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This Week in Lancet Oncology: Jan 18, 2012

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In Lancet Oncology this week, an international team of researchers presents findings from a study of the utility of EGFR expression as a predictor of survival in non-small-cell lung cancer patients treated with first-line chemotherapy and cetuximab. The team prospectively collected EGFR expression data from the tumors or 1,121 patients, and found that high EGFR expression was associated with longer overall survival in patients treated with chemotherapy plus cetuximab compared to those treated with chemotherapy alone. The team found no comparable survival benefit in 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."

In Lancet Oncology online in advance this week, researchers in France assess the efficacy of various combinations of chemoradiotherapy and accelerated radiotherapy for the treatment of advanced head and neck squamous cells carcinoma. The team randomly assigned 840 head and neck cancer patients to receive either conventional chemoradiotherapy, accelerated radiotherapy-chemotherapy, or very accelerated radiotherapy alone. They conclude that "chemotherapy has a substantial treatment effect given concomitantly with radiotherapy and acceleration of radiotherapy cannot compensate for the absence of chemotherapy. We noted the most favorable outcomes for conventional chemoradiotherapy, suggesting that acceleration of radiotherapy is probably not beneficial in concomitant chemoradiotherapy schedules."

Also in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in the UK report safety results from a trial of conventional versus hypofractionated high-dose intensity-modulated radiotherapy for the treatment of prostate cancer. The team randomly assigned patients with localized prostate cancer to receive either conventional or hypofractionated high-dose intensity-modulated radiotherapy, and found that the treatments were equally well tolerated after two years.

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.