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This Week in JAMA: Jun 22, 2011


In JAMA this week, researchers in Massachusetts and California present findings from a study of the association between smoking and prostate cancer survival and recurrence. The researchers conducted a prospective observational study of 5,366 men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1986 and 2006 — of the 1,630 deaths, 32 percent were due to prostate cancer. Current smokers had an increased risk of prostate cancer mortality compared to never smokers, the authors write, and greater number of pack-years was associated with significantly increased risk of prostate cancer mortality. "Smoking at the time of prostate cancer diagnosis is associated with increased overall and cardiovascular disease mortality and prostate cancer-specific mortality and recurrence," the team says. "Men who have quit for at least 10 years have prostate cancer–specific mortality risks similar to those who have never smoked."

Also in JAMA, researchers in the Netherlands and Iran present work on in vitro propagation of human prepubertal spermatogonial stem cells in prepubescent boys with cancer. Treatment of pediatric cancer has improved but it is often associated with later compromised fertility in survivors, the authors write. Theoretically, it is thought that fertility preservation in male pediatric cancer survivors could be achieved by cryopreserving testicular tissue before cancer therapy and then propagating and autotransplanting spermatogonial stem cells after treatment is complete. The researchers conducted a one-year study, conducting testicular biopsies on two boys, aged 6.5 and 8 years, diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and found they were able to propagate the spermatogonial stem cells in vitro. "Although these results are preliminary and need to be confirmed, they support the potential for autotransplantation of SSCs in infertile survivors of childhood cancer," the authors write. "Given the time between preservation of testicular tissue during childhood and potential SSC autotransplantation later in adult life, it is important to counsel prepubertal boys with cancer on the possibility of cryopreserving testicular tissue before undergoing gonadotoxic cancer treatment."

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.