January 23, 2006

Disgraced Norway doctor admits to more cheating

By Alister Doyle

OSLO (Reuters) - A disgraced Norwegian doctor has admitted
faking data for two articles about cancer of the mouth in
leading medical journals in addition to one already exposed as
a fabrication, his lawyer said on Monday.

"There were three articles in which the basic material was
not correctly handled," Erling Lyngtveit told NRK public radio
of work by Jon Sudbo, a cancer expert at Norway's Radium

He said Sudbo had admitted making up data for an article in
the New England Journal of Medicine in April 2004 and another
in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in March 2005, as well as
one in the Lancet in October 2005 exposed as false a week ago.

He said that 44-year-old Sudbo, who has not commented
publicly on his motives, would cooperate fully with
investigators. Sudbo had also said that none of his co-authors
knew that he was faking data.

"This was not about money at all," Lyngtveit said.

"It's really about the things that in other contexts are
positive and drive research forward -- honor, fame, success, to
be able to point to achievements," he said.

"But here it ended on a completely wrong track."

Sudbo has been on sick leave since his hospital, also known
as the Cooperative Cancer Center, first accused him of cheating
with data in his article in the Lancet.

In the Lancet article, Sudbo and co-authors said that
commonly used painkillers can reduce the risks of mouth cancer
in smokers but that long-term use could raise the chances of
dying from heart disease.

But the hospital said that he made up patients for the
apparent review of 454 people with oral cancer.

Lyngtveit told the daily Aftenposten that Sudbo had falsely
claimed to have based his conclusions in the New England
Journal of Medicine cancer study on Norway's register of
deaths. He admitted that he had not had access to the register.

"He now says he can no longer stand by the conclusions
drawn in the article," Lyngtveit said.

In the article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Sudbo
also incorrectly claimed that he had taken blood samples from
all smokers involved in a survey when he only had some samples.

Sudbo is under investigation by Norwegian health
authorities who can reprimand, sack or bar doctors from
practicing medicine for violations. Norway is separately
considering a new law under which research cheats could be