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This Week in the Medical Journals: May 25, 2012


In Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Belgium and Switzerland report on the use of VEGF pathway variants as biomarkers for outcome of treatment with bevacizumab. The team analyzed DNA from patients with metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma who were randomly assigned to receive gemcitabine and erlotinib plus either bevacizumab or placebo; as well as patients with metastatic renal-cell carcinoma, who were randomly assigned to receive interferon alfa-2a with either bevacizumab or placebo. In the pancreatic cancer patients, the rs9582036 SNP in VEGF receptor 1 was significantly associated with overall survival and progression-free survival in the bevacizumab group, the team found. "Fine-mapping experiments of this locus identified rs7993418, a synonymous SNP affecting tyrosine 1213 in the VEGFR1 tyrosine-kinase domain, as the functional variant underlying the association," the team writes. "This SNP causes a shift in codon usage, leading to increased VEGFR1 expression and downstream VEGFR1 signaling." The findings were confirmed in the group of metastatic renal-cell carcinoma patients.

Also in Lancet Oncology this week, researchers in Japan report on the efficacy of thoracic radiotherapy with or without carboplatin therapy for elderly non-small-cell lung cancer patients. The team randomly assigned 200 patients older than 70 years with unresectable stage III lung cancer to receive radiotherapy either with or without low-dose carboplatin, and found that the combination treatment was associated with higher overall survival, and more toxic effects. "For a select group of elderly patients with locally advanced NSCLC, combination chemoradiotherapy provides a clinically significant benefit over radiotherapy alone, and should be considered for this population," the authors add.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.