Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘oncology retractions’ Category

Two more retractions appear for prominent MIT cancer researcher Robert Weinberg

with 8 comments

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

with 8 comments

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 »

Retracted paper on herbicide-ovarian cancer connection republished

without comments

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

with 2 comments

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

Thalidomide paper retracted for lab error

with 2 comments

fertstertResearchers at the University of Pittsburgh have retracted a paper on using thalidomide, which led to an estimated 10,000 birth defects by the time the drug was pulled from the market in 1961, to prevent chemo-induced sterility.

Alkylating agents, which prevent DNA replication in cells, are a commonly-used cancer treatment. Unfortunately they also damage the ovaries and testes, sometimes causing infertility. The University of Pittsburgh scientists published a paper in Elsevier journal Fertility and Sterility in 2011 that suggested thalidomide, which causes severe birth defects when used during pregnancy, might help protect ovaries during chemo.

However, according to the notice, the authors tried and failed to replicate their results. They had two separate scientists who were not authors take a look at the results; everyone agreed that the original study incorrectly reported the number of primordial follicles, the precursor to mature eggs.

Here’s the notice for “Thalidomide treatment attenuates chemotherapy-induced gonadal toxicity”: Read the rest of this entry »

JCI lymphoma paper retracted after authors can’t find underlying data to explain duplicated bands

with 23 comments

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 5.12.55 PMA paper in the Journal of Clinical Investigation has been retracted for manipulated images, including duplicated bands in a Western blot.

Take a look at figure one to the right and see if you can spot all the doubles.

Click here for a more zoomable image.

Here’s the notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 8th, 2014 at 1:15 pm

PubPeer strikes again: Leukemia paper retracted for image duplications

with 4 comments

bbaIn July, a PubPeer commenter called out a paper in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta for image duplication; by September, the paper was retracted for the exact reason detailed in the anonymous comment.

Here’s the notice for “Effect of ST3GAL 4 and FUT 7 on sialyl Lewis X synthesis and multidrug resistance in human acute myeloid leukemia,” a paper initially published in June: Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction appears for faked study of Novartis anti-cancer compound

with 6 comments

Raymond Sawaya, director of MD Anderson’s brain tumor program, presents Jun Fu with the 2014 Caroline Ross Endowment Fellowship.

Raymond Sawaya, director of MD Anderson’s brain tumor program, presents Jun Fu with the 2014 Caroline Ross Endowment Fellowship.

A paper by a former postdoc at MD Anderson Cancer Center who “admitted to knowingly and intentionally falsifying” a figure has been retracted.

In August, the Office of Research Integrity announced that it had sanctioned Jun Fu for faking data in a study of the results of a mouse study of NVP-HSP990, a Novartis compound designed to fight brain tumors. Here’s the notice for the study in question, published in Cancer Research:
Read the rest of this entry »

Paper on circulating tumor cells taken out of circulation after lab error

with 8 comments

medical oncologyA group of researchers at the Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences in Guangzhou, China have retracted a paper that came out of a clinical trial on transarterial chemoembolization, a targeted kind of chemotherapy.

According to the notice, one of the authors mixed up the control samples with the clinical samples, and “could not recall which samples were in the wrong group.” The paper hasn’t yet been cited, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Here’s the notice in Medical Oncology:

Read the rest of this entry »

Failure to disclose drug company sponsor among litany of reasons for cancer retraction

without comments

tumor biologyThis one’s a real mess.

In June, a paper in Tumor Biology was retracted for at least four reasons, including bad data and hiding a trial sponsor (Merck). Some people who contributed work weren’t cited; at least one author had no idea his name would be on it. And that’s just what they tell us in the notice.

Here’s the notice for “Neutropenia and invasive fungal infection in patients with hematological malignancies treated with chemotherapy: a multicenter, prospective, non-interventional study in China:” Read the rest of this entry »