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This Week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute: Jul 26, 2012

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In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine report on the oncogenic potential of EPHA3 mutations in lung cancer. Using immunoprecipitation, western blotting, and kinase assays, the team investigated the activity and signaling of mutant EPHA3 receptors, and generated a mutation-associated gene signature to test in human lung cancer tissue microarrays and xenograft models. They found that at least two cancer-associated EPHA3 somatic mutations function as inhibitors of the wild-type EPHA3 protein, and that an EPHA3 mutation-associated gene signature correlated with poor survival in lung cancer patients. "EPHA3 gene copy numbers and/or expression levels were decreased in tumors from large cohorts of patients with lung cancer," the authors write. "Re-expression of wild-type EPHA3 in human lung cancer lines increased apoptosis by suppression of AKT activation in vitro and inhibited the growth of tumor xenografts."

Also in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a team of US researchers reports on the radiation-related risk of basal cell carcinoma. The team studied data from patients who had participated in the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study, who both had and had not reported a basal cell carcinoma. The researchers found that radiation therapy, with or without chemotherapy, was associated with an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma, compared with no radiation or chemotherapy. "No other treatment variables were statistically significantly associated with an increased risk of BCC," the team adds. "Radiation doses to the skin of more than one Gy are associated with an increased risk of BCC."

And finally in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a team led by researchers at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California reports on age- and race-related incidence of breast cancer subtypes. The team classified nearly 92,000 breast cancers diagnosed in California from 2006 to 2009 by subtype, and did not find any age-related crossovers between black women and white women for any molecular subtype of the disease. Black women showed significantly higher rates of triple-negative breast cancer at all ages compared to white women, but also had showed significantly lower rates of HR+/HER2− breast cancers after 35 years of age, the researchers found. "The black-white crossover in breast cancer incidence occurs only when all breast cancer subtypes are combined and relates largely to higher rates of triple-negative breast cancers and lower rates of HR+/HER2− breast cancers in black [versus] white women," the authors add.

The Scan

And Back

The New York Times reports that missing SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences are back in a different database.

Lacks Family Hires Attorney

A lawyer for the family of Henrietta Lacks plans to seek compensation from pharmaceutical companies that have used her cancer cells in product development, the Baltimore Sun reports.

For the Unknown

The Associated Press reports that family members are calling on the US military to use new DNA analysis techniques to identify unknown sailors and Marines who were on the USS Arizona.

PLOS Papers on Congenital Heart Disease, COVID-19 Infection Host MicroRNAs, Multiple Malformation Mutations

In PLOS this week: new genes linked to congenital heart disease, microRNAs with altered expression in COVID-19, and more.