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This Week in Lancet Oncology: Jan 11, 2012

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In Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Germany analyze the results of a trial to assess survival of acute myeloid leukemia patients who are in remission, though still receiving preventive treatment. The researchers found that a patient's age, percentage of CD34-positive blasts, FLT3-ITD mutant-to-wild-type ratio, cytogenetic risk, and de novo or secondary AML were independent prognostic factors for survival. Using these and other factors, the team developed a post-remission treatment score and separated the patients into three groups — favorable, with a three-year survival rate of 68 percent, intermediate, with a three-year survival rate of 49 percent, and unfavorable, with a three-year survival rate of 20 percent. Each group reacted differently to post-remission treatment for their AML. "The PRT score groups could help physicians to tailor treatment for patients with AML," the authors write.

Also in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in South Korea examined possible combination treatments for patients with advanced biliary-tract cancer. The team randomly assigned 268 patients with metastatic biliary-tract cancer to receive either first-line treatment gemcitabine plus chemotherapy oxaliplatin alone, or those drugs in combination with erlotinib. They found that median progression-free survival was 5.8 months in the erlotinib group, compared to 4.2 months in patients who did not receive the additional drug. "Although no significant difference in progression-free survival was noted between groups, the addition of erlotinib to gemcitabine and oxaliplatin showed antitumor activity and might be a treatment option for patients with cholangiocarcinoma," the authors write.

Finally in Lancet Oncology this week, an international team of researchers assess the risk of recurrence for patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors after they've undergone surgery. The team analyzed data from cohorts of patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors who were not given adjuvant therapy and found that the estimated 15-year recurrence-free survival rate was 59.9 percent after surgery. "Large tumor size, high mitosis count, non-gastric location, presence of rupture, and male sex were independent adverse prognostic factors," the authors write.

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.