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This Week in NEJM: Oct 13, 2011


In NEJM this week, researchers in Denmark report their findings from a study of the incidence of adenocarcinoma in patients with Barrett's esophagus. The team analyzed data from all Barrett's esophagus patients in Denmark from 1992 to 2009 and found that Barrett's esophagus is indeed a strong risk factor for esophageal adenocarcinoma. However, the researchers also found that the absolute annual risk of 0.12 percent was much lower than the assumed risk of 0.5 percent, which is the basis for current surveillance guidelines for clinicians. "Data from the current study call into question the rationale for ongoing surveillance in patients who have Barrett's esophagus without dysplasia," the authors write.

Also in NEJM this week, an international team of researchers investigates the effects of adjuvant therapy with zoledronic acid in breast cancer. The team randomly assigned 3,360 patients to receive standard adjuvant therapy either with or without zoledronic acid. After a median follow-up of 59 months, there was no significant difference in disease-free survival between the two groups. The number of deaths in both groups was also similar, the researchers write, resulting overall survival rates of 85.4 percent in the zoledronic acid group and 83.1 percent in the control group. "These findings do not support the routine use of zoledronic acid in the adjuvant management of breast cancer," the authors write.

The Scan

More Boosters for US

Following US Food and Drug Administration authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has endorsed booster doses of the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Washington Post writes.

From a Pig

A genetically modified pig kidney was transplanted into a human without triggering an immune response, Reuters reports.

For Privacy's Sake

Wired reports that more US states are passing genetic privacy laws.

Science Paper on How Poaching Drove Evolution in African Elephants

In Science this week: poaching has led to the rapid evolution of tuskless African elephants.