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pancreatic cancer

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy for Poor Performance Status Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

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...

Huntsman Unveils New Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center

On June 21, 2017, the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah announced the official opening of its Primary Children’s and Families’ Cancer Research Center, a world-class facility dedicated to advancing research in cancer. Jon M. Huntsman also announced a commitment from the...

A Social Media Guide by a Doctor for Doctors

Today’s brave new world of digital technology has both enhanced and compromised the day-to-day operational efficiency of ultrabusy oncologists who are struggling to balance patient care with the rapid evolution of technology. Like all scientific advances, health-care technology is a double-edged...

supportive care
palliative care

Ensuring Advance Directives Are Followed and Lawsuits Are Avoided

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, has focused his legal career on improving medical care decision-making and protecting patients’ rights at the end of life. His specific areas of legal expertise include patients’ rights, informed consent, and end-of-life medicine. Dr. Pope is the coauthor of The Right ...

lung cancer

Adding Pravastatin to Chemotherapy in Small Cell Lung Cancer

Following early reports associating favorable outcomes in cancer patients with the use of statins,1,2 further observational studies in this area have provided mixed findings.3 As recently reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and reviewed in this issue of The ASCO Post, Seckl and colleagues ...

breast cancer
solid tumors

CDK4/6 Inhibitors Have a Manageable Toxicity Profile, Are Generally Well Tolerated in Patients With Breast Cancer

A class of oral drugs for treating breast cancer known as cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitors are generally well-tolerated, with a manageable toxicity profile for most patients. This is the conclusion of a comprehensive review of toxicities and drug interactions related to this class of...

breast cancer

Neoadjuvant Radiation Reduces Risk of Secondary Tumors in Early-Stage Breast Cancer

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers conducted a first-of-its-kind study comparing the long-term benefits of radiation therapy in women with breast cancer in the neoadjuvant and adjuvant settings. Their study, published by Poleszczuk et al in Breast Cancer Research, found that patients who have...

issues in oncology

The Immune System: Deciphering Recent Advances

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...

issues in oncology

FDA Takes Action Against 14 Companies for Selling Illegal Cancer Treatments

On April 25, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) posted warning letters addressed to 14 U.S.-based companies illegally selling more than 65 products that fraudulently claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer. The products are marketed and sold without FDA approval, most commonly...

breast cancer

FDA Approves Neratinib for Extended Adjuvant Treatment of Early-Stage HER2-Positive Breast Cancer

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved neratinib (Nerlynx) for the extended adjuvant treatment of adult patients with early-stage HER2-overexpressed/amplified breast cancer, to follow adjuvant trastuzumab (Herceptin)-based therapy. ExteNET Trial Approval was based on the ExteNET...

supportive care

Appropriate Distress Screening and Follow-up Leads to Fewer ER Visits and Hospitalizations in Patients With Cancer

Following a cancer diagnosis, all patients experience some level of distress—regardless of disease stage. When severe and left untreated, distress can have a significant impact on health outcomes, lead to greater mortality and morbidity, affect immune function, and result in higher...

solid tumors
issues in oncology

ASTRO Updates Insurance Coverage Recommendations for Proton Therapy

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has issued an update to its recommendations for medical insurance coverage regarding the use of proton beam therapy to treat cancer. The updated Proton Beam Therapy Model Policy provides guidance to payers on clinical indications that are...

FDA’s ODAC Unanimously Recommends Biosimilar Versions of Bevacizumab and Trastuzumab

On July 13, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) unanimously recommended approval of biosimilar versions of bevacizumab (Avastin) and trastuzumab (Herceptin). In the morning session, ODAC members voted 17-0 in favor of approving Amgen's...

issues in oncology

Cancer Risk May Be Higher Among Holocaust Survivors

A new study indicates that survivors of the Holocaust have experienced a small but consistent increase in the risk of developing cancer. Published by Sadetzki et al in Cancer, the findings offer an example of how extreme population-level tragedies can have an impact on health. Holocaust survivors...

cns cancers
issues in oncology

Study Demonstrates Potential for Artificial Intelligence and Whole-Genome Sequencing to Scale Access to Precision Medicine

In a study published by Wrzeszczynski et al in Neurology: Genetics, researchers at the New York Genome Center (NYGC), The Rockefeller University, and IBM illustrated the potential of IBM Watson for Genomics to analyze complex genomic data from state-of-the-art sequencing of whole genomes. The study ...

issues in oncology

New CDC Report Shows Cancer Death Rates Are Higher in Rural America

Despite decreases in cancer death rates nationwide, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows slower reduction in cancer death rates in rural America (a decrease of 1.0% per year) compared with urban America (a decrease of 1.6% per year), according to data...

leukemia

FDA’s Advisory Committee Supports CTL019 in Pediatric, Young Adult Patients With B-Cell ALL

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) met to discuss the biologics license application (BLA) for the chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy CTL019 (tisagenlecleucel) for the treatment of relapsed or refractory pediatric and young adult...

leukemia

Blinatumomab Granted Full Approval to Treat Relapsed or Refractory B-cell Precursor ALL in Adults and Children

On July 11, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for blinatumomab (Blincyto) to include overall survival data from the phase III TOWER study. The approval converts blinatumomab's accelerated approval to a full approval. The sBLA...

lung cancer

FDA Approves First Companion Diagnostic Test to Simultaneously Screen for Multiple NSCLC Therapies

On June 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted premarket approval to Thermo Fisher Scientific for the first next-generation sequencing–based test that simultaneously screens tumor samples for biomarkers associated with three FDA-approved therapies for non–small cell...

breast cancer

Priority Review Granted for Abemaciclib in the Treatment of Advanced Breast Cancer

On July 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted a new drug application (NDA) for abemaciclib, a cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitor, and gave the NDA a Priority Review designation. The NDA includes Eli Lilly and Company’s submission of abemaciclib for two indications: ...

leukemia

FDA Accepts sNDA for Dasatinib in Pediatric Patients With Philadelphia Chromosome–Positive Chronic-Phase CML

On July 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted a supplemental new drug application (sNDA) to include an indication for dasatinib (Sprycel) to treat children with Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic-phase chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), as well as a powder for oral...

breast cancer

MammaPrint Test Addressed in ASCO Breast Cancer Guideline Update

New recommendations on the use of the MammaPrint genomic test issued on July 10 will help guide decisions on adjuvant systemic therapy for women with early breast cancer. The recommendations update the ASCO 2016 clinical practice guideline on the use of biomarkers in these patients. The...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

Narrow Network Insurance Plans More Likely to Exclude Doctors at NCI-Designated and NCCN Member Cancer Centers

Patients with cancer in the United States may be unable to access care at the nation’s top hospitals due to narrow insurance plan coverage—leaving patients to choose between lower premiums or access to higher-quality cancer care. A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the...

skin cancer
issues in oncology

Delaying Lymph Node Biopsy After Melanoma Diagnosis May Not Adversely Affect Survival Rates

Postponing lymph node biopsy more than 30 days after melanoma diagnosis does not adversely impact long-term clinical outcomes, according to findings published by Nelson et al in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Today, management of high-risk melanomas starts with surgical removal...

solid tumors

FDA Grants 510(k) Clearance to Halcyon IMRT Treatment System

Varian Medical Systems has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance for its Halcyon system, a new device for cancer treatment. Halcyon simplifies and enhances image-guided volumetric-intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). “We are proud that Halcyon has now...

multiple myeloma

FDA Places Clinical Hold on Three Studies Evaluating Pembrolizumab in Multiple Myeloma

On July 5, Merck announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has placed a clinical hold on KEYNOTE-183, KEYNOTE-185, and KEYNOTE-023, three combination studies of pembrolizumab (Keytruda), an anti–programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) therapy, in multiple myeloma. This...

cns cancers

FDA Approves Aminolevulinic Acid Hydrochloride as an Optical Imaging Agent Indicated in Gliomas

ON JUNE 6, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride, known as ALA HCl (Gleolan), as an optical imaging agent indicated in patients with gliomas (suspected World Health Organization [WHO] grades III or IV) for preoperative imaging, as an adjunct for the...

pancreatic cancer

Has a New Standard Really Been Established for the Adjuvant Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer?

THE PAST YEAR has undoubtedly been a disappointing one as far as clinical advances in pancreatic cancer go. No fewer than five high-profile randomized phase II or III trials in this setting reported negative results in 2016, ranging from next-generation cytotoxic agents1 to novel immunotherapeutic ...

lymphoma

Encouraging Results With Pembrolizumab in Relapsed/Refractory Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

AN EFFECTIVE antitumor immune response relies on cytotoxic T cells that are activated and able to target the malignant clone. As T cells become activated, they upregulate suppressive receptors including programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1). Upregulation of inhibitory signals is important to...

A Great IDEA: Celebrating 15 Years of the International Development and Education Award

In 2017, ASCO and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO are proud to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the International Development and Education Award (IDEA). The IDEA program supports the professional development of early-career oncologists in low- and middle-income countries around the world....

issues in oncology
survivorship

Second Cancers May Be Deadlier in Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Patients

Second cancers in children and adolescents and young adults (AYAs) are far deadlier than they are in older adults and may partially account for the relatively poor outcomes of cancer patients between the ages of 15 and 39 overall, a new study by researchers at the University of California, Davis...

breast cancer

Neoadjuvant Studies of Endocrine Approaches in Breast Cancer Mandated Before Embarking on Large Adjuvant Studies

Largely based on studies demonstrating that letrozole can suppress plasma estradiol levels to a greater extent than anastrozole,1 the adjuvant activity of these endocrine agents were compared in 4,136 patients with node-positive breast cancer in the FACE trial. As reviewed in this issue of The ASCO ...

James Francis McCarthy

The family and staff of Harborside Press mourn the loss of former colleague, and forever friend James F. McCarthy, who passed away after a brief illness on June 23, 2017. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 7, 1929, to John A. and Eda K. McCarthy, Jim was a graduate of Brooklyn Preparatory High ...

Missak Haigentz, MD, Joins Atlantic Health System Cancer Care

Head and neck and lung cancer researcher Missak Haigentz, MD, has joined Atlantic Health System Cancer Care as Chief of Hematology and Oncology at Morristown Medical Center and Medical Director of Atlantic Hematology and Oncology for Atlantic Medical Group at the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center. Dr....

Cancer Survivor Publishes Book for Children About Cancer

A book aimed at helping young families understand cancer, Hair to the Queen! is now available on Amazon. Written by first-time author Tamara B. Rodriguez and illustrated by Carole A. Smith, the book empowers adults to discuss cancer with children in a simple and compassionate way. Hair to the...

Big Data and the Learning Machine

BOOKMARK Title: The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our WorldAuthor: Pedro DomingosPublisher: Beacon PressPublication date: February 2017Price: $24.95, hardcover, 288 pages Technology is revolutionizing our understanding and treatment of diseases....

kidney cancer

Atezolizumab/Bevacizumab Moves Forward in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

THE COMBINATION of atezolizumab (Tecentriq) plus bevacizumab (Avastin) showed promising results as first-line treatment of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, according to a phase II trial called IMmotion 150. Based on these results, the phase III IMmotion 151 trial is comparing...

breast cancer

Fat Grafting and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Postmastectomy Breast Reconstruction

The use of fat grafting as a tool for breast reconstruction following a mastectomy may improve breast satisfaction, psychosocial well-being, and sexual well-being in patients, according to a study published by Bennett et al in JAMA Surgery. Fat grafting as an adjunct to breast reconstruction...

colorectal cancer

FDA Grants Marketing Approval to the Praxis Extended RAS Panel

On June 29, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted marketing approval to the Praxis Extended RAS Panel, a next-generation sequencing test to detect certain genetic mutations in RAS genes in tumor samples of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer. The test is used to aid in the...

issues in oncology

Annual Report to the Nation: Cancer Death Rates Continue to Decline

Overall cancer death rates continue to decrease in men, women, and children for all major racial and ethnic groups, according to the latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, 1975–2014, published by Jemal et al in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.1 The report finds...

pain management
supportive care

Pediatric Cancer Pain May Be Misunderstood and Largely Undertreated

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....

multiple myeloma

CAR T-Cell Therapy in Multiple Myeloma Yields 100% Response Rate

Chinese investigators reported that 100% of patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma responded to autologous chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, and 14 of 19 (74%) who were followed for a median of 4 months achieved a stringent complete response and have not recurred.1...

supportive care

New Supportive Care Resources From NCCN Help Patients With Cancer Confront Distress

All patients with cancer experience some level of distress associated with their cancer diagnosis and the effects of the disease and its treatment—regardless of the stage of disease. Not only does distress affect a patient’s mental and psychosocial well-being, but because distress is a risk...

issues in oncology

Overcoming Sexism in Academic Medicine

The troubling results from a survey1 investigating the sexual harassment and discrimination experiences of academic medical faculty show that such incidents continue to happen with unexpected frequency despite increasing awareness of the problem. The study by Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, and...

myelodysplastic syndromes

High-Risk Mutations Predict Poor Outcomes for Patients With Myelodysplastic Syndromes Undergoing Transplantation

Although several treatment options are available for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) remains the only curative therapy.1 The risks of complications and death from transplantation can be substantial. Determining which patients may...

breast cancer

Pembrolizumab Moving Forward in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

In the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer, checkpoint inhibition is making inroads in both early- and late-stage disease, and the line of treatment and expression of the programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1) could be important in determining outcomes, according to studies reported at the...

Angela Alistar, MD, Joins Atlantic Health System Cancer Care

Gastrointestinal cancer researcher Angela Alistar, MD, has joined Atlantic Health System Cancer Care as Medical Director of GI Medical Oncology at Morristown Medical Center. Dr. Alistar is a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in translational research. She comes to Atlantic Health...

global cancer care
health-care policy

World Health Assembly’s New Cancer Resolution Reflects New Realities

The World Health Assembly (WHA)—the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO)—adopted a long-expected cancer resolution at its 2017 meeting, the body’s first resolution on cancer in 12 years and the first to emphasize, among other issues, the accessibility and affordability of...

global cancer care

First Comprehensive Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Initiative Launched in Africa

Through public-private partnerships with the governments of Botswana, Uganda, and Malawi, His Excellency the President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, of the Republic of Botswana; the Honorable Minister Dorcas Makgato, of the Ministry of Health and Wellness; the Bristol-Myers Squibb ...

colorectal cancer

FDA Approves Panitumumab for Use in Wild-Type RAS Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

On June 30, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the supplemental Biologics License Application (sBLA) for panitumumab (Vectibix) for patients with wild-type RAS (defined as wild-type in both KRAS and NRAS as determined by an FDA-approved test for this use) metastatic...

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