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June 8, 1994

Kaposi's Sarcoma, Vascular Permeability, and Scientific Integrity

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson.

JAMA. 1994;271(22):1769-1771. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510460061034

On March 13,1992, Nakamura et al published an article in the journal Science reporting that sulfated polysaccharide peptidoglycan (SP-PG) inhibited the growth and vascular hyperpermeability characteristics of Kaposi's sarcoma— related cells and lesions in nude mice. While examining their key composite Fig 3, A through E, and related Table 2, we were surprised by several photographic features and other irregularities in the figures, which we explored further through a series of experiments. We were unable to confirm some of the pivotal findings. We communicated our concerns to Science but our letter was rejected. After submission of additional analysis, the matter was reopened by Science, but again our correspondence was rejected. Despite extensive review, the salient points raised in our initial correspondence remain unanswered or only tangentially addressed. The original conclusions by Nakamura et al are still not only highly dubious, but the validity of the peer review process and self-correcting nature of scientific inquiry are also called into question.

(JAMA. 1994;271:1769-1771)