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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Nature Medicine makes it official, retracting Anil Potti paper

with one comment


courtesy Nature

Nature Medicine has retracted a paper that Anil Potti’s co-author, Joseph Nevins, requested be withdrawn in November.

This is the second retraction of a paper by Potti, who resigned from his post at Duke in November in the midst of an investigation into scientific misconduct. The first retraction was in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

According to the Nature Medicine retraction notice:

We wish to retract this article because we have been unable to reproduce certain crucial experiments showing validation of signatures for predicting response to chemotherapies, including docetaxel and topotecan. Although we believe that the underlying approach to developing predictive signatures is valid, a corruption of several validation data sets precludes conclusions regarding these signatures. As these results are fundamental to the conclusions of the paper, we formally retract the paper. We deeply regret the impact of this action on the work of other investigators.

The journal also notes that “several of the earlier correction dates were either omitted or incorrect.” There were four such corrigenda before this retraction.

As we reported in November, the paper, “Genomic signatures to guide the use of chemotherapeutics,” was published in October 2006 and was cited an impressive 252 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

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One Response

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  1. It’s interesting, seeing this develop as a sort of parallel to Health News Review. What I seek as a somewhat-aware-not-a-scientist lay reader is to learn something from these examples – perhaps a bit of a spotlight into what the researcher did wrong, compared to the way the scientific method is supposed to work.

    I’m not suggesting you dumb it down to where professionals are bored. But maybe in this case it could say “Inability to reproduce the researcher’s result is troublesome, because the whole point of the scientific method is to find results that other researchers can rely on.”

    That may be trivial to you and me, but as we work to increasingly empower citizens, sometimes it amazes citizens to discover how non-mysterious – and understandable – science can be.

    Just a thought…

    e-Patient Dave

    January 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm

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