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:
“Our study investigated the mechanisms by which miR-31 regulates different aspects of breast cancer metastasis. We have retracted our earlier publication involving miR-31 (Valastyan et al. 2009) because original data were compiled from different replicate experiments in order to assemble certain figure panels. As the same analytical methodology was used in this manuscript, we believe that the responsible course of action is to retract the article. We apologize for any inconvenience we have caused.”
The cosigners of this retraction are the same set of coauthors as that of the Genes & Development article.
We’ve reached out to Valastyan, Weinberg, and the journal, and will update if we hear back.
Update 1:34 p.m. EST 3/19/15: A spokesperson for Cell confirmed that the 2009 paper, which has been cited 480 times, would be retracted:
At this time, I can only confirm that the paper referenced by Genes & Development is being retracted and Cell’s official notice is forthcoming. I will make sure you receive the notice as soon as it is available.
In addition, we corrected the second paragraph of this post to make it clear which paper these retractions are based on.
Update 5:15 p.m. EST 3/19/15: Genes and Development publisher John Inglis told us in accordance with journal policy, the paywalls have been removed from the retractions. He declined to comment further.
Hat tip: Jonathan Weitzman