Letters to the Editor

Gynecologic Cancers

ARIEL3 Investigators Clarify the Effects of Rucaparib on the Liver

Jonathan A. Ledermann, MD, and Robert L. Coleman, MD  / November 10, 2017

PRIMARY RESULTS from the randomized, placebo-controlled, phase III study ARIEL3—presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress and published recently in The Lancet1—demonstrated that maintenance treatment with the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor ru...

Integrative Oncology

Shiitake Mushroom: Insufficient Evidence to Support It Boosts Immune System

The ASCO Post  / July 25, 2017

In the June 25 issue of The ASCO Post, the Integrative Oncology column by Ting Bao, MD, DABMA, MS, and Jyothirmai Gubili, MS, focused on how to counsel a patient about shiitake mushroom. They concluded: “We advised our patient that it is safe to take shiitake mushroom to boost her immune system.” Un...

Legislation

Impact of Proposed Cuts to NIH Budget: More Than Just About Cancer

The ASCO Post  / May 25, 2017

If enacted, the proposed budget reduction of $5.8 billion to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will slow research, deprive patients afflicted with cancer of hope, and deliver a devastating blow to our science workforce and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This proposed reduction directly coun...

Gynecologic Cancers

Olaparib Maintenance in Ovarian Cancer: Outcomes Reconsidered

Mansoor Raza Mirza, MD  / April 25, 2017

An article that appeared in the April 10 issue of The ASCO Post (“Olaparib Maintenance Prolongs Progression-Free Survival in Ovarian Cancer”) suggests unwarranted conclusions from the phase III SOLO2 trial of olaparib (Lynparza) in patients with platinum-sensitive relapsed ovarian can...

Gastroesophageal Cancer

More on Treatment Decisions in Esophageal Cancer

Richard A. Brodkin, MD  / April 25, 2017

In the March 25, 2017, issue of The ASCO Post, Steven H. Lin, MD, PhD, shared his thoughts on the role of positron-emission tomography (PET) in assessing response to induction chemotherapy in patients with resectable esophageal or gastroesophageal junction cancer. He noted that complete pathologic r...

Discrimination in Medical Education—Another Perspective

Richard A. Berjian, DO  / March 25, 2017

I read with great interest Dr. ­Robert E. Montenegro’s comments in the The ASCO Post, January 25, 2017, where he felt “marginalized” when questioned about his country of origin or the quality of his English. As physicians, we constantly deal in a world of uncertainties and are required to address qu...

Lymphoma

Limited Access to Radioimmunotherapy in the Community Setting May Lead to Extinction of a Unique Lymphoma Treatment

The ASCO Post  / September 10, 2016

I am writing to ask the ASCO community for help in addressing a policy decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that requires oncologists to take a 700-hour course (on the full range of nuclear medicines) to give one medicine to their patients: prepackaged radioimmunotherapy. It’s apparen...

Revisiting Ovarian Ablation in Early Breast Cancer: A Mismatch Between Global Values and Clinical Practice Guidelines

The ASCO Post  / July 25, 2016

ASCO recently released a clinical practice guideline update on ovarian suppression as part of the extant guideline on adjuvant endocrine therapy in hormone receptor–positive breast cancer, and the recommendations were summarized in the June 10, 2016, issue of The ASCO Post. Also in this issue, Katar...

Integrative Oncology

Natural Cancer Remedies

Damien Hansra, MD  / April 25, 2016

The cost and side effects associated with traditional cancer therapy are major concerns, and in part many patients are seeking natural remedies such as graviola, curcumin, and moringa, due to these concerns. Traditional cancer therapy is increasingly effective, and oncologists are achieving better r...

Health-Care Policy

340B Drug Pricing Program Revisited

Robert Manges, MD  / March 25, 2016

I have to disagree with some of the conclusions drawn by Drs. Hagop Kantarjian and Robert Chapman in their editorial on the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which appeared in the January 25 issue of The ASCO Post. Although I’m sure I’m not the best person to provide an alternate view, I do feel strongly t...

Misconstrued Review

William H. Goodson III, MD  / February 10, 2016

I’ve been a member of ASCO for longer than I can remember. I read most breast cancer–related articles in The ASCO Post and find them helpful, particularly the reports of as-yet-unpublished papers from meetings. So, it is with great disappointment that, in the November 10, 2015, issue, I read a revie...

Issues in Oncology

Keeping Up With How Drugs Work

Lou Vaickus, MD, FACP  / January 25, 2016

I love reading The ASCO Post, but I have a suggestion. For your reports on drug development, how about making it a policy to note the class or type of any new agent being discussed—ie, a brief description of the drug’s mechanism of action? For example, a recent issue included a nice article summari...

Lung Cancer

Nivolumab in Lung Cancer

Philip Champion MD, FRCPC  / April 25, 2015

I find The ASCO Post to be a good way to hear about new ideas that I might otherwise have missed. I read an article recently about the approval of nivolumab (Opdivo) for treating metastatic squamous non-small cell lung cancer (The ASCO Post, April 10, 2015). I thought it would have been much more us...

The ASCO Post Replies

The ASCO Post  / April 25, 2015

Nivolumab (Opdivo) was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of lung cancer on March 4, 2015, before clinical data from the pivotal trials (CheckMate 017 and CheckMate 063) were presented at a major oncology conference or published in a peer-reviewed journal. Data...

Palliative Care

Better Studies Needed to Dispel Confusion Over When to Refer a Patient to Hospice

Armando Armas, MD  / January 25, 2015

I read the article on “Private Payer and Academic Center Data Capture Inappropriate Use of End-of Life Care” (The ASCO Post, December 15, 2014, page 11). The data highlight Dr. Deborah Schrag’s notion that there is “ample evidence of overuse of intensive care at the end of life.” However, there is a...

More on Chemotherapy Costs

Peter R. Watson, MD  / November 15, 2014

I took exception to a number of the comments made by Rena Conti, PhD, in The ASCO Post (“Health-Care Reform Is Changing the Oncology Landscape,” October 15, 2014, page 1). I realize that The ASCO Post is not a peer-reviewed and indexed publication, but as an ASCO member, I also recognize that the p...

Dr. Conti Replies

Rena Conti, PhD  / November 15, 2014

Dr. Watson states that my assertion that physicians gain profit from the administration of chemotherapy in private practice is “absurd.” Recent reports from the Oncology Circle practices [a data-sharing collaborative of best-in-class oncology practices from across the country] suggest that current ...

Troubled by Hypocrisy

Carl Singerman, MD  / October 15, 2014

I am troubled by hypocrisy. An article in the July 25th edition of The ASCO Post on “Stakeholders Are Uniting Around Value in Cancer Care” (July 25, 2014, page 1) tells us how we must “rein in” costs. The vast majority of the articles in this issue, however, trumpet the “new wonder drugs” that we ha...

Breast Cancer

Artemis Project® for a Preventive Breast Cancer Vaccine

Fran Visco, JD  / February 1, 2014

I read with interest the article, “Breast Cancer Vaccines for Primary Prevention Move Toward Clinical Use,” which appeared in the December 15th issue of The ASCO Post (page 28). However, information presented regarding the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s (NBCC’s) Artemis Project for a breast canc...

Conflict of Interest Reconsidered

Joseph Mason, Jr, MD  / December 15, 2013

I read with interest the letter from Larry Weisenthal, MD, PhD, on “Platinum-Based Treatment of Triple-Negtive Breast Cancer,” which appeared in the October 15 issue of The ASCO Post. Dr. Weisenthal seems to be suggesting that an article in the September issue, regarding a Best of ASCO presentation ...

Dr. Weisenthal Replies

Larry Weisenthal, MD  / December 15, 2013

Dr. Mason states that I implied that Dr. Telli supports the routine application of chemosensitivity assays. I have no knowledge regarding Dr. Telli’s views on this subject, nor did I in any way attempt to represent her views, much less imply that she was supportive of anything relating to chemosensi...

Perception of Bias

Richard Herrmann, MD  / December 15, 2013

I am a veteran member of ASCO (> 33 years) and a regular reader of The ASCO Post Evening News, which usually provides very interesting information. A recent issue contained an article about a review presented by Tony Reid, MD, PhD, at a Best of ASCO meeting on “Important Findings in Metastatic Co...

The ASCO Post Replies

James O. Armitage, MD, Editor-in-Chief and Cara H. Glynn, Editorial Director  / December 15, 2013

We appreciate Dr. Herrmann’s concerns in regard to conflict of interest. The ASCO Post makes every effort to present news and data in an objective and fair manner. Often we invite an independent expert in a particular area to share his or her perspective to lend more insight to a report.  We recogn...

Leukemia

Clinical Trials, Crossover, and Clinical Equipoise: A Patient's Perspective

Bob Levis  / September 15, 2013

I am writing with regard to two articles on the ethical imperative of clinical equipoise written by Susan O’Brien, MD, and Stephen J. Schuster, MD, and published recently in The ASCO Post.1,2 I was a victim of Pharmacyclics’ policies during one of their randomized ibrutinib trials (PCI-32765) conduc...

Leukemia

Clinical Trials, Crossover, and Clinical Equipoise: An Advocate's Perspective

Karl Schwartz  / September 15, 2013

In a previous issue of The ASCO Post, Dr. Susan O’Brien wrote, “It is my understanding that the FDA strongly opposed allowing crossover [in the RESONATE trial]. I presume that is because the FDA also wants to see if there is a survival advantage.”1 The lack of crossover seems a valid concern to me ...

Leukemia

Pharmacyclics' Reply

Danelle James, MD, MS, and Jesse McGreivy, MD  / September 15, 2013

We acknowledge the letters submitted to The ASCO Post from a patient advocate and a chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patient enrolled on the RESONATE study (PCYC-1112-CA). At Pharmacyclics, we are committed to adhering to high scientific and ethical standards as we strive to develop novel therapi...

Leukemia

FDA on CLL Drug Approval and Expanded Access

R. Angelo de Claro, MD, Edvardas Kaminskas, MD, Ann Farrell, MD, and Richard Pazdur, MD  / September 15, 2013

The ASCO Post article, “Ibrutinib CLL Trial: Where is the Equipoise?” published in May 2013, inaccurately conveyed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires an improvement in overall survival for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) drug approval and opposes allowing crossover in the RESONA...

Head and Neck Cancer

Support Group Offers Resources for Patients with Oral/Head and Neck Cancer

Chris Leonardis  / August 15, 2013

I am the Outreach Administrator/Newsletter Editor at Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC). SPOHNC is a national nonprofit organization involved in the development of support programs. As such, it can have an enormous positive impact on meeting the psychosocial needs of pati...

Prostate Cancer

Seeking Clarity on the PSA Story

Richard J. Ablin, PhD, DSc (Hon)  / August 15, 2013

My feature interview in the August 15, 2012, issue of The ASCO Post, entitled “Rethinking the Role of PSA Screening in Public Health”1 drew swift reaction from well-known figures in the prostate cancer field. The subsequent Letters to the Editor, three in all, constituted a two-pronged attack. They ...

Lymphoma

Déjà Vu Redux: Lessons from the SWOG-8516 Study in Aggressive Lymphomas

Wyndham H. Wilson, MD, PhD  / August 15, 2013

Joseph M. Connors, MD, authored a commentary in the June 25 issue of The ASCO Post inspired by a recent New England Journal of Medicine publication on dose-adjusted EPOCH-R chemotherapy (etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and rituximab) for primary mediastinal B-cell ...

Breast Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Mammography Screening and DCIS

Judith Malmgren, MS, PhD  / May 15, 2013

I would like to suggest that ASCO take a proactive approach to the treatment of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) and the problem it presents to the oncology community. There has been and continues to be heated debate around the value of mammography screening because of “overdiagnosis,” which in my op...

Issues in Oncology

Conflicts of Interest

Laurence Baker, DO  / April 15, 2013

In looking at a recent issue of The ASCO Post, I noted that expert opinions from specialists were published alongside a number of clinical reports. Below each opinion was a disclosure statement, often saying that the expert had no conflict of interest to report. While I do not know each of these ind...

Disclosure: Appropriate or Not?

M. Steven Piver, MD  / April 15, 2013

The ASCO Post is an outstanding publication that I always look forward to reading. I also understand there are policies and rules to be followed, particularly regarding conflicts of interest and disclosures from contributors. I am writing in regard to “Cancer Has Made Me A Better Doctor,” by David P...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

More Thoughts on Rationing Cancer Care

Gilbert A. Lawrence, MD, DMRT, FRCR  / February 1, 2013

I read the article about “The Ethics of Rationing Cancer Care” with interest (The ASCO Post, Dec 15, 2012). The issue of rationing (or rational) care has likely been debated since Hippocrates. Yet the topic has become a focus of acute interest with the current fiscal crises facing countries around t...

Letter to the Editor: Origins of PSA Testing: The Conversation Continues

T. Ming Chu, PhD, DSc  / November 15, 2012

As Drs. James Mohler and Donald Trump noted in their September 15 letter to The ASCO Post (“More Thoughts on PSA,” 3[14]:2, 2012), Richard Ablin, PhD, discovered a “prostate-specific antigen” of unknown properties, but his PSA is not the antigen in the PSA test we know today. Since Dr. Ablin has no...

Issues in Oncology

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Individualism in Clinical Decision-making

Jonathan Schwartz, MD  / October 15, 2012

I found a statement by Dr. Peter Bach in the August 15, 2012, issue of The ASCO Post (in the article, “As Conflicting Guidelines Evolve, Experts Continue to Debate the Merits of Cancer Screening”) very troubling. To wit: There’s a cognitive dissonance between the practice of evidence-based medicine...

Prostate Cancer

Letter to the Editor: More Thoughts on PSA

James Mohler, MD, and Donald L. Trump, MD  / September 15, 2012

An article that appeared in the August 15 issue of The ASCO Post (“Rethinking the Role of PSA Screening in Public Health”) contains false statements about the discovery of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) and its effectiveness as a test for early detection of prostate cancer. Contrary to what’s repo...

Prostate Cancer

Letter to the Editor: Dr. Ablin’s Reply

Richard J. Ablin, PhD, DSc (Hon)  / September 15, 2012

Given my explanation and widely publicized opinion on the improper use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for screening asymptomatic men for prostate cancer—most recently expressed in a feature article in The ASCO Post (August 15, 2012)—I was pleased to read that Drs. James Mohler and Donal...

Prostate Cancer

Prostate Cancer Management: A Day Late and A Dollar Short?

Gilbert A. Lawrence, MD, DMRT, FRCR  / July 1, 2012

In the May 15 issue, The ASCO Post reported on the relative cost-effectiveness of approaches to treating localized prostate cancer (“Advances in Prostate Cancer Accompanied by Ongoing Debates,” page 1). The article analyzed an important scientific paper presented at both urology and radiation oncolo...

Palliative Care

The Semantics of Palliative Care

Khalid L. Rehman, MD, FACP  / June 15, 2012

The interview with Thomas J. Smith, MD (The ASCO Post, April 15, 2012), the lead author of the ASCO Palliative Care Provisional Clinical Opinion, was timely. However, it left many clinical terms and issues unclear. A significant percentage of modern medicine, including cancer care, is palliative. C...

Health-Care Policy

Physicians Need to Be Involved in Reducing Costs

Thomas J. Lester, MD  / June 15, 2012

I am so proud of ASCO for participating in the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s Choosing Wisely campaign (see The ASCO Post, May 1, page 19; and page 75 of this issue). I am the Associate Medical Director for a 280-physician multispecialty group in the Hudson Valley of New York, whi...

Regional Disparities in Cancer Mortality

Nengliang Yao, MS  / June 15, 2012

I was interested to see an article about the continuing declines in cancer death rates featured in the April 15 issue of The ASCO Post (page 94), as I have just published a paper on breast cancer mortality rates.1 Although overall breast cancer mortality rates have decreased significantly, a much sm...

Health-Care Policy

Letter to the Editor: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Reconsidered

Calvin J. Dykstra, MD  / May 1, 2012

I read with interest the front-page interview of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel by Jo Cavallo in the December 15, 2011, issue of The ASCO Post. Dr. Emanuel may have had some of the most prestigious positions in all of medicine, but his opinion of the Affordable Care Act is completely misguided. This legislatio...

Issues in Oncology

‘We Need an Index of Biologic Aging’

Ernest Greenberg, MD  / April 15, 2012

As a retired elderly (soon to be 83-year-old) oncologist, I read the recent article on the subject of geriatric oncology, in the March 15 issue of The ASCO Post, with great interest ("Moving the Field of Geriatric Oncology Forward," by Stuart M. Lichtman, MD.) This was particularly so because I have...

Cost of Care

Cost of Cancer Therapy: The Elephant in the Room?

Michael J Kraut, MD  / March 15, 2012

I am distressed by your coverage of innovative therapies, such as dual HER2 blockade (see The ASCO Post, January 1, 2012, and Supplement to February 15, 2012), without mentioning that these therapies will never be cost-effective given the current pricing of the agents involved. If we wish to maintai...

Breast Cancer

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Treating Cancer or Fear?

Gilbert A. Lawrence, MD  / October 15, 2011

I read the article by Deb Stewart, “Acting on Fear” (The ASCO Post, August 15, 2011, page 1) with interest, disappointment, and empathy. “Acting on fear” in cancer treatment generally, and particularly in breast cancer, is not uncommon. Hence, I was most interested in the article’s major thrust, as...

Issues in Oncology

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Unrealistic Optimism’ or Losing Sight of the Forest for the Trees?

Stephen G. Chandler, MD  / October 15, 2011

The article: “Unrealistic Optimism Poses Ethical Challenges, May Affect Informed Consent Process” (The ASCO Post, September 1, 2011, page 35) seems to be delving into a subject with an intent that is unclear. I agree fully with Dr. Jimmie Holland that discrimination between “optimism” and “unrealis...

Issues in Oncology

Pathways Reconsidered: Let’s Not Stop ‘Thinking Outside the Box’

Stephen C. Fox, MD, FACP  / September 15, 2011

I read “Are Clinical Pathways Inevitable in Oncology’s Future?” (The ASCO Post, July 15, 2011) including Lesli Lord’s interview with great interest and agree with most everything said in the article. However, I do want to make one comment: There is no specialty for which the 80/20 rule applies more ...

Skin Cancer

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Adjuvant Therapy in Cutaneous Melanoma: The Need for a New Approach

E. George Elias, MD, PhD  / June 15, 2011

Melanoma of the skin remains a fatal disease, and its incidence continues to rise, mostly in young adults during their prime. Surgery remains the most effective therapeutic modality, but patients’ survival depends on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis. Various therapeutic agents have ...

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