Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Journal retracts paper due to image mismatch; one co-author alleges fraud

with 16 comments

Researchers have retracted a biology paper that included an image mismatch — despite the fact that, as they claim, another image in the same paper confirms the original findings.

The authors say they plan to resubmit the paper with the corrected figure panel.

The second to last author — Carlo Croce, chair of the department of cancer biology and genetics at The Ohio State University — told us he believes there’s more to the retraction than what the notice says. Specifically, he said that the paper includes an image from a previous paper by the same authors, which he called “fraud.”

Here’s the latest retraction notice, published in Cell Death and Differentiation:

The Editors have agreed to retract the above article in Cell Death and Differentiation (2010) 17, 1908–1916, due to the use of a mismatched image in control lanes of Figure 2c However, the authors wish to note that the results reported in Figure 2c have been reported and confirmed in Figure 2f of the same manuscript. The authors are convinced of the reproducibility of the data presented, which will be resubmitted for publication using the correct panel for Figure 2c. The authors apologize to the scientific community for any inconveniences caused.

The 2010 paper, “c-FLIPL enhances anti-apoptotic Akt functions by modulation of Gsk3β activity,” has been cited 14 times.

The paper has been discussed on PubPeer, with one user suggesting the figure panel in question — 2c — resembles another figure panel in a 2008 paper by some of the same authors.

That’s the main problem with the paper, Croce told us:

After the senior author informed the other authors including me of the problem, I looked at the paper in [Cell Death & Differentiation] and the previous paper in Plos One. There is no doubt that a piece of a figure of the Plos One paper ended up in a figure of the CDD paper. I would call it fraud!!

The newly retracted paper and the 2008 PLOS ONE paper — “Akt Regulates Drug-Induced Cell Death through Bcl-w Downregulation” — share a same first author, Cristina Quintavalle, also listed at ‘Federico II’ University of Naples in Italy. According to her ResearchGate profile, she is now based at Universitätsspital Basel. We were unable to find contact information for Quintavalle.

We’ve contacted the last author on both papers, Gerolama Condorelli — also of ‘Federico II’ University of Naples in Italy — for more information.

This isn’t Croce’s first retraction we’ve covered — last year, he asked a Nature journal to retract a News & Views he wrote, claiming the publisher tried to censor him by asking to remove passages that criticized another journal. He’s also co-authored multiple papers with Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy who has nine retractions under his belt. Fusco is undergoing a criminal investigation for scientific misconduct.

Several papers by Croce and Fusco are being questioned on PubPeer.

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Comments
  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 10:23 am

    Gerolama Condorelli is an author on this old chestnut. A case of “community standards”?

    J Biol Chem. 1999 Oct 1;274(40):28637-44.
    In L6 skeletal muscle cells, glucose induces cytosolic translocation of protein kinase C-alpha and trans-activates the insulin receptor kinase.

    Matilde Caruso‡, Claudia Miele, Francesco Oriente, Alessandra Maitan, Giuseppe Bifulco§, Francesco Andreozzi, Gerolama Condorelli, Pietro Formisano and Francesco Beguinot¶
    – Author Affiliations

    From the Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare & Centro di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Federico II University of Naples, Naples 80131, Italy
    http://www.jbc.org/content/274/40/28637.long

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/10497232

    Figure 2. http://i.imgur.com/TFOvrGy.jpg

    Figure 4. http://i.imgur.com/APsVuOE.jpg

    Figure 5. http://i.imgur.com/b0KbPYJ.jpg

    Figure 8. http://i.imgur.com/04Yg5sH.jpg

    Figure 9. http://i.imgur.com/33RUNpk.jpg

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Gerolama Condorelli is first auhtor on this J Biol Chem paper.

    J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 29;277(13):11013-8. Epub 2002 Jan 14.
    Multiple members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase family are necessary for PED/PEA-15 anti-apoptotic function.

    Gerolama Condorelli‡§, Alessandra Trencia‡§, Giovanni Vigliotta‡¶, Anna Perfetti‡, Umberto Goglia‡, Angela Cassese‡, Anna Maria Musti‡,‖, Claudia Miele‡, Stefania Santopietro‡, Pietro Formisano‡ and Francesco Beguinot‡**
    – Author Affiliations

    From the ‡Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare & Centro di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Università di Napoli Federico II, Via S. Pansini, 5, 80131 Naples, and the ‖Dipartimento Farmaco-Biologico, Università della Calabria, 87040 Rende, Italy
    http://www.jbc.org/content/277/13/11013.long

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/11790785

    Figure 3A. http://i.imgur.com/DsZKFPz.jpg

    Figure 4. http://i.imgur.com/oxeGOrL.jpg

    Figure 5. http://i.imgur.com/rkmYJIo.jpg

    Figure 7. http://i.imgur.com/3bzQZhn.jpg

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 10:39 am

    Carlo M Croce is senior author, and Gerolama Condorelli penultimate author on this Cancer Cell paper.

    Cancer Cell. 2009 Dec 8;16(6):498-509. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2009.10.014.
    miR-221&222 regulate TRAIL resistance and enhance tumorigenicity through PTEN and TIMP3 downregulation.
    Michela Garofalo1, Gianpiero Di Leva1, Giulia Romano2, Gerard Nuovo1, Sung-Suk Suh1, Apollinaire Ngankeu1, Cristian Taccioli1, Flavia Pichiorri1, Hansjuerg Alder1, Paola Secchiero3, Pierluigi Gasparini1, Arianna Gonelli3, Stefan Costinean1, Mario Acunzo1, Gerolama Condorelli4, , , Carlo Maria Croce1, ,
    1 Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
    2 Fondazione SDN, 80143 Naples, Italy
    3 Department of Morphology and Embryology, Human Anatomy Section, University of Ferrara, 44100 Ferrara, Italy
    4 Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathology, Istituto di Endocrinologia e Oncologia Sperimentale “G. Salvatore”-Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Faculty of Biotechnological Science, “Federico II” University of Naples, I-80121 Naples, Italy
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1535610809003833

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/19962668

    Figure 1G. http://i.imgur.com/bYZFvye.jpg

    Figure 5. http://i.imgur.com/x2jPEdN.jpg

    Figure 7. http://i.imgur.com/SeiZlw3.jpg

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

    Gerolama Conderelli is senior and corresponding author on this 2008 PLos One paper which shares data with the retracted 2010 paper (topic of this post).

    PLoS ONE. 2008; 3(12): e4070.
    Akt Regulates Drug-Induced Cell Death through Bcl-w Downregulation
    Michela Garofalo,#1,2 Cristina Quintavalle,#1,3 Ciro Zanca,1 Assunta De Rienzo,5 Giulia Romano,4 Mario Acunzo,1,3 Loredana Puca,1 Mariarosaria Incoronato,4 Carlo M. Croce,2 and Gerolama Condorelli1,3,6,*
    Neil Hotchin, Editor
    1Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathology, “Federico II” University of Naples, Naples, Italy
    2Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, Human Cancer Genetics Program, Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States of America
    3IEOS, CNR, Naples, Italy
    4Fondazione SDN, Naples, Italy
    5IRGS, Biogem s.c.ar.l., Ariano Irpino (AV), Italy
    6Facoltà di Scienze Biotecnologiche, “Federico II” University of Naples, Naples, Italy
    University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
    #Contributed equally.
    * E-mail: ti.aninu@rodnoceg

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/19114998

    Figure 4C. http://i.imgur.com/oR7owYj.jpg

    Overlap with this retracted paper which is the topic of this post.
    http://i.imgur.com/Cb7F3dp.jpg

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Gerolama Condorelli is first author on another old chestnut, Diabetes 2001 Jun; 50(6): 1244-1252.

    Protein Kinase C (PKC)-α Activation Inhibits PKC-ζ and Mediates the Action of PED/PEA-15 on Glucose Transport in the L6 Skeletal Muscle Cells
    Gerolama Condorelli, Giovanni Vigliotta, Alessandra Trencia, Maria Alessandra Maitan, Matilde Caruso, Claudia Miele, Francesco Oriente, Stefania Santopietro, Pietro Formisano and Francesco Beguinot
    – Author Affiliations
    Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare and the Centro di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del C.N.R., Federico II University of Naples, Naples, Italy
    Diabetes 2001 Jun; 50(6): 1244-1252. https://doi.org/10.2337/diabetes.50.6.1244

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/11375323

    Figure 2. http://i.imgur.com/3VIYYJl.jpg

    Figure 6. http://i.imgur.com/Dtfcd4K.jpg

    Figure 8B. http://i.imgur.com/xPHpbxY.jpg

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 10:56 am

    Gerolama Condoreeli is author on this 2000 Diabetes paper.

    Diabetes. 2000 Jul;49(7):1194-202.
    The IR1152 mutant insulin receptor selectively impairs insulin action in skeletal muscle but not in liver.
    Caruso M1, Miele C, Oliva A, Condorelli G, Oriente F, Riccardi G, Capaldo B, Fiory F, Accili D, Formisano P, Beguinot F.
    Author information
    1Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare & Centro di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Federico II University of Naples Medical School, Italy.
    http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/49/7/1194.full-text.pdf

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/10909978

    Figure 4B and 7C. http://i.imgur.com/WMmGBhc.jpg

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 11:01 am

    Gerolama Condorelli is authur on this now corrected Cancer Res paper.

    Cancer Res. 2006 Feb 1;66(3):1491-9.
    Autocrine production of interleukin-4 and interleukin-10 is required for survival and growth of thyroid cancer cells.
    Matilde Todaro, Monica Zerilli, Lucia Ricci-Vitiani, Miriam Bini, Mileidys Perez Alea, Ada Maria Florena, Laura Miceli, Gerolama Condorelli, Sebastiano Bonventre, Giuseppe Di Gesù, Ruggero De Maria, Giorgio Stassi.

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/16452205

    Figure 4. http://i.imgur.com/C72M05A.jpg

    2016 correction. http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/76/24/7292

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Gerolama Condorelli is penultimate author on this 2000 Mol Cell biol paper, which was corrected in 2013.

    Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Sep;20(17):6323-33.
    Insulin-Activated Protein Kinase Cβ Bypasses Ras and Stimulates Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Activity and Cell Proliferation in Muscle Cells
    Pietro Formisano, Francesco Oriente, Francesca Fiory, Matilde Caruso, Claudia Miele, Maria Alessandra Maitan, Francesco Andreozzi, Giovanni Vigliotta, Gerolama Condorelli, and Francesco Beguinot*
    – Author Affiliations

    Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare and Centro di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del CNR, Università di Napoli Federico II, Naples 80131, Italy

    Overlpa in images between Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Sep;20(17):6323-33 and EMBO J. 1998 Jul 15;17(14):3858-66.
    http://i.imgur.com/rzpIt8v.jpg

    2013 correction. http://mcb.asm.org/content/33/7/1474.short

  • fernando pessoa January 24, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Gerolama Condorelli is author on this very old chestnut.

    J Biol Chem. 1997 Mar 14;272(11):7290-7.
    In Skeletal Muscle, Glucose Storage and Oxidation Are Differentially Impaired by the IR1152 Mutant Receptor*
    Matilde Caruso‡, Claudia Miele‡§, Pietro Formisano‡, Gerolama Condorelli‡, Giuseppe Bifulco‡, Andrea Oliva‡, Renata Auricchio‡, Gabriele Riccardi¶, Brunella Capaldo¶ and Francesco Beguinot‡∥
    – Author Affiliations
    From the ‡ Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare “L.Califano” and Centro di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del C.N.R. and the
    ¶ Dipartimento di Medicina Clinica e Sperimentale, “Federico II” University of Naples Medical School, 80131 Naples, Italy
    http://www.jbc.org/content/272/11/7290.long

    Pubpeer comments: https://pubpeer.com/publications/9054426

    Comparison figure 1 J Biol Chem. 1997 Mar 14;272(11):7290-7 with figure 2 J Biol Chem. 1995 Jun 30;270(26):15844-52.
    http://i.imgur.com/jsgimSC.jpg

    Figure 2 J Biol Chem. 1997 Mar 14;272(11):7290-7.
    http://i.imgur.com/CneFBK7.jpg

  • fernandopessoa January 25, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Cancer Res. 2005 Aug 1;65(15):6668-75.
    PED mediates AKT-dependent chemoresistance in human breast cancer cells.
    Giorgio Stassi, Michela Garofalo, Monica Zerilli, Lucia Ricci-Vitiani, Ciro Zanca, Matilde Todaro, Federico Aragona, Gennaro Limite, Giuseppe Petrella and Gerolama Condorelli
    Author information
    1Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Federico II University of Naples, Naples.
    http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/65/15/6668.long

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/16061647

    Figure 6. http://i.imgur.com/EO4kBRa.jpg

  • fernandopessoa January 25, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Int J Cancer. 2007 Mar 15;120(6):1215-22.
    Selective inhibition of PED protein expression sensitizes B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis.
    Garofalo M1, Romano G, Quintavalle C, Romano MF, Chiurazzi F, Zanca C, Condorelli G.
    Author information
    1Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathology, University of Naples Federico II, Via Pansini 5, 80131-Naples, Italy.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/17192900

    Figure 2. http://i.imgur.com/L6KrW5Q.jpg

  • fernandopessoa January 25, 2017 at 11:29 am

    J Cell Mol Med. 2008 Dec; 12(6a): 2416–2426.
    Published online 2008 Feb 16. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2008.00283.x
    PMCID: PMC4514119
    PED is overexpressed and mediates TRAIL resistance in human non-small cell lung cancer
    Ciro Zanca,a,# Michela Garofalo,a,# Cristina Quintavalle,a Giulia Romano,a,c Mario Acunzo,a Pia Ragno,b Nunzia Montuori,a Mariarosaria Incoronato,c Luigi Tornillo,d Daniel Baumhoer,d Carlo Briguori,e Luigi Terracciano,d and Gerolama Condorellia,*
    aDepartment of Cellular and Molecular Biology and Pathology, ‘Federico II’ University of Naples, Naples, Italy & Istituto di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale, C.N.R., IEOS, Naples, Italy
    bDipartimento di Chimica, Università degli Studi di Salerno, Salerno, Italy
    cFondazione SDN, Naples, Italy
    dInstitute of Pathology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
    eClinica Mediterranea, Naples, Italy
    * Correspondence to: Prof. Gerolama CONDORELLI, Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare & Facoltà di Scienze Biotecnologiche, Università degli Studi di Napoli ‘Federico II’, Via Pansini, 5, 80131 Naples, Italy.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/18284607

    Figure 5A. http://i.imgur.com/TLnrH4V.jpg

  • fernandopessoa January 25, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Carlo M Croce 3rd last author on this 2007 paper.

    Nature Medicine 13, 613 – 618 (2007)
    Published online: 29 April 2007 | doi:10.1038/nm1582
    MicroRNA-133 controls cardiac hypertrophy
    Alessandra Carè1,11, Daniele Catalucci2,3,11, Federica Felicetti1, Désirée Bonci1, Antonio Addario1, Paolo Gallo3,4, Marie-Louise Bang2,3, Patrizia Segnalini1, Yusu Gu2, Nancy D Dalton2, Leonardo Elia2, Michael V G Latronico3,4, Morten Høydal5, Camillo Autore6, Matteo A Russo7, Gerald W Dorn, II8, Øyvind Ellingsen5, Pilar Ruiz-Lozano9, Kirk L Peterson2, Carlo M Croce10, Cesare Peschle1,11 & Gianluigi Condorelli2,3,11

    Figure 1C. http://imgur.com/sz0oWct

  • fernandopessoa January 26, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Cellular Signalling
    Volume 19, Issue 6, June 2007, Pages 1193–1200

    Shp2 in PC12 cells: NGF versus EGF signalling
    Amelia D’Alessioa, Laura Cerchiab, Ivano Ameliob, Mariarosaria Incoronatoc, Gerolama Condorellic, Vittorio de Franciscisb, ,
    a Cell Biology and Preclinical Models Unit, INT-Fondazione Pascale, via M. Semmola, 80131 Naples, Italy
    b Istituto di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale del CNR “G. Salvatore”, via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy
    c Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, Via S. Pansini 5, 80131 Naples, Italy
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0898656806003457

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/260DF8DBE91F51E6306828B78D690F#fb116121

    Figure 5B. http://i.imgur.com/HDId5KN.jpg

  • fernandopessoa January 26, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Italian science blog based at the newspaper “La Repubblica” is picking up on papers by Gerolama Condorelli (amongst others), which have been commmented on at Pubpeer.

    http://ocasapiens-dweb.blogautore.repubblica.it/2017/01/24/sempre-luniversita-federico-ii/?refresh_ce

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