Cancer org bestows award on scientist under investigation

Carlo Croce

This month hasn’t been all bad for Carlo Croce. Despite issuing two corrections and being the subject of a lengthy New York Times article about how he’s dodged misconduct accusations for years (prompting his institution to re-open an investigation), Croce is now the recipient of a prestigious award from the American Association for Cancer Research.

In a recent news release, the AACR announced it was bestowing Croce the 11th Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research, named after the CEO of the AACR, for his work in the field.

According to the news release:

The Margaret Foti Award for Leadership and Extraordinary Achievements in Cancer Research was established in 2007 to recognize a true champion of cancer research whose leadership and extraordinary achievements in cancer research have had a major impact on the field. Such achievements may include scientific contributions to the acceleration of progress against cancer, significant accomplishments in the national or international awareness of the importance of cancer research, or other ways of demonstrating a sustained extraordinary commitment to cancer research.

Croce is the chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics at The Ohio State University. He’s also now under investigation at OSU after a colleague levied allegations such as plagiarism and falsified data.

By our count, Croce has five retractions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5), some of which we have covered. Some of his papers have also been questioned on PubPeer, many of which he’s coauthored with Alfredo Fusco, a cancer researcher in Italy who has nine retractions and is in the midst of an investigation for scientific misconduct.

We asked AACR if it considered the recent news about Croce before announcing its decision to give him this award. A spokesperson told us:

Dr. Carlo Croce was nominated and selected by an expert committee of his peers, and the AACR voted to move forward on the award committee’s recommendation. We are aware of the allegations made in The New York Times’ article on Dr. Croce. The AACR knows of no definitive findings that would warrant a change in this decision. Therefore, Dr. Croce will be presented with this award.

Here’s more about the AACR’s decision, from its news release about the award:

[Croce] is being recognized for his consistent and long-standing impact on the translation of fundamental cancer mechanisms to clinical applications. His many contributions to the field of cancer research have provided an important foundation for the identification of druggable targets and have been invaluable to advancements made toward cancer diagnosis and prognosis. Likewise, his research has masterfully translated chromosomal translocation breakpoints to strategies for cancer prevention, early detection, and therapy.

“Dr. Croce is a highly esteemed basic and translational cancer researcher whose paradigm-shifting work has provided the basis for intensive scientific investigations throughout the international scientific community,” said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR. “He has also provided extraordinary scientific leadership in the national and international scene, including research administration and mentorship of many talented young investigators, and he is greatly deserving of this award.”

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12 thoughts on “Cancer org bestows award on scientist under investigation”

  1. the AACR has a history… they elected Chester Southam president just a few short years after the scandal of the Jewish Chronic Disease Hospital experiment was revealed, which yielded state sanctions on Southam and the head of the Hospital who permitted the research to be done there. The experiment involved injecting live human cancer cells into the thighs of 22 elderly, indwelling patients at the Hospital, under the guise of doing a “skin test”. See


    The president of Ohio State University, Michael Drake, seems already to know the outcome of the investigation in CM Croce.

    “On Thursday, the president of Ohio State University said he stands behind the school’s decision to not discipline Croce.”

    “President Michael Drake says the school asked a team of people “with national reputations” in the field to look into the allegations and review Ohio State’s response to the misconduct claims.

    “And all the things that they found showed that our policies were appropriate, and we followed them appropriately,” Drake said on All Sides With Ann Fisher. “So, that’s the part that we really focused on. I think it turned out like we expected it would.”

    Drake said the team’s report was being finalized and would be publicly available when it was finished.”

  3. 6th retraction Carlo M Croce.

    2017 retraction of: J Biol Chem. 2012 May 25;287(22):18308-17. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.346270. Epub 2012 Apr 9.

    POZ-, AT-hook-, and Zinc Finger-containing Protein (PATZ) Interacts with Human Oncogene B Cell Lymphoma 6 (BCL6) and Is Required for Its Negative Autoregulation*
    Raffaela Pero‡, Dario Palmieri‡,§, Tiziana Angrisano‡, Teresa Valentino‡,Antonella Federico‡, Renato Franco¶, Francesca Lembo‖, Andres J. Klein-Szanto**,Luigi Del Vecchio‡‡,§§, Donatella Montanaro§§, Simona Keller‡,§§, Claudio Arra¶,Vasiliki Papadopoulou¶¶, Simon D. Wagner¶¶, Carlo M. Croce§, Alfredo Fusco‡,Lorenzo Chiariotti‡,‖1 and Monica Fedele‡2
    -Author Affiliations

    From the ‡Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare and the Istituto di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale, Università di Napoli “Federico II” and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), 80131 Naples, Italy,
    the §Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210,
    the ¶Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Fondazione Pascale, 80131 Naples, Italy,
    the ‖Dipartimento di Chimica Farmaceutica e Tossicologica, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy,
    the **Department of Pathology, Fox-Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19111,
    the ‡‡Dipartimento di Biochimica e Biotecnologie Mediche, Università di Napoli “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy,
    the §§CEINGE, Biotecnologie Avanzate, 80145 Naples, Italy, and
    the ¶¶Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom
    ↵1 To whom correspondence may be addressed: Dipartimento di Biologia e Patologia Cellulare e Molecolare, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, via Pansini, 5, 80131 Naples, Italy. Tel.: 39-0817462056; E-mail:
    ↵2 To whom correspondence may be addressed: Istituto di Endocrinologia ed Oncologia Sperimentale (IEOS) del CNR, via S. Pansini, 5, 80131, Napoli, Italy. Tel.: 39-0817463054; Fax: 39-0817463749; E-mail:

    2017 retraction notice:
    VOLUME 287 (2012) PAGES 18308–18317

    This article has been withdrawn by the authors. Figs. 2D and 6E did not accurately represent experimental conditions. Additionally, the journal raised concerns with regards to Fig. 1C. The authors were not able to provide the original data for this figure. The authors state that these inaccuracies in figure representation did not affect any of the scientific conclusions of the paper.

    © 2017 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
    2014 correction.

  4. “In the interview, Drake said Ohio State has invested a lot more into Croce’s research than he’s earned for the school”

    Wouldn’t it then be in the interest of Ohio state to make sure their investment is not being wasted in producing fraudulent papers?

    1. This is a common mythology propagated by many University administrators (usually coming from nonSTEM backgrounds)- that is that scientific research results in a net loss for the school. Also a bit ironic in that overheads from grants/contracts make of a sizable portion of revenue of research universities.

      i’d really like to see the accounting data to support this statement.

      Croce is said to have won over $82M in grants. I don’t know what portion of that was at OSU or what the OSH indirect cost rate is, but I suspect would take some fanciful and highly selective accounting to reach the conclusion that OSU has lost money by having Croce doing research at their school.

  5. “selected by his peers” for unbelievable contributions.. it looks like professional societies are becoming social clubs.

  6. Whether OSU benefited handsomely from Croce’s grant-winning activities, or whether they actually spent far more on his research than was gained, the effect is the same: OSU have a strong incentive to sweep everything under the carpet, while defending their decisions and denying that Mistakes were Made.

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