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PLOS Papers on Triple-Negative Breast Cancer in African Americans, Hearing Loss, Canine Influenza

A team from Wayne State University School of Medicine and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute shares findings from a gene expression analysis of triple-negative breast cancer in African-American women. As they report in PLOS One, the researchers narrowed in on apparent ties between CLCA2 expression and survival in African-American women with the aggressive breast cancer subtype by analyzing overall survival in relation to tumor expression profiles for more than 27,000 genes in 155 treatment-naïve triple-negative breast cancer cases in African-American women treated in Detroit. The authors validated the association between CLCA2 expression and triple-negative breast cancer outcomes in African-American women using publicly available data for nearly 500 more triple-negative breast tumors. 

In PLOS Genetics, researchers in Japan and the US describe three SLC12A2 gene alterations linked to congenital hearing loss in affected individuals from several families. With the help of exome sequencing, the team tracked down missense change in the ion co-transporter-coding gene in one of those families, where the variant was inherited in a dominant manner by five family members with severe to profound hearing loss. Other new splice site or missense mutations affecting SLC12A2 exon 21 turned up in sporadic hearing loss cases from additional families, the authors report, prompting follow up in vitro splice site analyses and functional experiments.

For a paper in PLOS Pathogens, a University of Rochester- and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital-led presents results from analyses done on canine H3 influenza A viruses from a National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) surveillance network. "[M]embers of the [NIAID] Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS) network collaborated to provide important basic research to address the public health risk of emerging [canine H3 influenza A viruses]," the authors explain, noting that antibody tests on human blood samples and other analyses suggest that while canine H3 influenza A viruses appear to "pose a low risk to humans," antibodies that recognize the viruses tended to be less common in individuals born after 1970.