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Conquer Cancer Foundation Recognizes 70 Young Oncology Researchers’ Findings With Merit Awards


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ASCO’s Conquer Cancer Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of its Merit Awards in gastrointestinal cancers, clinical immuno-oncology, genitourinary cancers, and cancer survivorship. The following 70 researchers—
oncology fellows and trainees honored for the quality and scientific merit of their research in their respective areas of concentration—accepted their awards and presented their research findings at recent thematic symposia. 

2018 Conquer Cancer Merit Awards in Gastrointestinal Cancers

Twenty-six Merit Award recipients were recognized at the 2018 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium, which took place January 18–20 in San Francisco. The recipients and their abstracts are:

  • Eric Anderson, MD, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
    Curative intent surgery and associated overall survival variation between elderly and younger patients in the National Cancer Database (Abstract 373)
  • Aileen Deng, MD, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
    Health-care utilization and costs associated with GI cancers in the United States (Abstract 361)
  • Pat Gulhati, MD, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    First-line gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel chemotherapy for localized pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (Abstract 369)
  • Andreana Natalie Holowatyj, PhD, University of Utah Huntsman Cancer Institute
    Colorectal tumor patterns among adolescents, emerging adults, and young adults (Abstract 567)
  • Jaymin Jhaveri, MD, MS, Emory University
    Prognostic relevance of human papillomavirus infection in anal squamous cell carcinoma: Analysis of the National Cancer Database (Abstract 735) 
  • Ranjit Joseph, MBBS, University of North Carolina
    Expression of immune genes and a signature of PD-1 inhibition resistance in basal-like pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma subtypes (Abstract 277)
  • Sophia C. Kamran, MD, Harvard University
    Genomic evolution and acquired resistance to preoperative chemoradiation therapy in rectal -cancer (Abstract 613)
  • Michael Lam, MBBS, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Effect of matched therapy in metastatic colorectal cancer on progression-free survival in the phase I setting (Abstract 619)
  • Sunyoung S. Lee, MD, PhD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute
    Automation of quantifying and mapping of stromal and malignant cells in pancreatic adenocarcinoma using deep learning (Abstract 266)
  • Alexandra G. Lopez-Aguiar, MD, BA, Emory University Winship Cancer Institute
    Defining the role of lymphadenectomy for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors: An 8-institution study of 695 patients from the U.S. Neuroendocrine Tumor Study Group (Abstract 212)
  • Jonathan M. Loree, MD, British Columbia -Cancer Agency
    Serial monitoring of circulating tumor DNA to highlight mutation profiles in colorectal cancer (Abstract 641)
  • Paula Marincola Smith, MD, BS, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    Impact of insurance status on survival in neuroendocrine tumors: A multi-institutional study from the U.S. Neuroendocrine Study Group (Abstract 371)
  • Federica Marmorino, MD, Azienda Ospedaliera-Universitaria Pisana
    Histopathologic response and growth patterns of colorectal cancer liver metastases in patients treated with triplets plus bevacizumab or anti-EGFRs (Abstract 636)
  • Susan McDuff, MD, PhD, Harvard University
    Using circulating tumor DNA to predict surgical outcome after neoadjuvant chemoradiation for locally advanced pancreatic cancer (Abstract 272)
  • Sweet Ping Ng, MBBS, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Lymphopenia and outcomes of patients with unresectable hepatocellular carcinoma treated with radiotherapy (Abstract 278)
  • Hayato Omori, MD, Shizuoka General Hospital Cancer Center
    Impact of adjuvant chemotherapy with S-1 on survival in patients with type 4 and large type 3 gastric cancer (Abstract 98)
  • Roheena Z. Panni, MBBS, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
    Association of preoperative monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio with overall survival after resection of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (Abstract 216)
  • Allan Andresson Lima Pereira, MD, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Predictors for detecting circulating tumor DNA in metastatic colorectal cancer (Abstract 634)
  • Ari Rosenberg, BS, MD, McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University
    Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, PD-L1, and overall survival of patients diagnosed with esophageal cancer (Abstract 50)
  • Haider Samawi, MD, FRCPC, University of Calgary
    A real-world comparison of multimodality therapies in locally advanced gastroesophageal junction cancers (Abstract 96)
  • Daniel Shepshelovich, MD, Princess Margaret Cancer Center
    The association of FCGR2A and FCGR3A polymorphisms with outcomes in cetuximab-treated metastatic colorectal cancer patients: CCTG and AGITG CO.20 trial analysis (Abstract 633)
  • Mohamad Bassam Sonbol, MD, Mayo Clinic
    Long-term outcomes of liver transplantation for the treatment of neuroendocrine liver metastases: The Mayo Clinic experience (Abstract 355)
  • Nguyen H. Tran, MD, University of Michigan
    Integrative whole-exome, transcriptome, and clinical profiling of biliary tract cancers (Abstract 279)
  • Pieter Christiaan van der Sluis, MD, PhD, Msc, University Medical Center Utrecht
    Robot-assisted minimally invasive thoracolaparoscopic esophagectomy versus open transthoracic esophagectomy for resectable esophageal cancer: A randomized controlled trial (Abstract 6)
  • Changqing Xie, MD, PhD, National Institutes of Health
    Tremelimumab in combination with microwave ablation in patients with refractory biliary tract cancer (Abstract 365)
  • Mohammad Y. Zaidi, MD, MS, Emory University Winship Cancer Institute
    Defining the number of lymph nodes needed to accurately stage small bowel neuroendocrine tumors: An 8-institution study from the US neuroendocrine tumor study group (Abstract 265)


2018 Conquer Cancer Merit Awards in Immuno-Oncology

Ten Merit Award recipients were recognized at the 2018 ASCO-SITC Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium, which took place January 25–27 in San Francisco, California. The recipients and their abstracts are:

  • Aanika Balaji, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
    Immune-related adverse events requiring inpatient management: Spectrum of toxicity, treatment, and outcomes (Abstract 138)
  • Rachel Julie David, MD, Wilmot Cancer Institute, University of Rochester Medical Center
    Immunotherapy use, outcomes, and toxicities in gastrointestinal malignancies (Abstract 100)
  • Michael Edward Devitt, MD, University of Virginia
    The effect of chemotherapy on the tumor immune microenvironment in non–small cell lung cancer: A single-institution retrospective analysis (Abstract 155)
  • Sami Ibrahimi, MD, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
    Effect of body mass index and albumin level on outcomes of patients receiving anti–PD-1/PD-L1 therapy (Abstract 213)
  • Uqba Khan, MD, St. John Hospital and Medical Center
    Frequency and prognostic role of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes and MMR status in advanced non-colorectal GI malignancies (Abstract 89) 
  • Anuhya Kommalapati, MD, University of South Carolina
    Characterization of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy in patients treated with rituximab, brentuximab, and ibrutinib: A report from the Southern Oncology Network on Adverse Reactions (Abstract 133)
  • Devarati Mitra, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    The prognostic significance of PD-L1 expression in locally advanced non–small-cell lung cancer treated with definitive intent (Abstract 150)
  • Sarbajit Mukherjee, MD, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
    Efficacy of PD-1/PD-L1 therapy: Do proton pump inhibitors affect the outcome? (Abstract 208)
  • Abdul Rafeh Naqash, MD, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University
    Survival stratification using a baseline inflammatory physiology-based scoring system in advanced non–small cell lung cancer treated with anti–programmed cell death 1 (anti–PD-1) therapy (Abstract 152)
  • Jesus Vera Aguilera, MD, Mayo Clinic
    A clinical insight into therapeutic sequence in advanced melanoma (Abstract 186)


2018 Conquer Cancer Merit Awards in Genitourinary Cancers

Twenty-four Merit Award recipients were recognized at the 2018 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, which took place February 8–10 in San Francisco, California. The recipients and their abstracts are:

  • Bimal Bhindi, MD, CM, MSc, FRCSC, Mayo Clinic
    The probability of indolent versus aggressive histology based on renal tumor size: Implications for surveillance and treatment (Abstract 704)
  • Dominick Bosse, MD, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Genomic alterations to refine prognostication of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (Abstract 626)
  • Jad Chahoud, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Glypican 3 (GPC3) expression in a lethal subgroup of refractory cisplatin-resistant testicular germ cell tumor (Abstract 559)
  • Michal Chovanec, MD, PhD, BA, Comenius -University, National Cancer Institute
    Long-term sexual functioning in germ cell tumor survivors (Abstract 549)
  • Izak Faiena, MD, David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles
    A phase I, open-label, dose-escalation and cohort expansion study evaluating the safety and immune response to autologous dendritic cells transduced with AdGMCA9 in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (Abstract 653)
  • Karthik Giridhar, BS, MD, Mayo Clinic
    Prognostic value of chromogranin-a compared to circulating tumor cells in metastatic castration resistant prostate cancer (Abstract 249)
  • Hanan Goldberg, MD, Princess Margaret Cancer Center
    Can free PSA be used as a biomarker in biochemical recurrence after surgery to predict castrate--resistant prostate cancer? (Abstract 177)
  • Jeffrey Graham, MD, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, University of Calgary
    Cytoreductive nephrectomy in metastatic papillary renal cell carcinoma: Results from the International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium (Abstract 581)
  • Anis Hamid, MBBS, Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    Tumor-suppressor aberrations and outcomes in localized and metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer (Abstract 184)
  • William L. Hwang, MD, PhD, Massachusetts General Hospital
    Optimal timing of postprostatectomy radio-therapy for prostate cancer with high-risk pathologic features: A multi-institutional analysis (Abstract 24)
  • Daniel Khalaf, MD, British Columbia Cancer Agency–Vancouver Centre
    Determining biomarkers of response to docetaxel for patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer using circulating cell-free tumor DNA (Abstract 260)
  • Edmond Michael Kwan, MBBD, Monash Health
    Whole-blood AR-V7 and AR-V9 mRNA expression and treatment response in metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer (Abstract 252)
  • Rebeca Lozano, MD, Spanish National Cancer Research Centre
    Comparative assessment of abiraterone or enzalutamide activity in the PROREPAIR-B study (Abstract 164)
  • Deaglan Joseph McHugh, BA, MRCP, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    Adjuvant etoposide plus cisplatin for pathologic stage II nonseminomatous germ cell tumor (Abstract 567)
  • Marina Milic, MD, MSc, Mount Vernon Cancer Centre
    A qualitative analysis of the impact of carboplatin AUC 10 on physical, work functioning, and bone marrow toxicity, in patients with metastatic seminoma: A single-centre experience (Abstract 558)
  • Pavlos Msaouel, MD, PhD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Effect of SMARCB1 deficiency in renal medullary carcinoma on genes associated with nucleosome assembly and telomere organization (Abstract 614)
  • Lucia Nappi, MD, Vancouver Prostate Centre and SWOG AYA, Prevention and Surveillance and SWOG YI Award
    Plasma miR371 for the detection of viable germ cell tumor in testicular cancer patients with enlarging or post chemotherapy residual nodes (Abstract 569)
  • Patrick Glen Pilie, MD, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
    Homologous repair deficiency in VHL-mutated clear cell renal cell carcinoma (Abstract 585)
  • Irbaz Bin Riaz, MBBS, MS, Mayo Clinic
    Abiraterone acetate or docetaxel in metastatic castration-sensitive prostate cancer: A systematic review and network meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials (Abstract 243)
  • Minke Smits, MBBS, Radboud University -Nijmegen Medical Center
    Immunological and genomic correlates of response to anti–PD-1 checkpoint therapy in mismatch proficient and deficient patients with metastasized castration-resistant prostate cancer (Abstract 248)
  • Mohamad Bassam Sonbol, MD, Mayo Clinic
    Adjuvant antiangiogenic agents in postnephrectomy renal cell carcinoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis (Abstract 689)
  • Claudio Vernieri, MD, PhD, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori
    Prognostic and predictive role of fumarate hydratase in metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (Abstract 617)
  • Harm Westdorp, MSc, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center
    Myeloid and plasmacytoid dendritic cell vaccinations for castration-resistant prostate cancer patients (Abstract 219)
  • Steven Yip, MD, British Columbia Cancer Agency–Vancouver Centre
    Outcomes in patients with advanced prostate cancer and inactivating germline mutations in BRCA2 or ATM (Abstract 242)


2018 Conquer Cancer Merit Awards in Cancer Survivorship

Ten Merit Award recipients were recognized at the 2018 Cancer Survivorship Symposium, which took place February 16–17 in Orlando, Florida. The recipients and their abstract include:

  • Kari L. Bjornard, MD, MPH, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
    Psychosexual functioning in sexually active female survivors of childhood cancer (Abstract 136)
  • Belle Hadewijch de Rooij, MSc, Netherlands Comprehensive Cancer Organisation (IKNL)
    Cluster analysis to demonstrate the need to individualize care for cancer survivors (Abstract 62)
  • Lawson Eng, MD, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
    Cancer patient interest and perceptions of health behavior change programs (Abstract 98)
  • Andrew Ip, MD, Emory University Winship Cancer Institute
    Effect of physical activity before and after diagnosis on overall survival for patients with lymphoma (Abstract 95)
  • Adriana Reis Brandao Matutino, MD, Tom Baker Cancer Centre
    The impact of age on the quality of life of patients diagnosed with breast cancer after curative treatment (Abstract 67)
  • Yuly Andrea Remolina Bonilla, MD, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición, Salvador Zubiran
    Impact of quality of life on employment and marital status in long-term cancer survivors treated in a referral center in Mexico (Abstract 122)
  • Kerry Schaffer, MD, University of Rochester
    A systematic review of randomized controlled trials of exercise interventions using digital activity (Abstract 108)
  • Christine Moore Smith, MD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
    Implementation of survivorship care plans in the pediatric oncology clinic (Abstract 55)
  • Jonna van Vulpen, MBBS, University Medical Center Utrecht
    Effect and moderators of exercise on fatigue in patients with cancer: Meta-analysis of individual patient data (Abstract 104)
  • AnnaLynn Williams, BA, MS, University of Rochester Medical Center
    Correlates of anxiety and depression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia survivors (Abstract 153)

The 2018 Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO Merit Awards program is supported by AstraZeneca; Friends and Family of Dr. and Mrs. Ronald Beller; Ipsen Biopharmaceuticals Inc; Janssen Biotech, Inc; Pharmacyclics LLC (an AbbVie Company); Dr. Kathleen Pritchard Medicine Professional Corporation; Lilly; Merck & Co, Inc; Friends and Family of Dr. James B. Nachman; Novartis Oncology; Frances A. Shepherd, MD, FASCO; Stephen A. Sherwin, MD; and Takeda Oncology.

For more information on the Merit Awards program or instructions on how to apply, visit
https://conquer.org/merit-award. ■

Originally published in ASCO Connection. © American Society of Clinical Oncology. “Conquer Cancer Foundation Recognizes 70 Young Oncology Researchers’ Findings with Merit Awards.” ASCOconnection.org, February 21, 2018. All rights reserved.


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