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Two Retractions for Cancer Epigenetics Researcher

Andrew S. Wiecek

According to two retraction notices in the journal Haematologica, Spanish cancer epigenetics researcher José Román-Gómez "inappropriately reproduced" figures from work published by other research groups.

Because of “inappropriately reproduced” images, Haematologica has retracted two papers authored by leukemia researcher José Román-Gómez that were published in 2005 and 2007. Both retraction notices appeared in the journal’s September 2012 issue (1-2).

Haematologica has retracted two papers authored by leukemia researcher José Román-Gómez. Source:

In a retraction notice, the authors state that figure 5 was “inappropriately reproduced” from a paper that was published by Cancer Research in 2002. Source: Haematologica

At the Maimonides Institute for Biomedical Research in Córdoba, Spain, Román-Gómez’s research focuses on cancer epigenetics, specifically looking at leukemia. In addition, he is part of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation’s RNAReg consortium, which is studying post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression in association with human diseases.

In the 2005 retracted paper (3), Román-Gómez and colleagues reported that they had identified two new DNA methyltransferases, DNMT3b and DNMT3a, that were required for cell mortality (3). But in the retraction notice (1), the authors stated that a figure was “inappropriately reproduced” from a figure from a paper published by Cancer Research in 2002 and authored by a completely different research group (4). In addition, Román-Gómez’s co-authors place the blame for the “manipulation” solely on him.

In the 2007 paper, Román-Gómez and colleagues reported that the methylation status of the human cancer/testis antigen gene correlated with its expression in those cells (5). Since then, the paper has been cited 18 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge. However, in the retraction notice for that paper (2), the authors once again state that a figure was “inappropriately reproduced” from the same 2002 Cancer Research paper and that Román-Gómez was solely responsible (4).

And these two retractions aren’t the first for Román-Gómez. In August 2012, Blood retracted his group’s 2007 paper, which has been cited 88 times, for the exact same reason, “inappropriately reproduced” images from a 2003 paper published by Cancer Research (6,7). And in 2009, Blood retracted a 2004 article by Román-Gómez and colleagues for inappropriately reproducing a figure from a 2001 paper published by Clinical Cancer Research (8,9).

The two new retractions bring his total to four, as well as an expression concern in a 2003 paper published by the Journal of Clinical Oncology (10). Overall, Román-Gómez has 58 publications listed in PubMed, but so far, none of his other papers have been called into question. Román-Gómez and his university did not respond to requests for comments.


1. 2012. Retraction. Haematologica 97(9):1452.

2. 2012. Retraction. Haematologica 97(9):1452.

3. Román-Gómez, J., A. Jiménez-Velasco, X. Agirre, M. Barrios, J.C. Castillejo, F. Prosper, A. Heiniger, and A. Torres. 2005. Metilación del ADN en oncohematología. Haematologica (edición española) 2005;90 (Supl 1):27–36.

4. Toyooka, S., K. O. Toyooka, K. Harada, K. Miyajima, P. Makarla, U. G. Sathyanarayana, J. Yin, F. Sato, N. Shivapurkar, S. J. Meltzer, and A. F. Gazdar. 2002. Aberrant methylation of the CDH13 (h-cadherin) promoter region in colorectal cancers and adenomas. Cancer research 62(12):3382-3386.

5. Roman-Gomez, J., A. Jimenez-Velasco, X. Agirre, J. A. Castillejo, G. Navarro, E. San Jose-Eneriz, L. Garate, L. Cordeu, F. Cervantes, F. Prosper, A. Heiniger, and A. Torres. 2007. Epigenetic regulation of human cancer/testis antigen gene, HAGE, in chronic myeloid leukemia. Haematologica 92(2):153-162.

6. . 2012. RETRACTION: Román-Gómez j, cordeu l, agirre x, Jiménez-Velasco a, san José-Eneriz e, garate l, calasanz MJ, heiniger a, torres a, prosper f. epigenetic regulation of wnt-signaling pathway in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. blood. 2007;109(8):3462-3469. Blood (August).

7. Battagli, C., R. G. Uzzo, E. Dulaimi, I. Ibanez de Caceres, R. Krassenstein, T. Al-Saleem, R. E. Greenberg, and P. Cairns. 2003. Promoter hypermethylation of tumor suppressor genes in urine from kidney cancer patients. Cancer research 63(24):8695-8699.

8. 2009. Roman-Gomez j, Jiminez-Velasco a, castillejo JA, agirre x, barrios m, navarro g, molina FJ, calasanz MJ, prosper f, heiniger a, torres a. promoter hypermethylation of cancer-related genes: a strong independent prognostic factor in acute lymphoblastic leukemia. blood. 2004;104:2492-2498.Blood 113(10):2370.

9. Dong, S. M., H. S. Kim, S. H. Rha, and D. Sidransky. 2001. Promoter hypermethylation of multiple genes in carcinoma of the uterine cervix. Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 7(7):1982-1986.

10. 2012. Expression of concern. Journal of Clinical Oncology 30(10):1148.

Keywords:  retractions