Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Seventh retraction appears for cancer researcher who sued PubPeer commenters

with 20 comments

sarkar

Fazlul Sarkar

Fazlul Sarkar, who sued PubPeer commenters for criticizing his work, has logged two more retractions, bringing his total to seven.

The two retractions appear in the Journal of Cellular Physiology, and follow five others released last week by another Wiley journal, Journal of Cellular Biochemistry. All notices mention an investigation at Wayne State University, where Sarkar is on the faculty.

Here’s the notice for “Activated K-Ras and INK4a/Arf Deficiency Promote Aggressiveness of Pancreatic Cancer by Induction of EMT Consistent With Cancer Stem Cell Phenotype:”

The above article, published online on November 23, 2012 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the journal Editor in Chief, Gary S. Stein, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed following an investigation from Wayne State University involving the first author and the corresponding author that found Figure 4B and C to be inappropriately manipulated and re-labeled.

In the 2013 paper — cited 22 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science — Sarkar is listed as the corresponding author. The first author, Zhiwei Wang, is also listed at Wayne State University, and was named in some of the five retractions released last week, as well.

Here’s the notice for the other retracted paper, “Inactivation of Ink4a/Arf Leads to Deregulated Expression of miRNAs in K-Ras Transgenic Mouse Model of Pancreatic Cancer:”

The above article, published online on June 21, 2012 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the journal Editor in Chief, Gary S. Stein, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed following an investigation from Wayne State University involving the first author and the corresponding author that found Figure 5A to be inappropriately manipulated.

In that 2012 paper — cited 27 times — Sarkar is the corresponding author, and the first author is Shadan Ali, also listed at Wayne State. Ali was the first author on another of Sarkar’s retractions listed last week.

As we mentioned in 2014, “Activated K-Ras and INK4a/Arf Deficiency Promote Aggressiveness of Pancreatic Cancer by Induction of EMT Consistent With Cancer Stem Cell Phenotype” was already corrected that year for an “inadvertent error” in a figure.

Last year, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sarkar against the University of Mississippi after it rescinded a job offer upon reviewing concerns raised about his research on PubPeer. Sarkar has also taken the site to court to force it to reveal the identity of some anonymous commenters, whom he has accused of costing him the position. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief on behalf of PubPeer’s appeal of the court’s ruling that the site must disclose an anonymous commenter’s identity.

Update 6/20/16 9:21 p.m. eastern: According to this document from Wayne State, Sarkar has retired.

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Comments
  • fernandopessoa June 20, 2016 at 10:09 am

    These are unlikely to be the only 2 journals.

    The Wayne state investigation has not been made public.
    Surely that university knows how many papers it recommended be retracted?

  • Sharon O'Connor June 20, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Can these falsifications have consequences, direct or indirect, for patients?

  • KK June 20, 2016 at 10:54 am
    • D Cameron June 20, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Does it matter much? Just ask Bharat B. Aggarwal! I followed that link and discovered that he, along with Sarkar, is a member of the “global-summit” organizing committee. Aggarwal is of course well-known to readers of Retraction Watch for his own lengthy list of retracted papers. If only Anil Potti had been on the committee…

      I also note that Aggarwal identifies himself, on that web site at least, as still being affiliated with the “University of Texas.” I’m sure UT will be happy to learn that.

      • KK June 20, 2016 at 1:33 pm

        that is why i posted it – what about the organisers?

    • herr doktor bimler June 20, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      An OMICS conference! Oh joy!

    • Sharon O'Connor June 21, 2016 at 10:06 am

      What does this reply mean? If these sort of papers are meaningless then they are just a way to keep score, so the authors can stand in a circle. Don’t falsifications point to desperation in scientists trying to get published? Are there so few people trying to get published that journals must resort to accepting junk? I don’t think so. But if it doesn’t matter much in terms of outcomes, maybe a lot of it is junk.

  • Anonymous June 20, 2016 at 11:26 am

    What other Fazlul papers are still being questioned at PubPeer?

    • herr doktor bimler June 20, 2016 at 6:39 pm

      There are 61 entries at Pubpeer for Sarkar, though that includes ones where the journal has accepted a Correction (inadvertent mix-up with slides, robustness of results not affected, etc.).

  • Dave Fernig June 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Just 7-8 retractions short of making to the leaderboard. I am sure we are all rooting for him in this respect.

  • Morty June 20, 2016 at 11:43 am

    Why is the investigations of research misconduct hidden from the publicin the US?!
    I assume some of these research projects are federal funded?
    There are only good reasons for science and academia to have openness in these cases.

  • Roobaker June 20, 2016 at 2:16 pm

    Sarkar no longer on faculty list at Wayne state Department of pathology

  • Roobaker June 20, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Dr. Sarkar is on list of retirees from Wayne State this year.

    Sarkar http://hr.wayne.edu/avp/recognition/2016_retirees_-_alpha_as_of_3-28-16.pdf

    • Anonymous June 20, 2016 at 8:44 pm

      In essence, he survived until retirement. A good, long and successful career, paid for by tax payers’ money. Even if 10 or 20 papers are retracted, does he keep his retirement package and benefits at the expense of tax payers?

  • fernandopessoa July 14, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2010 Jul;122(2):337-46. doi: 10.1007/s10549-009-0572-1. Epub 2009 Oct 8.
    FoxM1 down-regulation leads to inhibition of proliferation, migration and invasion of breast cancer cells through the modulation of extra-cellular matrix degrading factors.
    Ahmad A1, Wang Z, Kong D, Ali S, Li Y, Banerjee S, Ali R, Sarkar FH.
    Author information
    1Department of Pathology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.

    2016 retraction.
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10549-016-3904-y
    The paper is retracted at the request of the publisher because in Figs. 5a and 5b, and 6c micrograph images are re-used and re-labeled to represent different conditions.

  • fernandopessoa July 14, 2016 at 4:24 am

    Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2011 Feb;126(1):15-25. doi: 10.1007/s10549-010-0883-2. Epub 2010 Apr 9.
    Platelet-derived growth factor-D contributes to aggressiveness of breast cancer cells by up-regulating Notch and NF-κB signaling pathways.
    Ahmad A1, Wang Z, Kong D, Ali R, Ali S, Banerjee S, Sarkar FH.
    Author information
    1Department of Pathology, Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Center, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.

    2016 retraction.
    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10549-016-3905-x

    The paper is retracted at the request of the publisher because blots of Figs. 3c and 5a were manipulated and compiled from different films without explanation.

  • fernandopessoa August 1, 2016 at 3:05 am

    2016 retraction of 2006 FH Sarkar paper.

    Cancer. 2006 Jun 1;106(11):2503-13.
    Notch-1 down-regulation by curcumin is associated with the inhibition of cell growth and the induction of apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells.
    Wang Z1, Zhang Y, Banerjee S, Li Y, Sarkar FH.
    Author information
    1Department of Pathology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.

    2016 retraction notice.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.30216/full

    Retraction: “Notch-1 down-regulation by curcumin is associated with the inhibition of cell growth and the induction of apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells” by Wang Z, Zhang Y, Banerjee S, Li Y, Sarkar FH.

    The above article, published in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement amongst the journal Editor in Chief, Fadlo R. Khuri; Wiley Periodicals, Inc.; and the American Cancer Society following an investigation by Wayne State University into the research activities of the first and last authors. The investigation found clear evidence that the 4-lane Rb bands for Figures 4A, 4B, 5D, and 6D are duplicated and manipulated and re-labeled. The investigation further found no evidence that the 4-lane Rb bands correspond to the assays above them. In addition, the investigation found clear evidence that the 2-lane Rb bands for Figure 4C are duplicated and manipulated and re-labeled Rb bands. The investigation further found no evidence that the 2-lane Rb bands correspond to the “supershift” assays they accompany. There is no evidence that these loading control assays were run at all. The investigation also found that the β-actin bands image in Figure 3D and 5A are re-labeled and manipulated copies of the β-actin bands image in Figure 3C of Int J Cancer. 2006 Apr 15;118(8):1930-6. Finally, the investigation found that the β-actin bands image in Figure 6A is a re-labeled and manipulated copy of Figure 3A of Int J Cancer. 2006 Apr 15;118(8):1930-6, representing two very different experiments. The investigation committee concluded that this undermined the scientific basis of the publication, that no credible replacement data were available, and advised that the publication should be retracted.
    REFERENCES

    Wang, Z., Zhang, Y., Banerjee, S., Li, Y. and Sarkar, F. H. (2006), Notch-1 down-regulation by curcumin is associated with the inhibition of cell growth and the induction of apoptosis in pancreatic cancer cells. Cancer, 106: 2503–2513. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21904

    Wang, Z., Zhang, Y., Banerjee, S., Li, Y. and Sarkar, F. H. (2006), Inhibition of nuclear factor κb activity by genistein is mediated via Notch-1 signaling pathway in pancreatic cancer cells. Int. J. Cancer, 118: 1930–1936. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21589

  • fernandopessoa August 3, 2016 at 4:31 am

    2016 retraction 2009 FH Sarkar paper.

    Cancer. 2009 May 15;115(10):2165-76. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24250.
    Genistein enhances the effect of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors and inhibits nuclear factor kappa B in nonsmall cell lung cancer cell lines.
    Gadgeel SM1, Ali S, Philip PA, Wozniak A, Sarkar FH.
    Author information
    1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA. gadgeels@karmanos.org

    2016 retraction notice.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.24250/abstract

    Retraction: “Genistein enhances the effect of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors and inhibits nuclear factor kappa B in nonsmall cell lung cancer cell lines” by Gadgeel SM, Ali S, Philip PA, Wozniak A, Sarkar FH.

    The above article, published in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement amongst the journal Editor in Chief, Fadlo R. Khuri; Wiley Periodicals, Inc.; and the American Cancer Society following an investigation by Wayne State University into the research activities of the second and last authors. The investigation found that the Western blot images of Figures 4A, 4B, and 4C were re-ordered and manipulated to misrepresent the results. The investigation committee concluded that this undermined the scientific basis of the publication, that no credible replacement data were available, and advised that the publication should be retracted.
    REFERENCE

    Gadgeel, S. M., Ali, S., Philip, P. A., Wozniak, A. and Sarkar, F. H. (2009), Genistein enhances the effect of epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors and inhibits nuclear factor kappa B in nonsmall cell lung cancer cell lines. Cancer, 115: 2165–2176. doi: 10.1002/cncr.24250

  • fernandopessoa August 3, 2016 at 4:37 am

    2016 retraction 2006 FH Sarkar paper.

    Cancer. 2006 Mar 15;106(6):1260-8.
    Cisplatin-induced antitumor activity is potentiated by the soy isoflavone genistein in BxPC-3 pancreatic tumor xenografts.
    Mohammad RM1, Banerjee S, Li Y, Aboukameel A, Kucuk O, Sarkar FH.
    Author information
    1Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA.

    2016 retraction notice.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.21731/abstract

    Retraction: “Cisplatin-induced antitumor activity is potentiated by the soy isoflavonen genistein in BxPC-3 pancreatic tumor xenografts” by Mohammad RM, Banerjee S, Li Y, Aboukameel A, Kucuk O, Sarkar FH.

    The above article, published in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement amongst the journal Editor in Chief, Fadlo R. Khuri; Wiley Periodicals, Inc.; and the American Cancer Society following an investigation by Wayne State University into the research activities of the second and last authors. The investigation found clear evidence that the 4-lane Rb bands for Figure 3A and Figure 4C are duplicated, manipulated, and re-labeled Rb bands. The investigation found no evidence that the 4-lane Rb bands correspond to the assays above them. The investigation further found that the 4-lane β-actin bands image in Figure 3B is a manipulated and re-labeled copy of the same β-actin bands image in Figure 5A of Int J Cancer. 2006 Apr 15;118(8):1930-6. The investigation committee concluded that this undermined the scientific basis of the publication, that no credible replacement data were available, and advised that the publication should be retracted.
    REFERENCES

    Mohammad, R. M., Banerjee, S., Li, Y., Aboukameel, A., Kucuk, O. and Sarkar, F. H. (2006), Cisplatin-induced antitumor activity is potentiated by the soy isoflavone genistein in BxPC-3 pancreatic tumor xenografts. Cancer, 106: 1260–1268. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21731

    Wang, Z., Zhang, Y., Banerjee, S., Li, Y. and Sarkar, F. H. (2006), Inhibition of nuclear factor κb activity by genistein is mediated via Notch-1 signaling pathway in pancreatic cancer cells. Int. J. Cancer, 118: 1930–1936. doi: 10.1002/ijc.21589

  • fernandopessoa August 3, 2016 at 5:35 am

    2016 retraction 2007 FH Sarkar paper.

    Cancer. 2007 Dec 15;110(12):2775-84.
    Response to dual blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cycloxygenase-2 in nonsmall cell lung cancer may be dependent on the EGFR mutational status of the tumor.
    Gadgeel SM1, Ali S, Philip PA, Ahmed F, Wozniak A, Sarkar FH.
    Author information
    1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.

    2016 retraction notice.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.23100/full

    Retraction: “Response to dual blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cyclooxygenase-2 in nonsmall cell lung cancer may be dependent on the EGFR mutational status of the tumor” by Gadgeel SM, Ali S, Philip PA, Ahmed F, Wozniak A, Sarkar FH.

    The above article, published in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement amongst the journal Editor in Chief, Fadlo R. Khuri; Wiley Periodicals, Inc.; and the American Cancer Society following an investigation by Wayne State University into the research activities of the second and last authors. The investigation found that masking and other manipulations altered the appearance of certain Western blots published in Figure 1A beyond “cosmetic” changes, and that these alterations changed the results. The investigation further found that there was masking in p-EGFR bands of the H3255 cells in Figure 5A, and found no evidence that the “data” published as non-expressed COX-2 and Akt in the H1650 cells in Figures 5A and 5B are anything other than plain gray boxes. The investigation committee concluded that this undermined the scientific basis of the publication, that no credible replacement data were available, and advised that the publication should be retracted.
    REFERENCE

    Gadgeel, S. M., Ali, S., Philip, P. A., Ahmed, F., Wozniak, A. and Sarkar, F. H. (2007), Response to dual blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and cycloxygenase-2 in nonsmall cell lung cancer may be dependent on the EGFR mutational status of the tumor. Cancer, 110: 2775–2784. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23100

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