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This Week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute: Feb 9, 2012


In the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week, a team of US researchers reports its comparison of oxaliplatin and non-oxaliplatin-containing adjuvant chemotherapy for the treatment of stage III colon cancer. The team analyzed data from 4,060 patients younger than 75 with stage III colon cancer who had received chemotherapy within 120 days of surgical resection. They found that the addition of oxaliplatin to 5-FU chemotherapy was significantly associated with better overall survival among patients receiving adjuvant colon cancer therapy. "The association between oxaliplatin treatment and better survival was maintained in older and minority group patients, as well as those with higher comorbidity," the authors add.

Also in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week, an international team of researchers reports its genome-wide association study of classical Hodgkin's lymphoma and the Epstein-Barr virus status-defined subgroups. The team searched for common genetic variants in patients with classic Hodgkin's lymphoma and the subgroups defined by tumor EBV status, and found two novel loci associated with total classic Hodgkin's lymphoma, regardless of EBV status. The researchers also found associations between EBV-positive Hodgkin's lymphoma and two genetic variants in the class I region, and between EBV-negative Hodgkin's lymphoma and one genetic variant in the class II region. "Overall, these results provide strong evidence that EBV status is an etiologically important classification of cHL and also suggest that some components of the pathological process are common to both EBV-positive and EBV-negative patients," the team writes.

Finally in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute this week, a team led by investigators in China reports an analysis of the possible utility of a self-sampling HPV DNA test as a primary screening method for cervical cancer. The team analyzed data from 13,140 women in China who had undergone either self-HPV testing, physician-HPV testing, liquid-based cytology, or visual inspection with acetic acid. They found that self-HPV testing was 86.2 percent sensitive and 80.7 percent specific for detecting CIN2+ grade, and 86.1 percent sensitive and 79.5 percent specific for detecting CIN3+ grade. This compares favorably to liquid-based cytology and is superior to visual inspection with acetic acid, the authors write, adding, "Self-HPV testing may complement current screening programs by increasing population coverage in settings that do not have easy access to comprehensive cytology-based screening."

The Scan

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Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.