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Emad S. Alnemri, PhD, Named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

EMAD S. ALNEMRI, PhD, Thomas Eakins Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center–Jefferson Health, has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. The 2018 fellows will be inducted in a ceremony in April 2019, at the Space Center Houston during...


Hastening the Development of Novel Therapies for Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas

Peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCLs) make up a small fraction of all non-Hodgkin lymphomas—just 15%—in the United States.1 Although rare in the United States, the incidence of PTCL is common across Asia, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. Although the reason for such global variation in PTCL is...

Community Oncology Alliance Elects New Officers and Board Members

THE COMMUNITY Oncology Alliance (COA) recently announced that Michael Diaz, MD, a practicing medical oncologist at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, has been elected President of COA. His 1-year term began on January 1, 2019. In addition, Kashyap Patel, MD, a practicing...

breast cancer

IMpassion130 Trial: Changing the Treatment Landscape in Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

THE IMPASSION130 trial—reported in The New England Journal of Medicine by Schmid et al1 and reviewed in this issue of The ASCO Post—was an eagerly awaited study in newly diagnosed metastatic triple-negative breast cancer. To briefly review, 902 patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 fashion to...

MMRF Launches First Platform Trial in Multiple Myeloma

THE MULTIPLE MYELOMA Research Foundation (MMRF) has announced the launch of MyDRUG, the first platform trial exclusively in multiple myeloma, which aims to investigate targeted treatments for patients with high-risk myeloma. MyDRUG represents the culmination of the MMRF’s Precision Medicine Model,...

breast cancer

Risk of Local Recurrence in Breast Cancer: Impact of Molecular Subtype and Surgical Approach

THE RISK of local recurrence in breast cancer “does not differ substantially based on the operation we perform, but it does differ substantially by subtype,” Tari A. King MD, FACS, stated at the 2018 Lynn Sage Breast Cancer Symposium in Chicago.1 At 10-year follow-up, Dr. King reported, local...

Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, Named Principal Deputy Commissioner of Food and Drugs

ON DECEMBER 17, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD, will replace Rachel Sherman, MD, MPH, as Principal Deputy Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Dr. Abernethy most recently served as Chief Medical Officer, Chief Scientific Officer, and Senior Vice...

ACCC Relaunches Immuno-Oncology Institute With Online Portal

THE ASSOCIATION of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) has announced the relaunch of the ACCC Immuno-Oncology (IO) Institute, including an online resource portal for oncology professionals to find practical, proactive strategies for the effective delivery of new and emerging therapies. The ACCC worked...

$30 Million Granted to MD Anderson Scientists for Various Research Investigations

THE UNIVERSITY of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center was awarded $30 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to support research, core facilities, recruitment, and prevention efforts. An additional $19.9 million was awarded to a company co-founded by MD Anderson to support...


Expert Point of View: Elihu H. Estey, MD; Steven Gore, MD; and Mark J. Levis, MD, PhD

ELIHU H. ESTEY, MD, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington and Director of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Clinical Research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, added that with these “robust” outcomes, future trial patients may “not be eager to wind up in the...

ASH Research Collaborative Established to Accelerate Progress in Hematology

THE AMERICAN SOCIETY of Hematology (ASH) has established the ASH Research Collaborative, a mission-focused nonprofit organization that will foster collaborative partnerships to accelerate progress in hematology with the goal of improving the lives of people affected by blood diseases. “The launch...

issues in oncology

ACCC 2018 Survey Finds Multiple Barriers to Cancer Program Growth

At a time of unprecedented advances in the science of cancer, growing complexity in cancer treatments, and ongoing health policy fluctuation, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) 9th annual Trending Now in Cancer Care survey reveals how cancer programs across the country are ...

issues in oncology

HPV Vaccination Rates in Younger Adolescents

Only about 16% of U.S. adolescents have been fully vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) by the time they turn 13, despite national recommendations that call for vaccination at 11 to 12 years of age. These findings, published by Bednarczyk et al in the Journal of Infectious Diseases,...

lung cancer

PACIFIC Trial of Durvalumab Sets Standard in Stage III Unresectable NSCLC

IMMUNOTHERAPY HAS revolutionized the treatment of lung cancer over the past several years. Although lung cancer is associated with immunosuppression at baseline for most patients, the addition of immune checkpoint inhibitors can overcome that suppression and lead to antitumor immune responses....

issues in oncology
cost of care

How to Save Billions on Cancer Care Costs: The Potential of Value-Based Prescribing in Oncology

IT IS TIME for value-based prescribing—the reduction of prescribing costs using basic pharmacologic principles—to be tested and deployed in oncology. The savings are real and there for the taking. If you are concerned about the high costs in cancer care, here is a chance to get maximum value for...

breast cancer

Expert Point of View: Virginia G. Kaklamani, MD; Monica Morrow, MD; and John Cole, MD

AT THE SAN ANTONIO Breast Cancer Symposium, several breast cancer experts interviewed by The ASCO Post noted that the approved dose of tamoxifen was arbitrarily set, and the optimal dose is actually unknown. Studies of lower-dose tamoxifen, therefore, are welcomed. Virginia G. Kaklamani, MD,...

breast cancer

Low-Dose Tamoxifen Halves Breast Cancer Risk in Women With Preinvasive Breast Lesions

A VERY LOW DOSE of tamoxifen—5 mg/d, given for 3 years rather than 5 years—halved the risk of breast cancer recurrence or new lesions over placebo in women with breast intraepithelial neoplasia, without producing the usual toxicities seen with the standard dose, Italian researchers reported at the...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

Over 40 Medical Organizations Call for an End to the Government Shutdown

Forty-six medical advocacy organization and professional societies have called on President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to end the government shutdown and, in...

colorectal cancer

23andMe Receives FDA Clearance for Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Test on a Hereditary Colorectal Cancer Syndrome

On January 22, 23andMe received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for a genetic health risk report on MUTYH-associated polyposis, a hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome. The clearance follows the FDA’s authorization for 23andMe’s BRCA1/BRCA2 (Selected Variants)...

pancreatic cancer

Andrew X. Zhu, MD, PhD, on Pancreatic Cancer: Results From the Prep-02/JSAP-05 Trial

Andrew X. Zhu, MD, PhD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, discusses phase II/III study findings on neoadjuvant chemotherapy with gemcitabine and S-1 vs upfront surgery for resectable pancreatic cancer (Abstract 189).

colorectal cancer

Pieter Tanis, MD, PhD, on Colon Cancer: Results From the COLOPEC Trial on Adjuvant HIPEC

Pieter Tanis, MD, PhD, of Amsterdam University Medical Centers, discusses study findings on adjuvant hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) in patients with colon cancer who are at high risk of peritoneal metastases (Abstract 482).

colorectal cancer

Francesca Battaglin, MD, on Colorectal Cancer: Using Genetic Variants to Predict Treatment Efficacy

Francesca Battaglin, MD, of the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses phase III study data on genetic variants used to predict the efficacy of cetuximab in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (Abstract 564).

gastroesophageal cancer

Takashi Kojima, MD, on Esophageal Cancer: Results From the KEYNOTE-181 Trial on Immunotherapy vs Chemotherapy

Takashi Kojima, MD, of the National Cancer Center Hospital East, discusses phase III study findings on pembrolizumab vs chemotherapy as second-line treatment for advanced esophageal cancer (Abstract 2).

neuroendocrine tumors

Jonathan R. Strosberg, MD, on Neuroendocrine Tumors: Results From the KEYNOTE-158 Trial on PD-1 Inhibition

Jonathan R. Strosberg, MD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center, discusses phase II study findings on pembrolizumab as a treatment for advanced neuroendocrine tumors (Abstract 190).

hepatobiliary cancer

Andrew X. Zhu, MD, PhD, on Liver Cancer: Outcomes in the REFLECT Study on Lenvatinib

Andrew X. Zhu, MD, PhD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, discusses an analysis of survival and objective response in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma who took part in a phase III study of lenvatinib (Abstract 186).

colorectal cancer

Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, on Colon Cancer: Results From the ACTS-CC 02 Trial on Adjuvant Chemotherapy

Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, MD, MPH, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses phase III study findings on S-1/oxaliplatin vs uracil and tegafur/leucovorin as adjuvant chemotherapy for high-risk stage III colon cancer (Abstract 484).

pancreatic cancer

Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, on Pancreatic Cancer Tumor Profiling and Treatment Response: Results From the COMPASS Trial

Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, discusses molecular profiling and response to chemotherapy in the COMPASS study, which was designed to evaluate the feasibility of using genomic sequencing in pancreatic cancer care (Abstract 188).

colorectal cancer

Carl C. Schimanski, MD, PhD, on Colorectal Cancer Liver Metastases: Study Results on Tecemotide After Surgery

Carl C. Schimanski, MD, PhD, of the Municipal Hospital Darmstadt, discusses phase II study findings on adjuvant immunotherapy with tecemotide after colorectal cancer liver metastasectomy (Abstract 480). 

hepatobiliary cancer

Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, on BRAF V600E–Mutated Biliary Tract Cancer: Results From the ROAR Basket Trial

Heinz-Josef Lenz, MD, of the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the efficacy and safety of dabrafenib and trametinib in patients with BRAF V600E–mutated biliary tract cancer (Abstract 187).

hepatobiliary cancer

Ahmed Omar Kaseb, MD, on Liver Cancer: Results From an Immunotherapy Trial

Ahmed Omar Kaseb, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses phase II study findings on nivolumab alone vs nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with resectable hepatocellular carcinoma (Abstract 185).

gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer

Manish A. Shah, MD, on Gastric Cancer: Results From the GAMMA-1 Study on First-Line Combination Therapy

Manish A. Shah, MD, of NewYork–Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, discusses phase III data on the efficacy and safety of andecaliximab combined with mFOLFOX6 as first-line treatment in patients with advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma (Abstract 4).

gastrointestinal cancer

David H. Ilson, MD, PhD, on Gastric Cancer: Results From the TAGS Study on Third-Line Trifluridine/Tipiracil

David H. Ilson, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses findings on the efficacy and safety of third-line trifluridine/tipiracil in patients with metastatic gastric cancer with or without prior gastrectomy (Abstract 3).

kidney cancer

Personalized Treatment May Extend Life Expectancy for Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease and Small Renal Tumors

Personalized treatment plans may extend life expectancy for patients with early-stage kidney cancer who also have risk factors for worsening kidney disease, according to a new study published by Kang et al in Radiology. Kidney tumors are often discovered at an early stage and are frequently...


Newly Defined Subtypes of B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Investigators have identified multiple new subtypes of the most common childhood cancer, B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)—research that has the potential to improve the diagnosis and treatment of high-risk patients. Researchers used integrated genomic analysis, including...

colorectal cancer

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Rectal Cancer Treated With Total Neoadjuvant Therapy Plus Short-Course Radiation vs Concurrent Chemoradiation

The delivery of all radiotherapy and chemotherapy neoadjuvantly—also known as total neoadjuvant therapy—has improved complete response and downstaging rates compared to treatment after surgery in patients with rectal cancer. In a study presented by Chapman et al at the 2019...

colorectal cancer

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Is Adjuvant HIPEC Effective in Reducing the Risk of Peritoneal Metastases in Patients With Colon Cancer?

Patients with advanced or perforated colon cancer may be at elevated risk of peritoneal metastases. Since many patients with peritoneal metastases are diagnosed at a late stage, researchers sought to study the effectiveness of hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) in the adjuvant...

solid tumors

2019 GI Cancers Symposium: Pembrolizumab in Pretreated, Advanced Neuroendocrine Tumors

Findings from the phase I KEYNOTE-028 trial, which studied pembrolizumab in a number of solid tumors, showed activity of the immunotherapy in some patients with heavily pretreated neuroendocrine tumors. Now, a phase II basket trial—KEYNOTE-158—is studying the efficacy and safety of...

breast cancer
gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer

FDA Approves Biosimilar Trastuzumab-dttb

On January 18, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved trastuzumab-dttb (Ontruzant), a biosimilar referencing trastuzumab, across all eligible indications—namely, adjuvant treatment of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer, metastatic breast cancer, and metastatic gastric cancer or...

MD Anderson President Emeritus, John Mendelsohn, MD, Dies at Age 82

John Mendelsohn, MD, President Emeritus of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, died of glioblastoma on January 7, 2019, at his home in Houston at age 82. He was an internationally acclaimed leader in the field of medicine and scientist whose research helped pioneer a new type of...

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

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

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

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...