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This Week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute: Jul 1, 2011

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In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week, researchers in Canada present findings from a study of the tumor characteristics associated with mammographic detection of breast cancer. The team conducted a study of 431,480 women screened for breast cancer between January 1994 and December 2002 — it found that interval cancers diagnosed within 24 months after a negative mammogram were of a higher stage and grade than matched breast cancers detected by a screen. "True interval cancers were more likely to have additional adverse prognostic features of estrogen and progesterone receptor negativity and nonductal morphology," the researchers write. "The findings suggest a need for more sensitive screening modalities to detect true interval breast cancers and different approaches for early detection of fast-growing tumors."

Also in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week, US researchers use high-throughput screening to identify an inhibitor of the EWS-FLI1 oncogenic transcription factor. Continued expression of EWS-FLI1 is believed to be critical for cell survival in Ewing sarcoma family tumors, and because it is a transcription factor, it is thought the be undruggable, the researchers write. However, the team developed a high-throughput screen to evaluate the effects of more than 50,000 compounds on EWS-FLI1 activity, and found that the compound "mithramycin inhibited expression of EWS-FLI1 downstream targets at the mRNA and protein levels and decreased the growth of Ewing sarcoma family tumor cells" both in vitro and in vivo.

And finally in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week, researchers in Europe have identified SDHA loss-of-function mutations in KIT–PDGFRA wild-type gastrointestinal stromal tumors using massively parallel sequencing. The team sequenced the tumor transcriptome of two young adult patients with sporadic KIT/PDGFRA wild-type gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and found that the only disease-related variants were in SDHA. "This is the first report, to our knowledge, that identifies SDHA inactivation as a common oncogenic event in gastrointestinal stromal tumors that lack a mutation in KIT and PDGFRA," the authors write.

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.