Huge Reproducibility Problem with Cancer Studies

An 8-year effort to test the rigor of 50 influential cancer lab experiments found that half of the scientific claims in those studies didn’t hold up, AP reports 

  • The study, an effort of the Reproducibility Project, focused on experiments from cancer biology papers—not well-established treatments. Their findings, according to Science: Out of 23 papers, results from only 5 papers could be fully reproduced.
  • Overall, only 46% of 112 reported experimental effects met at least 3 of 5 criteria for replication, such as a change in the same direction—increased or decreased cancer cell growth.
  • Researchers were stymied by lack of detail provided in original studies and a lack of cooperation from scientists who did the original work.


Takeaway: Funders and journals need to require authors to share their methods and materials in more detail. 

Related: Is cancer biology research reproducible? After a decade of work, the answer still isn’t clear – STAT

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