Expert’s Corner

Leukemia

Cord Blood Transplantation Proves Beneficial in High-Risk Patients With Leukemia

Jo Cavallo  / October 10, 2017

Filippo Milano, MD, PhD Studies show that only about one-third of patients with acute myeloid leukemia who have detectable amounts of cancer cells in their blood at the time of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation will be alive 3 years later, compared with nearly three-quarters of ...

Issues in Oncology
Breast Cancer

Treating Breast Cancer During Pregnancy Calls for Careful Timing of Therapies and Sensitive Discussions With Patients

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2017

Carey K. Anders, MD Breast cancer during pregnancy is relatively uncommon; however, it poses a significant clinical challenge to the patient and her multidisciplinary care team. To shed light on this difficult issue, The ASCO Post spoke with Carey K. Anders, MD, a medical oncologist and res...

Issues in Oncology

Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Oncology Workforce

Jo Cavallo  / October 10, 2017

Although significant progress has been made in cancer incidence and mortality in the United States over the past 2 decades—the death rate fell 23% between 1991 and 20121—not everyone is benefiting equally. According to the American Cancer Society, blacks have the highest death rate and shortest surv...

Issues in Oncology

Balancing Harms and Benefits of Cancer Screening: The Debate Continues

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2017

Barnett S. Kramer, MD, MPH Over the past several decades, widespread cancer screening has saved lives from various cancer types. However, despite advances in early-detection technologies, many cancers still remain undetected until they become symptomatic, conferring poor prognoses and outco...

Issues in Oncology

Overdiagnosis of Those in Higher Income Brackets

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2017

According to researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, being in a high-income bracket may lead to overdiagnosis of cancer and the subsequent harms associated with unnecessary medical treatments. To shed light on this interesting finding and its broader implica...

Hematologic Malignancies
Multiple Myeloma

Testing Alpha-Emitting Radiolabeled Immunotherapy to Treat—and Potentially Cure—Multiple Myeloma

Jo Cavallo  / September 10, 2017

Despite a flurry of treatment advances in multiple myeloma over the past decade that have increased overall survival from just 2 to 3 years in the 1990s to between 5 and 7 years today—with some data suggesting an extended life expectancy of between 7 and 10 years1—the cancer remains stubbornly incur...

Cost of Care

Addressing the Societal Impact of Financial Toxicity

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2017

“Costs of drugs should be associated with benefit, safety, and expenses involved in developing and producing the drugs, not simply with what the market was willing to pay for the last new drug.” — Jeffrey Peppercorn, MD, MPH Most discussions about “financial toxicity” cen...

Thyroid Cancer

The Rising Incidence of Thyroid Cancer Reconsidered

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2017

“The history of screening and the available evidence underscore the need for rigorous trials to ensure that screening interventions [benefit patients].” — C. Seth Landefeld, MD Despite a significant rise in the incidence of thyroid cancer, the U.S. Preventive Services T...

Breast Cancer

Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: Practical Approach, Promising Research

Caroline Helwick  / August 25, 2017

Triple-negative breast cancer has a reputation for being a particularly challenging malignancy, but breast cancer specialist Nancy Davidson, MD, Senior Vice President of the Clinical Research Division at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, put this in perspective in a recent ...

Solid Tumors
Hematologic Malignancies

Unraveling the Complexities of Cellular Immunotherapy and Its Potential to Cure Some Cancers

Jo Cavallo  / August 25, 2017

This past fall, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle opened an all-encompassing 9,222-square foot outpatient cellular immunotherapy clinic, specifically designed to serve patients participating in the center’s novel immunotherapy clinical trials, which mainly focus on chimeric antig...

Issues in Oncology
Solid Tumors

FDA’s First Site-Agnostic Drug Approval Marks a Paradigm Shift in Regulatory Criteria

Jo Cavallo  / August 10, 2017

Richard Pazdur, MD IN MAY, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for patients with solid tumors that have the microsatellite instability–high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) biomarker, which disrupts the ability of c...

Palliative Care

An Educational Program for Safe Handling of Opioids

Ronald Piana  / August 10, 2017

Akhila Reddy, MD Maxine de la Cruz, MD Improper storage, use, and disposal of prescribed opioids can lead to diversion or accidental overdose. Given that opioids are the mainstay of cancer pain treatment, this issue is particularly germane in the oncology community. The ASCO Post r...

Issues in Oncology

The Immune System: Deciphering Recent Advances

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2017

Over the past decade, there has been renewed interest in developing immunologic therapies in cancer. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several new biologic agents that target a patient’s immune system, some of which have produced profound clinical responses. However, the cellu...

Pancreatic Cancer

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Poor Performance Status Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

Caroline Helwick  / July 25, 2017

There are few data to guide the management of nonmetastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma in patients who are elderly or have a poor performance status. Although most such patients are offered supportive care or gemcitabine alone, the addition of stereotactic body radiotherapy may improve ...

Pain Management
Supportive Care

Pediatric Cancer Pain May Be Misunderstood and Largely Undertreated

Ronald Piana  / July 10, 2017

Cancer pain in children poses certain unique challenges. Over the past decade, insightful research into pediatric cancer pain has focused on pain management that incorporates nonopioid therapies into standard care. To shed light on this important issue, The ASCO Post spoke with Christine T. Chambers...

Breast Cancer

Growing Use of Molecular Pathology May Help Avoid Overtreatment of Early Breast Cancer

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2017

Laura J. van’t Veer, PhD The emerging field of molecular pathology focuses on the study and diagnosis of disease through the examination of genes and gene activity within organs and tissues. This information has transformed our thinking about the biologic diversity of breast cancers and has...

CNS Cancers

Combinations of Novel Treatment Approaches Continue to Make Progress in Overcoming Challenges of Pediatric Brain Tumors

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2017

Nearly 2,500 children in the United States are diagnosed with brain tumors each year, making these malignancies among the most common solid tumors in children and adolescents. Despite advances over the past few decades, the treatment of brain tumors remains one of the most challenging clinical areas...

ASCO CEO Reflects on His First Year in Office and What Is Ahead

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2017

Cancer knows no geographic boundaries, and ASCO is a global organization with both a responsibility to educate people from around the world and also to learn from them. It is a two-way street. — Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO June 27, 2017, marks the 1-year anniversar...

Issues in Oncology

Setting His Presidential Course on Making Precision Medicine a Reality for More Patients

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2017

I would like to see that every cancer center in America provides all patients with the opportunity to have their tumor extensively characterized for mutations and other molecular abnormalities, so treatment is based on those molecular abnormalities. Only then will precision medicin...

Multiple Myeloma

Expanding Role Seen for Minimal Residual Disease in Managing Multiple Myeloma

Susan London  / May 10, 2017

Minimal residual disease is a promising biomarker for guiding the management of multiple myeloma that is becoming increasingly important with the advent of more efficacious therapies, according to emerging data and expert opinion. With the new treatments that have changed the myel...

Issues in Oncology

How ASCO’s CancerLinQ Discovery™ Will Help Speed Research Advances and Improve Patient Outcomes

Jo Cavallo  / April 25, 2017

This past November, ASCO announced the launch of CancerLinQ Discovery™, a big data learning platform physicians and researchers can use to analyze highly curated, de-identified, real-world cancer care data sets to broaden their clinical knowledge about specific cancers and eventually improve patient...

Lymphoma

Treating Human Immunodeficiency Virus–Related Lymphoma

Chase Doyle  / April 25, 2017

What matters is that [HIV-infected] patients are treatable and curable to the same extent, or very similar extent, as non–HIV-infected patients with the same types of lymphoma. — Alexandra Levine, MD, MACP Alexandra Levine, MD, MACP, is Professor in the Department of He...

Issues in Oncology

Study Projects HIV-Related Cancer Burden to Decline

The ASCO Post  / April 25, 2017  / 43309

The total number of cancer cases diagnosed among people living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is projected to decline in coming years, due mostly to declines in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and Kaposi sarcoma. Certain other cancers, such as prostate and lung, are expected to rise, according to ...

Lung Cancer

Stage I Lung Cancer: Treatment Advances Have Changed the Game

Caroline Helwick  / April 25, 2017

Read more in the Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP). Visit ASCOPubs.org/journal/jop Patients with stage I lung cancer are achieving excellent local tumor control, thanks to an evolution in radiotherapy and surgical approaches. Jeffrey A. Bogart, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of R...

Leukemia

Different Subtypes of Acute Myeloid Leukemia Create Both Clinical and Research Challenges

Ronald Piana  / April 25, 2017

Elihu Estey, MD Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is the most common leukemia in adults. Each year, about 20,000 Americans will be diagnosed with AML, and roughly 10,000 people in this country will die of the disease. AML progresses quickly, and unless treatment begins soon and is effective , th...

Forging a New Role to Make Curing More Cancers a Reality

Jo Cavallo  / April 10, 2017

Understanding the evolutionary changes that take place in tumors and learning more about why tumors become resistant to drugs will be among the big areas of research in metastatic disease over the next 5 to 10 years. — Nancy E. Davidson, MD For more than 3 decades, Nancy ...

Lymphoma

For One Hematologist, No Disease Progressions in Follicular Lymphoma With Rituximab Maintenance

Caroline Helwick  / March 25, 2017

It’s reasonable to stop [rituximab] maintenance and observe patients after 5 to 7 years, but I don’t think it’s prudent to stop at 2 years. — Michael Auerbach, MD Patients with follicular lymphoma are clearly living longer without disease progression, but what clinician h...

CNS Cancers

Low-Grade Gliomas: Understanding the New Treatment Paradigm

Caroline Helwick  / March 10, 2017

The risk-benefit ratio of adjuvant treatment must be weighed for each individual. — Nancy Ann Oberheim Bush, MD, PhD Diffuse infiltrating low-grade gliomas include oligodendrogliomas and astrocytomas and account for about 5% of all primary brain tumors. Treatment strategi...

Lung Cancer

Combination Immunotherapy for Lung Cancer: The Wave of the Future

Susan London  / February 25, 2017

The year 2017 will be an important one, as we see some of the combination immunotherapy data reading out. — Naiyer Rizvi, MD Increasing experience with immunotherapy for lung cancer in both the lab and the clinic is helping to refine treatment approaches and point the way...

Genomics/Genetics

Understanding Cancer Epigenetics and Its Clinical Implications

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2017

For the first time, we have almost complete understanding of the genetic changes that drive cancer, and we have begun to understand the role that epigenetic changes play in cancer progression…. — Myles Brown, MD The field of epigenetics emerged in the 1990s and has been d...

Skin Cancer

New President of the Skin Cancer Foundation Emphasizes Public Education to Reduce Skin Cancer Incidence and Deaths

Jo Cavallo  / January 25, 2017

A visual skin examination performed by a dermatologist who can make an accurate assessment of a suspicious skin lesion and determine whether it warrants a biopsy is critical for the early detection of cancer and for saving lives. — Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, FAAD, FACP The s...

Issues in Oncology

Telemedicine: Transforming Health Care One Computer at a Time

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2017

There are millions of cancer survivors who would benefit from telemedicine, and policymakers will listen to them. — Ray Dorsey, MD Telehealth is the delivery of health care remotely via telecommunication tools. Its aim is to increase access to care, especially for pat...

Health-Care Policy

How ASCO’s New Health Policy Fellowship Program Is Helping Shape Future Cancer Care Policy

Jo Cavallo  / January 25, 2017

In October 2015, ASCO launched the Health Policy Fellowship program to help the next generation of oncologists with an interest in health policy to develop the skills and experience necessary to achieve their goals and shape cancer care policy in an increasingly complicated and diverse care delivery...

Palliative Care

Canadian Study Looks at an Integrated Palliative Care Model

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2017

The patients in our study endorsed the integrated model of early palliative care and oncology. It simply produces better outcomes. — Camilla Zimmermann, MD, PhD Although initiation of palliative care from the time of cancer diagnosis produces optimal outcomes for patients...

CNS Cancers

Accelerating Progress in the Treatment of Glioblastoma Multiforme

Jo Cavallo  / December 25, 2016

W.K. Alfred Yung, MD W.K. Alfred Yung, MD, has wanted a career in medicine since he was a high-school student and has spent nearly 4 decades fulfilling that dream, specifically in the research and treatment of one of the deadliest cancers, malignant brain tumor, especially glioblastoma mult...

Breast Cancer

Treatment of Early HER2-Positive Breast Cancer: One Size Does Not Fit All

Caroline Helwick  / December 10, 2016

[NSABP B-47] is a key trial. It’s B-31 all over again in HER2-normal breast cancer. Hopefully, we will identify the point at which trastuzumab starts to make a difference, specifically in adjuvant therapy. — Edward H. Romond, MD Despite the routine use of HER2 blockade in...

Supportive Care

Reducing the Risk of Oral Complications During and After Cancer Therapy

Jo Cavallo  / December 10, 2016

According to the National Institutes of Health,1 nearly all patients with head and neck malignancies receiving high-dose radiation therapy; approximately 80% of patients undergoing stem cell transplantation; and about 40% of patients receiving chemotherapy will experience oral complications that may...

Global Cancer Care

Peer-Reviewed Indian Journal of Surgical Oncology Meets Challenges, Succeeds in Developing Country

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2016

Launching a new cancer journal is a risky and arduous endeavor, especially for a specialty publication in resource-challenged countries in the developing world. To succeed, a specialty journal must publish articles from established clinical researchers that quickly garner funding and captivate its i...

Issues in Oncology

Using Art to Humanize Medicine

Jo Cavallo  / December 10, 2016

Margaret Edson delivers her Keynote Lecture: Wit, Hex, Vin, Life, Death: Using Wit as a Teaching Tool, at the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in San Francisco. Photo ©ASCO/Todd Buchanan 2016. Among the most widely attended sessions at the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposiu...

Hematologic Malignancies

Optimizing Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation in Myelofibrosis

Caroline Helwick  / November 25, 2016

Stem cell transplant is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, so our challenges are, first, to determine which patients are ideal candidates, and second, to know the opportune moment to proceed with stem cell transplant and the best means of doing so. — Ayale...

Issues in Oncology

The Emergence of Philanthropy to Fund High-Risk, High-Reward Cancer Research

Jo Cavallo  / November 25, 2016

The greatest challenge to individual scientists today is bringing together all the resources necessary to address the most challenging questions in immunotherapy. We are committed to reducing the barriers and helping researchers work together in a more efficient, seamless way. &m...

Lung Cancer
Cost of Care

A Lung Cancer Specialist Talks About Value in Cancer Care

Ronald Piana  / November 25, 2016

The best approach to delivering value-based care is by subtraction, getting rid of waste. If a service or drug’s absolute benefit cannot be backed up by data, it should not be delivered. — Keith D. Eaton, MD, PhD Over the past few years, the term value-based cancer care h...

Palliative Care

How When Breath Becomes Air Is Helping the Public—and Physicians—Confront Their Mortality

Jo Cavallo  / November 25, 2016

Lucy Kalanithi, MD, FACP It should not come as a surprise to anyone who has read Dr. Paul Kalanithi’s brilliant—and unforgettable—memoir, When Breath Becomes Air (Random House, 2016), that nearly a year after publication, it remains on The New York Times best-seller list, its popularity onl...

Health-Care Policy

How ASCO Is Preparing Members for MACRA

Jo Cavallo  / November 10, 2016

We believe MACRA is the right move to improve patient care, and we are going to help our membership make the transition with as little inconvenience as possible. — Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FACP, FASCO On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)...

Head and Neck Cancer

With Changing Strategies for Laryngeal Cancer, Multidisciplinary Team Approach Is Key

Caroline Helwick  / October 25, 2016

Many patients with laryngeal cancer are good candidates for organ preservation, so it should be discussed and considered. We believe patients should receive an opinion from a multidisciplinary tumor board at a high-volume center, whether or not they can be managed there. &mdash...

CNS Cancers

Which Factors Influence Radiotherapy for Brain Metastases?

Caroline Helwick  / October 10, 2016

If patients live longer, they have a greater risk of cognitive dysfunction associated with whole-brain radiotherapy, but they also have a greater risk of failing elsewhere in the brain if whole-brain radiotherapy is not used. It’s a two-edged sword. — Minesh Mehta, MBChB ...

Genomics/Genetics

Using Watson to Analyze Genomic Data to Personalize Treatment for Patients With Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / October 10, 2016

Three years ago, IBM’s Watson supercomputer was best known for defeating two former champions on the TV game show Jeopardy! Today, it is grabbing headlines for becoming an important assistant in cancer care. Able to read and understand millions of pages of text within seconds, Watson caught the att...

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Specialist Shares Clinical Pearls for Managing Stage IIIA Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

Caroline Helwick  / September 25, 2016

Patients with metastatic NSCLC are now surviving much longer than they did 10 years ago, but these changes have not been reflected in stage III patients. — Rafael Santana-Davila, MD Clinicians face a number of questions in evaluating and treating patients with stage IIIA ...

Gynecologic Cancers

An Oncologist Battles a Preventable Epidemic: Cancer of the Cervix

Ronald Piana  / September 25, 2016

Sustainability down the road is a primary goal. Our success depends on creating long-term relationships with government officials and the people in the communities we serve. — Robert D. Hilgers, MD Cervical cancer incidence and mortality rates—perhaps more than any ot...

Issues in Oncology

Why Patients’ Understanding of Their Prognosis Often Differs From Their Oncologists’

Jo Cavallo  / September 25, 2016

I am a family physician and also provide palliative care. What I usually say to my seriously ill patients is, “We are in a situation where there is some uncertainty. I’m hoping for the best and that you’ll beat the odds. Do you want to know more? — Ronald M. Epstein, MD A...

Skin Cancer

Management of Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Caroline Helwick  / September 10, 2016

Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD A recent report regarding pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for advanced Merkel cell carcinoma ushered in a more optimistic era in the treatment of this rare but often lethal skin cancer.1 The ASCO Post spoke with one of the field’s leaders, Paul Nghiem, MD, PhD—the first author...

Bladder Cancer
Kidney Cancer
Prostate Cancer

Multitude of Mentors Help Shape an Illustrious Career in Oncology

Ronald Piana  / September 10, 2016

Sumanta K. Pal, MD Sumanta K. Pal, MD, has had a longer career in oncology than many other colleagues his age. Perhaps the reason for that may center on his starting college at the age 13 and medical school at the age of 17. Today this internationally recognized leader in genitourinary canc...

Issues in Oncology

Addressing the Significant Disparities and Barriers to Health Care Experienced by LGBT Cancer Survivors

Jo Cavallo  / September 10, 2016

Jack E. Burkhalter, PhD Nelson Sanchez, MD In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published its landmark report “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding,” which recognized the scarcity of research in lesbian, ga...

USPSTF Issues Final Research Plan to Screen for Intimate Partner Violence, Elder Abuse, and Abuse of Vulnerable Adults, Including LGBTQ Population

The ASCO Post  / September 10, 2016

On August 25, 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) posted a final research plan on screening for intimate partner violence, elder abuse, and abuse of vulnerable adults. The draft research plan for this topic was posted for public comment from May 26 to June 22, 2016. The Task Force...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

How the Oncology Center of Excellence Plans to Foster Collaboration Among Researchers to Advance Cancer Treatment

Jo Cavallo  / August 25, 2016

This [Oncology Center of Excellence] builds upon the collaborative work that the oncology team at the FDA has been working toward. — Richard Pazdur, MD, FACP On June 29, 2016, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ann...

Survivorship

Late Cardiac Effects of Cancer Treatment

Jo Cavallo  / August 25, 2016

There is so much that can be done to avoid the late and long-term effects of cancer treatment such as complex cardiovascular disease. Oncologists, cardiologists, and primary care physicians all have to work together to improve the long-term health of cancer survivors and ensure a h...

Issues in Oncology
Global Cancer Care

Making a Difference in the Lives of Others

Jo Cavallo  / August 10, 2016

Quyen D. Chu, MD, MBA, FACS, this year’s recipient of ASCO’s Humanitarian Award, is driven by the belief that all patients with cancer deserve the best care available, regardless of their socioeconomic status or where they live. His work is turning that belief into reality. ...

Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care
Issues in Oncology

Charting a New Course at the FDA

Jo Cavallo  / July 25, 2016

We must do everything possible to rapidly adapt our national and global systems of evidence generation to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by technologic advances. — Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC In February, after serving for a year as the U.S. Food and Drug ...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology
Genomics/Genetics

Using Social Media to Accelerate Genomic Research

Jo Cavallo  / July 25, 2016

The success of using social media to push forward causes for social good was a driving factor in the launch this past October of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project (MBC project), which aims to accelerate the understanding of what makes patients with metastatic breast cancer genetically unique. And...

Breast Cancer

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Project: Direct-to-Patient Research Initiative

Caroline Helwick  / July 25, 2016

A nationwide project is enlisting patients with breast cancer to share their tumor samples and clinical information. Launched in October 2015, the Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Project has enrolled more than 2,000 patients from all 50 states and is yielding information that will be shared with rese...

Health-Care Policy

The National Cancer Moonshot Lifts Off

Jo Cavallo  / July 25, 2016

Just 6 months after President Barack Obama announced the establishment of a National Cancer Moonshot Initiative to accelerate the pace of research discoveries, improve patient access and care, and encourage data-sharing, dozens of new initiatives to accomplish those and other goals were rolled out a...

Cost of Care
Issues in Oncology

ASCO Releases the Updated Version of Its Value Framework

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2016

The value of a drug should not be based solely on how long it extends survival, but on the quality of that survival as well. — Lowell E. ­Schnipper, MD Last June, ASCO published its initial concept for a value framework in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).1 The framewo...

Geriatric Oncology

Medical Decision-Making: At the Heart of Care for Older Patients With Cancer

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2016

William Dale, MD, PhD Although oncology has moved toward a personalized approach to care, medical decision-making within the context of multidisciplinary care has broad public health implications. To shed light on this and other relevant issues, The ASCO Post recently spoke with William Dal...

Gynecologic Cancers

Cervical Cancer Prevention Badly Needed in India

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2016

Suneeta Krishnan, PhD With the advent of the Papanicolaou (Pap) test and population-based screening, along with the development of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, cervical cancer has become a largely preventable disease for many. However, in India, cervical cancer is a leading cause...

Sarcoma

A Conquer Cancer Foundation Award Helps to Launch a Pioneering Study in Liposarcoma

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2016

Mark A. Dickson, MD Mark A. Dickson, MD, has been fascinated by science and medicine since he was in high school. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1999, Dr. Dickson pursued a medical degree from the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University in New ...

Extending ASCO’s Influence Globally to Improve Patient Care

Jo Cavallo  / June 10, 2016

To me, heading ASCO is the best answer to the question, ‘What can I do next that will let me contribute in the deepest and broadest way to improving the care and outcomes of our patients? — Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO On June 27, 2016, Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, w...

Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer: Opinions Vary on Gleason Scores and Surgery

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2016

As divided as it is on other issues, the urology community should unite around one: A Gleason score 6 tumor should not be considered cancer. Uniting on that one issue will save many of our patients from unnecessary treatment. — Bert Vorstman, MD, MS, FAAP, FRACS, FACS Diagnosis...

Breast Cancer
Global Cancer Care

Rising Breast Cancer Incidence in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2016

The incidence of new cases of breast cancer in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in sub-Saharan ­Africa, is rising, and it will take a concerted effort from the international cancer community to counteract this troubling upward trend. It has been estimated that of the 15 million cancer ...

In Celebration of a Remarkable Career at ASCO

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2016

We have taken on some tough challenges over the past decade, and I’m extremely proud of the organization for not shying away from tackling important issues such as the value of cancer care; launching the TAPUR study, ASCO’s first clinical trial; and creation of CancerLinQ. — Allen ...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Past-President Anticipates a New Position With an Ongoing Goal of Advancing the Field of Oncology

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2016

Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO After an extensive national search, Hartford HealthCare has appointed ASCO Past-President Peter Paul Yu, MD, FACP, FASCO, as the first Physician-in-Chief of the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute. As Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Yu will be responsible for working...

Supportive Care

Occupational Therapy for Adults With Cancer: An Unmet Need

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2016

Mackenzi Pergolotti, PhD Adults with cancer are at high risk for functional limitations that would negatively affect their quality of life. Occupational therapy offers a range of supportive services, with the specific goal of helping these patients engage in life as independently as possibl...

Survivorship
Symptom Management

Monitoring Survivors of Childhood Cancers for Late Effects of Treatment

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2016

Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD Guest Editor Addressing the evolving needs of cancer survivors at various stages of their illness and care, Palliative Care in Oncology is guest edited by Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD. Dr. Von Roenn is ASCO’s Senior Director of Education, Science, and Professional ...

Issues in Oncology
Solid Tumors
Hematologic Malignancies

How Immunotherapy Is Revolutionizing Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2016

David L. Porter, MD Antoni Ribas, MD, PhD Suresh S. Ramalingam, MD More than 100 years after ­William B. Coley, MD, used bacterial toxins to goad the immune system into recognizing cancer cells as foreign to the body and mount an immune response to go after and kill ...

Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Research Foundation: Revitalizing Academic Research in Breast Cancer Through Drug Research Collaborative

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2016

When Evelyn H. Lauder was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989, she became a vocal spokesperson for women’s health, and in 1993, along with Larry Norton, MD, now Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Breast Cancer Programs and Medical Director of the Evelyn H. Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Ketterin...

Gynecologic Cancers
Issues in Oncology

Breaking Down Dogma With the Outgoing President of SGO

Chase Doyle  / May 10, 2016  / 32139

Robert L. Coleman, MD At the 2016 Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, The ASCO Post sat down with the SGO’s outgoing President, Robert L. Coleman, MD, and discussed the revolutionary potential of blood biomarkers, why enhanced recovery after surgery proto...

Multiple Myeloma

Benefits and Risks of Transplantation: The Changing Therapeutic Paradigm for Multiple Myeloma

Jo Cavallo  / April 25, 2016

Although high-dose chemotherapy plus autologous transplantation has been a standard of care in the treatment of younger patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, the advent of effective novel agents for the cancer over the past 15 years has raised the question of whether transplantation, with ...

Cost of Care

Drug Prices and Value: Finding Middle Ground

Ronald Piana  / April 25, 2016

The advent of targeted therapies along with complex personalized treatment regimens has added many effective tools to the oncology armamentarium. But progress has a price tag. Although the oncology community needs new drugs, there is growing concern that the price of many newer compounds is untenabl...

Symptom Management

Anticoagulation in Patients With Cancer: Understanding the Complexities of Prophylaxis and Management

Caroline Helwick  / March 25, 2016

Venous thromboembolic events are more prevalent in patients with cancer than in persons without it. Cancer is associated with a high rate of venous thromboembolism recurrence, bleeding, requirement for long-term anticoagulation, and reduced quality of life. Moreover, thrombosis is the second most co...

Global Cancer Care

The Time Is Now for the Worldwide Cancer Community to Be Proactive

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2016

The ASCO Post recently spoke with nationally recognized surgical oncologist Chandrakanth Are, MBBS, MBA, FRCS, FACS, Jerald L & Carolynn J. Varner Professor of Surgical Oncology & Global Health; Vice Chair of Education; and Program Director, General Surgery Residency, University of Nebraska ...

ASCO’s Incoming President-Elect Charts His Course for 2017

Jo Cavallo  / March 10, 2016

Bruce E. Johnson, MD, FASCO, was elected ASCO President for the 2017–2018 term this past December and will take office as President-Elect during the ASCO Annual Meeting, June 3–7, 2016, in Chicago. As an ASCO member since 1986, Dr. Johnson brings over 30 years of experience with ASCO to the position...

Issues in Oncology

Cancer Registries and the Evolving Role of Big Data in Cancer Care

Ronald Piana  / February 10, 2016

In 1956, the American College of Surgeons encouraged the development of hospital-based registries, but for the most part, these efforts were clumsy, inaccessible card files of data. Today, advanced microcomputer technology has increased the ability to not only collect and cull cancer data but also t...

Breast Cancer

Looking at the Real-World Effects of Genetic Testing

Ronald Piana  / February 10, 2016

According to the most recent estimates, 55% to 65% of women who inherit the BRCA1 mutation and about 45% of women who inherit the BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by the time they are 70 years old. There is also a substantial increase in the probability of developing ovarian cancers in wome...

Issues in Oncology

The Promise of Immune Checkpoint Blockade in Cancer Therapy

Ronald Piana  / December 25, 2015

The concept of using activation of the innate immune system and an inflammatory response against a bacterial component to instigate an antitumor response was studied in the 1960s, which led to the development of intravesical bacillus Calmette-Guérin, now used in the treatment of superficial bladder ...

Hematologic Malignancies
Leukemia
Issues in Oncology

Acute Myeloid Leukemia in the Elderly: Trial Data Stir Hope for the Transplant Option

Caroline McNeil  / December 25, 2015

Older patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) have high relapse rates after induction chemotherapy, low survival rates, and fewer treatment options compared with younger patients. One of the options for both younger and older patients is hematopoietic cell transplantation, but relatively few olde...

Issues in Oncology

Understanding Health-Care Disparities Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Patients to Ensure More Effective Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / December 10, 2015

A new study examining the health-care needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual patients has found myriad disparities in access to cancer care.1 The researchers reviewed nearly 170 papers published over the past 15 years on the health-care needs among this population. Although the...

Palliative Care

Evidence-Based Practice Needed in End-of-Life Care

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

Evidence-based oncology practice is a systematic approach to problem solving for cancer care providers, characterized by the use of the best evidence currently available for clinical decision-making. Over the past several decades, the oncology community, led by its major organizations such as ASCO a...

Cost of Care

The Complex Interactions of Treatment Costs, Clinical Outcomes, and Patient Expectations

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

A clinical dilemma that is receiving a great deal of attention in the oncology community is the undue financial burden some patients face during their treatment and into survivorship. While much emphasis is put on methods to reduce and help patients navigate the complex payment system, little is kno...

Palliative Care

A Swiss Psychotherapist Gives Her Perspective on Optimal Palliative Care

Ronald Piana  / December 10, 2015

Over the past few decades, the oncology community has incorporated new evidence-based therapies to address the psychosocial needs of patients with cancer, especially those with advanced disease. To bring a global perspective to this evolving discipline, The ASCO Post recently spoke with Monika Renz,...

Hematologic Malignancies

The State of Progress in Hematologic Malignancies

Jo Cavallo  / November 25, 2015

The number of targeted therapies approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the treatment of a variety of cancers, especially hematologic malignancies, continues to rise. In 2014 alone, 4 of the 10 new agents directed at discrete molecular targets approved by the FDA were for blood c...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Launches TAPUR to Assess the Off-Label Use of Targeted Therapies for Patients With Advanced Cancers

Jo Cavallo  / November 25, 2015

Two years ago, Richard L. ­Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chief Medical Officer of ASCO, proposed a unique clinical trial concept during an educational session on the challenges of delivering precision medicine services in a community setting at ASCO’s Annual Meeting. The idea was to design a clinical s...

Solid Tumors

Engaging Clinicians in the Collection of Cancer Registry Data to Improve Clinical Research

Jo Cavallo  / November 25, 2015

In June, the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons published a revision of its Facility Oncology Registry Data Standards (FORDS) manual, which contains all the data items, codes, and rules to abstract data into cancer registries at the more than 1,500 Commission on Cancer–accredit...

Palliative Care

End-of-Life Clinical Decisions Still Need Conversations About Improving Care

Ronald Piana  / November 10, 2015

In 2014, the Institute of Medicine report Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life called for more conversations about improving care for those who are dying. Improving the care of the imminently dying is an important issue in the oncology communit...

Breast Cancer

Male Breast Cancer: An Understudied Disease and Clinical Challenge

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2015

Male breast cancer is an uncommon disease, although the incidence has increased over the past couple of decades. As with many other “orphan” diseases, male breast cancer is understudied, especially in randomized controlled trials. Although it shares similarities with female breast cancer, some impor...

Issues in Oncology

A Cancer Care Model for Rural Areas

Ronald Piana  / October 10, 2015

Rural cancer patients have long had to adjust to difficult geographic and financial barriers to access high-quality cancer care. These problems are exacerbated by today’s fiscal challenges, which have disrupted many of the small community practices that once served rural communities. In 2006, the T...

Issues in Oncology

Past President of ASCO Takes on New Role at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to Improve Patient Care and Public Health

Jo Cavallo  / August 10, 2015

In June, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (Memorial) in New York announced it had appointed ­Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, Chief of Breast Medicine Service, to a newly created position of Vice President for Government Relations and Chief Advocacy Officer. In addition to his new role, Dr. Hudis ...

Cost of Care

ASCO Releases Details of Its Conceptual Framework for Assessing Value in Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2015

Defining and ensuring the delivery of high-value oncology care has been one of ASCO’s major goals for more than a decade. In 2007, ASCO formed the Task Force on the Cost of Cancer Care, now called the Value in Cancer Care Task Force, to identify the drivers of the increasing costs of oncology care (...

Issues in Oncology

Deciphering the Genetic Variability of Cancer to Advance Precision Oncology Care

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2015

In 2014, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York opened the Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis Center for Molecular Oncology with the sole purpose of expediting the translation of novel molecular discoveries into clinical innovations to turn the goal of precision oncology care into a...

Issues in Oncology

Redefining Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2015

The ability to interrogate cancer cells at the genomic, proteomic, immunologic, and metabolomic levels will transform oncology care from one that relies mainly on trial-and-error treatment strategies based on the anatomy of the tumor to one that is more precisely based on the tumor’s molecular profi...

Fulfilling NCI’s Commitment to Supporting the Best Science

Jo Cavallo  / June 10, 2015

On April 1, 2015, Douglas R. Lowy, MD, became Acting Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), succeeding ­Harold Varmus, MD, who left NCI to join the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York. (See “The Next Step in a Storied Career,” in the May 25, 2015 issue of The ASCO Post.) D...

Breast Cancer

Managing Breast Cancer in 2015

Ronald Piana  / May 25, 2015

Since 1990, we have seen an approximate 35% reduction in breast cancer mortality among women in the United States. Three protagonists can share this clinical success story: prevention, early detection, and better therapies. To shed light on the current state of breast cancer research and therapy, Th...

CNS Cancers

Will the PVS-RIPO Poliovirus Be a Game Changer in the Treatment of Recurrent Glioblastoma?

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2015

Although the idea of using viruses to target cancer cells dates back more than 100 years, technologic advances in the genetic engineering of viruses are now making it possible to safely test oncolytic virotherapy as a valid strategy against cancer cells. One type of genetically engineered virus that...

Taking the Next Step in a Storied Career

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2015

On March 31, 2015, Harold Varmus, MD, left his position as Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to join the faculty of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York as its Lewis Thomas University Professor of Medicine. Dr. Varmus was also named Senior Associate Core Member of the New York Gen...

Palliative Care

The Mechanisms Driving Cancer Pain

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2015

For over a decade, Patrick W. ­Mantyh, PhD, JD, has been investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms that are involved in cancer-related pain, especially bone pain caused by advanced breast, prostate, and lung cancers. His early laboratory work using mouse models of bone cancer led to an und...

Learning to Communicate Science More Effectively

Jo Cavallo  / May 25, 2015

Alan Alda’s passion and appreciation for science extend nearly as far back to his early life as his love of acting. The son of actor Robert Alda, Mr. Alda began his acting career at the age of 16. Although he has appeared in such widely acclaimed films as The Seduction of Joe Tynan, Crimes and Misde...

Breast Cancer
Pain Management

Opioid-Reduction Strategy for Postoperative Pain After Breast Cancer Surgery

Ronald Piana  / April 25, 2015  / 29932

One persistent and potentially debilitating problem breast cancer patients suffer with is postoperative pain. Studies show that proper pain management is an essential component in the healing process, but undertreatment of pain symptoms remains an ongoing issue in the oncology community. Opioids, wh...

Solid Tumors

Current Progress Against Cancer and What Lies Ahead in the Next Decade

Jo Cavallo  / April 10, 2015

In January, ASCO released its report, Clinical Cancer Advances 2015: An Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer,1 which details research advances over the past decade that have led to longer survival and better quality of life for the more than half-a-million people diagnosed with cancer each year....

Gastrointestinal Cancer

The Emerging Role of Radiation Therapy in Gastrointestinal Cancers

Ronald Piana  / April 10, 2015

The use of radiation therapy in the treatment of gastrointestinal cancer has evolved over the past several decades, in a gradual, stepwise fashion. Since most gastrointestinal cancers are diagnosed at a locally advanced stage, coupled with the inherent sensitivity of most parts of the gastrointestin...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Why Just Having ‘Good’ Communication Skills Is Not Enough for Talking With Seriously Ill Patients

Jo Cavallo  / April 10, 2015

In the Institute of Medicine’s 2014 report Dying in America,1 the report’s authors found that while frequent clinician-patient conversations about end-of-life care, goals, and preferences are necessary to avoid unwanted treatment, most patients do not have those conversations with their physicians. ...

Issues in Oncology
Lung Cancer

The Ongoing Struggle Against Tobacco: Past Accomplishments, Future Steps

Ronald Piana  / April 10, 2015

In 1913, 10 doctors and 5 laypersons in New York founded the American Cancer Society (ACS). At that time, a cancer diagnosis was almost always fatal and was rarely discussed in public. The Society’s original charter was to raise awareness about cancer, and although that mission has remained firm, ov...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Ongoing Controversies in Allocating Our Health‑Care Resources

Ronald Piana  / March 25, 2015

Disparities of care that result in poorer outcomes among certain populations have long been an issue addressed by the cancer community and its major organizations such as ASCO. While ethnicity and race play key roles in this ongoing debate over equitable allocation of our precious health-care resour...

Issues in Oncology

Avoiding Burnout and Maintaining Well-Being While Caring for Seriously Ill Patients

Jo Cavallo  / March 25, 2015

A variety of studies, including one published this past year in the Journal of Clinical Oncology,1 have showed that clinicians who care for seriously ill patients are at high risk for diminished personal well-being, including high rates of burnout; moral distress, defined as the inability to act in ...

Multiple Myeloma

Five Questions Can Guide the Treatment of Relapsed Myeloma

Caroline Helwick  / March 25, 2015

Joseph Mikhael, MD, MEd, myeloma expert at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Scottsdale, and Associate Dean of the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education, considers five questions when selecting treatment for patients with multiple myeloma who relapse. “With prolonged survival, which approaches 10 yea...

Skin Cancer
Breast Cancer

Determining Why Not All Patients Respond to PD-1 Inhibitors

Jo Cavallo  / March 10, 2015

Recent research1 conducted by Robert H. Pierce, MD, and his colleagues investigating why PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1) inhibitors result in remarkably durable clinical remissions in some patients with melanoma, whereas others reap a short-term benefit or no benefit at all is showing that re...

Head and Neck Cancer

Treating Head and Neck Cancer in 2015

Ronald Piana  / March 10, 2015

Each year in the United States, about 55,000 people will be diagnosed with head and neck cancer, and of them, about 12,000 will die of the disease. Although advances have been made in the treatment of head and neck cancer, this disease remains persistently problematic, due, in part, to the complex a...

Hematologic Malignancies

The Current State of Hematologic Malignancies

Ronald Piana  / March 10, 2015

Due in part to the refinement of bone marrow transplantation and its many innovations, some leukemias that once were death sentences now have cure rates of up to 90%. As research in transplantation and other promising areas accelerates, we are on the verge of breaking new clinical boundaries in bloo...

Palliative Care

Improving the Quality of Palliative Care in Oncology

Jo Cavallo  / March 10, 2015

Two years ago, ASCO collaborated with the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine to develop the Virtual Learning Collaborative, a virtual quality improvement program intended to address the complex care needs of patients with advanced cancer and the care quality for all patients with ma...

Telling the Story of Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / March 10, 2015

Acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz, The Central Park Five, and The Roosevelts: An Intimate History) has been making films for more than 35 years. His most recently completed project, scheduled to air on PBS this spring, is Ken Burns Presents Cancer: The Emperor of All M...

The Journey From Book to Film

Jo Cavallo  / March 10, 2015

Soon after publication of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner) in 2010, the book’s author Siddhartha Mukherjee, MD, PhD, received a call from Laura Ziskin, a film producer and cofounder of Stand Up To Cancer, who was interested in obtaining the film rights to Dr. Mukherjee’s...

Bladder Cancer

Treating Bladder Cancer in 2015

Ronald Piana  / February 10, 2015

Treatment of advanced bladder cancer continues to prove challenging, and therapies that offer long-term survival remain elusive. The ASCO Post recently spoke with Derek Raghavan, MD, PhD, FACP, FRACP, FASCO, President of the Levine Cancer Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, about the current state of...

Health-Care Policy

Transitioning From Volume to Value in Cancer Care

Ronald Piana  / February 10, 2015

In an oncology health-care system that is increasingly changing its delivery and payment models, how do busy oncologists successfully bridge the transition from a volume- to value-based, patient-centric model? This, and other topics on value fueled a robust discussion at the Association of Community...

Sarcoma

Unraveling the Mysteries of Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma

Jo Cavallo  / February 10, 2015

Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma is a rare and devastating vascular sarcoma that affects between 100 and 200 people, mostly young adults, each year in the United States. The cancer may arise as a solitary lesion but more commonly presents with metastatic involvement, usually in the liver and lungs. ...

Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer 2015

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2015

Despite advances in detection and treatment, colorectal cancer remains the third deadliest cancer among men and women in the United States. To get a better understanding of the current state of this disease and what lies ahead, The ASCO Post recently spoke with colorectal cancer expert John L. Marsh...

Breast Cancer
Global Cancer Care

Breast Health Global Initiative Tackles Third-World Health Care

Alice Goodman  / January 25, 2015

Benjamin O. Anderson, MD, is the Director of the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI) and surgical oncologist and Director of the Breast Health Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle. The ASCO Post recently spoke with Dr. Anderson about the conceptual framework of the risk-stratificatio...

Issues in Oncology

Smarter Trial Design Saves Money and Produces Better Drugs

Ronald Piana  / January 25, 2015

The process of identifying a promising molecule and moving it from the laboratory through the highly complex series of clinical trials necessary to garner U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval is a costly scientific gauntlet during which many new agents fail. New trial design, pharmacolog...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

What It Means to Be Mortal

Jo Cavallo  / January 25, 2015

“I learned a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn’t one of them,” writes Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, in his new book on the medicalization of aging and dying, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (Metropolitan Books, 2014). In the book, Dr. Gawande critiques the American medi...

Palliative Care

Incorporating Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Into Palliative Care

Jo Cavallo  / January 25, 2015

Although cancer rehabilitation has been a part of oncology clinical practice for several decades, it has largely gone unrecognized as an integral part of palliative medicine and survivorship care. Now, the role of physical medicine and rehabilitation in oncology care may increase as patients with ca...

Symptom Management

Benefits of Exercise for Relieving Fatigue in Cancer Survivors

Jo Cavallo  / December 15, 2014

Fatigue is such a common—and ongoing—problem among cancer survivors, last spring, ASCO published a clinical practice guideline1 to address screening, assessment, and treatment approaches for the management of fatigue after patients have completed treatment. Among the strategies included in the guide...

Palliative Care

Palliative Care in 2014

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2014

Palliative care expert Diane E. Meier, MD, is the Director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC), a national organization devoted to enhancing the number and quality of palliative care programs across the nation. Under her leadership, the number of palliative care programs in the United St...

Global Cancer Care

The Harvard Global Equity Initiative: From Research to Policy

Ronald Piana  / December 1, 2014

The Harvard Global Equity Initiative is a research program at Harvard University that is dedicated to promoting equitable global development, with a strong emphasis on health-care issues. This initiative brings together scholars, policymakers, advocates, and practitioners from around the world to ad...

Issues in Oncology

Advancing ASCO’s Commitment to Quality to Ensure That Every Patient Receives the Highest Level of Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / December 1, 2014

On December 3, 2014, Robert S. Miller, MD, FACP, FASCO, will start his new position as Medical Director of ASCO’s Institute for Quality (iQ). Established in 2012 to oversee the development of clinical practice guidelines, the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI), the QOPI Certification Progra...

CNS Cancers

Treating Brain Cancer in 2014

Ronald Piana  / December 1, 2014

While primary malignant brain tumors account for only 2% of all adult cancers, these deadly neoplasms cause severe cancer-related disability; the 5-year survival rates for brain tumors rank third lowest among all cancers, with those for pancreas and lung cancers being first and second lowest, respec...

Palliative Care

How the Earlier Introduction of Palliative Care Improves Quality of Life for Patients With Advanced Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / December 1, 2014

A 4-year study1 involving 461 patients with advanced stages of lung, gastrointestinal, genitourinary, breast, and gynecologic cancers has found that providing early outpatient palliative care vs standard oncology care alone improved quality of life and patient satisfaction. The study participants re...

Expert Point of View: Stefan Sleijfer, MD, PhD

Alice Goodman  / November 15, 2014

Formal discussant of the PAZOGIST trial at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2014 Congress, Stefan Sleijfer, MD, PhD, of Erasmus MC Cancer Institute, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, said “The title of my talk is ‘Small Molecules: Greater Success,’ and we are not yet there.” He agreed wit...

Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic Cancer in 2014

Ronald Piana  / November 15, 2014

Adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women in the United States. This year, about 46,000 people in this country will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and more than 39,000 will die of the disease. The ASCO Post recently spoke with Margaret A. Tempe...

Survivorship

Addressing Patients’ Sexual Dysfunction Throughout Survivorship

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2014

Studies show that all cancers and related treatments have the potential to affect sexuality and sexual function. Surgery, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, bone marrow transplantation, and radiation therapy can physically impact sexual health in myriad ways, including vaginal dryness, dyspareunia, and...

Palliative Care

Dying in America: Ensuring High-Quality Care at the End of Life

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2014

In September, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its report Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life. The report argues that the U.S. health-care system subjects patients to too many—and often futile—interventions near the end of life, often ...

Issues in Oncology

Partnering With Community Centers to Advance Oncology Care

Jo Cavallo  / November 1, 2014

Last fall, Richard R. Barakat, MD, FACS, the Ronald O. Perelman Chair in Gynecologic Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, was named to the new position of Deputy Physician-in-Chief for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Regional Care Network and Cancer Alliance, a new initiative meant to fos...

Solid Tumors

Treating Testicular Cancer in 2014

Ronald Piana  / November 1, 2014

Testicular cancer is one of oncology’s true success stories. It is a highly treatable disease, usually curable, that most often develops in young and middle-aged men. Despite the success in testicular cancer, there are still clinical challenges ranging from staging to optimum therapeutic approaches....

Gynecologic Cancers

Attaining the Goal of Preventing Ovarian Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2014

Fifteen years ago, David Fishman, MD, launched the National Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program as part of the National Cancer Institute’s Early Detection Research Network. The goal of the research effort was to develop methods to accurately detect ovarian cancer while it was still confined to th...

Pain Management

Despite Growing Awareness, the Global Crisis of Untreated Cancer Pain Persists

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2014

Each day, millions of patients with cancer around the world suffer unrelieved pain because they are denied morphine, the gold standard of cancer pain control. The World Health Organization has called access to morphine a human rights issue. Not surprisingly, the crisis in unrelieved cancer pain is a...

Sarcoma

Treating Sarcomas in 2014

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2014

In 2014, about 15,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with some form of sarcoma, and of those, approximately 5,000 adults and children are expected to die of the disease. Sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of mesenchymal malignancies that have historically been difficult to diagnose an...

Issues in Oncology

The Value of Lifelong Mentorship in Career Development

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2014

While the development of mentorship relationships is critical in launching and nurturing the academic careers of young investigators, it is also an essential component for continued success throughout their careers, according to Jennifer R. Brown, MD, PhD. Dr. Brown, Director of the CLL Center at Da...

Issues in Oncology

On Being A Mentee and the Value of the Conquer Cancer Foundation’s Career Development Award

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2014

At the ASCO Annual Meeting in June, the Conquer Cancer Foundation presented the 2014 recipients of prestigious grants and awards, including the Young Investigator Award, Career Development Award, and the Advanced Clinical Research Award in Breast Cancer. In announcing the awards, Charles W. Penley, ...

Issues in Oncology

Now in Its 71st Year, CancerCare Looks to  Expand Services to Patients and Caregivers

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2014

Eleven days before Patricia J. ­Goldsmith, joined CancerCare as its CEO last May, she received the unexpected news that she had early-stage colorectal cancer. While the diagnosis was shocking, Ms. Goldsmith said it gave her a unique perspective on what it means to have this serious disease and a gre...

Issues in Oncology
Palliative Care

Helping Patients Talk to Their Children About Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2014

Although the focus of an oncologist’s attention is understandably attuned to the needs of the patient, when a patient is a parent, quality oncology care should also include attention to the patient’s role as a parent and to the needs of the patient’s children, according to Paula K. Rauch, MD, Foundi...

National Cancer Institute Launches the National Clinical Trials Network to Expedite Scientific Advances

Jo Cavallo  / September 15, 2014

In March, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) transformed its Cooperative Group Program into the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN). Spurred by recommendations in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2010 report, A National Cancer Clinical Trials System for the 21st Century: Reinvigorating the NCI C...

Issues in Oncology

Potential of Liquid Biopsies in Detecting Cancer and Establishing Prognosis

Jo Cavallo  / September 15, 2014

Tests in development to detect circulating tumor cells that escape from solid tumors and travel through the blood, spreading cancer to new sites, may serve as an alternative to conventional tissue biopsy for early cancer diagnosis and gene-expression analysis over the next decade. According to Massi...

Solid Tumors

How Evolutionary Game Theory Is Offering Clues to Disrupt Cancer Cell Metabolism

Jo Cavallo  / September 15, 2014

Kenneth J. Pienta, MD, and his colleagues at Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore are using the principles of evolutionary game theory to learn how cancer cells cooperate within a tumor to gather energy and metastasize. Game theory, the mathematic study of strategic decision-making that is commonly u...

Leukemia

Emerging Approaches in Acute Myeloid Leukemia

Caroline Helwick  / September 1, 2014

With the emergence of molecular diagnostics and new therapeutics, the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is entering a new era. Hugo F. Fernandez, MD, Associate Chief of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, spoke with The ASCO Post about how he approach...

Colorectal Cancer

Understanding the Impact of Results From CALGB/ SWOG 80405 and Other New Data in Colorectal Cancer

The ASCO Post  / September 1, 2014

The Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB)/Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) 80405 trial, presented during the Plenary Session at this year’s ASCO Annual Meeting, demonstrated that cetuximab (Erbitux) and bevacizumab (Avastin) confer similar benefits as first-line treatment with chemotherapy for KRAS wil...

Palliative Care

The Role of Integrated Palliative Care in Radiation Oncology

Jo Cavallo  / September 1, 2014

Three years ago, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, launched a Supportive and Palliative Radiation Oncology (SPRO) program to integrate generalist palliative oncology services, including the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of care, into radiation t...

Issues in Oncology

Identifying Impending Death Helps Patients and Caregivers

Ronald Piana  / September 1, 2014

Significant weight loss, cachexia, and being bedbound signal that a cancer patient is dying. However, identifying the specific signs that give physicians the ability to predict death is not well described in the literature. To better understand why predicting death is an important part of the care c...

How Pharmaceutical Companies Are Partnering With Patient Advocates to Ensure Access to Oncology Care

Jo Cavallo  / September 1, 2014

Thomas P. Sellers, MPA, has been a tireless advocate for patients’ rights for more than 20 years. A 15-year prostate cancer survivor and only child, Mr. Sellers said it was his mother’s death from lung cancer when she was 51, followed by the death of his father from glioblastoma multiforme that led ...

Solid Tumors

The Evolving Role of Surgery in Germ Cell Tumors

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2014

Over the past several decades, the role of postchemotherapy surgery for advanced testicular cancer has evolved with regard to patient selection, surgical planning, lymph node dissection, and surgical technique. To add clarity to this complex clinical setting, The ASCO Post recently spoke with urolog...

Survivorship

More Collaboration Needed Between Oncologists and Primary Care Physicians

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2014

One of the most important cancer survivorship issues is the transition from oncologist to the primary care setting. With a growing population of cancer survivors, patients need to feel secure about their primary care provider having the tools to address their special needs. To shed light on this imp...

Prominent Immunotherapy Researcher Sees Success Beyond the Challenges

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2014

Activating the immune system for therapeutic benefit in cancer patients has long been a goal in the scientific community. After decades of disappointment, this intriguing approach has come to the forefront of cancer research, showing promising results in several malignancies. To keep abreast of this...

Survivorship

Discussing Sexual Health Issues With Female Cancer Survivors

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2014

Advances in cancer treatment have led to increasing numbers of long-term survivors, bringing greater attention to the needs of this growing population. Female cancer patients often experience difficult adjustments related to sexual health and intimacy. To better understand the complexity of this imp...

Palliative Care

Using Patient-Reported Outcome Measures in Palliative Care Clinical Practice

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2014

Incorporating patient-reported outcomes into the palliative care clinical setting can improve patients’ symptom management, quality of life, and overall communication with their oncologists, according to Ethan Basch, MD. Dr. Basch is Director of the Cancer Outcomes Research Program and Associate Pro...

Issues in Oncology

How Technology Is Helping Bring Health Care to Patients

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2014

The term “telemedicine,” which is sometimes used interchangeably with “telehealth” and “m-health” (for mobile health) and is now collectively called “connected health,” involves the use of information and communications technology to connect patients with their providers through a variety of electro...

Expert Point of View: Philip McCarthy, MD

Caroline Helwick  / July 25, 2014

Melphalan, prednisone, and thalidomide (Thalomid), or MPT, was a widely accepted regimen in newly diagnosed multiple myeloma when the E1A06 trial was launched, noted Philip McCarthy, MD, Director of the Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York. E1A0...

Expert Point of View: Axel Hauschild, MD

Caroline Helwick  / July 25, 2014

Axel Hauschild, MD, Professor of Dermatology at the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel, in Germany, discussed the evolving utility of intralesional approaches to melanoma in the ASCO Poster Highlights session. In general, he maintained that the overall and complete response rates a...

Expert Point of View: Carmen J. Allegra, MD

Caroline Helwick  / July 25, 2014

Carmen J. Allegra, MD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of Hematology/Oncology at the University of Florida, Gainesville, who discussed the findings at the ASCO Annual Meeting, said the study upholds what has become the practice of many oncologists—to use adjuvant FOLFOX (fluorouracil/leucovorin/oxal...

Expert Point of View: Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD

Alice Goodman  / July 25, 2014

Wendy Demark-Wahnefried, PhD, RD, Professor and Webb Endowed Chair of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, formal discussant for the SHAPE-2 and LEAN trials at the ASCO Annual Meeting, emphasized the importance of weight loss, but noted that it can be challenging for patien...

Expert Point of View: Jean-Yves Douillard, MD, PhD

The ASCO Post  / July 25, 2014

Commenting on the RECOURSE data,1 ESMO spokesperson Jean-Yves Douillard, MD, PhD, Professor of Medical Oncology, Institut de Cancérologie de l’Ouest (ICO) René Gauducheau, Saint-Herblain, France, said, “The phase III trial of TAS-102 is a global study and confirms the results of the phase II study i...

Lung Cancer

The Road to Progress in Lung Cancer Treatment

Ronald Piana  / July 25, 2014

Despite promising new agents and therapeutic approaches, 5-year lung cancer survival rates have lagged far behind those of most other malignancies. To shed light on some of the important issues facing lung cancer experts, The ASCO Post recently spoke with internationally recognized lung cancer resea...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Convenes Think Tank to Tackle Disparities in Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / July 10, 2014

Despite advances in cancer screening and in more effective therapies to treat the disease, which have led to improved outcomes and increased survival rates for millions of people with cancer, not every American is reaping the benefits of these advances. Disparities in health-care access, quality of ...

Advancing Immune Checkpoint Targeting in Cancer Treatment

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2014

James P. Allison, PhD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Immunology, Executive Director of the Moon Shots Immunotherapy Platform, and Deputy Directory of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research of Genitourinary Cancers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, is re...

Breast Cancer

Issues in the Management of the Axilla in Patients With Breast Cancer

Ronald Piana  / June 25, 2014

For the past 40 years the story of breast cancer surgery in general, and for the past 20 years the management of the axilla in particular, has been one of increasing conservatism. To give our readers insight into the current and future direction of axillary management, The ASCO Post spoke with Hiram...

CNS Cancers

Glioblastoma: Can We Make This Intractable Disease Tractable?

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2014

In the clinical array of brain tumors, glioblastoma is the most difficult to treat, and despite decades of research and the advent of new therapies, patients with glioblastoma continue to have a very poor prognosis. Leading brain tumor experts at the recent 25th Annual Cancer Progress Conference in ...

Issues in Oncology

A Way Forward in Genomic Medicine

Ronald Piana  / June 10, 2014

Over the past several decades, the convergence of scientific discovery, technology, and therapeutic developments has created an unparalleled opportunity to integrate our growing knowledge of genomics into the clinical practice of oncology. To shed light on the current state and future of genomics-dr...

Palliative Care

Bringing Palliative Care Services to Local Community Clinical Practices and Health Facilities Throughout the World

Jo Cavallo  / June 10, 2014

In 2007, the Billings Clinic Cancer Center in Billings, Montana, became one of 15 community-based oncology centers nationwide to receive funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to expand programs for clinical trials, health-care disparities outreach, survivorship and palliative care, multid...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care

ASCO Develops New Strategy to Increase Value in Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / May 15, 2014

Last January, ASCO held a leadership summit in Washington, DC, with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, insurance payers, patient advocates, and physicians to address the skyrocketing costs of new drugs and technologies used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Although costs are ...

Setting a ‘Moon Shots’ Goal to Drastically Reduce Cancer Mortality Over the Next Decade

Jo Cavallo  / May 15, 2014

In 2012, just 1 year after taking the reins as President of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Ronald A. DePinho, MD, announced his plans to launch the Moon Shots Program, the most ambitious endeavor undertaken by the cancer center to dramatically accelerate the pace of reducing canc...

Issues in Oncology

Creating a Comprehensive Catalog of Cancer Genes to Improve Patient Outcomes

Jo Cavallo  / May 15, 2014

In January, Eric S. Lander, PhD, Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his colleagues published the results from their landmark study,1 which explored the feasibility of creating a comprehensive catalog of cancer genes. The researchers collected and anal...

Expert Point of View: José Baselga, MD, PhD

Alice Goodman  / May 1, 2014

Presentation of the PALOMA-1 trial results represented “the culmination of a long journey from the discovery of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 in the early 1990s,” said José Baselga, MD, PhD, Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Dr. Baselga was formal discussant...

Expert Point of View: Gary Schwartz, MD

Alice Goodman  / May 1, 2014

Formal discussant of the LY2835219 trial reported at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, Gary Schwartz, MD, of Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, said the drug had “dramatic effects” in estrogen receptor–positive patients. “This drug is highly active in lumin...

Expert Point of View: Mario Sznol, MD

Alice Goodman  / May 1, 2014

Mario Sznol, MD, of Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, Connecticut, was formal discussant of the MK-3475 presentations at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. He alluded to all the factors that complicate assays of PD-L1: the disparate nature of the assays themselves, the ...

Expert Point of View: William Cliby, MD

Alice Goodman  / May 1, 2014

When asked to comment on the study presented by Lin et al at the Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer, William Cliby, MD, Chair, Division of Surgery, The Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, said, “This study is important because of its size and the utilization of the National Cancer Data Base—the largest...

Expert Point of View: David M. O’Malley, MD

Alice Goodman  / May 1, 2014

David M. O’Malley, MD, Assistant Professor at The James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, commented on the abstract presented by Ward et al at the Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancer. “Dr. Ward and colleagues report further co...

Expert Point of View: Thomas J. Herzog, MD

Alice Goodman  / May 1, 2014

PARP inhibitors are a very promising strategy that moves the treatment of ovarian cancer into the era of personalized medicine,” said Thomas J. Herzog, MD, Director of Gynecologic Oncology at Columbia University Medical Center, New York. “We now have a biomarker for identifying who will benefit fro...

Expert Point of View: Joyce F. Liu, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Stephen A. Cannistra, MD

Matthew Stenger  / May 1, 2014

In an editorial accompanying publication of the AURELIA study results, Joyce F. Liu, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Stephen A. Cannistra, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, considered the implications of the benefits observed in the trial and limitations in interpret...

Bringing the Humanistic Approach to Palliative Care: From Diagnosis and Throughout Disease Course

Jo Cavallo  / May 1, 2014

For much of her career in oncology, Teresa A. Gilewski, MD, has sought to bridge the science of medicine with the humanistic aspect of care. She has created the Art of Medicine lecture series at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, where she is a medical oncologist on the Breast Cance...

Health-Care Policy

The Outlook on Cancer Research in This Era of Leaner Federal Funding

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2014

In the March 1, 2014, issue of The ASCO Post we talked with Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about the future of biomedical research at the NIH during this time of constrained federal funding. We continue that conversation here with our interview of D...

Kidney Cancer

A Conversation With David I. Quinn, MBBS, PhD, FRACP

Richard J. Boxer, MD, FACS  / April 15, 2014

First-Line Therapy Please describe current medical oncology approaches to first-line therapy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. The current first-line therapy for most patients with good- to intermediate-risk metastatic renal cell carcinoma is a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptor...

Kidney Cancer

A Conversation With Arie Belldegrun, MD, FACS, and Allan Pantuck, MD, MS, FACS

Richard J. Boxer, MD, FACS  / April 15, 2014

Cancer Immunotherapy What is the role of immunotherapy in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma? The harnessing of the immune system as an effective treatment for cancer was recently selected by the journal Science as the top scientific Breakthrough of the Year for 2013.1 With this decl...

Breast Cancer

Overdiagnosis of Breast Cancer: New Research Directions

Sudhir Srivastava, PhD, MPH, and Barnett S. Kramer, MD, MPH  / April 15, 2014

Currently, one of the most challenging problems in oncology is to accurately predict whether neoplastic lesions detected by screening tests will progress. The focus on developing ever-more sensitive cancer screening tests has produced the clinical dilemma of overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis occurs when ...

Survivorship

Detecting Accelerated Aging in Adult Survivors of Childhood Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2014

Last fall, Kirsten K. Ness, PhD, published her study1 on the prevalence of frailty as a sign of accelerated aging in adult survivors of childhood cancer, and the results are startling. Among the 1,922 participants in the study, the prevalence of prefrailty was 31.5% among women and 12.9% among men; ...

Palliative Care

Overcoming Physician Bias in Recommending Palliative Care

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2014

In 2010, Jennifer S. Temel, MD, published her landmark study in The New England Journal of Medicine showing that the introduction of palliative care early after a diagnosis of metastatic non–small cell lung cancer, along with cancer therapy, not only provided patients with a better quality of life b...

Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid Cancer On the Rise: Is It Clinically Meaningful?

Caroline Helwick  / April 15, 2014

According to data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program, rates for new cases of thyroid cancer in the United States have been rising on average 6.4% each year over the past 10 years, and death rates have been rising on average 0.9% each year over the same period. The A...

Breast Cancer

Determining Why Younger Women With Breast Cancer Are Less Likely to Survive Than Their Older Counterparts

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2014

Although cancer survival rates among pediatric and older adult patients continue to rise, survival rates for adolescents and young adults (AYAs), defined by the National Cancer Institute as those between the ages of 15 and 39, have remained stagnant for decades. In breast cancer especially, AYAs fac...

Multiple Myeloma

Unraveling the Molecular Complexity of Multiple Myeloma

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2014

In 2011, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) announced the launch of CoMMpass (Relating Clinical Outcomes in Multiple Myeloma to Personal Assessment of Genetic Profile), a clinical study at the heart of its Personalized Medicine Initiative. CoMMpass will follow 1,000 newly diagnosed pati...

Expert Point of View: Rebecca A. Miksad, MD, MPH

Caroline Helwick  / March 15, 2014

Rebecca A. Miksad, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Physician-Investigator at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, who discussed the paper by Fine et al at the Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, said, “the study reports that a range of neuroendocrine t...

Expert Point of View: Peter Ravdin, MD

Alice Goodman  / March 15, 2014

The NATAN study showed that zoledronic acid doesn’t work in that average woman in this trial [one with early breast cancer, residual tumor remaining after neoadjuvant therapy]. There is, however, a trend to modest benefit in women older than 55, which is consistent with statistically significant ben...

Expert Point of View: Jennifer R. Brown, MD, PhD

Alice Goodman  / March 15, 2014

Idelalisib is being studied in three ongoing registration trials. [Study 116] was stopped early after idelalisib/rituximab demonstrated high efficacy in relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia [CLL],” said Jennifer R. Brown, MD, PhD, Director of the CLL Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. ...

Skin Cancer

Staging of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Christopher A. Barker, MD, Bhuvanesh Singh, MD, PhD, and Kishwer S. Nehal, MD  / March 15, 2014

Neoplasms originating from skin keratinocytes are increasing in frequency in the United States and include a spectrum of diseases culminating in the development of invasive cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Although most cases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma can be treated conservatively with ...

Solid Tumors
Issues in Oncology

How Decoding the Genomes of Exceptional Responders Is Leading to More Effective Treatment for All Patients With Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / March 15, 2014

In 2012, David B. Solit, MD, Geoffrey Beene Chair and Director of the Center for Molecular Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York, and his colleagues published the results of a phase II study1 of 45 patients with advanced bladder cancer. The purpose of the clinical tr...

Breast Cancer
CNS Cancers

How to Approach the Problem of CNS Metastasis in HER2-Positive Patients

Caroline Helwick  / March 15, 2014

Central nervous system (CNS) metastasis is a pervasive problem in the setting of HER2-positive breast cancer. While some patients can be managed easily, others are challenging, said Eric P. Winer, MD, Chief of the Division of Women’s Cancers and the Thompson Senior Investigator for Breast Cancer Res...

Issues in Oncology

Overcoming Drug Development Challenges in the New Era of Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  / January 15, 2014

While the last 15 years have brought unprecedented advances in oncology drug development, the next 10 years promise to usher in even greater opportunities to realize the goal of precision medicine in the treatment of cancer, providing patients with more effective care and better outcomes. Reaching t...

Palliative Care

Assessing Patients for Palliative Care

Jo Cavallo  / January 15, 2014

In 2012, ASCO issued a provisional clinical opinion addressing the integration of palliative care services into standard oncology practice at the time a patient is diagnosed with metastatic or advanced cancer and for patients with uncontrolled symptoms.1 However, despite ASCO’s provisional clinical ...

Lung Cancer

Oncogene Addiction and the Rationale for Molecular Targeted Therapy in Lung Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2013

Over the past decade, Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, Professor and Roberto C. Goizueta Distinguished Chair of Hematology and Medical Oncology, and Deputy Director of the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, has focused his research and clinical career on investigating novel approaches in the ...

Lung Cancer

'Master Protocol' Could Revolutionalize Trials in  Lung Cancer, and Eventually Other Cancers 

Caroline Helwick  / November 1, 2013

Cancer advocates and clinical trialists, for some time, have been proposing a radical change to the laborious drug development process—that industry, academia, funding sources, and other stakeholders actually pool their brain power and financial means and work together, not separately, to develop ef...

New President and CEO of Fox Chase Cancer Center Reflects on Challenges and Opportunities Ahead 

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2013

On October 8, 1904, a group of Philadelphia physicians and businessmen who were concerned about the escalating incidence of cancer in the city signed a charter that established the American Oncologic Hospital, one of the nation’s first hospitals solely devoted to cancer care. Seven decades later—2 y...

Issues in Oncology

Comparative Effectiveness Research: Its Time Has Arrived 

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2013

Reigning in the nation’s runaway medical costs was an underlying theme of President Obama’s health-care reform platform. Citing projects like The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care, which documented large gaps in the quality, costs, and outcomes of health services around the country, the administration’...

Issues in Oncology

Paging Dr. Google: Practicing Oncology in the Era of Social Media and Telemedicine  

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2013

Over the past few decades, economic and political factors have reshaped oncology, especially in the community setting. To defray risk, we’ve seen a trend toward oncology practices partnering with hospitals or aggregating into larger networks. Moreover, the Internet and the advent of telemedicine hav...

Pain Management

Undertreatment of Cancer Pain Remains a Persistent Problem in Oncology 

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2013

Data indicate that for more than 2 decades, cancer pain has been undertreated in the United States. The paradox of this stubborn clinical problem is that oncology has the ability to manage the great majority of cancer pain. To clarify this issue, The ASCO Post recently spoke with nationally regarde...

Issues in Oncology

The Direction of Immunotherapy Over the Next Decade 

Jo Cavallo  / September 15, 2013

The use of immunotherapy to target malignant cells in a variety of cancers—especially the PD-1 inhibitors lambrolizumab and nivolumab in the treatment of metastatic melanoma and the anti–PD-L1 agent MPDL3280A in the treatment of melanoma and lung, kidney, colorectal, and gastric cancers—made headlin...

Issues in Oncology

The Oncologist as Author: On Guiding Patients Through Cancer 

Caroline Helwick  / September 15, 2013

When Tumor Is the Rumor and Cancer Is the Answer is the guidebook to cancer that Kevin P. Ryan, MD, FACP, COL, USAF (ret) wished his patients had during his 30 years of practicing oncology. The book, recently published by AuthorHouse, is an authoritative, inspiring, and even philosophical guide for ...

Issues in Oncology

A Look Ahead: The Next Decade in Pediatric Oncology 

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2013

The past 10 years have seen dramatic advances in cancer care, especially in better screening methods and earlier detection, genomic sequencing, and more effective therapies, which have led to increased survival rates in both childhood and adult cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute (NC...

Survivorship

Living and Working with Cancer 

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2013

The most recent figures from the National Cancer Institute put the number of cancer survivors in the United States at nearly 14 million—by 2022, that number is expected to top 18 million. And for the vast majority of those survivors—more than 80%—returning to work after treatment is a top priority a...

Issues in Oncology

Making the Science of Cancer Understandable to a Broad Audience 

Jo Cavallo  / August 15, 2013

An educator and scientist for over 30 years, David Sadava, PhD, became interested in the science of cancer while on sabbatical from Claremont Colleges, where he was teaching courses in molecular biology and biotechnology, and went to the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, California, to study th...

Breast Cancer

Examining the Role Genetics Plays in Breast Cancer Onset 

Jo Cavallo  / July 25, 2013

Internationally known for her research in the molecular genetics of cancer, Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, MD, FACP, first became interested in oncology during medical school in Nigeria, where she cared for patients with Burkitt’s lymphoma. After moving to Chicago in 1983 to continue her medical education...

Hematologic Malignancies

Barriers to Successful Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation 

Susan London  / July 25, 2013

The Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research is a combined research program of the National Marrow Donor Program and the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. At the forefront of research to increase access to hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and improve outcomes, the ...

Issues in Oncology

ASCO Will Change with the Times 

Caroline Helwick  / July 10, 2013  / 30495

At the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting, The ASCO Post caught up with new President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, Chief of the Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, for a glimpse of his plans for ASCO in the coming year, and his thoughts on being elected ASCO President...

Supportive Care

Treating Both the Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Cancer 

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2013

A growing number of people with cancer are being treated on an outpatient basis. At the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center in New York, to ensure that the psychosocial and psychiatric needs of these patients were being met,...

CNS Cancers

Improving Treatment and Care for Patients with Primary Brain Cancers 

Jo Cavallo  / June 25, 2013

Despite advances in neuroimaging, the development of focused radiation therapy, and more effective chemotherapy, life expectancy for patients with primary malignant tumors of the brain and spinal cord remains stubbornly low at between 15 and 18 months. However, there are significant advances on the ...

Issues in Oncology

Making Prevention and Early Detection of Cancer a Priority 

Jo Cavallo  / June 10, 2013

Conquering cancer has been the goal of Bert Vogelstein, MD, since he was a teenager in Baltimore. For more than 3 decades, Dr. Vogelstein, Co-Director of the Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutio...

Breast Cancer

Reducing Incidental Cardiac Irradiation during Breast Radiotherapy  

Benjamin D. Smith, MD  / May 15, 2013

In the treatment of breast cancer, a wealth of data from prospective clinical trials and meta-analyses has documented the benefits of radiation to prevent local-regional recurrence and improve survival. Accordingly, important quality indicators in breast cancer care include: (1) receipt of radiation...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology
Survivorship

Breakthroughs in Targeted Therapies for Breast Cancer Are Improving Patient Survival Rates 

Jo Cavallo  / May 15, 2013

For more than 20 years, José Baselga, MD, PhD, has devoted his medical and scientific career to caring for breast cancer patients and the development of novel molecular targeted agents to treat the disease. From 1996 to 2010, he was Head of the Oncology Department of Vall d’Hebron University Hospita...

Issues in Oncology

Women in Oncology: Trending in the Right Direction 

Ronald Piana  / May 15, 2013

According to ASCO President ­Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP, an important part of her Presidential theme, “Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer,” is finding creative ways to ensure that we have enough oncologists to care for our burgeoning cancer patient population. Adding more women to the oncology workfo...

Hematologic Malignancies
Leukemia

A Promising New Agent's Road to Approval in CLL Raises Questions, Stirs Controversy 

Ronald Piana  / May 1, 2013

Early trial results in single-agent therapy with the oral Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib have produced excellent responses in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Moreover, ibrutinib is extremely well tolerated, allowing patients to remain on trial and receive the dr...

Colorectal Cancer

BRAF Mutations in Colorectal Cancer: The Next Frontier 

Caroline Helwick  / April 15, 2013

Some 5% to 10% of patients with colorectal cancer harbor the BRAF mutation, placing them at risk for poor treatment response and worse outcomes. The ASCO Post interviewed S. Gail Eckhardt, MD, an expert in this area who is Professor and Head of the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of C...

Lung Cancer

Genomic Analysis of Squamous Cell Lung Cancer Tumors May Lead to More Targeted Therapies 

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2013

Last fall, a consortium of more than 300 researchers from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Research Network published the results of their large-scale genetic analysis of squamous cell lung cancer in the journal Nature.1 The study, the first of its kind, compared the tumor cells from 178 untreated pat...

Leukemia

Gene Transfer Therapy Is Producing Prolonged Remissions in Patients with Advanced Leukemia 

Jo Cavallo  / April 15, 2013

In August 2011, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania published their breakthrough findings of a pilot study showing sustained remissions of up to 1 year in a small number of patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who had been treated with genetically engineered versions...

Solid Tumors
Pancreatic Cancer

Finding New Strategies to More Effectively Treat Pancreatic Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / March 15, 2013

While some progress has been made in understanding the molecular pathogenesis, genetic risk factors, and genomics of pancreatic adenocarcinoma, the disease remains one of the most challenging malignancies. According to Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) figures, 44,000 people were di...

Issues in Oncology

Preparing for the Next Superstorm: Protecting Patients during Natural Disasters 

Jo Cavallo  / March 15, 2013

When Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast last October, the magnitude of devastation it left in its wake exceeded even the most dire predictions. Eighty mile per hour winds and record storm surges destroyed antiquated electrical grids and flooded subway stations, leaving much of New York para...

CNS Cancers

The Challenges and Rewards of Neuro-oncology 

Ronald Piana  / March 1, 2013

Despite the extremely difficult clinical challenges posed by brain tumors, mortality rates in this disease have decreased somewhat over the past several decades due, in part, to advances in surgical techniques and therapies. The ASCO Post recently discussed contemporary issues in neuro-oncology with...

Issues in Oncology

As Computers Learn to 'Talk' to Each Other, Patient Care Will Improve 

Jo Cavallo  / February 15, 2013

Last fall, Edward P. Ambinder, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, and a member of ASCO’s Health Information Technology Work Group, spoke about “The Information Age: Cyberspace and Cancer,” at the Chemothera...

Breast Cancer

Treatment of HER2-positive Disease in 2013 

Caroline Helwick  / February 15, 2013

From the initial discovery of the HER2 family of receptors in the mid-1980s to the present, a “wealth of riches” has been uncovered in terms of agents that can target pathways relevant to this aggressive breast cancer type, notes Hope S. Rugo, MD, Director of Breast Oncology and Clinical Trials Educ...

Issues in Oncology

National Comprehensive Cancer Network Appoints New CEO

Ronald Piana  / January 15, 2013

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently appointed nationally regarded breast cancer expert Robert W. Carlson, MD, as its new CEO. Previously, Dr. Carlson was Professor of Medicine in the Division of Oncology and Medical Informatics, Stanford University Medical Center; he first join...

Prostate Cancer

Online Prostate Cancer Information Is Written at Reading Levels above Many Americans’ Literacy Skills

Jo Cavallo  / January 15, 2013

Although 61% of Americans are going online to access health information,1 many of them may not understand what they find there, including information about prostate cancer treatment options. According to a new study published in The Journal of Urology,2 as many as 90 million Americans have literacy ...

ASCO CEO Discusses the Society’s Initiatives

Ronald Piana  / January 15, 2013

Created in 1964,a the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has become the world’s preeminent professional cancer organization, with more than 30,000 members in the United States and abroad, unified by its founders’ “common concern for the patient with cancer.” The ASCO Post recently spoke wi...

Current Perspectives on Triple-negative Breast Cancers

Caroline Helwick  / December 15, 2012

Triple-negative breast cancer—which lacks expression of the estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2 oncogene—is a challenge for oncologists. The emergence of data showing strong heterogeneity for this subtype of breast cancer creates even more confusion regarding prognosis and management....

Surgical Resection for Colorectal Cancer Liver Metastases: Who, When, How?

Caroline Helwick  / December 15, 2012

Many patients with colorectal liver metastases can undergo surgical resection with curative intent. Who are these patients and how are they best managed? In an interview with The ASCO Post, Steven A. Curley, MD, Professor of Surgical Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Hou...

Health-Care Policy

How Sequestration May Affect Cancer Research

Jo Cavallo  / December 15, 2012

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) began his political career in 1974 as a state representative in Ohio. He served as Ohio’s Secretary of State between 1983 and 1991, went on to serve in the U.S. Congress from 1993 to 2006, and was elected to the Senate in 2006. A supporter of biomedical and cancer rese...

Promoting a More Balanced Approach to Cancer Prevention and Treatment

Ronald Piana  / December 15, 2012

Margaret I. Cuomo, MD, is a board-certified radiologist who served for many years as an attending physician in diagnostic radiology at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York. Dr. Cuomo is the daughter of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and sister to Governor Andrew Cuomo. She is a...

Seeking Solutions to the Dilemmas of Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

Ronald Piana  / November 15, 2012

Widespread use of screening technologies has markedly increased early detection rates of cancer, saving countless lives. However, while screening technologies have remarkable sensitivity, their  inability to identify which tumors will progress and which will not has created the phenomenon of overdia...

Integrative Medicine Showing Benefits in Cancer Management

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2012

Donald I. Abrams, MD, Chief of Hematology-Oncology at San Francisco General Hospital and Integrative Oncologist at the University of California, San Francisco, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, has been investigating and incorporating integrative medicine approaches in his clinical treatment of...

Lung Cancer
Issues in Oncology

SIDEBAR: Dacomitinib: Better in Whom? Better in What?

Tony Mok, MD  / November 1, 2012

Drug development is a highly competitive business. A new drug must be proven to be better than the standard one before it can be registered for public use. Starting with preclinical data, there should be evidence of lower 50% inhibitory concentrations in selective cell lines or a broader spectrum of...

Multiple Myeloma

Novel Drug Combinations Present New Hope for Effective Treatments in Multiple Myeloma

Jo Cavallo  / November 1, 2012

Developing early-phase clinical trials that incorporate combinations of novel agents targeting different pathways in the hematologic cancer multiple myeloma is a leading focus of the work of Sagar Lonial, MD, Professor of Hematology and Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs in the Department of Hematology ...

Issues in Oncology

The Language of Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / October 15, 2012

For more than a year, Don S. Dizon, MD, FACP, has been blogging at ASCO Connection (connection.asco.org) about such diverse topics as cancer survivorship, the redesign of clinical studies based on patients’ molecular characteristics, and the power of laughter. Last May, Dr. Dizon tackled the impact ...

Prostate Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Rethinking the Role of PSA Screening in Public Health

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2012

Population screening to identify preclinical disease is considered a central factor in the decades-long decrease in mortality seen in certain cancers. However, hope in the face of deadly disease can sometimes blind us to the scientific evidence. According to the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task ...

Thyroid Cancer

Differentiated Thyroid Cancer: Who, When, and How to Treat?

Caroline Helwick  / August 15, 2012

Differentiated thyroid cancer—papillary, follicular, and Hürthle cell carcinomas—has historically been managed by endocrinologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists, but recent progress in the field has led to greater involvement by medical oncologists, especially in the care of patients with adv...

Issues in Oncology

Information Service Provides Innovative Resource for Patients and Providers

Randi Londer Gould  / August 15, 2012

Jennifer Levin Carter, MD, MPH is Founder and President of N-of-One. A board-certified internist and entrepreneur, she has more than 20 years of experience evaluating existing and emerging markets, new medical technologies, and early-stage companies in the health-care field. Formerly, Dr. Carter was...

Issues in Oncology

New Study on Communicating Bad News, from the Patient’s Perspective

Ronald Piana  / July 15, 2012

There is limited evidence in the literature about how oncologists should discuss bad or serious news with their patients. A recent study sought to understand what patients with cancer value when their doctors communicate news of recurrence.1 The ASCO Post spoke with the study’s lead author, Anthony ...

At More than a Century Old, American Association for Cancer Research Continues to Evolve

Barbara Boughton  / June 15, 2012

Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), has been Chief Executive Officer of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) since 1982, and has been instrumental in launching some of the most seminal efforts of the cancer research organization. Over the past 4 years, she has helped spearhead the AACR’s sci...

Hematologic Malignancies
Multiple Myeloma

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Initiatives Are Leading to More Effective Targeted Treatment

Jo Cavallo  / June 15, 2012

In 1996, at just 37, the last thing Kathy Giusti expected to hear was that she had the fatal blood cancer multiple myeloma. An executive at Searle Pharmaceuticals and the mother of an 18-month-old daughter, Giusti was told she probably had 3 years to live. At the time, treatments for the disease wer...

Prostate Cancer

Advances in Prostate Cancer Accompanied by Ongoing Debates

Ronald Piana  / May 15, 2012  / 31031

Scientific advances have markedly improved prostate cancer survival, but this clinical success story is not without its share of controversy. From screening through treatment, a growing array of options offer an admixture of promise and confusion for clinicians and patients. Moreover, today’s heated...

Supportive Care
Symptom Management

Managing Febrile Neutropenia: What Are the Best Antibiotic Regimens?

Susan London  / May 15, 2012

Management of patients with cancer who have fever and a low neutrophil count is one of the most common scenarios oncologists face today. “Physicians have to be keenly aware of the infection risks, diagnostic methods, and microbial therapies required for managing febrile neutropenic patients because ...

Leukemia

Progress in Treating Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Has Led to Across-the-board Improvements in Survival

Jo Cavallo  / May 15, 2012

Four decades ago, Kanti R. Rai, MD, was determined to figure out why some of his patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) died within 2 years after their diagnosis, while others lived for 20 or even 30 years. At the time, Dr. Rai was a young scientist doing research in leukemia at Brookhav...

Supportive Care

New Research Shows Promise in Cachexia, a Persistent Clinical Challenge

Ronald Piana  / May 15, 2012

In the late 1980s, researchers led by Alfred L. Goldberg, PhD, first isolated the large protein complexes now called 26S proteasomes, which are the sites where most cellular proteins are degraded back to amino acids. Protein degradation by the proteasome pathway is critical in regulating many proc...

Breast Cancer

Defining Meaningful Benefit: The Debate Continues in Bevacizumab’s Wake

Ronald Piana  / May 1, 2012

The events surrounding the labeling of bevacizumab (Avastin) have been well covered since last November when the FDA withdrew the drug’s accelerated approval as a treatment for metastatic breast cancer. However, the controversy initiated a debate over the value of endpoints in clinical trials in adv...

Multiple Myeloma

Novel Agents and Genomic Sequencing Show Promise in Improving Multiple Myeloma Management

Jo Cavallo  / May 1, 2012

For over 30 years, Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center and LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, has focused his translational research on B-cell ...

Issues in Oncology

Changing the Course of Human Health through Bold Pursuits in Science

Ronald Piana  / May 1, 2012

The synergy between industry, academic research, and regulatory bodies will play an increasingly important role in ensuring the future of a robust cancer drug pipeline. To gain insight on oncologic development trends, The ASCO Post recently spoke with Jean Pierre Bizzari, MD, Head of Global Clinical...

Palliative Care

ASCO Releases Palliative Care Provisional Clinical Opinion

Ronald Piana  / April 15, 2012

ASCO has released a provisional clinical opinion (PCO) addressing the integration of palliative care services into standard oncology care.1 The ASCO Post recently spoke with one of the PCO’s lead authors, Thomas J. Smith, MD, Director of Palliative Care for Johns Hopkins Medicine and the Johns Hopki...

Lung Cancer

An Expert Shares Insight into the Future of Lung Cancer Treatment

Ronald Piana  / April 15, 2012

Despite growing national focus on early detection, prevention, and new molecular-based treatments, lung cancer persistently remains the number 1 cause of cancer death for men and women in the United States. The ASCO Post spoke to lung cancer specialist Paul A. Bunn, Jr, MD, Executive Director, Inter...

Breast Cancer

Advances in Axillary Surgery for Patients with Breast Cancer

Caroline Helwick  / April 15, 2012

Results from the American College of Surgeons Oncology Group (ACOSOG) Z0011 trial, which found no benefit for completion axillary nodal dissection in patients with breast cancer involving one to two positive sentinel nodes,1 have led to changes in breast cancer management, though points of discussio...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Searching for Quality in an Increasingly Complex Health-care Environment

Ronald Piana  / March 15, 2012

With the Presidential election just around the corner, the health-care debate will undoubtedly heat up. The ASCO Post spoke with Sean R. Tunis, MD, MSc, Founder and Director, Center for Medical Technology Policy, and former Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ...

Health-Care Policy

Research Funding Key to Continued Progress in Cancer Care

Ronald Piana  / March 15, 2012

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) President and ASCO member Judy Garber, MD, MPH, recently spoke with The ASCO Post about the findings of AACR’s landmark Cancer Progress Report,1 In addition, she offered her perspective on the current and future state of cancer research. Project Origi...

Head and Neck Cancer

Challenges, Progress, and Future Directions in Head and Neck Cancer

Ronald Piana  / March 1, 2012

Although head and neck cancer remains a major therapeutic challenge, significant advances have been made over the past few decades. The ASCO Post recently spoke with Marshall R. Posner, MD, Medical Director of the Head and Neck Oncology Program, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, about the curren...

Issues in Oncology

A Patient with Cancer Saw a Need and Left a Living Legacy

Ronald Piana  / March 1, 2012

It is well documented that the rigors of delivering cancer care can unintentionally supersede valuable doctor-patient communication. Before he died in 1995, Kenneth B. Schwartz, a patient with cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital, recognized this phenomenon and founded the Kenneth B. Schwartz Ce...

Breast Cancer

Surgical Oncology: Advances and Challenges in Breast Cancer Surgery

Ronald Piana  / February 15, 2012

Mortality rates for breast cancer have declined steadily in the United States since 1990, resulting in an improvement in survival. Multiple factors have contributed to this positive trend, one of which is the combination of earlier detection and more sophisticated surgical techniques. The ASCO Post ...

Breast Cancer

Bevacizumab Breast Cancer Indication Rescinded: What Are the Downstream Implications?

Ronald Piana  / January 15, 2012

Leading up to FDA’s resolution to revoke the breast cancer indication for bevacizumab (Avastin), the debate over the drug’s clinical value was imbued with contentious ideologic overtones, which culminated in a 2-day public hearing that exposed deep divisions not only in the scientific community, but...

Gynecologic Cancers

Advances in Gynecologic Cancer Surgery Continue to Improve Outcomes

Ronald Piana  / January 15, 2012

Over the past several decades, advances in chemotherapy and surgery have begun to translate into improved survival in gynecologic malignancies. The ASCO Post recently spoke with Ginger Gardner, MD, a surgical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who specializes in the management o...

Lung Cancer

Studies Reveal that Hormonal Factors Influence Lung Cancer Risk in Women

Jo Cavallo  / January 15, 2012

In an effort to understand lung cancer risk factors and develop prevention strategies for the disease, Christina S. Baik, MD, MPH, thoracic oncologist and staff scientist at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has examined epidemiologic trends in lung cance...

Issues in Oncology

MD Anderson Cancer Center’s New President Has a Bold Vision

Ronald Piana  / January 1, 2012

On September 1, 2011, Ronald A. DePinho, MD, became only the fourth President in the 70-year history of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. DePinho spent the previous 14 years as head of Dana-Farber’s Belfer Institute for Applied Cancer Science. In a recent interview wi...

Breast Cancer

Optimizing HER2-directed Therapy in the Clinic

Caroline Helwick  / December 15, 2011

Seminal research in the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer has been led by Edith A. Perez, MD, the Serene M. and Frances C. Durling Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida. The ASCO Post asked Dr. Perez to share her approach to HER2-directed therapy. Testing Considerat...

Symptom Management

Neural Stem Cell Transplantation May Improve Cognitive Function in Brain Cancer

Jo Cavallo  / December 15, 2011

The potentially devastating long-term consequences on cognitive function in patients with brain cancer following cranial irradiation led Charles L. Limoli, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology, University of California, Irvine, to study neural stem cell transplantation and how the procedure may prev...

Issues in Oncology

Important Lessons for Oncology from the Front Lines of the AIDS Pandemic

Ronald Piana  / November 15, 2011

On June 5, 1981, the CDC issued a warning about a rare type of pneumonia discovered among a small group of young gay men in Los Angeles, later determined to be AIDS-related, ushering in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Early on, AIDS-related malignancies brought the oncology community into this formidable soc...

Issues in Oncology

Biosimilars in Cancer Treatment: What Should the Oncology Community Expect?

Caroline Helwick  / November 15, 2011

Alternative versions of biologic agents, ie, “biosimilars,” will presumably be getting the green light by the FDA, giving oncologists more choices for treatments that come at lower costs to patients and society. The FDA plans to issue its guidance on biosimilars by the end of this year, paving the ...

Palliative Care

A Conversation with Judith Redwing Keyssar, RN

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2011

The number of patients seeking hospice and palliative care has grown significantly since 1974, when the NCI funded the first hospice facility in Branford, Connecticut. Nevertheless, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, 85% of Americans still die in hospitals or nursing homes. This...

Cost of Care
Issues in Oncology

A Conversation with Craig B. Thompson, MD

Jo Cavallo  / November 15, 2011

In November 2010, Craig B. Thompson, MD, was named President and CEO of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York, succeeding Harold Varmus, MD, who is now Director of the NCI. A cancer clinician and researcher, before coming to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Dr. Thompson was Director of th...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care

A Conversation with Richard J. Gilbertson, MD, PhD

Ronald Piana  / November 1, 2011

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, the country’s first and only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children, recently appointed internationally regarded pediatric brain tumor researcher, Richard J. Gilbertson, MD, PhD, as its new Cancer Center Director. In a re...

Health-Care Policy

Can Bayesian Design Streamline Our Sluggish Clinical Trial System?

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2011

The randomized controlled clinical trial has long been the gold standard for new cancer drugs to demonstrate worthiness of FDA approval; however, many experts contend that that our method of bringing drugs to the market is plagued by undue costs, long delays, and overregulation. According to Donald ...

Health-Care Policy

Oncology Community Faces Complex Challenges in Evolving Policy Arena

Ronald Piana  / October 15, 2011

As the political environment heats up in advance of the upcoming presidential campaign season, many issues crucial to the oncology community are being placed on the political chopping block as policymakers seek ways to reduce the mounting debt and soaring health-care spending. To help clarify some o...

Cost of Care
Palliative Care
Health-Care Policy

Palliative Care, Quality of Life, and Cost

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2011

More than half of our nation’s patients with cancer are Medicare beneficiaries, making the entitlement program ground zero in the heated debate on health-care spending. Total Medicare expenditures attributable to beneficiaries in their last year of life runs upward of 30%; this statistic serves as a...

Health-Care Policy

A Conversation with Monica Morrow, MD, FACS

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2011

Over the past 15 years, practice guidelines have become an accepted tool to help physicians optimize patient care by offering informed assessment of the benefits and potential harms associated with various care options. However, a plethora of new guidelines have entered the market, many of which suf...

Integrative Oncology

Integrative Oncology Modalities Supported by Varying Levels of Evidence, but More Research Needed Overall

Ronald Piana  / September 15, 2011

Over the past couple of decades, unregulated nonstandard oncology approaches have gained growing popularity among cancer patients. The relatively new field of integrative oncology was established to promote a more holistic and multidisciplinary approach to cancer care and to encourage scientific and...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Increased Use of Hospital Services Boosts Oncology Spending

Ronald Piana  / September 1, 2011

For our ongoing series on the rising costs of cancer care, The ASCO Post spoke with Lee N. Newcomer, MD, Senior Vice President of Oncology for UnitedHealthcare. Dr. Newcomer is responsible for improving cost-effective cancer care at the nation’s largest health insurer. He shed light on areas of cost...

Issues in Oncology

A Conversation with Samuel Silver, MD, PhD

Ronald Piana  / September 1, 2011

Over the past 2 decades, significant therapeutic advances have led to greater survival rates and quality of life for patients with cancer. During the same period there has been a transformation in the way oncology services are both perceived and delivered. In a recent conversation with The ASCO Post...

Breast Cancer
Symptom Management

A Conversation with Constance M. Chen, MD, MPH

Jo Cavallo  / September 1, 2011

Although incidence data vary widely, breast cancer–related lymphedema may affect as many  as 54% of the 2.3 million survivors of breast cancer in the United States. The condition is often disabling and can result in both long-term devastating physical consequences for survivors, including the loss o...

Lung Cancer

A Landmark Lung Screening Trial: What Does It Mean for Clinicians and Their Patients?

Ronald Piana  / August 15, 2011

The NCI-funded National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine,1 was heralded as a landmark study in lung cancer detection. This study is the first comprehensive clinical trial to find that screening high-risk individuals with low-dose CT reduces lung ...

Gynecologic Cancers

NCI Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Awards: Conversations in Gynecologic Oncology

Jo Cavallo  / July 15, 2011

The National Cancer Institute recognized Cheryl Saenz, MD, and Linda R. Duska, MD, among others, late last year with a Cancer Clinical Investigator Team Leadership Award. The 2-year award includes $50,000 in funding for cancer research programs at NCI-designated cancer centers. The ASCO Post recentl...

Issues in Oncology

A Conversation with David Henry, MD

Ronald Piana  / July 15, 2011

Given the intricate nature of oncology workflow, terminology, cancer staging, and the high risk associated with chemotherapy administration, an oncology electronic medical record (EMR) system needs to be much more than a storehouse of patient information. According to David Henry, MD, Clinical Profe...

Survivorship

A Conversation with Patricia A. Ganz, MD

Jo Cavallo  / June 15, 2011

Researching the effects of cancer on patients’ quality of life and championing the development and implementation of survivorship care plans have been at the forefront of the 20-year-long career of Patricia A. Ganz, MD, Director of the Division of Prevention and Control Research at UCLA’s Jonsson Co...

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