Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘oncology retractions’ Category

Journal retracts three bone papers for duplication by same author

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1-s2.0-S0168365907X02700-cov150hA journal is retracting three papers after a biomaterials researcher duplicated his own work, sometimes using the same figures to describe different experiments.

Two of the papers are on bone regeneration; one is about targeting tumors. In addition to issues with figures, two of the retraction notes explain that the papers contain “widespread plagiarism of text” from other papers by the researcher, Hossein Hosseinkhani.

Hosseinkhani is currently affiliated with the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology; when he did the work in the now retracted papers, published in 2004 and 2007, he was based at Kyoto University Hospital and then National Institute for Materials Science in Japan.

The Journal of Controlled Release published all three papers. Here’s the retraction note for “Bone regeneration through controlled release of bone morphogenetic protein-2 from 3-D tissue engineered nano-scaffold,” which has been cited 118 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

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2014 ORI finding results in retraction of cancer paper with manipulated images

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Mol Can TherA paper flagged in an Office of Research Integrity notice more than one year ago has finally been retracted. According to the notice, the paper includes images manipulated by author H. Rosie Xing, a former University of Chicago cancer researcher.

The main conclusions of the paper are affected by the ORI finding, according to the retraction note from Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. But otherwise, the note contains information that was available in the ORI finding, published in December 2014.

Pharmacologic Inactivation of Kinase Suppressor of Ras1 Sensitizes Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor and Oncogenic Ras-Dependent Tumors to Ionizing Radiation Treatment” has been cited seven times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge — twice since the ORI finding came out.

The retraction note explains which images were affected by the manipulation:

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Lawsuit against Ole Miss for rescinded Sarkar job offer dismissed; briefs filed in PubPeer case

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court caseWe recently obtained court documents showing that, in September, a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by cancer researcher Fazlul Sarkar against the University of Mississippi after it rescinded a job offer after reviewing concerns raised about his research on PubPeer.

Sarkar’s connection to PubPeer will be familiar to many readers — he has also taken the site to court to force them to reveal the identity of the anonymous commenters who have questioned his findings. He has accused the commenters of defamation, arguing they cost him the job offer. Today, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief on behalf of PubPeer’s appeal of the court’s most recent ruling, that the site must disclose the identity of an anonymous commenter. At the same time, some heavy hitters in science – Bruce Alberts and Harold Varmus — and technology — Google and Twitter — filed briefs in support of the appeal.

The lawsuit against Ole Miss has brought to light the reasoning behind the school’s decision to rescind their offer to Sarkar — and the key role played by the concerns raised on PubPeer.

In a letter dated June 19, 2014 to Sarkar from Larry Walker, the director of the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, Walker chides Sarkar for not revealing the extent of the ongoing questions over his research during the interview process:

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Oops! Authors accidentally include extra patients in biopsy paper

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A paper that compared two gauges of needles to take samples of pancreatic masses has been retracted after authors unintentionally included patients from another trial.

Randomized Trial Comparing the Flexible 19G and 25G Needles for Endoscopic Ultrasound-Guided Fine Needle Aspiration of Solid Pancreatic Mass Lesions,” published a year ago in Pancreas, notes that:

A total of 100 patients with solid pancreatic mass lesions constituted the study cohort and were randomized equally to the 2 needle groups.

The problem? According to the retraction note, some of those patients weren’t supposed to be included:

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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 study pulled when published without supervisor’s consent

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turkish jThe Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences has retracted a paper after concerns surfaced from a researcher who claims to have supervised the research but was not listed as a co-author.

The first author completed the research — which explored the use of epigenetic alterations as potential early signs of cancer — as part of her master’s degree, under the supervision of Muy-Teck Teh at the Barts & The London School of Medicine & Dentistry. When Teh contacted the journal to say he had not consented to the publication, Ayesha Umair claimed she had paid for the research herself.

Here’s the retraction note for “Quantitative study of epigenetic signature in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma,” which tells us more about the dispute: Read the rest of this entry »

Oh no he didn’t! Misattributed Aristotle work leads to correction in highly cited cancer paper

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jcoJohn Shannon may be a mere undergrad at Hillsdale College in Michigan, but he knows enough about history to be surprised that Aristotle had written an entire book about economics that Shannon had never heard of.

That curiosity led to the discovery that a highly cited paper about pricing in cancer drugs was missing a reference to a rather relevant source about a treatise by the Greek philosopher, prompting the Journal of Clinical Oncology to correct the paper. But to Shannon, a missing reference is not the only problem with the paper.

As he notes in an essay in Public Discourse, Shannon’s interest was piqued when he noticed this passage in a 2013 paper in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on the fair price — “just price,” or Justum Pretium — of cancer drugs: Read the rest of this entry »

Five years after a retraction, company’s stock is up more than 500%

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wntloggawntresearchwebny1Is ethical behavior good for business?

Five years ago this month, Swedish pharmaceutical company WntResearch immediately notified shareholders when authors retracted a 2009 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) paper on a potential cancer therapy that was key to the company’s business.

At the time, the company’s decision to disclose the retraction hurt its finances, as WntResearch delayed its planned initial public offering for three weeks. It also offered investors and shareholders the opportunity to withdraw their shares of WntResearch stock.

But, aside from one of the paper’s co-authors, “No one did that,” Nils Brünner, WntResearch’s CEO, told us. Since the company’s IPO on December 17, 2010, its stock price has increased from Read the rest of this entry »

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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