Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘oncology retractions’ Category

Cropped, spliced image leads to a PLOS One correction

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Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 4.27.21 PMA PLOS One paper on morphine treatment for cancer cells has a couple issues with figures, prompting a massive correction — what we affectionately call a “mega-correction” — by the journal.

In one figure, there was “an undisclosed splice.” Another figure contained two panels that were “mistakenly from the same sample.”

The 2013 paper in question, “Chronic Morphine Treatment Attenuates Cell Growth of Human BT474 Breast Cancer Cells by Rearrangement of the ErbB Signalling Network,” has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the correction:

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Written by Shannon Palus

November 27th, 2015 at 9:30 am

MD Anderson researcher Aggarwal up to six corrections

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cover (2)A highly cited cancer researcher at MD Anderson has notched three major corrections, all associated with problems in figures. One note cites “human error” as the cause.

Bharat Aggarwal is the last author on all three papers. He is now up to six corrections, two unexplained withdrawals, and two Expressions of Concern. He’s also threatened to sue us in the past, and has told us that his institution has been looking into his work.

Only one note specifies that the correction does not affect the paper’s conclusions.

First up: “Inhibition of growth and survival of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cells by curcumin via modulation of nuclear factor-κB signaling,” published in the International Journal of Cancer and cited 168 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The issues span two figures, according to the erratum note:

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Plagiarism detected in two papers on improving detection of cancer by mammograms

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A group of computer scientists has a pair of retractions for duplicating “substantial parts” of other articles written by different authors. Both papers, published in Neural Computing and Applications, are on ways to screen for breast cancer more effectively.

According to the abstract of  “An improved data mining technique for classification and detection of breast cancer from mammograms,” computers make the process of identifying cancer in lesions detected by mammograms faster and more accurate:

Although general rules for the differentiation between benign and malignant breast lesion exist, only 15–30% of masses referred for surgical biopsy are actually malignant. Physician experience of detecting breast cancer can be assisted by using some computerized feature extraction and classification algorithms. Computer-aided classification system was used to help in diagnosing abnormalities faster than traditional screening program without the drawback attribute to human factors.

The article has been cited four times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.  The retraction note reveals where “substantial parts” of the article came from:

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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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BMC investigating allegedly copied paper

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logoBioMed Central is investigating a recent paper about a potential biomarker for liver cancer, which shows signs it was written using another article as a template.

According to Jeffrey Beall, who exposed the similarities between the two papers on his blog Scholarly Open Access yesterday, the paper in question is “obviously bogus,” and appears to have relied on the “template plagiarism” technique of creating a new article by modifying a previous paper’s text and data.

A spokesperson for BioMed Central, which published the allegedly “junk” paper, as Beall calls it, told us they are looking into the allegations: Read the rest of this entry »

Failure to reproduce key experiments retracts cancer study

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Medical OncologyA group of Chinese cancer researchers has retracted a paper in Medical Oncology after they discovered that “several key experiments” were not reproducible.

The paper, “Decreased Warburg effect induced by ATP citrate lyase suppression inhibits tumor growth in pancreatic cancer,” was published in March. It found that suppressing the enzyme ATP citrate lyase could be used to treat pancreatic cancer.

However, the authors decided to pull the paper when some of the findings couldn’t be reproduced. 

Here’s the notice:

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There’s “no evidence” research was conducted at all in retracted cancer paper

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cov200h (1)To one reader of a paper on a nerve cancer, the researchers, based at a hospital in China, seemed to have found a very large number of cases of a rare cancer to study. That observation triggered an investigation into the paper that led to its retraction — and the concern that the authors in the paper never did the research at all.

The authors say they recruited 156 patients who had a particular kind of cancer that affects the tissue around nerves, known as malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. For context on how rare that is: Other researchers found a mere 1,182 new cases over a nearly four-decade period in the U.S. The study, according to the methods section of the paper, was supposedly done with patients who had a specific type of the disease, and who were

consecutively recruited from Wuhan Union Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan (Hubei, China) between July 2000 and November 2012

According to the retraction note for “Common genetic variants in the microRNA biogenesis pathway are associated with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor risk in a Chinese population,” the hospital where the work was done never treated all of those patients:

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Written by Shannon Palus

October 6th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Fourth retraction for Einstein oncologist due to image manipulations

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home_cover (1)Two papers on a potential cancer drug have been retracted following an investigation that found “inappropriate manipulation of bands in gels.”

This makes four retractions by our count for Roman Perez-Soler, an oncologist at the Einstein College of Medicine, and for co-author Yi-He Ling, whose current affiliation is unknown.

Their previous two retractions, which we reported on in 2013, were also for image manipulation. At the time, Perez-Soler told us that Ling “accepted full responsibility for the changes” and he had “returned to his home country.”

The fresh retraction notes, from Molecular Pharmacology, provide a few specifics about the figures that were manipulated this time around.

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Cancer drug paper nulled by “statistical errors”

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12032Researchers have pulled a paper about a drug used to treat pancreatic tumors due to “statistical errors.”

The 2014 paper suggested a drug that appears to treat pancreatic tumors also works in Chinese patients. We’re not exactly sure what went wrong with “A randomized phase II study of everolimus for advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in Chinese patients,” however, because the retraction note is not particularly helpful. Here’s the whole thing, published in Medical Oncology: Read the rest of this entry »

Analysis of pilots with prostate cancer retracted for “inappropriate data”

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Aerospace Medicine and Human PerformanceIn case any pilots out there are worrying about their risk of prostate cancer based on a recent meta-analysis that found they are at least twice as likely to develop the disease, they should relax — the paper has been retracted.

The reason: “including inappropriate data from two studies that should be ineligible.”

“The risk of prostate cancer in pilots: a meta-analysis” reviewed eight studies to determine whether airline pilots, who are regularly exposed to radiation and other occupational hazards, have a higher incidence of prostate cancer. However, it also included studies that reported on prostate cancer among all U.S. Armed Forces servicemen, not pilots.

The retraction notice was posted in May — only months after it was published in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance in February. The notice included a letter to the editor outlining flaws in the meta-analysis and an apologetic response from first author, David Raslau at the Mayo Clinic.

Here’s the notice (appearing at the bottom of page 2):

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