Another Potti Retraction
This time from the NEJM.
Multiple authors, lead by disgraced, former Duke geneticist Anil Potti, retracted their 2006 article, “A Genomic Strategy to Refine Prognosis in Early-Stage Non–Small-Cell Lung Cancer.” (For background, start here.) The authors (all of them) wrote in a nearly inconspicuous letter to the editor that they had “tried and failed to reproduce results supporting the validation of the lung metagene model described in the article.” Deep regret was expressed for “the effect of this action on the work of other investigators,” but regret for any patients who enrolled in clinical trials on the basis of the unreproducible work was not mentioned.
This is now the fourth Potti-authored article to be retracted since the veracity of Potti’s work was called into serious question last year in The Cancer Letter.
- A 2007 article in the Journal of Oncology was retracted in December of last year.
- A 2006 Nature Medicine article was pulled in January.
- And, on the basis of this action, a 2007 article in the Lancet Oncology was retracted, also in January.
The Duke Chronicle reports that the NEJM retraction is “somewhat unexpected,” because a journal spokesperson told the web site Retraction Watch in January that there were no plans to pull the article.
Today’s PubMed search reveals that “A Potti” is coauthor on 128 returned articles, beginning in 2000, and first author on 33 articles—including 2 of the 4 retracted articles. The Potti-authored articles include a self-promoting piece in an April 2010 issue of Science Translational Medicine, in which Potti (along with Richard Schilsky of the University of Chicago and Joseph Nevins, Potti’s Duke mentor) wrote “that it is now imperative that future clinical trials be designed with a plan to incorporate biomarker development.”
Photo of Anil Potti, formerly from Duke’s ISGP web site.