NEJM 18 Jan 2007

Another paper about gene signatures in cancer cells: a couple of weeks ago it was in non-small-cell lung cancer, and here it’s in breast cancer. This expensive new form of prognostic stratification has yet to work its way into studies of clinical relevance.

At the other end of the sophistication spectrum, but much more immediately important, is the observation that dense breasts are more likely to harbour cancers which are missed on mammography. We’ve long known that dense breasts are a risk factor for cancer, but this is the first study to prove that it makes them more difficult to spot. I suppose there’s some satisfaction in seeing common sense proved true.

Leptin first hit the headlines a few years ago as the key to appetite control, and lots of academics then leapt in to investigate the genes which govern its receptor. Three hundred severely obese children with “hyperphagia