Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘clinical cancer research’ Category

A university asked for numerous retractions. Eight months later, three journals have done nothing.

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Anil Jaiswal

When journals learn papers are problematic, how long does it take them to act?

We recently had a chance to find out as part of our continuing coverage of the case of Anil Jaiswal at the University of Maryland, who’s retracted 15 papers (including two new ones we recently identified), and has transitioned out of cancer research. Here’s what happened.

As part of a public records request related to the investigation, we received letters that the University of Maryland sent to 11 journals regarding 26 “compromised” papers co-authored by Jaiswal, four of which had been retracted by the time of the letter. The letters were dated between August and September 2016 (and one in February) — although, in some cases, the journals told us they received the letter later. Since that date, three journals have retracted nine papers and corrected another, waiting between four and six months to take action. One journal published an editorial note of concern within approximately two months after the university letter.

And six journals have not taken any public action.

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Breast cancer studies by fired Pfizer employee retracted

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Last year, Pfizer fired one of its scientists following an investigation that ended with requests for retraction of five of her studies. Now, two of the five papers, which were first flagged on PubPeer, have been retracted.

One notice cites the Pfizer investigation, which found that cancer researcher Min-Jean Yin had included duplicated images in all five papers. Yin is the last author on both retracted papers.

Here’s the first notice from Clinical Cancer Research, which says most or all of the questioned images appear to be duplicates, and Pfizer — who sponsored the study and requested the retraction — can’t find the originals:
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Researcher pegged for misconduct in 11 papers earns 2nd retraction

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clinical-cancer-researchA cancer journal has retracted a paper by a researcher who doctored data in 11 studies, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

According to an investigation report released by the ORI last year, all 11 studies co-authored by Girija Dasmahapatra, formerly based at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, will either be retracted or corrected. In April, Dasmahapatra lost the first of the 11 papers flagged by the ORI in the journal Leukemia. Earlier this month, a second paper from the list was pulled by Clinical Cancer Research.

Dasmahapatra isn’t the only VCU researcher who’s been busy correcting the literature. All 11 papers mentioned in the ORI report list Steven Grant as last author; Paul Dent is a co-author of nine of these studies. Last month, we reported on a retraction in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) and a mega-correction in Molecular Pharmacology issued for papers by Grant and Dent due to problems with images. Neither paper included Dasmahapatra as a co-author.

We’ve also previously reported on four other errata for image-related issues for papers by Dent (one of which lists Grant as a co-author). Now, we’ve come across another correction in JBC for the pair, which was published last month.

First, here’s the new retraction notice from Clinical Cancer Research, which includes Grant and Dent as co-authors: Read the rest of this entry »

Pfizer fires employee, requests five retractions

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pfizerPharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced it plans to retract five papers by a former employee, after an investigation found duplicated images.

As first reported today by Leonid Schneider, Pfizer has asked to retract five papers from the lab of Min-Jean Yin, a cancer researcher. A spokesperson for the company confirmed to us that Yin had been fired:

…Min-Jean Yin’s employment has been terminated as a result of our investigation.

The five papers to be retracted are: Read the rest of this entry »

Prostate cancer paper retracted after investigation can’t review original image

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1.coverAn article about how a COX-2 inhibitor (celecoxib) inhibits growth of prostate cancer in rats is being retracted after the authors were unable to provide an investigation committee at New York University with the backup they were asking for.

When the paper was published in 2003, first author Bhagavathi Narayanan worked at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in New York (also known as the American Health Foundation). But when the institute went broke the next year — thanks partly to lavish salaries and offices, as the New York Post reported —  the authors claim they could no longer obtain back up for an image in the paper, once it was questioned years later by NYU, where Narayanan is now based.

Here’s the retraction note, published in Clinical Cancer Research:

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Cancer researcher contributed “false data” to 11 studies

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ori-logoA former cancer researcher has falsified data in 11 studies, according to the results of a investigation scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow.

The Office of Research Integrity’s findings are based on an inquiry at Virginia Commonwealth University, where Girija Dasmahapatra worked until July of this year, investigating possible therapies for cancer. The misconduct affected research funded by three grants from the National Institutes of Health. Steven Grant, a researcher at VCU, is the principal investigator on the grants, each of which total over $2 million in funding. All of the 11 affected papers will be corrected or retracted, according to the ORI notice.

Two of the papers containing “falsified and/or fabricated” data — a study on an experimental combination of drugs for blood cancer and one on chemotherapies for rare forms of lymphoma  — were covered in press releases by VCU.

According to the notice in the Federal Register:

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Mega-correction to several images in gastric cancer study

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A journal has issued a rather large correction — what we call “mega-correction” — to a 2014 paper on a gastric cancer biomarker that fixes problems with several of the study’s figures.

The authors write that despite the corrections, “the results and conclusions put forth in the article remain unchanged.”

The paper, “TMEFF2 Deregulation Contributes to Gastric Carcinogenesis and Indicates Poor Survival Outcome” explored the role of TMEFF2 in gastric cancer. The researchers found that the protein acts as a tumor suppressor, and low levels can indicate the presence of cancerous cells.

Here’s the full correction notice, published by Clinical Cancer Research in August:

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Cancer paper pulled due to “identical text” from one published 6 days prior; author objects

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ClinCancRes_ak16Clinical Cancer Research is retracting a paper on the immunosuppressive effects of glioma due to “evidence of duplicate and/or redundant publication.”

According to the retraction notice, the 2010 paper bore exceeding similarities to another one published by the same group of researchers six days prior. That second paper appeared in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, which – like Clinical Cancer Research — is published by the American Association for Cancer Research. Apparently, a reader tipped off the AACR about the similarity.

The corresponding author on both papers, however, has objected to the decision: Read the rest of this entry »

Pfizer retracts another experimental cancer drug study

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clin cancer researchPfizer has retracted another study involving an experimental cancer drug that later failed later-stage trials.

The study, published in Clinical Cancer Research in 2010, looked at which patients might respond to the drug, called figitumumab. Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Cancer researcher who threatened to sue Retraction Watch corrects another paper

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aggarwalBharat Aggarwal, the MD Anderson researcher who has threatened to sue Retraction Watch for writing about issues in his papers, has corrected another study.

Here’s the notice for “Induction of Cell Cycle Arrest and Apoptosis by the Proteasome Inhibitor PS-341 in Hodgkin Disease Cell Lines Is Independent of Inhibitor of Nuclear Factor-κB Mutations or Activation of the CD30, CD40, and RANK Receptors:” Read the rest of this entry »