Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Caught Our Notice: Journals still (slowly) purging archives of bad cell line studies

with 2 comments

Via Wikimedia

Title: Tanshinone IIA Induces Apoptosis in Human Oral Cancer KB Cells through a Mitochondria-Dependent Pathway

What Caught Our Attention: Thousands of papers have relied on contaminated or wrong cell lines, a problem journals have not been particularly proactive in addressing. So far, only a few studies have been retracted for using misidentified cell lines.

But that hasn’t stopped scientists from trying to clean up the record. In 2014, Amanda Capes-Davis, chair of the International Cell Line Authentication Committee, posted a comment on Pubmed Commons about a recently published paper, noting that the cell line was not the cancer cell type the authors claimed. She also included a link to the registry of misidentified cell lines, which showed the line — known as KB — was a cervical cancer cell type, not oral cancer (as the authors believed). But it wasn’t until November 2017 that the journal took some action — in this case retracting the article, and referring to the (yes, three year old) Pubmed comment as cause.

Journal: BioMed Research International

Authors: Pao-Yu Tseng, Wei-Cheng Lu, Ming-Ju Hsieh, Su-Yu Chien, and Mu-Kuan Chen

Affiliations:  Changhua Christian Hospital,Taiwan; Chung Shan Medical University, Taiwan;
China Medical University, Taiwan

The Notice:

BioMed Research International has retracted the article titled “Tanshinone IIA Induces Apoptosis in Human Oral Cancer KB Cells through a Mitochondria-Dependent Pathway” [1]. As noted by Amanda Capes-Davis on PubMed Commons, KB cells are cross-contaminated by HeLa and are not oral cancer cells [2]. Therefore, the conclusions cannot be supported. Tan IIA was already known to induce apoptosis in HeLa cells through a mitochondria-dependent pathway [3].

Date of Article: May 2014

Times Cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science: 5

Date of Notice: November 21, 2017

Like Retraction Watch? Consider making a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth. You can also follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up on our homepage for an email every time there’s a new post, or subscribe to our daily digest. Click here to review our Comments Policy. For a sneak peek at what we’re working on, click here. If you have comments or feedback, you can reach us at retractionwatchteam@gmail.com.

Written by Alison Abritis

January 11th, 2018 at 8:00 am

Comments
  • Prof. Chukwuemeka Chucks Agbakwuru January 12, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Research papers especially on clinical research results must be clarified with specialized authorities before publications to avoid dangerous controversies.

  • Amanda Capes-Davis January 13, 2018 at 11:33 pm

    Many thanks to Retraction Watch for finding out this paper was retracted. I was not aware that my comment led to further action until seeing it highlighted here. Good to see the editors taking action on concerns regarding misidentified cell lines.

  • Post a comment

    Threaded commenting powered by interconnect/it code.