Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

MD Anderson researcher Aggarwal loses paper in Cancer Letters

without comments

Whether it’s a one-off or a sign of things to come, Bharat Aggarwal, the MD Anderson scientist at the center of a blogospheric storm—and an institutional investigation—over the validity of his data, has had a paper withdrawn by the journal Cancer Letters.The article,”Cardamonin Inhibits Osteoclastogenesis Induced by Tumor Cells Through Interruption of the Signaling Pathway Activated by Receptor Activator of NF-κB Ligand,” was published in December. According to the notice:

This article has been withdrawn at the request of the author(s) and/or editor. The Publisher apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.

What’s not clear is why, of course. Aggarwal, who recently acknowledged to Retraction Watch that MD Anderson was investigating his laboratory, refused to discuss the reason for the withdrawal of the article. The paper is among a slew of Aggarwal’s articles that have been flagged as suspect by Abnormal Science and others.

Hat tip: Virgilstar

Written by amarcus41

February 9th, 2012 at 12:08 pm

  • Jayesh Mehta February 9, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Pretty casual and cavalier notice considering the number of possibly problemmatic papers.

    • sfs February 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      The notice should have more detail about this particular paper. However, it would be inappropriate for a journal retraction to mention other (not yet retracted) papers that it did not editorially control. To mention the other papers casts suspicion with no direct evidence, which is unfair to both Aggarwal and the other authors on those papers. At the moment, Aggarwal has only been accused of fraud. Let’s be good scientists, and wait for the evidence.

      • Jayesh Mehta February 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm

        I think you misunderstood my point. Obviously, there should be no reference to other papers in this retraction notice. However, it is critical to ensure that some details and background are provided rather than this meaningless statement.

      • expostdoc February 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

        If you check the journal then this is their standard policy. Papers published only online are withdrawn while if it had beeb published and had volume and page information then its retraction. For retraction and withdrawal they do not give any information but just issue the standard statement by which one cannot even know whether the authors voluntarily took the step on realizing their mistake or were forced by the editors

  • scotus February 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Did anyone snag a copy of this while it was online?
    Was there anything obviously problematic with the data?

  • Lincoln February 11, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Who was the three reviewer? May be fixed?

  • I love science February 13, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Three reviewers are his postdoc who are faculty now. Inhouse production company! Ha Ha!

    • patilistan April 12, 2013 at 1:39 pm

      Well, thats one way of pushing papers through. I thought the editor had a responsibility to read through the paper at least once…

  • Clare Francis February 13, 2012 at 11:21 am

    MD Anderson is no stranger to manipulated data: evasive selection of publications.

    In the wake of the Jon Sudbø fraud:

    the vice president for research at M.D. Anderson, Leonard Zwelling, went on record at the New York Times:

    “We are still reeling from the shock,” said Dr. Leonard Zwelling, vice president for research at M. D. Anderson. “There is no worse feeling in the world” than for a researcher to learn that he has put his name to a paper with fabricated data, Dr. Zwelling said.

    Leonard Zwelling, vice president for research at M.D. Anderson, also went on the record in the
    J Natl Cancer Inst 98,374-376. 2006.

    “In the United States, the scandal hit home at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Scott Lippman, M.D., director of the Department of Thoracic, Head and Neck Medical Oncology, and three other M. D. Anderson researchers, oncologist Li Mao, M.D., and statisticians J. Jack Lee, Ph.D., and Xian Zhor, M.D., coauthored The Lancet article. M. D. Anderson was also the primary recipient of the $9 million NCI grant for the now-suspended prevention trial.
    “We’re in a period of reevaluation,” said the cancer center’s vice president of research administration, Leonard Zwelling, M.D.”

    Yet Scott Lipmann, Department Chair, Department of Thoracic/Head and Neck
    Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas
    MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, does not list some of his 2006 and
    2007 publications in quite prominent journals, yet the list on his
    official website goes back to 2005.

    In particular Scott Lippman does not list these publications, which list 4 retractions:

    N Engl J Med. 2006 Nov 2;355(18):1927.
    Lancet. 2006 Feb 4;367(9508):382.
    Oral Oncol. 2007 Apr;43(4):421.

    I do wonder about the veracity of this review.
    J Clin Oncol. 2005 Jan 10;23(2):346-56.

    One might wonder what Leonard Zwelling meant by “reevaluation”.

    On the plus side we have:

    • Virgilstar February 13, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Not sure whether there’s a “story” to what you say. If I had any papers retracted, I’m not sure I would want them listed on my website or CV, and imagine most people would do the same. Sure, its unethical to list retracted papers on your CV and not mention they’re retracted, but to not mention them at all, that’s a fuzzy area.

      Nevertheless, interesting find. If you look at MDACC’s research ethics policies, they’re heavily geared toward the clinical side, probably as a result of Zwelling’s “reevaluation” process. Who knows, maybe Aggarwal will force them to reevaulate their ethics policies on basic sciences?

      FTR, is now up to 59 papers – more than 10% of his PubMed total.

  • public February 17, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Bharat Aggarwal just broke record, 65 articles with suspected manipulations!

    Did Gautam Sethi from NUS reply any enquiry?

    • Stewart March 16, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      Does anyone know whether any more articles are under the spotlight or have been retracted from Aggarwals laboratory?

  • David May 22, 2013 at 7:51 am

    Now gains again same paper in PLoS One. 2013 May 17;8(5):e64118. Print 2013

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