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This Week in Lancet Oncology: Nov 16, 2011

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In a Lancet Oncology online advance publication this week, an international team of researchers reports data from a study of EGFR expression as a predictor of survival in non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with first-line chemotherapy plus cetuximab. In analyzing EGFR expression data from 1,121 non-small-cell lung cancer patients, the researchers found that patients with high EGFR expression had longer overall survival when treated with chemotherapy plus cetuximab compared with chemotherapy alone. However, there was no corresponding survival benefit for patients with low EGFR expression. "High EGFR expression is a tumor biomarker that can predict survival benefit from the addition of cetuximab to first-line chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC," the authors write. "Assessment of EGFR expression could offer a personalized treatment approach in this setting."

Also published online in advance in Lancet Oncology this week, a team of European researchers assesses the efficacy of fludarabine plus alemtuzumab versus fludarabine alone in patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The researchers randomly assigned 335 patients to receive either fludarabine plus alemtuzumab or fludarabine alone, and found that the combination therapy resulted in better progression-free survival than the monotherapy. "The combination of fludarabine and alemtuzumab is another treatment option for patients with previously treated CLL," the authors write.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.