Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘oncology retractions’ Category

Third retraction for GWU biologist as university seeks to dismiss his $8 million lawsuit

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Rakesh Kumar, via George Washington University

Rakesh Kumar, via George Washington University

Cancer biologist Rakesh Kumar has chalked up another retraction, this time for “identical,” “duplicated,” and “replicated” figures and images.

It comes on the heels of a flurry of motions in Kumar’s $8 million lawsuit against his employer, George Washington University, for breach of contract and emotional distress because it removed him as department chair last year and placed his research on hold. Kumar remains employed by the university.

The retracted paper, published in Development in 2004, “Metastasis-associated protein 1 deregulation causes inappropriate mammary gland development and tumorigenesis,” analyzed the role of a protein, MTA1, in mammary gland development and cancer. It was published while Kumar was at M.D. Anderson in Houston, and has been cited 81 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

By our count, Kumar now has three retractions and five corrections. Numerous anonymous comments on Kumar’s papers have been posted on PubPeer, many of them critiquing images. Here’s the complete notice from Development: Read the rest of this entry »

NIH cancer paper retracted for faked data

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JCIFollowing an investigation into research misconduct, the Journal of Clinical Investigation has retracted a cancer genetics paper from a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health due to “data falsification and fabrication” of four figures and a table in the paper.

The paper, “FOXO3 programs tumor-associated DCs to become tolerogenic in human and murine prostate cancer,” describes an overexpressed gene in mouse prostate cancers that appears to suppress immune system cells.

The journal retracted the paper following an investigation into author Stephanie K. Watkins, then a postdoctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute. According to a NIH press release released about the study in March 2011, the work “has led to the submission of a patent application by the NIH on behalf of Hurwitz and Watkins to target FOXO3 as a way to boost immune responses in cancer and to silence excessive immune responses in autoimmune diseases.” We found an NIH record of the patent application, but no record of an approved patent at the United States Patent and Trademark Office under either Hurwitz or Watkins’ names.

The paper has been cited 62 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the full notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Author from China blames translation company for plagiarism in retracted vascular paper

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apjcpDo we need a “throwing vendors under the bus” category here at Retraction Watch?

Earlier this year, we reported on the retraction of a paper because of sloppy work by an outside lab. Now, we have the story of a retraction for “negligence” by a translator. Specifically, the author says the passages shared between the retracted 2015 vascular paper and another paper in EMBO Journal are a result of “negligence on the part of the translation company that I trusted to make my manuscript ready for submission.”

Here’s more from the notice in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, written by Yong Jiang, of Laboratory Medical College, Jilin Medical College, China: Read the rest of this entry »

Authorship issues spell retraction for breast cancer paper

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ijmponcThe corresponding author of a 2014 paper in the Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology has retracted the article because he was a bit too generous with his list of coauthors.

The article, “Outcome of neoadjuvant chemotherapy in locally advanced breast cancer: A tertiary care centre experience,” reviewed medical records from a local population of breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. It came from a group at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, in Chandigarh. The first author was Tapesh Bhattacharyya, followed by four other names.

According to the noticeRead the rest of this entry »

Cancer team loses two papers for image manipulation

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bba_2A team spread across multiple institutions in China and McGill University in Canada has retracted two cancer papers over “inaccurate and inappropriately processed Western Blots.”

Some of the figures were also reused between the two articles, both in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta General Subjects.

The articles both tested the cancer-fighting properties of a derivative of the active compound present in Boswellia serrata gum resin.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gynecologic cancer researcher earns eighth retraction

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Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 5.50.31 PMNoriyuki Takai, a gynecologic cancer researcher in Japan, has notched one more retraction — bringing the total to eight — due to figures that were “processed inappropriately” and did “not accurately report the original data.”

According to the notice, Takai alone put the figures together in the 2006 Oncology paper, which tested a histone deacetylase inhibitor on endometrial and ovarian cancer cell lines. The team is part of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Oita University in Japan.

Takai lost four papers in 2013 in Cancer Letters, and three papers in 2012 in Gynecologic Oncology, also due to issues with figures.

Read the rest of this entry »

Two more retractions appear for prominent MIT cancer researcher Robert Weinberg

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genes and developmentTwo identical retraction notices have popped up for MIT professor Robert Weinberg, a highly-cited cancer researcher who had a retraction and a correction in 2013, both in Cancer Cell. 

These two new retractions, in Genes and Development, stem directly from another paper by Weinberg and colleagues in Cell that will apparently be retracted, as the “same analytical methodology was used,” according to the notices [see bottom of the post for an update].

Weinberg is highly regarded, and at least 20 of his papers have been cited over a thousand times.

First author Scott Valastyan was a promising postdoc at the time of the paper’s publication. He was a 2011 Runyon Fellow at Harvard, a three-year, $156,000 award for outstanding cancer postdocs. He doesn’t seem to have published anything since 2012, though he is listed as a joint inventor with Weinberg on patents filed in 2009 and 2014.

Here are the notices for “Concomitant suppression of three target genes can explain the impact of a microRNA on metastasis” (cited 73 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge) and “Activation of miR-31 function in already-established metastases elicits metastatic regression” (cited 54 times), both paywalled: Read the rest of this entry »

Former Pitt cancer researcher admits to faking findings

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Dong Xiao

Dong Xiao

A former researcher at the University of Pittsburgh inflated the number of mice used in his experiments, and faked data in a number of images in a paper reporting the results, according to the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).

Dong Xiao admitting to having

intentionally fabricated data contained in a paper entitled ‘Guggulsterone inhibits prostate cancer growth via inactivation of Akt regulated by ATP citrate signaling,’ specifically Figure 6G,

the ORI reports. The paper was published in  in July 2014 in Oncotarget. Here’s Figure 6: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

January 23rd, 2015 at 8:01 am

Retracted paper on herbicide-ovarian cancer connection republished

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ehpA retracted 2008 paper originally flagged by Clare Francis has been republished in Environmental Health Perspectives with updated figures and new data.

According to the editor’s note appended to the newly published paper, there was no evidence of intentional misconduct on the part of the authors. The new paper went through peer review as an entirely new submission, and comes to the same conclusion as the original:  Read the rest of this entry »

Franken-paper from U.S. federal contractor heads to the grave

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Hindawi journal PPAR Research has pulled a cancer immunology paper after discovering it contained almost no new information.

Instead, it was a Frankenstein-style stitch job, containing sentences ripped from 33 different papers. 18 of those ended up in the citations; for 15 more, the authors didn’t even do them that courtesy. You can see a meticulously color-coded call out here.

Here’s the notice for “A Role for PPARy in the Regulation of Cytokines in Immune Cells and Cancer”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

January 19th, 2015 at 9:30 am