Jon Sudbø

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Jon Sudbø (born May 3, 1961) is a dentist and formerly a consultant oncologist and medical researcher at The Radium Hospital in Oslo, Norway. Having earlier been licenced as a dentist and a physician, he earned a doctorate (dr. med.) in 2001. Until February 2006 he was an associate Professor at the University of Oslo. In November, 2006 his license to practice medicine and dentistry were revoked, and on December 19, 2006, the faculty board at the faculty of medicine at the University of Oslo decided to revoke his doctorate. [1][2] Recently he gained a limited authorization to work as a dentist, and is currently working 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.[3] However, it turned out that the whole patient material was fictional. The Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported that of the 908 subjects in the Lancet study 250 had the same birthday.[4]

Sudbø has later acknowledged that he has used fictional data in at least two more papers, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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, wife and Andrew J. Dannenberg, who was listed as the senior author on the article.

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.[5]

The commission reported on 30 June 2006 [1]. 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including his doctoral dissertation.[6] Because of this, the dissertation and the other fraudulent articles will be rescinded.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 authorization as a physician and a dentist was revoked by the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision.

Effects of fraud

Rikshospitalet and the University were both criticised for "a lack of preliminary control and organization with a view to the researcher's [Sudbø's] PhD project". The hospital was also criticised 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 has international effects.[7] 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 [2]. 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" [3]. 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.

See also

External links


  1. Hafstad, Anne (2006-11-22). "Ferdig som lege" (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. "Mister doktorgraden" (in Norwegian). Norsk Telegrambyrå via Aftenposten. 2006-12-19. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. 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 (2005). "Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study". The Lancet. 366 (9494): 1359–1366. PMID 16226613. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)R. Horton (2006). "Retraction — Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the risk of oral cancer: a nested case-control study". The Lancet. 367 (9508): 382. PMID 16458751. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  4. "Cancer study patients 'made up'". BBC News. 2006-01-16. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. Kihlström, Staffan (2006-05-06). "60 forskare granskas efter fuskskandal" (in Swedish). Dagens Nyheter. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. Atterstam, Inger (2006-07-01). "Norskt forskarfusk allvarligare än väntat" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. Hafstad, Anne (2006-06-30). "Cheating has international impact". Aftenposten. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)

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