|Born||May 3, 1961|
|Occupation||Dentist and physician|
|Known for||Scientific fraud|
Jon Sudbø (born May 3, 1961) is a Norwegian dentist, physician, and former medical researcher, who was exposed as a scientific fraudster in 2006. Over a period of several years, he fabricated results in the field of oncology which he published in leading medical journals. The article that led to his downfall, which was published in The Lancet, was based on 900 patients Sudbø had fabricated entirely. The editor of The Lancet described this as the biggest scientific fraud conducted by a single researcher ever.
Sudbø was formerly employed as a consultant oncologist at the The Radium Hospital and as an associate professor at the University of Oslo, but as a result of the fabrication scandal, he resigned from these positions in 2006. The same year, his licenses to practice medicine and dentistry were revoked. An inquiry by the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oslo found that most of Sudbø's work, including his doctoral dissertation, were based on fraud, and the University of Oslo revoked his doctorate in medicine in 2006.
In 2007, he was granted a strictly limited license to work as an assistant dentist under supervision, and in 2009, he regained licenses to practice medicine and dentistry with some restrictions. He is currently working as an assistant dentist in Seljord, Telemark.
In January 2006 it was revealed that his October 2005 fast track submission to The Lancet was based upon fraudulent patient data. The article had suggested that non-COX2-NSAIDs like ibuprofen diminish the risk of oral cancer in smokers. However, it turned out that the whole patient material was fictional. The leader of the epidemiology division at Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Camilla Stoltenberg, found the article suspicious at the end of 2005 because the data was supposedly from a cancer patient database which had not yet opened. The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported that of the 908 subjects in the Lancet study 250 had the same birthday.
An independent Commission of Inquiry led by Swedish Professor Anders Ekbom, that also included a member from the U.S. National Cancer Institute, was set up by Rikshospitalet and the University of Oslo to discern the details of the fraud. They were also to try to identify the role of the co-authors, which included, among others, Jon Sudbø's brother and wife.
In May 2006, Norwegian and Swedish media reported that the committee was investigating some 60 scientists from 6 countries, and a total of 38 articles.
The commission reported on 30 June 2006. The commission deemed much of Sudbø's work invalid because of manipulation and fabrication of raw data: of the 38 articles he had published since 1993, 15 were condemned as fraudulent, including his doctoral dissertation. Because of this, the dissertation and the other fraudulent articles will be rescinded. The commission also criticised the co-authors of Sudbø's papers. Professor Anders Ekbom, the Chair of the Commission, said: "One explanation of this catastrophe was that Sudbø was a lone wolf. Few or anyone had insight into his work". However, the commission found no evidence that any of his co-authors had taken part in the fraud or otherwise been party to the deceit (although Sudbø's supervisor accepted criticism for lack of vigilance and follow-up).
In November 2006 his authorizations as a physician and a dentist were revoked by the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision, but in 2007 he was granted a strictly limited authorization to work as an assistant dentist. In 2009 he was granted restricted authorizations to practice as dentist and as a physician, however he cannot involve himself in research.
Effects of fraud
Rikshospitalet and the University were both criticized for "a lack of preliminary control and organization with a view to the researcher's [Sudbø's] PhD project". The hospital was also criticized for "a lack of training and consciousness-raising in respect of the researcher and other employees with a view to the rules for handling patient material, preliminary assessments of research projects and authorship" and for "a lack of leadership and routines designed to expose and deal with non-conformance with its rules of procedure".
The fraud may also have had international effects. The commission could not rule out that Sudbø's false conclusions could have had an impact on cancer patients around the world, because his findings were used by other scientists and incorporated into cancer treatments, although Sudbø's solicitor Erling O. Lyngtveit had said on behalf of his client that none of the fraudulent articles had had any consequences for patients. Norway's scientific reputation could also be damaged by the affair, and "massive lawsuits" may be imminent from the national and international organisations that funded Sudbø's fraudulent papers.
According to the Norwegian news website Depesjer ("Dispatches"), scientific experts they consulted felt that Sudbø's co-authors were "severely exploited", but also that closer observations of the Vancouver guidelines and other rules by co-authors would "hamper future attempts at publishing fabricated material". Dr. Atle Klovning, a leading European authority on evidence-based medicine, said in the article that Sudbø's co-authors had probably not lived up to their responsibilities according to the Vancouver rules.
- Sudbø J. 2001. Predictive markers in oral premalignancies and early stage carcinomas. Oslo : Department of Pathology, The Norwegian Radium Hospital. ISBN 82-7633-163-7. Doctoral dissertation, University of Oslo.
- Retracted by the university in December 2006
- Sudbø J, Lee JJ, Lippman SM, Mork J, Sagen S, Flatner N, Ristimäki A, Sudbø A, Mao L, Zhou X, Kildal W, Evensen JF, Reith A, Dannenberg AJ. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study. Lancet. 2005 Oct 15-21;366(9494):1359-66.
- Retraction: Horton R. Lancet. 2006 Feb 4;367(9508):382.
- Sudbø J. Novel management of oral cancer: a paradigm of predictive oncology. Clin Med Res. 2004 Nov;2(4):233-42. Review.
- Retraction: Reed KD, Salzman-Scott SA. Clin Med Res. 2007 Oct;5(3):203.
- Sudbø J, Samuelsson R, Risberg B, Heistein S, Nyhus C, Samuelsson M, Puntervold R, Sigstad E, Davidson B, Reith A, Berner A. Risk markers of oral cancer in clinically normal mucosa as an aid in smoking cessation counseling. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Mar 20;23(9):1927-33.
- Retraction: J Clin Oncol. 2006 Dec 10;24(35):5621.
- Sudbø J, Lippman SM, Lee JJ, Mao L, Kildal W, Sudbø A, Sagen S, Bryne M, El-Naggar A, Risberg B, Evensen JF, Reith A. The influence of resection and aneuploidy on mortality in oral leukoplakia. N Engl J Med. 2004 Apr 1;350(14):1405-13.
- Retraction: Curfman GD, Morrissey S, Drazen JM. N Engl J Med. 2006 Nov 2;355(18):1927.
- Sudbø J, Bryne M, Mao L, Lotan R, Reith A, Kildal W, Davidson B, Søland TM, Lippman SM. Molecular based treatment of oral cancer. Oral Oncol. 2003 Dec;39(8):749-58. Review.
- Retraction: Oral Oncol. 2007 Apr;43(4):421.
- Sudbø J. [Chemoprevention of oral cancer]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2003 May 29;123(11):1518-21. Review.
- Retraction: Haug C. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2006 Sep 7;126(17):2287.
- Sudbø J, Ristimäki A, Sondresen JE, Kildal W, Boysen M, Koppang HS, Reith A, Risberg B, Nesland JM, Bryne M. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression in high-risk premalignant oral lesions. Oral Oncol. 2003 Jul;39(5):497-505.
- Retraction: Oral Oncol. 2007 Apr;43(4):420.
- Sudbø J, Reith A. When is an oral leukoplakia premalignant? Oral Oncol. 2002 Dec;38(8):813-4.
- Retraction: Oral Oncol. 2007 Apr;43(4):419.
- Sudbø J, Warloe T, Aamdal S, Reith A, Bryne M. [Diagnosis and treatment of oral precancerous lesions]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2001 Oct 30;121(26):3066-71.
- Retraction: Warloe T, Aamdal S, Reith A, Bryne M. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2006 Sep 7;126(17):2287.
- Sudbø J, Ried T, Bryne M, Kildal W, Danielsen H, Reith A. Abnormal DNA content predicts the occurrence of carcinomas in non-dysplastic oral white patches. Oral Oncol. 2001 Oct;37(7):558-65.
- Retraction: Oral Oncol. 2007 Apr;43(4):418.
- Sudbø J, Bryne M, Johannessen AC, Kildal W, Danielsen HE, Reith A. Comparison of histological grading and large-scale genomic status (DNA ploidy) as prognostic tools in oral dysplasia. J Pathol. 2001 Jul;194(3):303-10.
- Retraction: J Pathol. 2007 Jan;211(1):109.
- Sudbø J, Kildal W, Risberg B, Koppang HS, Danielsen HE, Reith A. DNA content as a prognostic marker in patients with oral leukoplakia. N Engl J Med. 2001 Apr 26;344(17):1270-8.
- Retraction: Curfman GD, Morrissey S, Drazen JM. N Engl J Med. 2006 Nov 2;355(18):1927.
Papers which have not been retracted
- Kildal W, Risberg B, Abeler VM, Kristensen GB, Sudbø J, Nesland JM, Danielsen HE. Beta-catenin expression, DNA ploidy and clinicopathological features in ovarian cancer: a study in 253 patients. Eur J Cancer. 2005 May;41(8):1127-34.
- Lilleby W, Sudbø J, Fosså SD. Biology and treatment options during the development of prostate cancer. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2005 Mar 3;125(5):571-4. Review.
- Sudbø J, Reith A. The evolution of predictive oncology and molecular-based therapy for oral cancer prevention. Int J Cancer. 2005 Jun 20;115(3):339-45. Review.
- Lippman SM, Sudbø J, Hong WK. Oral cancer prevention and the evolution of molecular-targeted drug development. J Clin Oncol. 2005 Jan 10;23(2):346-56. Review.
- Kildal W, Kaern J, Kraggerud SM, Abeler VM, Sudbø J, Tropè CG, Lothe RA, Danielsen HE. Evaluation of genomic changes in a large series of malignant ovarian germ cell tumors—relation to clinicopathologic variables. Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2004 Nov;155(1):25-32.
- Sudbø J. Non-invasive early diagnosis of oral cavity malignancies. Anal Cell Pathol. 2003;25(4):157-8.
- Sudbø J. [Chemoprevention: treatment of persons at high risk of cancer]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2003 May 29;123(11):1514-7. Review.
- Scully C, Sudbø J, Speight PM. Progress in determining the malignant potential of oral lesions. J Oral Pathol Med. 2003 May;32(5):251-6. Review.
- Sudbø J, Reith A. Which putatively pre-malignant oral lesions become oral cancers? Clinical relevance of early targeting of high-risk individuals. J Oral Pathol Med. 2003 Feb;32(2):63-70. Review.
- Reith A, Sudbø J. Impact of genomic instability in risk assessment and chemoprevention of oral premalignancies. Int J Cancer. 2002 Sep 20;101(3):205-9. Review.
- Sudbø J. [Adverse effects of COX-2 inhibitors]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2002 Jan 10;122(1):102-3.
- Sudbø J. [DNA ploidy analysis—a possibility for early identification of patient with risk of oral cancer]. Lakartidningen. 2001 Nov 7;98(45):4980-4. Review.
- Sudbø J. Pathology in disgrace? J Pathol. 2002 Feb;196(2):244-5.
- Sudbø J, Kildal W, Johannessen AC, Koppang HS, Sudbø A, Danielsen HE, Risberg B, Reith A. Gross genomic aberrations in precancers: clinical implications of a long-term follow-up study in oral erythroplakias. J Clin Oncol. 2002 Jan 15;20(2):456-62.
- Sudbø J. Human papillomavirus infection as a risk factor for squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck. N Engl J Med. 2001 Aug 2;345(5):376-7.
- Sudbø J, Reith A, Lingjaerde OC. Gene-expression profiles in hereditary breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 2001 Jun 28;344(26):2029.
- Sudbø J, Marcelpoil R, Reith A. New algorithms based on the Voronoi Diagram applied in a pilot study on normal mucosa and carcinomas. Anal Cell Pathol. 2000;21(2):71-86.
- Sudbø J, Marcelpoil R, Reith A. Caveats: numerical requirements in graph theory based quantitation of tissue architecture. Anal Cell Pathol. 2000;21(2):59-69.
- Sudbø J, Bankfalvi A, Bryne M, Marcelpoil R, Boysen M, Piffko J, Hemmer J, Kraft K, Reith A. Prognostic value of graph theory-based tissue architecture analysis in carcinomas of the tongue. Lab Invest. 2000 Dec;80(12):1881-9.
- Danielsen HE, Kildal W, Sudbø J. [Digital image analysis in pathology—exemplified in prostatic cancer]. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2000 Feb 10;120(4):479-88. Review.
- Bryne M, Boysen M, Alfsen CG, Abeler VM, Sudbø J, Nesland JM, Kristensen GB, Piffko J, Bankfalvi A. The invasive front of carcinomas. The most important area for tumour prognosis? Anticancer Res. 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6B):4757-64. Review.
- Zhang Z, Suo Z, Sudbø J, Holm R, Boysen M, Reith A. Diagnostic implications of p53 protein reactivity in nasal mucosa of nickel workers. Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 1997 Aug;19(4):345-50.
- Xie X, Clausen OP, Sudbø J, Boysen M. Diagnostic and prognostic value of nucleolar organizer regions in normal epithelium, dysplasia, and squamous cell carcinoma of the oral cavity. Cancer. 1997 Jun 1;79(11):2200-8.
- Bjaalie JG, Sudbø J, Brodal P. Corticopontine terminal fibres form small scale clusters and large scale lamellae in the cat. Neuroreport. 1997 May 6;8(7):1651-5.
- Scientific misconduct, including a list of alleged science scandals.
- Hafstad, Anne; Ingeborg Moe (2006-11-22). "Ferdig som lege" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten.
- "Mister doktorgraden" (in Norwegian). Norsk Telegrambyrå via Aftenposten. 2006-12-19.
- "Fraud charges against Norwegian researcher stoke confusion over painkillers". Associated Press. January 17, 2006. "Fraud accusations against a Norwegian researcher have muddied the question of whether popular over-the-counter pain relievers fight cancer or harm the heart. Norway's Comprehensive Cancer Center said over the weekend that one of its researchers admitted fabricating data used in a study that said common pain relievers, including ibuprofen (sold as Motrin and Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve), lowered the risk of oral cancer but heightened the risk of heart problems...."
- Jon Sudbø, J.J. Lee, S.M. Lippman, J. Mork, S. Sagen, N. Flatner, A. Ristimaki, A. Sudbø, L. Mao, X. Zhou, W. Kildal, J.F. Evensen, A. Reith, A.J. Dannenberg (October 2005). "Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study". The Lancet 366 (9494): 1359–1366. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)67488-0. PMID 16226613. (Retracted, see PMID 16458751)
- Ferrie, Helke (April 2006). "Medical Research Fraud". Vitality Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-15.
- "Cancer study patients 'made up'". BBC News. 2006-01-16.
- Kihlström, Staffan (2006-05-06). "60 forskare granskas efter fuskskandal" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter.
- Atterstam, Inger (2006-07-01). "Norskt forskarfusk allvarligare än väntat" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet.
- "Jon Sudbø kan bli tannlege". bt.no (in Norwegian) (Bergens Tidende). 2 June 2007.
- Meland, Ragnhild (4 July 2011). "Exam cheaters who got away". Studenttorget.no (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 16 October 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Hafstad, Anne; Jonathan Tisdall (2006-06-30). "Cheating has international impact". Aftenposten.
- Richard Horton (February 2006). "Retraction — Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study". The Lancet 367 (9508): 382. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(06)68120-8. PMID 16458751.
- "The influence of resection and aneuploidy on mortality in oral leukoplakia" (English)
- Exclusive radio interview with Jon Sudbø from NRK P2, June 2006 (Norwegian)
- Summary of the Commission of Inquiry's report (.pdf format) (English)
- The complete report (.pdf format) (Norwegian)
- Case involving scientific fraud 2005-2006 - article with links to the decision of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision, and reports concerning the case (English)