Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Suspicions of data manipulation lead to correction of testicular cancer paper

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The corresponding author of a paper on testicular cancer is telling readers to discount a figure after she learned it may have been manipulated.

Although that one figure in the 2005 paper in the British Journal of Cancer may be problematic, the authors found data to support the other figures, and its conclusions.

This isn’t the first time first author Kerry Manton has faced questions over her data — in 2012, one of her papers was retracted following an investigation by her institution, the Queensland University of Technology. And in 2014, QUT repaid a $275,000 grant after finding Manton

failed to fulfill (her) responsibilities in relation to the responsible dissemination of research findings and that this, coupled with a failure to correct the errors, constituted research misconduct.

Here’s the corrigendum for “Hypermethylation of the 5′ CpG island of the gene encoding the serine protease Testisin promotes its loss in testicular tumorigenesis:”

The corresponding author of the above paper, Dr TM Antalis, has received suggestions that Figure 2A in this paper may have been manipulated. Since the samples from the experiment are no longer available, Figure 2A cannot be repeated, so should be discounted.

Experimental data and analysis have been found providing support for other figures in this paper. Furthermore, the result of the paper, that the absence of Testisin mRNA in testicular tomour tissue is associated with aberrant methylation of the Testisin gene, was confirmed in a publication in 2006 by an unrelated laboratory (J Cancer Res Clin Oncol,13: 765–770).

The paper has been cited 28 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We’ve reached out the Manton, and to corresponding author Toni Antalis, who works at the University of Maryland. We’ve also contacted QUT and BJC. We’ll update this post with anything else we learn.

Hat tip: Sir Duke

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Comments
  • ManuelHM January 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    The most basic question is – When should we believe a research paper and believe it completely ?
    Should we only accept it if it’s independently replicateD ?

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