Prostate cancer paper retracted after investigation can’t review original image

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:

The article entitled “Suppression of N-Methyl-N-nitrosourea/Testosterone-Induced Rat Prostate Cancer Growth by Celecoxib: Effects on Cyclooxygenase-2, Cell Cycle Regulation, and Apoptosis Mechanism(s),” which was published in the August 15, 2003, issue of Clinical Cancer Research (CCR; ref. 1), is being retracted at the request of the corresponding author, based on a recommendation from the Investigation Committee for New York University School of Medicine, the corresponding author’s current institution. A reader presented evidence of potential image manipulation in Fig. 5C (i.e., lanes 3 and 4 of the pRB panel and lanes 2 and 3 of the Rb panel appeared to be identical). During its investigation of this matter, the Investigation Committee requested that the authors produce the original film or the scanned image of the film for verification. The authors asserted that, because the experiments were performed at the American Health Foundation, which closed unexpectedly in 2004, they were unable to provide the requested materials and disprove the allegations. Thus, the Investigation Committee recommended retraction of the article. The corresponding author, Bhagavathi A. Narayanan, presented the recommendation of the Investigation Committee to the CCR editorial office and requested a retraction of the article. The matter was reviewed by members of the AACR Publications staff, who agree with the retraction recommendation. A copy of this notice was sent to the authors.

There’s a comment about that image on PubPeer from 2014. Several other papers by Narayanan have received comments on the site.

The paper has 69 citations, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We’ve reached out to Narayanan. We’ll update this post with anything else we learn.

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One thought on “Prostate cancer paper retracted after investigation can’t review original image”

  1. Int J Cancer. 2006 Oct 1;119(7):1586-98.
    Docosahexaenoic acid in combination with celecoxib modulates HSP70 and p53 proteins in prostate cancer cells.
    Narayanan NK1, Narayanan BA, Bosland M, Condon MS, Nargi D.
    Author information
    1Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, Tuxedo, NY 10987, USA.

    2016 retraction notice.

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