Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Gynecologic cancer researcher up to 13 retractions

with 4 comments

13277Noriyuki Takai, a gynecologic cancer researcher at Oita University in Japan, has lost another five papers. With a new total of 13, that means he’s now on our leaderboard.

Three of the retractions are from the journal Tumor Biology, one is from the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer, and one from Anticancer Research.

Takai is the first author on all 5 papers.

As has been the case with Takai’s retractions, and there’s evidence that all were felled by issues with figures. In all, according to the retraction notices, “original data were processed inappropriately.” Four end with the following sentence (or some close variation thereof):

The corresponding author, Dr. Takai, sincerely apologizes to the co-authors and the scientific community for any inconvenience that this might cause.

Note #9 was published in April, for “Anticancer Activity of MS-275, a Novel Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor, against Human Endometrial Cancer Cells,” published in Anticancer Research. It’s the outlier with a shorter note, and no explanation of what went wrong:

The article entitled “Anticancer activity of MS-275, a novel histone deacetylase inhibitor, against human endometrial cancer cells” by N. Takai, T. Ueda, M. Nishida, K. Nasu and H. Narahara, published in Anticancer Research 26: 2A (March-April) pp. 939-945, 2006, is retracted by the Authors.

A commenter on PubPeer has pointed out a few issues with the figures in the paper. The paper was published in 2006, and has 15 citations, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the note for #10, for
Effects of Bufalin on the Proliferation of Human Choriocarcinoma Cells,” published in Gynecological Cancer in May:

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Click on the link or image for a more readable version. Or just keep reading to the next notes. They are all very similar. The paper was originally published in 2011, and has 9 citations.

The rest of Takai’s new retractions are for papers in Tumor Biology. 

Here’s the full retraction note for #11, “Calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase inhibitor induces growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in human choriocarcinoma cells,” which appeared June 21:

This article has been retracted on request by the corresponding author. The authors have identified errors affecting several figure panels in which original data were processed inappropriately such that the panels in Fig. 4: “Expression of the cell cycle- and apoptosis-related proteins treated with KN-93 in choriocarcinoma cells measured by Western blot analysis. Choriocarcinoma cells were treated with KN-93, and cell lysates were harvested after 48 h. Western blot analysis was performed with a series of antibodies (cyclin A, cyclin D1, Bcl-2, and cleaved caspase-3). Control cells were treated with vehicle alone. The amount of protein was normalized by comparison to levels of GAPDH” do not accurately report the original data. The other authors were not involved in making these figures. The corresponding author, Dr. Takai, sincerely apologizes to the co-authors and the scientific community for any inconvenience that this might cause.

The paper has been cited twice.

And the full note for #12, “Erucylphosphocholine induces growth inhibition, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis in human choriocarcinoma cells,” appearing June 23:

This article has been retracted on request of the corresponding author. The authors have identified errors affecting several figure panels in which original data were processed inappropriately such that the panels in Figure 3: “Cell cycle analysis of BeWo cells by flow cytometry. BeWo cells were cultured with ErPC (4 × 10 − 5 M) for 72 h, harvested, and stained with propidium iodide. Control cells were treated with vehicle alone. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometry (see “Materials and methods”). The results of a representative study are shown; two additional experiments yielded similar results” do not accurately report the original data. The other authors were not involved in making these figures. The corresponding author, Dr. Takai, sincerely apologizes to the coauthors and the scientific community for any inconvenience that this might cause.

The paper has been cited once.

And for #13, “A translocator protein ligand PK11195 shows antigrowth activity in human choriocarcinoma cells,” published July 5:

This article has been retracted on request of the corresponding author. The author has identified errors affecting several figure panels in which the original data were processed inappropriately such that the panels in Figure 4: “Expression of the cell cycle- and apoptosis-related proteins treated with PK11195 in choriocarcinoma cells measured by Western blot analysis. Choriocarcinoma cells were treated with PK11195, and cell lysates were harvested after 48 h. Western blot analysis was performed with a series of antibodies (cyclin A, cyclin D1, Bcl-2, and cleaved caspase-3). Control cells were treated with vehicle alone. The amount of protein was normalized by comparison to levels of GAPDH” do not accurately report the original data. The other authors were not involved in making these figures. We believe that the most responsible course of action is to retract below these three papers. The corresponding author, Dr. Takai, sincerely apologizes to the co-authors and the scientific community for any inconvenience that this might cause.

The paper has been cited once.

The three Tumor Biology papers were published in 2011 and 2012.

We contacted Torgny Stigbrand, the editor in chief of Tumor Biology, who forwarded us an email exchange with Takai. The emails indicate that, true to the statements, the author did request the retractions.

We also sent a note to Anticancer Research via the journal’s contact form, and to the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer Editor in Chief Uziel Beller.

Takai has not responded to our request for comment.

We will update this post if we hear back from anyone else.

Hat tips: Rolf Degen and Ross Keith 

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Written by Shannon Palus

July 20th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Comments
  • Anonymous July 20, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Disgraceful.

    • NeutrinoSilk July 20, 2015 at 11:51 am

      I feel that word should be reserved for those that do not accept responsibility for their actions. I myself do not understand the situation well enough to make such an assessment.

  • DNADEB July 20, 2015 at 10:16 am

    The first paper’s figures 2B and 2C seem to have similar bands for p21 and E-Cadherin. If I am interpreting the results correctly, B and C are supposed to be results from different cell lines, Ishikawa and HEC-1B cells respectively.

  • Rockbill Haklak July 20, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    An investigation (Japanese) at Oita University annouced on Feb 27, 2015 that 21 papers should be retracted.

    http://www.oita-u.ac.jp/000020388.pdf

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