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issues in oncology
global cancer care

Global Incidence of Undiagnosed Pediatric Cancers

Nearly half of all childhood cancers are not being diagnosed globally, according to a new modeling study published by Ward et al in The Lancet Oncology. “Our model suggests that nearly one in two children with cancer are never diagnosed and may die untreated,” said lead...

Humanitarian, Cancer Specialist Advocates for Universal Access to Care as a Basic Human Right

There is a plethora of educational books for patients with cancer and their families; advocates and patients themselves write most. Books in this genre often have a difficult time distilling the hard science of oncology into a lay-friendly narrative that keeps the reader engaged from cover to...

breast cancer

We Need Better Screening Methods for Detecting Breast Cancer

MY BREAST CANCER was probably a decade in the making, although I only became aware that there might be a problem in 2014, when I noticed some slight pain in my left breast. A routine mammogram and ultrasound found benign cysts in my dense breasts, which most likely explained the pain, I was told,...

gastroesophageal cancer
gastrointestinal cancer

FDA Approves Trifluridine/Tipiracil for Recurrent, Metastatic Gastric and GEJ Adenocarcinoma

ON FEBRUARY 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved trifluridine/tipiracil tablets (Lonsurf)—a fixed combination of trifluridine, a nucleoside metabolic inhibitor, and tipiracil, a thymidine phosphorylase inhibitor—for adult patients with metastatic gastric or gastroesophageal junction...

breast cancer
immunotherapy

FDA Grants Accelerated Approval to Atezolizumab/Nab-Paclitaxel; Regular Approval Contingent on Confirmatory Trials

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to atezolizumab (Tecentriq) plus nanoparticle albumin-bound (nab)-paclitaxel (Abraxane) for the treatment of adults with unresectable, locally advanced or metastatic, programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive ...

Roy L. Silverstein, MD, Begins Term as 2019 ASH President

ROY L. SILVERSTEIN, MD, an expert in platelet and vascular cell biology, as well as clinical nonmalignant hematology and thrombosis, will serve as President of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) for a 1-year term through December 2019. Dr. Silverstein is Chairman of the Department of...

issues in oncology

Health-Care Fraud Prosecutions Are on the Rise

Prosecuting health-care fraud is a top priority for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and other federal government agencies.1,2 After all, the government earns a $6 return for every $1 that it spends on enforcement. In December 2018, the DOJ announced that it had obtained more than $2.5 billion...

multiple myeloma

Reshaping the Treatment Landscape in Refractory Multiple Myeloma

THE TREATMENT approaches for multiple myeloma, both newly diagnosed and relapsed disease, continue to undergo major transformation as new agents and combinations are being introduced.1 This change has been driven by the introduction of novel drug classes such as monoclonal antibodies, as well as...

ASH President Roy Silverstein, MD, Issues Comment on Maintenance of Certification Recommendations Draft

RECENTLY, THE American Society of Hematology (ASH) submitted feedback on draft recommendations for reforming Maintenance of Certification (MOC) to a commission appointed by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and other entities. The “Vision Commission” released a report of its draft...

lung cancer

Although Evidence Is Clear That Lung Cancer Screening Saves Lives, Adoption Rates Remain Low

The findings of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), reported in 2011, revealed that participants who received low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) scans had a 20% lower risk of dying of lung cancer than participants who received standard chest x-rays. Despite these results,...

Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, Elected President of Michiana Hematology Oncology

MICHIANA HEMATOLOGY Oncology has announced that Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, has been elected President by its shareholders. In her new role as President, Dr. Zon will oversee and maintain leadership of the practice. Dr. Zon is a member of ASCO and was awarded Fellow status; with ASCO, she served...

Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH, and Lori Pbert, PhD, Join USPSTF

THE U.S. PREVENTIVE Services Task Force (Task Force) announced the addition of two new members: Michael Cabana, MD, MA, MPH, and Lori Pbert, PhD. Both were appointed to serve 4-year terms, which began in January 2019. Dr. Cabana is Professor of Pediatrics, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics and a...

issues in oncology

Position Paper Addresses Shortages of Chemotherapy and Supportive Care Agents for Pediatric Oncology Patients

Shortages of essential chemotherapy drugs for children undergoing cancer treatment have been an increasingly frequent obstacle for patients and hospitals in the United States. These shortages can result in increased medication errors, delayed administration of life-saving therapy, inferior...

skin cancer

New Patient Resource: NCCN Guidelines for Patients With Squamous Cell Skin Cancer

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN) has published a new book of patient information that explains prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for squamous cell skin cancer. Squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers are responsible for about 5 million annual incidents of nonmelanoma...

breast cancer
issues in oncology
cost of care

Patients With Breast Cancer Provide Recommendations to Ease Financial Toxicity

A qualitative study yielded nine patient-driven recommendations across circumstances that include changes to insurance, supportive services, and financial assistance to reduce long-term, breast cancer–related economic burden. The study was published by Dean et al in Cancer. Unique...

skin cancer

Is the Presence of Nevi on Extremities a Risk Factor for Melanoma and Nonmelanoma Skin Cancers?

The presence of nevi is an established risk factor for melanoma. In light of this, researchers examined the association between the presence of nevi on extremities and the risk of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. Their findings were published by Wei et al in the Journal of the American...

skin cancer
immunotherapy

A Single Dose of a PD-1 Inhibitor Before Surgery May Predict Outcomes in Patients With Melanoma

A single dose of a programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor before resection for melanoma may predict clinical outcomes for patients. Researchers from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania—who documented this finding in the largest cohort of patients to be...

solid tumors
issues in oncology

Effect of Adjuvant Treatment for Early Testicular Cancer on Reproductive Potential

Men with early-stage testicular cancer can safely receive one course of adjuvant chemotherapy or radiotherapy without it having a long-term effect on their reproductive potential, according to a study published by Weibring et al in Annals of Oncology. Although it is known already that several...

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, Resigns

On March 5, 2019, Scott Gottlieb, MD, announced his resignation as Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a post he began in 2017. Dr. Gottlieb’s resignation will be effective next month. In a resignation letter to Alex M. Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services ...

breast cancer
gynecologic cancers
hematologic malignancies
leukemia
lymphoma
symptom management

FDA Pipeline: Updates on Treatments for Cervical Cancer, Myelofibrosis, Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting, and More

The FDA recently issued announcements on a Fast Track designation, a Priority Review, two supplemental new drug applications, an investigational new drug application, and a marketing clearance. The agency also released a safety communication on cancer-related surgery. Fast Track Designation for...

colorectal cancer
health-care policy

Effect of Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion on Colorectal Cancer Screening and Survival in Kentucky

Kentucky has been one of the most successful states in reducing its uninsured rate, which happened in part through the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion that took effect on January 1, 2014. In the past, Kentucky has reported low rates of colorectal cancer screening, and has ranked ...

skin cancer
issues in oncology

2019 AAD: Disadvantages and Potential Improvements of Artificial Intelligence in Skin Cancer Detection

While artificial intelligence (AI) systems for skin cancer detection have shown promise in research settings, there is still a lot of work to be done before the technology is appropriate for real-world use. This was the topic of a scientific session at the 2019 American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) ...

pancreatic cancer

The Pancreatic Cancer Collective Awards $7 Million to Teams of Researchers in Pancreatic Cancer

The Pancreatic Cancer Collective—the strategic partner of the Lustgarten Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C)—has awarded a total of $7 million in first-round New Therapies Challenge grants to 7 teams of top cancer researchers to explore new pancreatic cancer treatments. Each team will receive...

Cancer Drug Development Award Given to Geoffrey Shapiro, PhD, MD

The Targeted Anticancer Therapies (TAT) 2019 Honorary Award for cancer drug development has been given to Geoffrey Shapiro, PhD, MD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and institute physician at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), for his leadership in developmental therapeutics. ...

hematologic malignancies

Advances in Haploidentical Transplantation and Cellular Therapies

With advances in the field, the number of haploidentical stem cell transplants being performed (ie, using human leukocyte antigen [HLA] half-matched donor stem cells) has been increasing. In recognition of evolving strategies to improve outcomes, a group of transplant physicians started the...

supportive care
palliative care

National Consensus Project Clinical Practice Guidelines: Improving Education on the Tenets of Palliative Care

The provision of palliative care (primary or specialty) is paramount to providing excellent quality care to all patients with cancer. Palliative care is associated with improving the quality of life, mood, and survival in patients with cancer. In fact, ASCO guidelines recommend that patients with...

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Scientists Receive 2019 Innovation Award

The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation named nine scientists with novel approaches to fighting cancer the 2019 recipients of the Damon Runyon-Rachleff Innovation Award. Five early career scientists will receive initial grants of $400,000 over 2 years. Another 4 awardees who demonstrated...

leukemia
immunotherapy

Stefan O. Ciurea, MD, on Infusing High Doses of Natural Killer Cells: An Enhanced Antitumor Effect

Stefan O. Ciurea, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the enhanced antitumor effect and lower viral reactivation that result from high doses of natural killer cells infused after haploidentical transplantation, with no excess graft-vs-host disease, a low relapse rate ...

lung cancer
immunotherapy

Edward B. Garon, MD, on Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer: CheckMate 384 Trial on Nivolumab Dosing

Edward B. Garon, MD, of the Olive View–UCLA Medical Center, discusses phase IIIb/IV study findings on reducing the frequency of nivolumab dosing, from 480 mg every 4 weeks to 240 mg every 2 weeks, in patients with previously treated advanced non–small cell lung cancer (Abstract 100).

breast cancer
immunotherapy

G. Travis Clifton, MD, on Breast Cancer and Disease Recurrence: Final Analysis From a Study of Nelipepimut-S, GM-CSF, and Trastuzumab

G. Travis Clifton, MD, of Brooke Army Medical Center, discusses phase IIb trial findings on nelipepimut-S plus GM-CSF with trastuzumab vs trastuzumab alone to prevent recurrences of high-risk, HER2 low-expressing breast cancer (Abstract 1).

bladder cancer
immunotherapy

Nicholas Vogelzang, MD, on Urothelial Cancer: Results From a Trial on Lenvatinib Plus Pembrolizumab

Nicholas Vogelzang, MD, of the Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, discusses phase Ib/II findings on pembrolizumab and lenvatinib given to 20 patients with metastatic transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder who had received no prior checkpoint inhibitor therapy (Abstract 11).

immunotherapy

Kim A. Margolin, MD, on Promising Immunotherapy Strategies

Kim A. Margolin, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles Harbor Medical Center, summarizes a session she co-chaired on combination immunotherapies, locoregional therapies, systemic therapies, and enhancing natural killer cells.

cns cancers
immunotherapy

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS, on Cancer Vaccines: Emerging Trends

Madhav V. Dhodapkar, MBBS, of Emory University, summarizes a session he co-chaired on emerging approaches for vaccines, personalized/neoantigen vaccines, and mutation-targeted immunotherapy for diffuse midline gliomas.

lung cancer
immunotherapy

Nicolas Guibert, MD, PhD, on Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer: Predicting Response to PD-1 Inhibitors With cfDNA

Nicolas Guibert, MD, PhD, of Toulouse University Hospital, discusses a simple algorithm built to predict durable outcomes of patients with advanced non–small cell lung cancer that has been treated with immunotherapy. He notes that early changes in circulating tumor DNA burden may also predict...

breast cancer
immunotherapy

Elizabeth A. Mittendorf, MD, PhD, on Breast Cancer Immunotherapy: Building on Recent Successes

Elizabeth A. Mittendorf, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discusses the encouraging data on atezolizumab plus nab-paclitaxel in the first-line setting for metastatic triple-negative breast cancer, and the potential benefits of combining immune checkpoint inhibitors with targeted treatment...

kidney cancer
immunotherapy

Toni K. Choueiri, MD, and Ziad Bakouny, MD, on Renal Cell Carcinoma: Next-Generation Immuno-oncology Therapies

Toni K. Choueiri, MD, and Ziad Bakouny, MD, both of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, talk about novel cytokines, checkpoint inhibitors, and vaccines in the treatment pipeline for renal cell carcinoma.

immunotherapy

Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, on The Future of Immunotherapy: Keynote Lecture

Jedd D. Wolchok, MD, PhD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discusses the data to date on checkpoint blockades and the rationale for combination therapies and novel agents.

supportive care
palliative care

Innovative Research to Improve the Supportive Care Needs of Cancer Survivors

First launched in 2014, the Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium introduced a nascent interdisciplinary approach to the treatment of both the physical and psychological symptoms of cancer to improve disease outcome and quality of life for patients. Today, it has evolved into a leading forum for...

Otis W. Brawley, MD, Joins Faculty of Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center

Otis W. Brawley, MD, an authority on cancer screening and prevention who served as Chief Medical and Scientific Officer for the American Cancer Society and Director of the Georgia Cancer Center at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, has been named a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns...

Expert Point of View: Aditya Bardia, MD, MPH

Aditya Bardia, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of Precision Medicine at the Center for Breast Cancer, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, found the PALLET study noteworthy in light of heightened interest in cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6)...

lung cancer
immunotherapy

2019 ASCO-SITC: Can Plasma Cell–Free DNA Aid in Predicting Response to Checkpoint Inhibitors in NSCLC?

Researchers hypothesized that targeting some genetic alterations in plasma cell–free DNA—along with early monitoring—could be an effective, noninvasive method for predicting response to immune checkpoint inhibitors in advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Findings...

lung cancer
immunotherapy

2019 ASCO-SITC: Efficacy and Safety of Less Frequent Dosing of Second-Line Nivolumab for Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer

Researchers reported similar efficacy and safety with an every-4-week regimen of nivolumab in the second-line setting compared to an every-2-week schedule in patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Edward B. Garon, MD, and colleagues presented the results of an interim analysis of...

Perlmutter Cancer Center Receives Anonymous $75 Million Gift to Create Center for Blood Cancers

NYU Langone Health’s Laura and Isaac Perlmutter Cancer Center recently announced a philanthropic gift to establish a Center for Blood Cancers. The center will house a new program for multiple myeloma care and research, along with NYU Langone Health’s other blood cancer programs. It will also...

breast cancer

Biologic Age and Elevated Breast Cancer Risk

Biologic age—a DNA-based estimate of a person’s age—may be associated with development of breast cancer, according a report published by Kresovich et al in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Study Methods Scientists from the National Institute of Environmental Health...

breast cancer

Does Adjuvant Denosumab Improve DFS in Postmenopausal Women With Hormone Receptor–Positive Breast Cancer Receiving Aromatase Inhibitors?

As reported by Gnant et al in The Lancet Oncology, disease-free survival (DFS) was improved with adjuvant denosumab vs placebo in postmenopausal women with hormone receptor–positive, early-stage breast cancer receiving aromatase inhibitor treatment. A primary analysis of the phase III...

issues in oncology

10 Patient-Centered Principles for More Conservative Cancer Diagnosis

Although diagnostic errors date back to antiquity, in recent years, they have begun to receive attention as an important patient safety issue. This culminated in the National Academy of Medicine’s 2015 landmark report, which concluded that most people in the United States would experience at...

solid tumors
immunotherapy

2019 ASCO-SITC: Combined Targeting of TIM-3 and PD-L1 Immune Checkpoint Pathways in Advanced Relapsed or Refractory Solid Tumors

A phase Ia/Ib trial was launched in order to evaluate the safety of LY3321367, an anti–T-cell immunoglobulin domain and mucin domain–containing molecule-3 (TIM-3) antibody, administered alone or in combination with LY3300054, an anti-programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) antibody, in...

issues in oncology
survivorship

Creating ‘Right-Sized’ Follow-up Care in Oncology as Number of Cancer Survivors Grows

An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will lead to challenges in delivering care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made, according to a commentary in the Journal of the National Cancer...

breast cancer
immunotherapy

2019 ASCO-SITC: Combination Immunotherapy for Breast Cancer With Trastuzumab and a HER2-Targeted Vaccine

After preclinical findings showed shared activity between trastuzumab and HER2-targeted vaccines, researchers evaluated adjvuant nelipepimut-S plus granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) with trastuzumab compared to trastuzumab with GM-CSF alone in patients with HER2...

breast cancer

FDA Approves Trastuzumab and Hyaluronidase-oysk for Subcutaneous Injection in Certain HER2-Positive Breast Cancers

On February 28, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved trastuzumab and hyaluronidase-oysk (Herceptin Hylecta) for subcutaneous injection for the treatment of certain patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer (node-positive, or node-negative and estrogen receptor/progesterone...

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