Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘oncology retractions’ Category

Error in one line of code sinks cancer study

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journl-of-clinical-oncologyAuthors of a 2016 cancer paper have retracted it after finding an error in one line of code in the program used to calculate some of the results.

Sarah Darby, last author of the now-retracted paper from the University of Oxford, UK, told Retraction Watch that the mistake was made by a doctoral student. When the error was realized, Darby said, she contacted the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), explained the issue, and asked whether they would prefer a retraction or a correction. JCO wanted a retraction, and she complied.

The journal allowed the authors to publish a correspondence article outlining their new results.

Here’s the lengthy retraction notice, published online last month: Read the rest of this entry »

Peer review manipulation fells another study

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Spectrochimica ActaA spectroscopy journal has retracted a 2016 study after concluding that its editors had been misled by a fake review.

According to the retraction notice, the journal — Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy — accepted the paper due to positive feedback from someone assuming the identity of an expert reviewer, using an email address provided by the author of the study.

An official from the author’s institution in Turkey informed us that it will conduct an investigation. 

Here’s the retraction notice for “Diagnosis of cervical cancer cell taken from scanning electron and atomic force microscope images of the same patients using discrete wavelet entropy energy and Jensen Shannon, Hellinger, Triangle Measure classifier:” Read the rest of this entry »

Widely used brain tumor cell line may not be what researchers thought it was

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Bengt Westermark

Bengt Westermark

Nearly 50 years ago, researchers in Uppsala, Sweden used cells from a patient to establish a brain tumor cell line that has become widely used. But a new study suggests that the most common source of that cell line used by scientists today may not be derived from that original patient’s tumor, raising questions about the results obtained in hundreds of studies.

In a new paper out today in Science Translational Medicine, Bengt Westermark, of Uppsala University, and colleagues describe what they found when they performed a forensic DNA analysis comparing the widely used version of the cell line to the original. The findings are consistent with those of other analyses in which cell lines turn out not to be what researchers thought, a problem we’ve focused some attention on.

Here’s an email interview with Westermark about the findings and their implications: Read the rest of this entry »

Seven retractions for prominent cancer researcher brings total to 18

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Bharat Aggarwal

Bharat Aggarwal

A cancer researcher has earned seven more retractions following an investigation into his work by his former employer, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, bringing his total to 18 retractions.

Bharat Aggarwal‘s name will be familiar to some readers, as he has threatened to sue Retraction Watch for reporting on his case.

All of the new retraction notices, issued by The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC), stem from image-related issues. The now-retired Aggarwal has seven papers that have each been cited at least 1,000 times, and in 2015, he was on Thomson Reuters Web of Science’s list of The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds. With these new notices, he also has made it to our leaderboard of individual researchers who’ve racked up the most retractions.

An MD Anderson spokesperson sent us this statement: Read the rest of this entry »

UK doctor banned from practice after fabricating data in grant applications

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Queen Mary University of LondonA prominent cancer researcher in England has been banned from practicing medicine and has lost his funding from a UK charity after being found to have fabricated data in grant applications.

The moves against the researcher, Thorsten Hagemann, come after investigations by the General Medical Council, akin to a U.S. state medical board, and Hagemann’s former institution, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), turned up evidence of misconduct. In June, we reported on the retraction of a meeting abstract in The Journal of Pathology and the corrigendum of a Nature paper by Hagemann following the inquiry at QMUL.

A spokesperson from the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service told the Evening Standard: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

August 8th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Romanian journal bans author following 4 retractions

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Romanian Journal of Internal MedicineA medical journal in Romania has issued a lifetime ban for a researcher after retracting four of his papers.

Since April, the Romanian Journal of Internal Medicine (RJIM) retracted nine papers (eight for plagiarism, one for duplication); four of these were co-authored by Manole Cojocaru, a researcher at the Titu Maiorescu University (TMU) in Bucharest, Romania. Subsequently, the journal has banned Cojocaru from submitting manuscripts, and has also informed the ethics committee at his institution.

Here’s the retraction notice, which is the same for six of the papers: Read the rest of this entry »

You’ve been dupe’d: Nice data — let’s see them again

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As we’ve said before, with hundreds of retractions per year, there are simply too many for us to cover individually.

So from time to time we’ll compile a list of retractions that appeared relatively straightforward, just for record-keeping purposes.

Often, these seemingly straightforward retractions involve duplications, in which authors — accidentally or on purpose — republish their own work elsewhere.

Sometimes journals and authors blame this event on “poor communication,” our first example notes:

Read the rest of this entry »

Should a paper be retracted if an author omits a conflict of interest?

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s-cover-yvs1606A JAMA journal has quickly issued a correction for a 2016 paper after the author failed to mention several relevant conflicts of interest. Normally, we’d see this as a run-of-the-mill correction notice, but since we reported last week that a journal retracted a paper for omitting pharma funding, we got to wondering: Is failure to disclose a conflict of interest a retractable offense?

Guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) do say that retractions are used for “failure to disclose a major competing interest likely to influence interpretations or recommendations.” But most of the time when we see corrections to the literature for such omissions, they’re corrections, not retractions.

On Friday, JAMA Ophthalmology issued a correction notice for an invited commentary published in April, which addressed two papers in the journal about melanoma of the eye (uveal melanoma). However, the original commentary failed to note that author Arun D. Singh at the Cleveland Clinic had some relevant conflicts to mention, as the notice explains: Read the rest of this entry »

Paper reports data from PET/CT scan, years before it arrived

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MedicineAuthors have retracted a study just three months after publishing it, upon realizing they made “several critical errors.”

For one, the authors didn’t actually collect the data they claim to in the title of the paper, which reported on methods to screen patients for recurrence of lung cancer. The authors included data from positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT), collected from 2003 to 2007 — but their institution didn’t have a PET/CT scanner until 2009. Instead, the authors had mistakenly reported the results of PET scans alone, which may not find tumors as effectively as PET/CT.

Here’s the retraction notice in Medicine, which explains the nature of the error in more detail. (Note: One of the authors supplied some missing text, in brackets.)

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Written by Shannon Palus

June 1st, 2016 at 11:30 am

How should journals update papers when new findings come out?

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When authors get new data that revise a previous report, what should they do?

In the case of a 2015 lung cancer drug study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), the journal published a letter to the editor with the updated findings.

Shortly after the paper was published, a pharmaceutical company released new data showing the drug wasn’t quite as effective as it had seemed. Once the authors included the new data in their analysis, they adjusted their original response rate of 59%  — hailed as one of a few “encouraging results” in an NEJM editorial at the time of publication — to 45%, as they write in the letter. One of the authors told us they published the 2015 paper using less “mature” data because the drug’s benefits appeared so promising, raising questions about when to publish “exciting but still evolving data.”

It’s not a correction, as the original paper has not been changed; it doesn’t even contain a flag that it’s been updated. But among the online letters about the paper is one from the authors, “Update to Rociletinib Data with the RECIST Confirmed Response Rate,” which provides the new data and backstory:

Read the rest of this entry »