Cancer Cell issues big correction over “incorrectly cropped” figures, other issues

cancer cell A 2014 Cancer Cell paper became the subject of an erratum in January 2015, shortly after PubPeer members began criticizing the data. However, many issues brought up by commenters weren’t addressed in the correction notice, including a figure that might be two experiments spliced together to look like one.

The paper, led by Guido Franzoso at Imperial College London, claims that a new cancer drug called DTP3 kills myeloma cells “without causing any toxic side effects,” according to a press release from the school. Guido Franzoso is the founder of Kesios Therapeutics, a drug company which is set to begin clinical trials on DTP3.

The correction indicates that Western blots were cropped badly, which omitted several panels discussed in the text, while an “extra time point” was included accidentally. An antibody was also omitted from the description of the procedure.

PubPeer commenters have noticed additional issues, such as a criticism of figure 3D, which were not included or changed in this correction.

Here’s the correction for “Cancer-Selective Targeting of the NF-κB Survival Pathway with GADD45β/MKK7 Inhibitors”:

Following publication of this manuscript, the authors discovered some panels that had been incorrectly cropped in Figures S4H and S5V in the Supplemental Information.

As a result of this error, the 0 hr time points of the top PARP-1 panel of Figure S4H, U266, the Tot-JNK and Tot-ERK panels of Figure S5V, U266, and the P-p38 panel of Figure S5V, RPMI-8226, as well as the 0 hr and 0.5 hr, DTP3, time points of the P-ERK panel of Figure S5V, RPMI-8226, were accidentally omitted from these panels. An extra time point (i.e., a 1.5 hr time point, T/I) was also accidentally included in the P-ERK panel of this figure. Due to an analogous error, the P-JNK panel of Figure S5V, RPMI-8226, was incorrectly aligned.

The authors also discovered an antibody that had been erroneously omitted from the Supplemental Experimental Procedures. This antibody, anti-PARP-1 (9532S; 1:1,000), should have been included in the section “Antibodies, Reagents and Western Blots.”

A corrected version of the Supplemental Information is now available online.

We contacted the authors and editor, but have yet to hear back.

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3 thoughts on “Cancer Cell issues big correction over “incorrectly cropped” figures, other issues”

  1. For some unknown reason, my Adobe Acrobat Reader was giving some errors in the link to the PDF file above. Can someone kindly indicate if there was a conflict of interest statement in this paper, and if yes, what the precise wording is.

    1. “G.F., L.T., M.R., C.L., C.T.S., A.J.C., A.P. and A.R. are named inventors onpatent applications that have arisen from this research. Some of these authorshold shares in, or retain financial interests relating to, a for-profit company, Ke-sios Therapeutics, Ltd. G.F. is a Director of Kesios Therapeutics, Ltd. M.R. and L.T. are consultants for Kesios Therapeutics, Ltd”

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