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This Week in Lancet Oncology: Dec 7, 2011

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Published online in advance in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers from Europe and Japan report their findings on the risk of recurrence for gastrointestinal stromal tumors after surgery. The team identified population-based cohorts of patients with untreated gastrointestinal tumors from the literature and analyzed data from 2,560 patients. The estimated 15-year recurrence-free survival rate after surgery was 59.9 percent, the team found, with few recurrences occurring after the first 10 years of follow-up.

Also published online in advance in Lancet Oncology this week, an international team of researchers says EGFR expression can be used as a predictor of survival in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer patients receiving first-line chemotherapy plus cetuximab. The team analyzed EGFR expression in tumor samples from 1,121 patients, and found that patients with high EGFR expression had better overall survival when treated with chemotherapy plus cetuximab, compared to patients with high EGFR expression treated with chemotherapy alone. There was no corresponding survival benefit in patients with low EGFR expression, however. "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."

Finally in Lancet Oncology this week, a team led by researchers at the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Australia reports a meta-analysis of meningiomas in children and adolescents. The team conducted searches of the available literature and found data from over 500 children and adolescents with meningioma over the past 21 years. Those patients that underwent gross total resection of their tumors had better recurrence-free survival and overall survival than those patients who underwent partial resection, the researchers found. There was also no significant benefit seen to upfront radiotherapy. "Extent of initial surgical resection is the strongest independent prognostic factor for child and adolescent meningioma," the authors write. "No benefit for upfront radiotherapy was noted. Hence, aggressive surgical management, to achieve gross-total resection, is the initial treatment of choice."

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.