panel. "These studies have identified and replicated a panel of methylated genes whose integration with other promising biomarkers could initially identify the highest risk smokers for computed tomographic screening for early detection of lung cancer," the researchers add.

The Scan

Researchers Develop Polygenic Risk Scores for Dozens of Disease-Related Exposures

With genetic data from two large population cohorts and summary statistics from prior genome-wide association studies, researchers came up with 27 exposure polygenic risk scores in the American Journal of Human Genetics.

US Survey Data Suggests Ancestry Testing Leads Way in Awareness, Use of Genetic Testing Awareness

Although roughly three-quarters of surveyed individuals in a Genetics in Medicine study reported awareness of genetic testing, use of such tests was lower and varied with income, ancestry, and disease history.

Coral Genome Leads to Alternative Amino Acid Pathway Found in Other Non-Model Animals

An alternative cysteine biosynthesis pathway unearthed in the Acropora loripes genome subsequently turned up in sequences from non-mammalian, -nematode, or -arthropod animals, researchers report in Science Advances.

Mosquitos Genetically Modified to Prevent Malaria Spread

A gene drive approach could be used to render mosquitos unable to spread malaria, researchers report in Science Advances.