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Little Bit Reproducible

The first studies out of the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology have mixed results, Retraction Watch reports.

The project was launched a few years ago by eLife, the Center for Open Science, and Science Exchange and aimed to replicate key findings from 50 high-profile preclinical cancer studies. The project, though, has had to scale back its plans because of time and cost considerations. RW's Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus note at Stat News that each replication effort took an average seven months and cost an average $27,000.

The project this week published in eLife its efforts to reproduce five studies. At In the Pipeline, Derek Lowe says it was able to replicate two studies fairly well, though those replication efforts suffered from their own issues. Replication of two other studies couldn't be interpreted in comparison to the original work and the final one seems to not have been able to be replicated. The author of the non-reproduced paper tells Nature News that other labs have said they'd been able to replicate that work.

And that, Nature News notes, worries some of the original researchers. "Careers are on the line here if this comes out the wrong way," Atul Butte from the University of California, San Francisco. His Science Translational Medicine paper was "mostly substantiated" by the reproducibility effort.

Lowe adds that the reproducibility teams weren't able to do exactly what the original researchers did and that these papers highlight how difficult it is to reproduce papers. "[The project is] already telling us that the literature in the field is probably inadequate in many respects and that there are a lot more factors at work than you might have guessed from reading the original papers," he says. "It's good to have proof of that, but honestly, we knew it already."

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.