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issues in oncology

FDA Announces Comprehensive Regenerative Medicine Policy Framework

On November 16, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a comprehensive policy framework for the development and oversight of regenerative medicine products, including novel cellular therapies. The framework—outlined in a suite of four guidance documents—builds upon the...

colorectal cancer
issues in oncology

Differences in Insurance Coverage Associated With Nearly Half of Black-White Survival Disparity in Colorectal Cancer

Health insurance coverage differences account for nearly one-half of the black-white survival disparity in colorectal cancer patients, according to a new study published by Sineshaw et al in Gastroenterology. The findings reinforce the importance of equitable health insurance coverage to mitigate...

health-care policy
issues in oncology
legislation

Hospital Groups File Lawsuit to Stop Significant Payment Cuts for 340B Hospitals

The American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and America’s Essential Hospitals have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to prevent significant...

issues in oncology

Representation of Minorities and Women in Oncology Clinical Trials From 2003 to 2016

In a study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Duma et al found that African American, Hispanic, older, and female patients were underrepresented in oncology clinical trials during the period of 2003 to 2016. Study Details The study involved analysis of enrollment data from all cancer...

issues in oncology

Survival as Quality Metric in Cancer Care

In a National Cancer Data Base study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Shulman et al found little difference in risk-adjusted cancer mortality rates among individual hospitals, suggesting survival may not be an ideal quality metric at the individual hospital level. However, survival was ...

issues in oncology

ASCO Cites Evidence That Alcohol Is Linked to Cancer, Calls for Reduced Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol use—whether light, moderate, or heavy—is linked with increasing the risk of several leading cancers, including those of the breast, colon, esophagus, and head and neck, according to evidence gathered by ASCO. In a statement released November 7 identifying alcohol as a definite...

issues in oncology

Hospital Emergency Department Practices for Treating Older Adults With Cancer

A new study published by Lipitz-Snyderman et al in JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network found that among patients presenting to the emergency department, those with cancer, especially those aged 75 years or older, are more likely to be admitted to the hospital—and...

issues in oncology

Worldwide Cancer Incidence and Mortality Among Persons Aged 20 to 39 in 2012

In a study reported in The Lancet Oncology, Fidler et al found that cancer burden was higher worldwide among women vs men aged 20 to 39 in 2012 and that the incidence was higher but mortality lower in very high vs low Human Development Index regions. Study Details The study involved data from the ...

issues in oncology

Changes in Uninsured Status Among Nonelderly Cancer Patients Under the Affordable Care Act

In a research letter in JAMA Oncology, Soni et al reported reductions in the proportion of nonelderly adult cancer patients who were uninsured between 2010 and 2013 vs 2014, after institution of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Study Details The study used data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology,...

issues in oncology
palliative care

Sandip Patel, MD, on Immunotherapy: New Developments and Toxicity Challenges

Sandip Patel, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, discusses diagnosing and managing immune-related adverse events from immune checkpoint blockade and the toxicities of these treatments.

issues in oncology

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Cancer-Specific Survival in California

In a study using California Cancer Registry data reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Ellis et al found that the stage at diagnosis was the greatest contributor to racial/ethnic disparities in cancer-specific survival, with neighborhood socioeconomic status and marital status also being...

issues in oncology

Anthony L. Back, MD, on Physician Burnout: The Response That’s Needed

Anthony L. Back, MD, of the University of Washington, talks about how clinicians can protect themselves from burnout and develop resilience. The default approach––“pretending we are not affected by stress”––often backfires, he says, and makes caregivers more susceptible to workplace pressures.

issues in oncology

AACR-NCI-EORTC: Rising Number of Seamless Clinical Trials in Oncology

The number of early-phase trials in oncology that adopted a seamless approach—as opposed to a traditional trial approach with defined phase I, II, and III plans—is rising, with data from the majority of them presented after 2014, according to a study presented by Barata et al at the...

issues in oncology

Cancers Associated With Overweight and Obesity Make Up 40% of Cancers Diagnosed in the United States

Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk of 13 types of cancer—and these cancers account for about 40% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014—according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, the...

issues in oncology

FDA Conducts Global Operation to Protect Consumers From Potentially Dangerous Prescription Drugs Sold Online

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with international regulatory and law enforcement agencies, recently took action against more than 500 websites that illegally sell potentially dangerous, unapproved versions of prescription medicines, including opioids, antibiotics, and...

issues in oncology

Study Finds Liquid Biopsy May Provide Predictive Biomarkers for Checkpoint Inhibitor Response

Although checkpoint inhibitor–based immunotherapy has revolutionized treatment for a variety of cancers, the majority of patients with cancer do not respond to the therapy, and a subset of patients may even experience hyperprogression. Many patients also experience some degree of...

issues in oncology

Changes in Insurance Coverage and Diagnosis Stage After Affordable Care Act Implementation

Jemal et al found decreases in the percentage of uninsured patients and trends toward earlier diagnosis among nonelderly patients with cancer after implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Their findings were reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Study Details The study used...

issues in oncology

Second Annual ASCO Advocacy Summit Convenes in Washington, DC

Nearly 100 oncology care providers from across the United States traveled to Capitol Hill on September 27 and 28 to participate in the second annual ASCO Advocacy Summit. Advocates met with Members of Congress and their staff to educate them on critical issues affecting patients with cancer ...

issues in oncology

ASTRO 2017: Distress in Patients Receiving Radiation Associated With Missed Appointments, Hospitalization

Psychological distress has long been associated with negative health outcomes for patients with cancer, though specific reasons remain unclear. A new study has found that roughly half of all patients who reported having severe distress, which the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN)...

issues in oncology

ASTRO 2017: Urban Cancer Center Finds 75% of Its Patients With Depression Were Previously Undiagnosed

A new study of patients at an urban cancer center points to a potentially serious problem that may limit the impact of clinical cancer care—undiagnosed depression. Among the 40% of patients at the center who were diagnosed with depression, three in four had not previously been told they were ...

colorectal cancer
issues in oncology

Preexisting Dementia and Survival in Older Patients With Stage III Colon Cancer

A pre-existing diagnosis of dementia was associated with increased risk of death for older patients with advanced colon cancer; however, some of the effects of dementia on survival could be mediated by receipt of chemotherapy, according to results of a study published by Chen et al in Cancer...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

AACR Releases 2017 Cancer Progress Report: Harnessing Research Discoveries to Save Lives

Federally funded research that provides a deep understanding of cancer is spurring advances against many types of the disease. With a strong bipartisan commitment from Congress to keep investment in biomedical research a national priority, we can accelerate our pace of progress and save more lives...

issues in oncology
symptom management

Assessing and Managing CAR T-Cell Treatment Toxicities

Immune-cell based therapies opening a new frontier for cancer treatment carry unique, potentially lethal side effects that provide a new challenge for oncologists—one addressed by a team led by clinicians at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center with proposed guidelines for...

issues in oncology

New ASCO Guideline Aims to Improve Clinician Communication With Patients

A new guideline from ASCO published by Gilligan et al in the Journal of Clinical Oncology outlines best practices for cancer clinicians when communicating with patients and their loved ones. The Patient-Clinician Communication: American Society of Clinical Oncology Consensus Guideline...

issues in oncology

ESMO 2017: Patients Struggle With Key Aspects of Clinical Trial Methodology

Clinical trials are fundamental to the development of new treatments for cancer, yet the annual accrual to cancer clinical trials worldwide is low, estimated at 3%–5%. A nationwide study in Ireland, the preliminary results of which were presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology...

issues in oncology

ESMO 2017: Abdominal to Peripheral Fat Ratio May Predict Risk of Cancer Diagnosis in Postmenopausal Women

Body fat distribution in the trunk is more influential than body weight when it comes to cancer risk in postmenopausal women, according to a study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Madrid (Abstract 1408P_PR). The findings put a new spin on weight...

issues in oncology
survivorship

ESMO 2017: NOR-CAYACS Trial: Factors That May Limit Work Ability of Young Adult Cancer Survivors

Factors that may limit the ability of young adult cancer survivors to work were reported at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Madrid (Abstract 1110PD_PR). Late side effects can occur months or years after cancer treatment. In patients diagnosed with cancer in young...

issues in oncology
supportive care

ESMO 2017: Patients May Feel Psychosocial Impact of Chemotherapy More Acutely Than Physical Side Effects

The preliminary results of a study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Madrid show that sociopsychological factors have become more significant for patients today than physical side effects such as nausea and vomiting, which were among the top concerns in...

issues in oncology

ESMO 2017: DNA Sequencing Could Open Up New Drug Indications for Patients With Rare Cancers

Due to DNA sequencing, patients with rare cancers for which no standard treatment is available could receive existing therapies that work in patients treated for different cancers but who carry the same genetic mutations. The first results of a multidrug and multitumor clinical trial (Abstract...

issues in oncology

Bonnie S. Glisson, MD, on HPV-16+ Cancer: Study Results

Bonnie S. Glisson, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses a clinical trial on the combination of ISA101, an HPV-16 vaccine, and nivolumab for patients with incurable HPV-16+ cancer (Abstract 1136O).

issues in oncology

ESMO 2017: Some Stroke Survivors May Have Underlying Cancer

Some stroke survivors may have underlying cancer, according to an observational study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) 2017 Congress in Madrid (Abstract 1412P_PR). “Postmortem studies have suggested that cancer can develop after a stroke, but the magnitude of...

issues in oncology

ESMO 2017: Overuse of Tumor Marker Tests in Primary and Secondary Care

The vast majority of tumor marker tests in primary and secondary care are not necessary, according to a study presented at the 2017 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress in Madrid (Abstract 1410P_PR). The tests assisted with a cancer diagnosis in just 2% of patients....

issues in oncology

CMS Grants Disaster Exceptions/Exemptions for Medicare-Certified Providers Affected by Hurricane Harvey

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is granting exceptions under certain Medicare quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs without having to submit an extraordinary circumstances exception request if they are located in one of the Texas counties or...

issues in oncology

Adipose Tissue and Cancer Risk

Although obesity and its associated metabolic dysregulation are established risk factors for many cancers, the biologic mechanisms underlying this relationship are not well understood. Now, the results from a systematic literature review by Himbert et al of human clinical studies exploring the...

issues in oncology

Concurrent Treatment With OX40 Agonist Antibody and PD-1 Blockade

Although the potential for immunotherapy to improve outcomes for patients with cancer, particularly through a combination of agents targeting immune inhibitory pathways, is becoming increasingly evident, how to optimally combine the many new immunotherapy agents being developed remains a major...

issues in oncology
survivorship

HPV Vaccination Rates Especially Low Among Childhood Cancer Survivors

The rate of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination in the United States is increasing, but remains lower than ideal. A new study suggests that survivors of childhood cancer receive the HPV vaccine at an even lower rate than their peers without cancer—24% vs 40%, respectively. Nearly...

issues in oncology

Psychological Outcomes in Adolescents With a Parent Dying of Cancer

In a study in the Swedish population reported by Beernaert et al in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, distrust in the end-of-life care provided to a parent with cancer was associated with long-term adverse emotional/psychological effects among bereaved adolescents. Study Details The study...

breast cancer
issues in oncology

Comparison of Screening Recommendations for Mammography

When to initiate screening for breast cancer, how often to screen, and how long to screen are questions that continue to spark emotional debates. A new study compares the number of deaths that might be prevented as a result of three of the most widely discussed recommendations for screening...

issues in oncology

Liquid Biopsies Identify Distinct Genomic Profiles With Potentially Targetable Alterations in Carcinoma of Unknown Primary

Next-generation sequencing of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) identified distinct genomic profiles with potentially targetable alterations in 99.7% of patients with carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) who have detectable alterations, according to results published by Kato et al in Cancer Research....

issues in oncology

Screening for Occult Cancer in Patients With Unprovoked Venous Thromboembolism

Because unprovoked venous thromboembolism may be the first sign of occult cancer, or cancer of an unknown primary origin, screening is often considered in patients with the condition to detect underlying cancer at an early, curable stage. However, extensive screening tests may yield false-positive...

issues in oncology

Short-Term Risk of Arterial Thromboembolism in Newly Diagnosed Patients With Cancer

Patients newly diagnosed with cancer may have a substantially increased short-term risk of arterial thromboembolism, according to a study published by Navi et al in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Patients with cancer face an increased risk of medical complications. However, the ...

issues in oncology

Survival After In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in Patients With Advanced Cancer

In a study reported in the Journal of Oncology Practice, Bruckel et al found that among patients with in-hospital cardiac arrest, those with advanced cancer had lower survival rates and were more frequently designated Do Not Attempt Resuscitation (DNAR) within 48 hours after return of spontaneous...

health-care policy
issues in oncology

FDA to Expand Public Education Campaign to Focus on Prevention of Youth E-Cigarette Use

On August 8, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it would pursue a strategic, new public health education campaign aimed at discouraging the use of e-cigarettes and other electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) by children. The agency plans to expand its “The Real...

issues in oncology

Identifying Essential Genes for Cancer Immunotherapy

A new study published by Patel et al in Nature identifies genes that are necessary in cancer cells for immunotherapy to work—addressing the problem of why some tumors don’t respond to immunotherapy, or respond initially but then stop as tumor cells develop resistance to...

issues in oncology

Factors in Discontinuation of Palliative Radiotherapy

In a study reported by Puckett et al in the Journal of Oncology Practice, factors associated with premature discontinuation of palliative radiotherapy in cancer patients included poorer performance status, higher number of prescribed radiotherapy fractions, and treatment site other than bone...

breast cancer
issues in oncology

Perioperative Anti-inflammatory, Antistress Drugs May Reduce Postsurgical Metastatic Disease Recurrence

Most cancer-related deaths are the result of postsurgical metastatic recurrence. A new Tel Aviv University (TAU) study published by Shaashua et al in Clinical Cancer Research found a specific drug regimen administered prior to and after surgery significantly reduces the risk of postsurgical cancer...

solid tumors
issues in oncology

Cancer at Baseline Screening in Patients With Li-Fraumeni Syndrome

In a new study from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), researchers found a higher-than-expected prevalence of cancer at baseline screening in individuals with Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare inherited disorder that leads to a higher risk of developing certain cancers. The research demonstrates...

issues in oncology
symptom management

Patients With Advanced Cancer Presenting to Emergency Departments With Delirium Likely to Die Earlier

According to a new study published by Elsayem et al in The Oncologist, patients with advanced cancer who are diagnosed with delirium when presenting to emergency departments are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die earlier than patients without delirium. This shows the importance...

issues in oncology

Launch of Watson-Powered Genomic Sequencing Service to Help Physicians Bring Precision Cancer Treatments to Patients Nationwide

On July 27, IBM Watson Health and Quest Diagnostics announced the launch of IBM Watson Genomics from Quest Diagnostics, a new service that helps advance precision medicine by combining cognitive computing with genomic tumor sequencing. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) will...

issues in oncology

National Cancer Groups Release Joint Statement to Chart the Future of Cancer Health Disparities Research

Several national cancer organizations have released a joint position statement to guide the future of cancer health disparities research. The statement, which was published by Polite et al in Cancer Research, represents a unified strategy by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the...