When figures and data contradict text: MiR346 is apparently reduced in breast cancer tissue, contrary to claims by a paper's author

Gene. 2017 Nov 30;635:46-47. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2017.08.011. Epub 2017 Sep 6.

Abstract

A recent article in Gene highlighted potential function of miR-346 in human breast cancer (Yang et al., 2017). We request an explanation or correction of the report. In its current state, the text will certainly create confusion in the field and lead to incorrect assumptions. The authors made several critical errors. The abstract stated "we found that the expression of miR-346 was higher in breast cancer tissues than in their paired corresponding non-cancerous tissues" and the main text and legend for Fig. 1A stated "miR-346 expression was significantly higher in breast cancer tissues than in their paired corresponding non-cancerous tissues (Fig. 1A, Yang et al., 2017)" and "miR-346 was upregulated in breast cancer tissues and cell lines. (A)", respectively. It was also stated that "SRCIN1 expression levels were significantly down-regulated in breast cancer compared to the adjacent normal tissues (Fig. 5B, Yang et al., 2017)". The problem with these statements is that they contradict the actual data presented in the paper! This misrepresentation of the effects of miR-346 in breast cancer could prove harmful by sidetracking future research. Further, clinical trials may be incorrectly directed towards lowering miR-346 without a complete and fair assessment of the internal contradictions in the data. Inaccurately-presented data impede progress of biomedical research, deplete scientific resources and compromise public trust.

Keywords: Cancer; Gene regulation; Misleading results; miR-346; microRNA.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • MicroRNAs / biosynthesis*
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness / genetics

Substances

  • MicroRNAs