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issues in oncology
global cancer care

Patient Navigation Program Reduces Time to Cancer Treatment

The Global Cancer Institute recently announced the results of its Patient Navigation Program in Mexico City. The average time to referral before the program’s inception was 5 months, but the implementation of patient navigators reduced that average to 7 days. These findings were published by Yanin...

Huntsman Cancer Institute Announces Construction of Proton Therapy Center

The Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah recently began construction on a proton therapy center. The $31 million, 7,450 square-foot addition to the HCI’s Cancer Hospital will be the first proton therapy center in the Mountain West. The new center will be named in honor of...

Waun Ki Hong, MD, FACP, FASCO, Innovator in the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer, Dies at 76

Waun Ki Hong, MD, FACP, FASCO, led numerous clinical trials showing that cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radiotherapy could effectively treat patients with cancer of the larynx while sparing their voice box. This seminal work also served as a model for organ-preservation strategies in many other...

A Visionary in Lymphoma, Bertrand Coiffier, MD, PhD, Dies at 71

Internationally renowned lymphoma expert Bertrand Coiffier, MD, PhD, died on January 2, 2019. He was 71. Dr. Coiffier published more than 500 papers and book chapters that garnered more than 50,000 literature citations, placing him among the top 1% of the most influential researchers globally. His ...

J. Evan Sadler, MD, PhD, Expert in Blood-Clotting Disorders, Dies at 67

Pioneering hematologist J. Evan Sadler, MD, PhD, an expert in the study and treatment of blood-clotting disorders, died December 13, 2018, at his home in Clayton, Missouri, following a brief illness. He was 67. His death was announced in a news item from the Washington University School of...

Adi Gazdar, MD, Cell Line Pioneer and Groundbreaking Pathologist, Dies

The International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASCL) announced the death of Adi Gazdar, MD, of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, on December 29, 2018. Dr. Gazdar, a leader in lung cancer pathology, was a cell line pioneer and a groundbreaking pathologist....

hematologic malignancies
leukemia

Remnants of Cancer Remain, but Demons Are Now Gone

In the summer of 2002, I was a physically active 17-year-old boy on the cusp of adulthood. I was about to enter my senior year in high school, and like other teens my age, I was excited about college and the promise of the undreamed-of opportunities that lay ahead. At first, the lethargy I was...

American Association for the Advancement of Science Honors 2018 Elected Fellows

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has bestowed upon 416 of its members the lifetime honor of being an elected Fellow in recognition of their achievements in advancing science, some of whom are involved in oncology. The Fellows will be recognized at the 2019 AAAS Annual...

27% Drop in Overall U.S. Cancer Mortality Rate From 1991 to 2016

A steady 25-year decline has resulted in a 27% drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States between 1991 and 2016. The data come from “Cancer Statistics, 2019,” the American Cancer Society’s annual report on cancer rates and trends. The report was published by Siegel et al in CA: A...

colorectal cancer
immunotherapy

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Durvalumab, Tremelimumab, and Best Supportive Care vs Best Supportive Care Alone in Advanced, Refractory Colorectal Cancer

The phase II CCTG CO.26 trial evaluated whether the combination of durvalumab, a programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) inhibitor, and tremelimumab, an anti–cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4 (CTLA-4) antibody, plus best supportive care improved survival vs best supportive care ...

head and neck cancer
gastrointestinal cancer
immunotherapy

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Pembrolizumab in Second-Line Therapy for Advanced Esophageal Cancer

Pembrolizumab significantly improved overall survival in the second-line setting of advanced esophageal cancer in patients whose tumors tested positive for programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) with a combined positive score (CPS) of 10 or greater. This was compared to investigator’s choice...

hepatobiliary cancer

FDA Approves Cabozantinib in Previously Treated Hepatocellular Carcinoma

On January 14, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved cabozantinib (Cabometyx) tablets for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who have been previously treated with sorafenib. The FDA’s approval of this oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor was based on the results of the phase III...

pancreatic cancer

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Neoadjuvant Chemotherapy vs Upfront Surgery in Resectable Pancreatic Cancer

A phase II/III trial presented by Unno et al at the 2019 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium (Abstract 189) sought to compare neoadjuvant chemotherapy (using gemcitabine and the oral fluoropyrimidine combination of tegafur/gimeracil/oteracil [S-1]) to upfront surgery in patients with histologic ...

issues in oncology
supportive care

Findings From ASCO’s Second National Cancer Opinion Survey

Despite a recent study showing that patients with cancer who chose alternative therapies over conventional cancer treatment have a higher risk of death, nearly 4 in 10 Americans believe cancer can be cured by alternative remedies alone, according to the results of ASCO’s 2018 National Cancer...

solid tumors
kidney cancer

Clinical Trial Commences on Personalized Vaccine in Kidney Cancer

Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston are testing a first-of-its-kind personalized cancer vaccine combined with an immunotherapy drug, with the aim of improving outcomes for patients with kidney cancer who are at high risk of recurrence after surgery. A two-pronged approach to...

hepatobiliary cancer
immunotherapy

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Nivolumab vs Nivolumab Plus Ipilimumab in Resectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Anti–programmed cell death protein 1 and anti–cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated protein 4 antibodies have shown activity in hepatocellular carcinoma. Based on these earlier findings, researchers sought to examine the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of perioperative treatment...

issues in oncology
legislation
health-care policy

New Regulations Require Better Communication With Patients Who Have Disabilities and Limited English Proficiency

Ever since President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law on March 23, 2010, the nondiscrimination provision of the law, Section 1557, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health ...

gastrointestinal cancer

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Safety, Efficacy of Trifluridine/Tipiracil in Metastatic Gastric Cancer With or Without Gastrectomy

In a poster session earlier today David Ilson, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and colleagues reported on a preplanned subgroup analysis of the double-blind phase III TAGS study looking at the safety and efficacy of the oral agent trifluridine/tipiracil (FTP/TPI) in heavily...

gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Addition of Andecaliximab to mFOLFOX6 in Treatment-Naive Advanced Gastric or GEJ Adenocarcinoma

A phase I/Ib study found that the addition of andecaliximab, a monoclonal antibody that inhibits matrix metalloproteinase 9, to modified fluorouracil (5-FU), leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (mFOLFOX6) showed activity in gastric and or gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) carcinoma. Based on these...

head and neck cancer

Study Finds World Trade Center Responders May Be at Increased Risk for Head and Neck Cancers

A study by Graber et al in the International Journal of Cancer has found a significant increase in head and neck cancers among workers and volunteers who responded to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC), pointing to newly emerging risks that require ongoing monitoring ...

solid tumors
prostate cancer

Common Markers of Tumor Hypoxia Found Across Cancer Types

Unlike healthy tissues, tumors thrive in low-oxygen environments, often acquiring the ability to resist treatment and spread to other sites in the body. Despite being a well-known cause of therapy resistance and metastasis, the impact of hypoxia on tumor cells is poorly understood. Researchers have ...

prostate cancer

Germline DNA Repair Mutations and Outcomes in Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

A subset of patients with aggressive prostate cancer are carriers of germline BRCA2 mutations, which are also linked to hereditary breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Study findings also showed family members of patients with prostate cancer who carry BRCA2 and DNA-repair...

pancreatic cancer
immunotherapy

VISTA Checkpoint Implicated in Pancreatic Cancer Immunotherapy Resistance

Researchers have identified a new potential immunotherapy target in pancreatic cancer, which so far has been notoriously resistant to treatment with immune checkpoint blockade drugs effective against a variety of other cancers. A research team from The University of Texas MD Anderson ...

issues in oncology

Comorbidities and Cancer Clinical Trial Enrollment

Patients diagnosed with cancer who also have other illnesses or conditions, such as hypertension, asthma, or a prior cancer, are less likely to talk with their health-care provider about a cancer clinical trial, are less likely to be offered to join a clinical trial, and are ultimately less likely...

hepatobiliary cancer

FDA Approves Cabozantinib for Previously Treated Hepatocellular Carcinoma

On January 14, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved cabozantinib (Cabometyx) tablets for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who have been previously treated with sorafenib. The FDA’s approval of cabozantinib was based on results from the phase III CELESTIAL trial....

gynecologic cancers

Al Identifies Features of Tumor Cells in High-Risk Ovarian Cancer  

Scientists have developed a new test that scans the shapes of tumor cells to select women with especially aggressive ovarian cancer. A team at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, created an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that looks for clusters of cells within tumors with misshapen...

hepatobiliary cancer
issues in oncology

Role of Donor Race in Liver Transplant Outcomes in African American Patients With Hepatocellular Carcinoma

Among African American adults undergoing liver transplant to treat hepatocellular carcinoma, patients whose organ donor was also African American lived significantly longer than those with a racially unmatched donor, report authors of a new study using national data. Their findings were published...

colorectal cancer
solid tumors
hematologic malignancies
pancreatic cancer
symptom management

FDA Pipeline: Designations for Treatments of Graft-vs-Host-Disease, Colorectal Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, and More

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued the following new designations and clearances: Fast Track Designation for Itolizumab for the Treatment of Acute Graft-vs-Host Disease The FDA granted Fast Track designation to itolizumab for the treatment of acute graft-vs-host ...

breast cancer
gynecologic cancers
issues in oncology

BRCA Exchange: Resource Aggregates Data on BRCA Variants

A global resource that includes data on thousands of inherited variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes is available to the public. The BRCA Exchange was created through the BRCA Challenge, a long-term demonstration project initiated by the Global Alliance for Genomics and...

issues in oncology
global cancer care

Patient Navigation Program Reduces Time to Treatment in Patients With Cancer

Global Cancer Institute recently announced the results of its Patient Navigation Program in Mexico City. The average time to referral before the program’s inception was 5 months, but the implementation of patient navigators reduced that average to 7 days. These findings were published by ...

leukemia
myelodysplastic syndromes

Study Finds Elevated Risk of MDS and AML After Chemotherapy for Most Solid Tumors

Findings from a new study by researchers at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) show that patients treated with chemotherapy for most solid tumors from 2000 to 2014 experienced an increased risk of therapy-related myelodysplastic syndrome/acute myeloid leukemia (MDS/AML). The study, which used U.S. ...

issues in oncology

27% Drop in Overall U.S. Cancer Mortality Rate From 1991 to 2016

A steady 25-year decline has resulted in a 27% drop in the overall cancer death rate in the United States between 1991 and 2016. The data come from “Cancer Statistics, 2019,” the American Cancer Society’s annual report on cancer rates and trends. The report was published in CA: A...

cns cancers

Higher Incidence of Brain and CNS Tumors Among People Living in Appalachia

A recent study published by Ostrom et al in the Journal of Neuro-Oncology showed that compared to the rest of the United States, the Appalachian region has a 5% higher incidence of malignant primary brain tumors and other central nervous system (CNS) tumors, a higher mortality rate due to ...

skin cancer

Association Between Sun Exposure and BMI in the Development of Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

Exposure to the sun, whether cumulative or intermittent, is a known risk factor for the development of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Past studies have found that greater body mass index (BMI) actually lessens the risk of women developing NMSCs. With this in mind, researchers sought to determine...

prostate cancer
issues in oncology

Gleason 6 Score May Underestimate Prostate Cancer Mortality Risk in Black Men

Black men diagnosed with prostate cancer classified as low risk may actually have a more aggressive form of the disease that is more likely to be fatal than in nonblack men placed in the same prognostic category, according to results from a new study published as a research letter by Mahal et al in ...

colorectal cancer
issues in oncology

2018 Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Survey Report Covers Disease Stage at Diagnosis and More

Nearly three-quarters of patients with young-onset colorectal cancer are diagnosed with an advanced stage of the disease, a significantly higher percentage than has been reported for their more mature peers, according to a report from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance. The findings of...

issues in oncology

Quality of Life and Patient- and Clinician-Reported Cumulative Toxicity

New research has found that quality of life for people with cancer is reduced by an accumulation of low-level toxicities just as much as it is from high-level adverse events. Additionally, patient-reported outcomes were more likely to reflect the impact on a patient’s physical well-being than ...

colorectal cancer

Negative Colonoscopy and Long-Term Risk of Colorectal Cancer

Ten years after a negative colonoscopy, patients who were rescreened for colorectal cancer had a lower risk of being diagnosed with and were less likely to die from colorectal cancer compared with those who did not undergo colorectal cancer screening, according to a study published by Lee et al...

issues in oncology
cost of care

New Study Examines Orphan Drug Exclusivity and Pricing

A new report commissioned by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) and published by the IQVIA Institute demonstrates that the 7-year market exclusivity granted to drugs designated under the Orphan Drug Act of 1983 for rare diseases is working as intended. In nearly every case, orphan...

head and neck cancer
issues in oncology

Facing Death: Having the Difficult Conversation With Your Patients

Michael Becker, a former CEO for two biotechnology companies, discusses his terminal head and neck cancer diagnosis and his message for oncologists: be proactive and, at the appropriate time, talk with your patients about death and dying. For more information about Michael Becker’s blog and his HPV ...

leukemia

FDA Expands Indication for Dasatinib to Pediatric Patients With Ph+ ALL in Combination With Chemotherapy

On January 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the indication for dasatinib (Sprycel) tablets to include the treatment of pediatric patients 1 year of age and older with newly diagnosed Philadelphia chromosome–positive (Ph+) acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in...

issues in oncology

Association Between Systemic Lupus Erythematosus and Cancer Risk

New research published by Song et al in Arthritis Research & Therapy evaluated the link between lupus and cancer risk, supporting the data from earlier studies. The newer study indicates an association between systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and increased risk for several cancers (blood,...

breast cancer

Study Assesses Impact of Digital Mammography on Breast Cancer Detection and Recall Rates

The shift from film to digital mammography increased the detection of breast cancer overall in the United Kingdom—without increasing the recall rate—according to a study published by Blanks et al in Radiology. “Image quality with digital mammography is improved over that of...

skin cancer
immunotherapy

Pilot Study of Intratumoral G100 in Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Multiple recent reports have addressed the activity of programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitors, such as pembrolizumab and avelumab, in Merkel cell carcinoma. However, approximately half of all patients who receive these agents do not maintain a persistent response. In an...

lymphoma
survivorship

High Long-Term Risk of Solid Cancers in Survivors of Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma

A new study may bolster existing evidence that survivors of childhood Hodgkin lymphoma face an elevated risk of developing various types of solid tumors many years later. The study showed that certain subgroups of patients have an especially high risk. Published by Holmqvist et al in the journal...

hematologic malignancies

FDA Approves Ravulizumab-cwvz for Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria

On December 21, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ravulizumab-cwvz (Ultomiris) for adult patients with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH). PNH is a rare bone marrow failure disorder that manifests with hemolytic anemia, thrombosis, and peripheral blood cytopenias....

hematologic malignancies

FDA Approves Tagraxofusp-ezrs for Blastic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Neoplasm

On December 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved tagraxofusp-erzs (Elzonris) infusion for the treatment of blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm (BPDCN) in adults and in pediatric patients aged 2 years and older. “Prior to [this] approval, there had been no...

Louis M. Weiner, MD, Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF INVENTORS (NAI) has named Louis M. Weiner, MD, Director of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, to its 2018 class of fellows. According to the National Academy of Inventors, election to NAI Fellow status is the “highest professional distinction accorded to...

IASLC Announces Dave Mesko, MBA, as New Chief Executive

THE INTERNATIONAL Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) has announced Dave Mesko, MBA, as its new Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Mesko replaces Fred R. Hirsch, MD, PhD, who left IASLC after his 5-year term ended on October 31, 2018. Mr. Mesko will be primarily responsible for the overall ...

multiple myeloma

I Welcome Being the Face of Multiple Myeloma

Thirteen years ago, at age 34, I was healthy and enjoying life. I went to the gym almost daily, and when I wasn’t at the gym, I was shooting hoops with my friends. During a gym workout while on a family vacation, I suddenly felt excruciating pain in my left shoulder and thought I must have strained ...

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