Lifted figure prompts retraction of Oncogene paper by Roman-Gomez
The article, “Promoter hypomethylation of the LINE-1 retrotransposable elements activates sense/antisense transcription and marks the progression of chronic myeloid leukemia,” was published online in September 2005 and has been cited 106 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.
Now comes this:
The authors wish to retract the November 3, 2005, paper cited above. Figure 6a in the published manuscript was inappropriately reproduced from figure 1 in a previously published paper from Rosas SL, Koch W, da Costa Carvalho MG, Wu L, Califano J, Westra W, Jen J, Sidransky D. Promoter hypermethylation patterns of p16, O6-methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase, and death-associated protein kinase in tumors and saliva of head and neck cancer patients. Cancer Research 61, 939–942, 1 February 2001. The manipulation of the figure was performed by Dr Roman-Gomez. None of the other authors were involved in or were aware of these events. The authors apologize to the readers, reviewers, and editors of Oncogene for publishing this erroneous image. All the authors agree to the retraction except Dr Roman-Gomez.
In two previous expressions of concern, the Journal of Clinical Oncology has allowed Roman-Gomez’s group to keep its papers despite the questionable figures. But Oncogene evidently felt the best solution in this case was retraction — a decision with which we’re inclined to agree given the history here.
We tried to reach Oncogene’s editor for comment and will update this post if we learn more.
We spoke with Sidransky, who was surprised to hear about the purloined figure — although it wasn’t the first time the Hopkins researcher has been on the receiving end of such a misappropriation.
Perhaps, we wondered, he might consider making his own figures a little less attractive…