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GAME Score for Patients With Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

Surgical oncologists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine may have developed an improved scoring system for predicting survival in people with colorectal cancers that have metastasized to the liver. According to the researchers, the system, called the Genetic and Morphological...

National Comprehensive Cancer Network Announces New Chief Medical Officer

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has named Wui-Jin Koh, MD, as Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, a newly created position for the nonprofit alliance of top U.S. cancer centers. Dr. Koh will add additional physician representation at NCCN headquarters, which...

FDA Approves First Epoetin Alfa Biosimilar for the Treatment of Anemia

On May 15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved epoetin alfa-epbx (Retacrit) as a biosimilar to epoetin alfa (Epogen/Procrit) for the treatment of anemia caused by chronic kidney disease, chemotherapy, or use of zidovudine in patients with HIV infection. Epoetin alfa-epbx is also...

ASCO 2018: Mobile and Sensor Technology May Lead to Reduced Symptom Severity in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

A randomized clinical trial evaluating the use of mobile and sensor technology to remotely monitor symptoms in patients receiving radiation therapy for head and neck cancer found that use of this technology reduced severe symptoms related to cancer and its treatment compared with usual care....

survivorship
symptom management

ASCO 2018: More Choices for Treating Insomnia in Cancer Survivors: Acupuncture and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

A Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)-supported randomized clinical trial of cancer survivors showed that 8 weeks of either acupuncture or cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) decreased the severity of insomnia among cancer survivors, though improvements were greatest...

ASCO 2018: Upfront, Comprehensive Genetic Testing in Advanced Lung Cancer Is Cost-Effective

An economic model comparing different types of genetic testing in metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) found that using next-generation sequencing to test for all known lung cancer–related gene changes at the time of diagnosis was more cost-effective and faster than testing one ...

ASCO 2018: Majority of Heavy Smokers Not Screened for Lung Cancer, Despite USPSTF Recommendations

An analysis of 1,800 lung cancer screening sites nationwide found that only 1.9% of more than 7 million current and former heavy smokers were screened for lung cancer in 2016, despite U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) and ASCO screening recommendations. Results from this study—the...

FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation to CLR 131 in Rhabdomyosarcoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Orphan Products Development recently granted Orphan Drug designation to CLR 131 for the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer. “Rhabdomyosarcoma is the most common type of tissue sarcoma in children.  While...

palliative care
lung cancer

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in the Quality of End-of-Life Care Among Patients With Lung Cancer

Significant disparities in the quality of end-of-life lung cancer care were found among racial/ethnic minorities, with higher odds of experiencing potentially preventable medical encounters during end of life as compared with non-Hispanic whites. These findings were published by Karanth et al in...

Genetic Counseling and Testing for Patients With Medulloblastoma

Researchers have identified six genes that predispose carriers to develop medulloblastoma and have used the discovery to craft genetic counseling and screening guidelines. The study was published by Waszak et al in The Lancet Oncology. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,...

Intravesical Instillation of Gemcitabine Postsurgery May Aid in Preventing Bladder Cancer Recurrence

Flushing the bladder with a common chemotherapy drug immediately after surgery significantly reduces the chances of bladder cancer returning, according to a study by Messing et al published in JAMA and led by SWOG. First author Edward M. Messing, MD, is Professor of Urology and...

issues in oncology
symptom management

National Survey Examines Oncologists' Practices, Beliefs on Medical Marijuana Use

Data from a new survey show that as many as 80% of oncologists have discussed medical marijuana use with their patients. According to the authors, this is the first nationally representative survey to examine oncologists’ practices and beliefs on the subject since the implementation of state...

FDA Grants Fast Track Designation to Debio 1347 for Unresectable or Metastatic Tumors With a Specific FGFR Gene Alteration

Debiopharm International SA (Debiopharm) recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Fast Track designation to Debio 1347, an inhibitor of fibroblast growth factor receptors 1, 2, and 3 (FGFR1–3), for the treatment of patients with unresectable or...

legislation
cost of care

New Laws Reduce Costs of Oral Cancer Drugs, but Not for All

The rising cost of anticancer drugs not only adds fiscal pressure to our overburdened health-care system, but also increases the stress on patients with cancer and their families. High out-of-pocket spending may cause significant financial toxicity, even for patients with good health insurance...

AACR Welcomes New Leadership at 2018 Annual Meeting

THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION FOR CANCER RESEARCH (AACR) welcomes Elizabeth M. Jaffee, MD, Deputy Director for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins and Associate Director of the Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, as President of AACR for 2018–2019....

issues in oncology

Now More Than Ever, the Oncology Pharmacist Can Play a Variety of Roles on the Health-Care Team

Susannah E. Koontz, PharmD, BCOP, FHOPA, is a consultant for clinical pharmacy services, research, and education in the areas of pediatric hematology/oncology, stem cell transplantation, and cellular therapy. She has held positions at the Children’s Cancer Hospital at The University of Texas MD...

health-care policy

COA Practice Impact Report Details Consolidation, Shift of Cancer Care System Into Hospital Setting

THE COMMUNITY ONCOLOGY Alliance (COA) has released the 2018 Community Oncology Practice Impact Report,1 which tracks data on the changing landscape of cancer care in the United States. It details a decade-long trend of closure and consolidation in the U.S. cancer system that has resulted in a...

skin cancer

Updated ASCO/SSO Guideline on Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy in Melanoma: Addressing Fundamental Clinical Questions

Dr. Thompson is Professor of Melanoma and Surgical Oncology, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, and Senior Surgeon, Melanoma Institute Australia, Sydney. IN THE MID-1990s, the surgical management of patients presenting with primary cutaneous melanomas changed forever when the...

AACR Announces 2018 Special Recognition Awards

THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION for Cancer Research (AACR) presented Special Recognition Awards to the following four individuals whose work has made extraordinary contributions to the AACR’s mission to accelerate the prevention and cure of all cancers through research, education, communication, and...

leukemia
genomics/genetics

Minimal Residual Disease in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Mutation Matters

A RECENT article in The New England Journal of Medicine explored the nuances of minimal/measurable residual disease testing after induction treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML)1 and David P. Steensma, MD, and Benjamin L. Ebert, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical...

issues in oncology

Evolving Standards and Quality Metrics Ensure High-Quality Cancer Programs

Dr. Shulman is Deputy Director, Clinical Services, and Director of the Center for Global Cancer Medicine, Abramson Cancer Center; and Professor of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. IN 2008, WHEN ALLEN LICHTER, MD, FASCO, then Chief Executive Officer of ASCO,...

Parenting Concerns Affect Emotional Well-Being in Mothers With Advanced Cancer

Parenting concerns contributed significantly to the psychological distress of mothers with late-stage cancer, according to a study by University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers published by Park et al in the journal Cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of...

FDA Accepts sBLA, Grants Priority Review to Atezolizumab for Initial Treatment of Metastatic Nonsquamous NSCLC

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently accepted a supplemental biologics license application (sBLA) and granted Priority Review for atezolizumab (Tecentriq) in combination with bevacizumab (Avastin), paclitaxel, and carboplatin for the first-line treatment of metastatic nonsquamous...

FDA Approves Daratumumab in Combination With VMP for Newly Diagnosed Patients With Multiple Myeloma Who Are Transplant-Ineligible

On May 7, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved daratumumab (Darzalex) in combination with bortezomib (Velcade), a proteasome inhibitor; melphalan, an alkylating agent; and prednisone—VMP—for the treatment of patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma who are...

ASBrS 2018: Early Detection and Intervention Effective for Preventing Breast Cancer–Related Lymphedema

Early, ongoing screening of lymphatic function and immediate patient-administered therapies as needed are highly effective in improving outcomes for women at high risk for breast cancer–related lymphedema (BCRL). These were the findings of a new study presented at the American Society of ...

ASBrS 2018: Modern Therapies Minimize Recurrence After Breast-Conserving Surgery

Modern, multimodality lumpectomy treatment significantly reduces the incidence of breast cancer recurrence at the original tumor site compared to historical protocols, according to a new study presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) 19th Annual Meeting (Abstract...

ASBrS 2018: Breast Cancer Genetic Testing Guidelines Exclude Almost Half of High-Risk Patients

Current restrictive genetic testing guidelines exclude many patients who harbor high-risk breast cancer mutations, according to two new studies presented at the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS) 19th Annual Meeting (Abstracts 402910, 404340). One study found that whether or not patients...

ASBrS 2018: Regular Mammograms May Mean Earlier Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Less Aggressive Treatment

Women with breast cancer who underwent regular mammographic screening were diagnosed with earlier-stage disease and treated with significantly less aggressive therapies than those who delayed or never underwent screening, according to new research presented at the American Society of Breast...

Targeting Chemotherapy With Genetic Testing in Advanced Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Researchers have found that women with advanced triple-negative breast cancer with a BRCA mutation were twice as likely to benefit from carboplatin as docetaxel—the current standard of care for these patients. These findings were published by Tutt et al in Nature Medicine. The trial is set...

FDA to Conduct Priority Review of Cemiplimab as a Potential Treatment for Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

On April 30, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for priority review the biologics license application (BLA) for cemiplimab for the treatment of patients with metastatic cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma or patients with locally advanced cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma who...

solid tumors
skin cancer

FDA Approves Drug Combination for Adjuvant Treatment of BRAF V600–Mutant Melanoma

On April 30, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved dabrafenib (Tafinlar) in combination with trametinib (Mekinist) for the adjuvant treatment of patients with melanoma with BRAF V600E or V600K mutations, as detected by an FDA-approved test, and lymph node involvement following...

solid tumors
head and neck cancer

HPV-Related Cancers Like Mine Are Avoidable, So Why Aren’t More Kids Being Vaccinated?

The latest news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about vaccination rates in the United States for human papillomavirus (HPV) is disappointing. It shows that in 2016, just 43.4% of adolescents (49.5% of females and 37.5% of males) were up-to-date with the recommended 3-dose HPV...

Anticipate Concerns About Radiotherapy For Breast Cancer

A study examining the patient’s perspective on breast radiotherapy found that 68% of the patients surveyed responded that they had little or no prior knowledge of radiotherapy at the time of breast cancer diagnosis, making that an excellent time for physicians and other health-care professionals to ...

FDA Approves Dabrafenib/Trametinib Combination for BRAF-Positive Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist), administered together, for the treatment of unresectable, metastatic, BRAF V600E mutation–positive anaplastic thyroid cancer. Anaplastic thyroid cancer accounts for about 1% to 2% of all...

solid tumors
breast cancer

Dispel Fears About Breast Cancer Radiotherapy With ‘Real Truth’ About Modern Techniques and Side Effects

Nearly 85% of patients surveyed 6 or more months after completing radiotherapy as part of their treatment for breast cancer reported the side effects were not as bad as they had feared or expected. Approximately 92% of the 269 patients treated with breast conservation and 81% of the 58 patients...

issues in oncology

Spring

The ASCO Post is pleased to reproduce installments of the “Art of Oncology” as published previously in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. These articles focus on the experience of suffering from cancer or of caring for people diagnosed with cancer, and they include narratives, topical essays,...

Disparities Found in Lung Cancer Care, Survival in United States vs England

Despite steady declines in death rates in recent years, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in wealthy countries. In a study published by Andreano et al in the Journal of Thoracic Oncology, Yale researchers collaborated with investigators in Europe to examine lung cancer care and ...

Canadian Study Explores the Economic Burden of Workplace Sun Exposure and Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

A study by Mofidi et al in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene has estimated the total and per-case costs of newly diagnosed nonmelanoma skin cancers in Canada in 2011 caused by workplace sun exposure. Using a range of secondary sources, including official government records and...

hematologic malignancies
multiple myeloma

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Awards $7M to Advance Immunotherapy Research

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation announced that, as part of its $15M Immunotherapy Initiative, it has awarded $7 million to fund three research programs led by myeloma researchers. The Immunotherapy Initiative, through the formation of highly collaborative, multidisciplinary Immune Networks ...

Agnieszka Witkiewicz, MD, Appointed Director of Center for Personalized Medicine at Roswell Park

Agnieszka Witkiewicz, MD, has been appointed Director of the Center for Personalized Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also Chief of Research and Biobanking in the Department of Pathology. Before coming to the cancer center, she worked at the University of Arizona as...

Primo Nery Lara, Jr, MD, Appointed Director of UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Primo Nery Lara, Jr, MD, has been named Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated University of California (UC) Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. He will lead a team of more than 300 scientists, with an estimated $90 million in annual research funding, and a clinical enterprise...

Linda D. Bosserman, MD, FACP, FASCO, Named Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Oncology Practice

Linda D. Bosserman, MD, FACP, FASCO, has been named Editor-in-Chief of ASCO’s Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP). She is a recognized leader in cancer care delivery with an understanding of the issues impacting all types of oncology practices. Dr. Bosserman will oversee the development of each...

issues in oncology
legislation

Decision Aids Reflect Patients’ Values and Preferences for Care: So Why Aren’t More Oncologists Using Them?

Overwhelming evidence shows that patient decision aids, such as educational booklets, videos, or Web-based tools that take into account patients’ values and personal preferences, hold enormous promise for improving the informed consent process. Patient decision aids both reduce unwanted medical...

Editor’s Note: FDA Response to Comments by Dr. Steven E. Vogl

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) convened an advisory committee that recognized metastasis-free survival as a clinically relevant endpoint for nonmetastatic prostate cancer due to shorter trial readout times and acknowledgment that a substantial delay in the transition to a...

supportive care
palliative care

Using Video Decision-Support Tools to Facilitate End-of-Life Discussions With Patients

GUEST EDITOR Addressing the evolving needs of cancer survivors at various stages of their illness and care, Palliative Care in Oncology is guest edited by Jamie H. Von Roenn, MD. Dr. Von Roenn is ASCO’s Vice President of Education, Science, and Professional Development. Research shows that...

solid tumors
kidney cancer

Combined Immune Checkpoint and VEGF Inhibition: Exciting yet Challenging Time for Renal Cancer Therapeutics

The treatment paradigm for metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma continues to evolve at a rapid pace. We have recently approved agents that target the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) pathway in the front-line setting—such as the tyrosine kinase inhibitor cabozantinib...

skin cancer

Melanoma Research Alliance Announces New Grants

The Melanoma Research Alliance has announced funding for research grants totaling more than $11 million. The awards will fund researchers at 23 institutions across the United States, Australia, and Belgium to conduct research to advance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of melanoma. This...

FDA Grants Orphan Drug Designation to BN-Brachyury for the Treatment of Chordoma

On May 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted orphan drug designation to the cancer vaccine BN-Brachyury for the treatment of chordoma. Chordoma is a rare type of cancer that develops along the spine, with presentation occurring at one of three main sites: sacrum, mobile spine, or...

FDA Accepts sBLA, Grants Priority Review for Pembrolizumab Plus Pemetrexed and Platinum Chemotherapy in Metastatic Nonsquamous NSCLC

On April 30, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accepted for review a supplemental biologics license application (sBLA) for pembrolizumab (Keytruda) based on results of the phase III KEYNOTE-189 trial. The application seeks approval for pembrolizumab in combination with pemetrexed (Alimta) ...

Men With Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer History May Have Reduced Risk of Death From Melanoma

Skin cancer survivors know firsthand that the disease is most treatable when detected early, so they’re more likely to be vigilant about skin exams—and new research shows that such vigilance pays off. After studying more than 900 cases of melanoma reported through the Health...

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