Cancer biologist retracts five papers

Samson Jacob

A cancer researcher based at The Ohio State University has retracted five papers from one journal, citing concerns about figures.

The notices for all five papers state the Journal of Biological Chemistry raised questions about some figures, and the authors were not able to supply raw data in all instances. Four of the notices say the authors offered to submit data from repeat experiments and corrected figures, which the journal declined.

According to Kaoru Sakabe, data integrity manager at JBC, the authors “agreed to withdraw these articles after we declined their offers.”

The only author in common to all papers is Samson Jacob, a professor in the department of cancer biology and genetics at OSU. The institution recently addressed allegations that have dogged another cancer researcher, Carlo Croce: Last week, an external probe by a firm hired by OSU concluded that the university came to “defensible and reasonable” decisions in its investigation into those allegations.  

Like Croce, Jacob has also received an award for his work: In 2014, Jacob received OSU’s Distinguished Scholar Award, consisting of a $3,000 honorarium and a $20,000 research grant.

An OSU spokesperson would not comment on whether the university was investigating allegations against Jacob, and said the university learned about four retractions last week:

In accordance with federal regulation and university policy, we are required to maintain confidentiality regarding ongoing research misconduct proceedings, and therefore cannot confirm or deny the existence of any ongoing investigations of faculty.

Pseudonymous whistleblower Clare Francis forwarded some of the PubPeer discussions about Jacob’s papers to OSU in March 2017.

We’ve contacted Jacob, and will update the post if he responds.

The five withdrawn papers were published between 2006 and 2011, and have collectively been cited 171 times, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science.

JBC has also published a notice announcing the five withdrawals by corresponding author Jacob:

The journal withdrew the articles at the request of the corresponding author, Samson T. Jacob, professor emeritus at the Ohio State University, after an investigation conducted by the journal.

The withdrawal notices explain why the action was taken. In most cases, the figures did not meet the journal’s publication standards. Read the full notices here. Additional corrections, withdrawals, and/or retractions related to this investigation may be forthcoming.

The JBC editors are committed to correcting the literature when it is warranted. They also are committed to educating existing and prospective JBC authors to prevent misconduct and mistakes.

Sakabe told us the journal was prompted to investigate Jacob’s work following questions from a reader, and has published such notices before when issuing a series of withdrawals:

We felt that with the number of papers withdrawn, readers deserved an explanation of the events that occurred.

All of the notices say the journal raised questions about figures, which could not always be supported with original data. As an example of one of the explanations, here’s the notice for “Identification of T-cadherin as a novel target of DNA methyltransferase 3B and its role in the suppression of nerve growth factor-mediated neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells:”

This article has been withdrawn by the authors. In June 2017, the Journal raised questions concerning Figs. 2B, 3B, and 5A. The original data and originally submitted figures were not available for evaluation. Regarding Fig. 2B, the authors were able to locate a repeated experiment performed at the time of the original work, which they state confirm the results. Regarding Figs. 3B and 5A, the authors are not convinced that any duplication occurred, and they were able to provide to the Journal data from multiple partial repeat experiments performed at the time of the original work, which they state confirm the results. The authors offered to publish substitute figures based on the repeated experiments and, alternatively, offered to repeat the experiments. However, the Journal declined both of these offers, a decision with which the authors disagree. The authors stand by the reproducibility of the experimental data and the conclusions of the paper. The paper, with confirmatory data supporting the results, can be obtained by contacting the authors.

All of the notices say the authors stand by the reproducibility and conclusions of their papers.

Some of Jacob’s papers have been questioned on PubPeer. An OSU spokesperson told us they are not aware of any additional retractions involving Jacob’s group.

A spokesperson for PNAS told Retraction Watch the journal has asked Jacob and his co-authors to address concerns raised on PubPeer about a 2004 paper.

We asked Sakabe about the status of a 2008 JBC paper on which Jacob is listed as a corresponding author, which has been cited 257 times. She told us:

While I cannot comment on that paper, I will point out that the notice we published indicates that the investigation is ongoing and that other corrections, withdrawals and/or retractions remain a possibility.

Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our growth, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, sign up for an email every time there’s a new post (look for the “follow” button at the lower right part of your screen), or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that’s not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.

13 thoughts on “Cancer biologist retracts five papers”

  1. Down-regulation of Micro-RNA-1 (miR-1) in Lung Cancer
    SUPPRESSION OF TUMORIGENIC PROPERTY OF LUNG CANCER CELLS AND THEIR SENSITIZATION TO DOXORUBICIN-INDUCED APOPTOSIS BY miR-1*
    Mohd W. Nasser‡,1, Jharna Datta‡,1, Gerard Nuovo§, Huban Kutay‡, Tasneem Motiwala‡, Sarmila Majumder‡¶, Bo Wang‡, Saul Suster§,2, Samson T. Jacob‡¶,3 and Kalpana Ghoshal‡¶,4

    Author Affiliations
    Departments of ‡Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and §Pathology and the ¶Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210

    Figure 8A. https://imgur.com/cyuYteV

  2. Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Jun;25(11):4727-41.
    5-Aza-deoxycytidine induces selective degradation of DNA methyltransferase 1 by a proteasomal pathway that requires the KEN box, bromo-adjacent homology domain, and nuclear localization signal.
    Ghoshal K1, Datta J, Majumder S, Bai S, Kutay H, Motiwala T, Jacob ST.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/4B684A9D07AF343CB8047071DDC74A

  3. Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Jan;25(2):751-66.
    DNA methyltransferase 3b regulates nerve growth factor-induced differentiation of PC12 cells by recruiting histone deacetylase 2.
    Bai S1, Ghoshal K, Datta J, Majumder S, Yoon SO, Jacob ST.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/3354281DB6793F0EB6D7BFA341E8AB

  4. Genes Cancer. 2012 Jan;3(1):71-81. doi: 10.1177/1947601912452665.
    Novel Insights into the Molecular Mechanism of Action of DNA Hypomethylating Agents: Role of Protein Kinase C δ in Decitabine-Induced Degradation of DNA Methyltransferase 1.
    Datta J1, Ghoshal K, Motiwala T, Jacob ST.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/6B2EEDD5346B5D240AD7C1BA00AD24

  5. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Sep 21;101(38):13844-9. Epub 2004 Sep 8.
    Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor-type O (PTPRO) exhibits characteristics of a candidate tumor suppressor in human lung cancer.
    Motiwala T1, Kutay H, Ghoshal K, Bai S, Seimiya H, Tsuruo T, Suster S, Morrison C, Jacob ST.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/358824953637EE4D5847D14943719F

  6. J Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1522-7.
    A folate- and methyl-deficient diet alters the expression of DNA methyltransferases and methyl CpG binding proteins involved in epigenetic gene silencing in livers of F344 rats.
    Ghoshal K1, Li X, Datta J, Bai S, Pogribny I, Pogribny M, Huang Y, Young D, Jacob ST.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/F4249814651A4EC52FDBE227B94A08

  7. Mol Endocrinol. 2009 Feb;23(2):176-87. doi: 10.1210/me.2008-0211. Epub 2008 Dec 18.
    Estrogen-mediated suppression of the gene encoding protein tyrosine phosphatase PTPRO in human breast cancer: mechanism and role in tamoxifen sensitivity.
    Ramaswamy B1, Majumder S, Roy S, Ghoshal K, Kutay H, Datta J, Younes M, Shapiro CL, Motiwala T, Jacob ST.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/2522EFA50A256FD45BAAB4F8707793

  8. Cancer Res. 2008 Jul 1;68(13):5049-58. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-6655.
    Methylation mediated silencing of MicroRNA-1 gene and its role in hepatocellular carcinogenesis.
    Datta J1, Kutay H, Nasser MW, Nuovo GJ, Wang B, Majumder S, Liu CG, Volinia S, Croce CM, Schmittgen TD, Ghoshal K, Jacob ST.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Pharmacy, and Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/7B5F9FE4302EBDE46F41EAF79B0A53

  9. Leukemia. 2015 Jun;29(6):1350-9. doi: 10.1038/leu.2014.341. Epub 2014 Dec 8.
    PTPROt-mediated regulation of p53/Foxm1 suppresses leukemic phenotype in a CLL mouse model.
    Motiwala T1, Kutay H1, Zanesi N2, Frissora FW3, Mo X4, Muthusamy N5, Jacob ST6.
    Author information

    1
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
    2
    Department of Molecular Virology, Immunology and Medical Genetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
    3
    Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
    4
    Center for Biostatistics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.
    5
    Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Wexner Medical Center, Columbus, OH, USA.

    https://pubpeer.com/publications/D9DD6E4E4FB642A4CE6B59B331D400
    6
    1] Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA [2] Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA.

  10. 5-Aza-Deoxycytidine Induces Selective Degradation of DNA Methyltransferase 1 by a Proteasomal Pathway That Requires the KEN Box, Bromo-Adjacent Homology Domain, and Nuclear Localization Signal
    Kalpana Ghoshal†,*, Jharna Datta†, Sarmila Majumder, Shoumei Bai, Huban Kutay, Tasneem Motiwala and Samson T. Jacob*

    Author Affiliations
    Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, College of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

    2018 correction for figures 2A and 4C, makes no mention of figures 1B, 3D, or similarity of data in figure 6 to figure 2 J Nutr 136,1522.
    Please see: https://pubpeer.com/publications/4B684A9D07AF343CB8047071DDC74A

    2018 correction.
    http://mcb.asm.org/content/38/10/e00539-17.short

  11. 4 more retractions ST Jabob, Ohio State University.

    Withdrawals/Retractions
    Down-regulation of micro-RNA-1 (miR-1) in lung cancer. Suppression of tumorigenic property of lung cancer cells and their sensitization to doxorubicin-induced apoptosis by miR-1.
    Mohd W. Nasser, Jharna Datta, Gerard Nuovo, Huban Kutay, Tasneem Motiwala, Sarmila Majumder, Bo Wang, Saul Suster, Samson T. Jacob, and Kalpana Ghoshal
    J. Biol. Chem. 2018 293: 12945. doi:10.1074/jbc.W118.004967
    Identification of a novel cyclic AMP-response element (CRE-II) and the role of CREB-1 in the cAMP-induced expression of the survival motor neuron (SMN) gene.
    Sarmila Majumder, Saradhadevi Varadharaj, Kalpana Ghoshal, Umrao Monani, Arthur H. M. Burghes, and Samson T. Jacob
    J. Biol. Chem. 2018 293: 12946. doi:10.1074/jbc.W118.004968
    Mitochondrial transcription factor A and its downstream targets are up-regulated in a rat hepatoma.
    Xiaocheng Dong, Kalpana Ghoshal, Sarmila Majumder, Satya P. Yadav, and Samson T. Jacob
    J. Biol. Chem. 2018 293: 12947. doi:10.1074/jbc.W118.004969
    Role of de novo DNA methyltransferases and methyl CpG-binding proteins in gene silencing in a rat hepatoma.
    Sarmila Majumder, Kalpana Ghoshal, Jharna Datta, Shoumei Bai, Xiaocheng Dong, Ning Quan, Christoph Plass, and Samson T. Jacob
    J. Biol. Chem. 2018 293: 12948. doi:10.1074/jbc.W118.004970

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.