High-Profile Cancer Studies’ Results Often Not Reproducible

A group of scientists have attempted to reproduce a bunch of the most striking results from a swath of popular published scientific studies on cancer.

Unfortunately, they were mostly unable to reproduce the results.

The reasons varied.

This paper can be read at https://www.science.org/content/article/more-half-high-impact-cancer-lab-studies-could-not-be-replicated-controversial-analysis?utm_campaign=news_daily_2021-12-07&et_rid=17050347&et_cid=4025069&

In a number of cases, the original published study did not contain sufficient details about the cell lines or reagents or procedures being used. In some cases, the original authors declined to answer follow-up inquiries on those topics.

In most cases where this effort did indeed reproduce the general result of the study (say, that treatment X caused cancer cells of type Y to shrink by a factor of Z), the degree of shrinkage was only about 15% of what was claimed.

It sounds like the tendency of scientific journals to publish the most remarkable results **before** other researchers have tried and succeeded in confirming them is the source of the problem.

Published in: on December 8, 2021 at 9:34 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This is not a small problem. There are almost no controls over the quality of peer review. I only did a couple of peer reviews and there was considerable back and forth with the author (editorial intermediation, of course) and it was on a topic I was not well-versed on (I tried to beg off but they could find nobody else, so . . . )

    In other fields the degree of supporting follow-ups can be very low indeed, so this really needs to be addressed by the scientific community. Unfortunately all of the pointers point in the other direction; nobody has an incentive to do this work that I can see. Maybe a blue-ribbon committee needs to be formed but even that is dicey.


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