Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Caught Our Notice: Concerns about image in 2008 paper prompt editorial notice

with 15 comments

Via Wikimedia

Title: Characterization of a novel epigenetically-silenced, growth-suppressive gene, ADAMTS9, and its association with lymph node metastases in nasopharyngeal carcinoma

What caught our attention: One year ago, a PubPeer user suggested an image from a 2008 paper looked similar to one from another paper. After the authors stated their belief in the soundness of the image, without providing the originals, the journal issued only an Expression of Concern for the paper. Some journals have issued retractions for lack of original data, some have issued corrections, and even fewer have published editorial notices. Expressions of concern usually indicate that some type of final resolution will be announced, but in reality, a significant proportion remain unresolved for years. Based on the wording of this notice, it may be around for a while.

Journal: International Journal of Cancer

Authors: Hong Lok Lung, Paulisally Hau Yi Lo, Dan Xie, Suneel S. Apte, Arthur Kwok Leung Cheung, Yue Cheng, Evan Wai Lok Law, Daniel Chua, Yi-Xin Zeng, Sai Wah Tsao, Eric J. Stanbridge and Maria Li Lung

Affiliation: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Kowloon, Hong Kong (SAR), People’s Republic of China; Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China; Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA; Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, CA, USA; University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, People’s Republic of China; University of California, Irvine, CA

The Notice

An Expression of Concern is issued in relation to the above article, published online on 30 April 2008 in Wiley Online Library (, and in Volume 123, pp. 401–408, by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Peter Lichter, and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. The Expression of Concern has been agreed to due to concerns about Fig. 2a. Despite being unable to retrieve the original data due to the time that has elapsed, the authors believe the gene expression results of those DNA samples to be reproducible.

Date of Article:  April 2008

Times cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science:  41

Date of Notice:  9/15/2017

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