Retraction number nine, by The Journal of Clinical Investigation, is for duplicating data from another publication — which has also faced questions on PubPeer about image manipulation, along with many other papers by Fusco.
The retraction note for “The RET/PTC-RAS-BRAF linear signaling cascade mediates the motile and mitogenic phenotype of thyroid cancer cells” explains that the journal is pulling the paper even though the authors claim that they can reproduce the data:
At the request of the corresponding author, the JCI is retracting this manuscript. The corresponding author recently notified the JCI that multiple microscopy images in Figure 2B were previously published and were used to represent different samples in another publication by the corresponding author’s group (1). The authors have stated that experimental data produced ad hoc are consistent with those in the original publication; however, the paper is being retracted due to data duplication and misrepresentation in the original publication.
The 2005 paper has been cited 226 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science.
That paper cited in the note, “The Oncogenic Activity of RET Point Mutants for Follicular Thyroid Cells May Account for the Occurrence of Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma in Patients Affected by Familial Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma,” was published in 2004 by The American Journal of Pathology. On PubPeer, commenters suggested that another figure in that paper resembles one from a previously published paper co-authored by Fusco, and some parts of a figure appear to be duplicated within the paper itself.
Fusco is an author on both papers, which share a few authors including the first and last authors: Rosa Marina Melillo and Massimo Santoro, both affiliated with the University of Naples. Fusco is also listed at the University of Naples. We’ve reached out to Fusco, Santoro (the corresponding author) and to the university for more information.
We’ve also contacted the editor of The American Journal of Pathology to see if the journal has looked into the paper mentioned in the retraction note.
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