Expert’s Corner

Lung Cancer

A Landmark Lung Screening Trial: What Does It Mean for Clinicians and Their Patients?

Ronald Piana  /  August 15, 2011

The NCI-funded National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine,1 was heralded as a landmark study in lung cancer detection. This study is the first comprehensive clinical trial to find that screening high-risk individuals with low-dose CT reduces lung ...

Issues in Oncology

Efforts to Broaden Eligibility Criteria for Clinical Trials Seek to Include More Racial and Ethnic Minority Patients

Jo Cavallo  /  September 25, 2020

A review of the 2019 Drug Trials Snapshots Report1 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) showed that although female participation in clinical trials grew to 72% from 56% in the FDA’s 2018 Drug Trials Snapshots Report,2 ethnic minority participation in clinical trials actually declined ...

Issues in Oncology

How Patient Advocacy Is Integral to High-Quality Oncology Care

Jo Cavallo  /  September 10, 2019

Karen M. Winkfield, MD, PhD, has made patient advocacy—with a specific emphasis on health equity and access to high-quality care—front and center of her oncology practice since she completed her residency at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program in Boston, where she noticed that most of the patie...

Issues in Oncology

Unraveling the Mystery of What Gives Exceptional Responders Their Superpower

Jo Cavallo  /  August 25, 2018

Once dismissed as rare medical miracles that overcame overwhelming odds to thwart cancer, exceptional responders to cancer treatment are now the subject of intense study. In 2015, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced the launch of its Exceptional Responders Initiative, with the goal of un...


Minimal Residual Disease in Acute Myeloid Leukemia: Mutation Matters

Caroline Helwick  /  May 10, 2018

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 School...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

How ASCO’s New Initiatives Are Helping Oncologists Transition to MACRA

Jo Cavallo  /  December 10, 2017

This year has been an important transitional period for oncology providers to start collecting their performance data to meet the requirements of the Quality Payment Program outlined in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). The Quality Payment Program is a pay-for-perfo...

Health-Care Policy
Cost of Care
Issues in Oncology

Charting a New Course at the FDA

Jo Cavallo  /  July 25, 2016

In February, after serving for a year as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Deputy Commissioner for Medical Products and Tobacco, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, was named the agency’s Commissioner of Food and Drugs. Prior to his appointment at the FDA, Dr. Califf was the Donald...

Multiple Myeloma

Benefits and Risks of Transplantation: The Changing Therapeutic Paradigm for Multiple Myeloma

Jo Cavallo  /  April 25, 2016

Although high-dose chemotherapy plus autologous transplantation has been a standard of care in the treatment of younger patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma, the advent of effective novel agents for the cancer over the past 15 years has raised the question of whether transplantation, with ...

Expert Point of View: José Baselga, MD, PhD

Alice Goodman  /  May 1, 2014

Presentation of the PALOMA-1 trial results represented “the culmination of a long journey from the discovery of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 in the early 1990s,” said José Baselga, MD, PhD, Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Dr. Baselga was formal discussant...

Issues in Oncology

Paging Dr. Google: Practicing Oncology in the Era of Social Media and Telemedicine  

Ronald Piana  /  September 15, 2013

Over the past few decades, economic and political factors have reshaped oncology, especially in the community setting. To defray risk, we’ve seen a trend toward oncology practices partnering with hospitals or aggregating into larger networks. Moreover, the Internet and the advent of telemedicine hav...

Palliative Care

Caring for the Whole Patient Both during Active Treatment and at End of Life

Jo Cavallo  /  June 10, 2013

Despite studies showing that a majority of patients prefer to die at home rather than in an institutional setting,1 in many parts of the country, over 30% die in nursing homes and over 50% die in hospitals, according to Ira Byock, MD, Director of Palliative Medicine, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Cent...


Sexual Health after Cancer: Communicating with Your Patients 

Jo Cavallo  /  April 15, 2013

Studies show virtually all cancer survivors will experience some form of sexual dysfunction following a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Yet few cancer survivors seek help for physical problems they may be experiencing, such as vaginal dryness, dyspareunia, chemically induced menopause, reduced libid...

Seeking Solutions to the Dilemmas of Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

Ronald Piana  /  November 15, 2012

Widespread use of screening technologies has markedly increased early detection rates of cancer, saving countless lives. However, while screening technologies have remarkable sensitivity, their  inability to identify which tumors will progress and which will not has created the phenomenon of overdia...

The Science of Resilience: Exploring the Process of Grieving from a New Perspective

Jo Cavallo  /  September 1, 2012

How human beings cope with bereavement, loss, extreme adversity, and life-threatening illness has dominated the research interests of George A. Bonanno, PhD, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, for more than 20 years. In his book, The Other Side of Sa...

Issues in Oncology

Results From ASCO’s 2020 National Cancer Opinions Survey

Jo Cavallo  /  November 10, 2020

As in past years, the results from ASCO’s 2020 National Cancer Opinions Survey showed a startling dichotomy in the perceptions of Americans on a variety of health-care issues. As expected, the two major events this year, the COVID-19 pandemic and a national reckoning over racial injustice, dominated...

Health-Care Policy

Past CMS and FDA Head Discusses Challenges in U.S. Health-Care Policy and Possible Solutions

Ronald Piana  /  August 25, 2020

As evidenced at this year’s ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program, oncology science, technology, and clinical practice are evolving at a rapid pace, bringing new challenges to the efficient and ethical practice of cancer care at all levels. To shed light on some of the large-scale public health and po...

Multiple Myeloma

Redefining What It Means to Have Precursor Myeloma

Jo Cavallo  /  February 25, 2020

Studies have shown that all patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma had a preceding asymptomatic expansion of clonal plasma cells, clinically recognized as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance or smoldering multiple myeloma. According to C. Ola Landgren, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine...

Global Cancer Care

Challenging the Global Community to Deliver Equitable Cancer Care for All

Jo Cavallo  /  November 25, 2019

For Her Royal Highness Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, ensuring that every patient with cancer receives high-quality care is not an abstract goal—it is personal. Princess Dina saw firsthand the life-and-death differences that access to state-of-the-art oncology care makes in a patient’s life when her...

Incoming ASCO President Sets His Sights on Conquering Cancer

Jo Cavallo  /  May 25, 2019

For more than 3 decades, Howard A. “Skip” Burris III, MD, FACP, FASCO, has dedicated his medical career to researching the development of chemotherapies for breast cancer, including ado-trastuzumab emtansine, everolimus, and gemcitabine. In addition, he is credited with changing the standard of care...

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Screening: Proven Effective but Still Fighting for Acceptance

Ronald Piana  /  November 25, 2018

In 2010, the long-awaited findings from the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) revealed that participants who received low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) scans had a 15% to 20% lower risk of dying of lung cancer than participants who received standard chest x-rays. In response, the U.S. P...

How the Nobel Prize Could Spur More Cancer Advances

Jo Cavallo  /  October 25, 2018

Even before James P. Allison, PhD, made an appearance at the Fourth International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference: Translating Science Into Survival in New York City, the excitement among attendees was palpable. Earlier that day, October 1, 2018, Dr. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhD, of Kyoto Uni...

Issues in Oncology

Medical Preparedness for Nuclear Disaster

Ronald Piana  /  August 10, 2018

ROBERT PETER GALE, MD, PhD, DSc (hc), was on the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine for 20 years and has served as Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research. In 1986, he was asked by the ...

Hematologic Malignancies

Minimal Residual Disease Testing in AML: Still a Shifting Target

Caroline Helwick  /  June 25, 2018

Testing for minimal residual disease (MRD) has become an established part of the management of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), but in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the technology still warrants validation. To address issues and set new standards, the European LeukemiaNet Working Party recently...

Issues in Oncology
Solid Tumors

FDA’s First Site-Agnostic Drug Approval Marks a Paradigm Shift in Regulatory Criteria

Jo Cavallo  /  August 10, 2017

IN MAY, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab (Keytruda) for patients with solid tumors that have the microsatellite instability–high (MSI-H) or mismatch repair deficient (dMMR) biomarker, which disrupts the ability of cells to repair DNA. The ap...

Hematologic Malignancies

Optimizing Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplantation in Myelofibrosis

Caroline Helwick  /  November 25, 2016

Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is the only potentially curative treatment for myelofibrosis. The ASCO Post asked an expert in this field, Ayalew Tefferi, MD, how and when he uses stem cell transplant in myelofibrosis, which is a topic he outlined in greater detail in ...

Health-Care Policy

How ASCO Is Preparing Members for MACRA

Jo Cavallo  /  November 10, 2016

On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its final policy on what physicians need to do to begin implementing the Quality Payment Program outlined in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 ­(MACRA). The Quality Payment Progra...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

How the Oncology Center of Excellence Plans to Foster Collaboration Among Researchers to Advance Cancer Treatment

Jo Cavallo  /  August 25, 2016

On June 29, 2016, Robert M. Califf, MD, MACC, the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced the selection of Richard Pazdur, MD, FACP, as Acting Director of the FDA’s newly created Oncology Center of Excellence. The center was created in response to the overa...

Cost of Care
Issues in Oncology

ASCO Releases the Updated Version of Its Value Framework

Jo Cavallo  /  June 25, 2016

Last June, ASCO published its initial concept for a value framework in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO).1 The framework, developed by ­ASCO’s Value in Cancer Care Task Force, is designed to provide a standardized approach to assist physicians and patients in assessing the “value” of a new ...

Extending ASCO’s Influence Globally to Improve Patient Care

Jo Cavallo  /  June 10, 2016

On June 27, 2016, Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, will begin his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of ASCO, succeeding Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, who presided over the Society and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO since 2006. Dr. Hudis’ dedication to ASCO dates back more than 25 years ...

In Celebration of a Remarkable Career at ASCO

Jo Cavallo  /  May 25, 2016

In March, ASCO announced that Allen S. Lichter, MD, FASCO, was stepping down as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the end of June, ending his 10-year tenure as head of the Society and the Conquer Cancer Foundation of ASCO. Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, Chief of Breast Medicine Service and Vice Pre...

Symptom Management

Anticoagulation in Patients With Cancer: Understanding the Complexities of Prophylaxis and Management

Caroline Helwick  /  March 25, 2016

Venous thromboembolic events are more prevalent in patients with cancer than in persons without it. Cancer is associated with a high rate of venous thromboembolism recurrence, bleeding, requirement for long-term anticoagulation, and reduced quality of life. Moreover, thrombosis is the second most co...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care

ASCO Develops New Strategy to Increase Value in Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  /  May 15, 2014

Last January, ASCO held a leadership summit in Washington, DC, with representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, insurance payers, patient advocates, and physicians to address the skyrocketing costs of new drugs and technologies used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Although costs are ...

Health-Care Policy

The Outlook on Cancer Research in This Era of Leaner Federal Funding

Jo Cavallo  /  April 15, 2014

In the March 1, 2014, issue of The ASCO Post we talked with Francis S. Collins, MD, PhD, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about the future of biomedical research at the NIH during this time of constrained federal funding. We continue that conversation here with our interview of D...

Issues in Oncology

The Future of Biomedical Research

Jo Cavallo  /  March 1, 2014

In January, Congress approved a $1 trillion appropriations bill for the rest of fiscal year 2014. While the new bill includes $29.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—$1 billion above FY2013 levels after sequestration—including $4.9 billion for the National Cancer Institute (NCI), i...

Prostate Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Rethinking the Role of PSA Screening in Public Health

Ronald Piana  /  August 15, 2012

Population screening to identify preclinical disease is considered a central factor in the decades-long decrease in mortality seen in certain cancers. However, hope in the face of deadly disease can sometimes blind us to the scientific evidence. According to the recent U.S. Preventive Services Task ...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Searching for Quality in an Increasingly Complex Health-care Environment

Ronald Piana  /  March 15, 2012

With the Presidential election just around the corner, the health-care debate will undoubtedly heat up. The ASCO Post spoke with Sean R. Tunis, MD, MSc, Founder and Director, Center for Medical Technology Policy, and former Chief Medical Officer for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, ...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

A Conversation with Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD

Jo Cavallo  /  December 15, 2011

Last September, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, a leading scholar in bioethics and health-care policy, was named the Diane v.S. Levy and Robert M. Levy University Professor and Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. His appointment will be shared between ...

Issues in Oncology

Important Lessons for Oncology from the Front Lines of the AIDS Pandemic

Ronald Piana  /  November 15, 2011

On June 5, 1981, the CDC issued a warning about a rare type of pneumonia discovered among a small group of young gay men in Los Angeles, later determined to be AIDS-related, ushering in the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Early on, AIDS-related malignancies brought the oncology community into this formidable soc...

Cost of Care
Palliative Care
Health-Care Policy

Palliative Care, Quality of Life, and Cost

Ronald Piana  /  September 15, 2011

More than half of our nation’s patients with cancer are Medicare beneficiaries, making the entitlement program ground zero in the heated debate on health-care spending. Total Medicare expenditures attributable to beneficiaries in their last year of life runs upward of 30%; this statistic serves as a...

Cost of Care
Health-Care Policy

Increased Use of Hospital Services Boosts Oncology Spending

Ronald Piana  /  September 1, 2011

For our ongoing series on the rising costs of cancer care, The ASCO Post spoke with Lee N. Newcomer, MD, Senior Vice President of Oncology for UnitedHealthcare. Dr. Newcomer is responsible for improving cost-effective cancer care at the nation’s largest health insurer. He shed light on areas of cost...

Issues in Oncology
Gynecologic Cancers
Colorectal Cancer

A Primary Care Physician Explores Barriers to Cancer Prevention and Clinical Trial Accrual

Ronald Piana  /  October 10, 2020

To accelerate progress in the survival rates of people with cancer in the United States and to reduce cancer disparities across the entire spectrum of cancer from diagnosis to survivorship, there needs to be increased access to cancer screening and prevention programs. To shed light on this critical...

Issues in Oncology

Overcoming the Challenges of Presenting the ASCO Annual Meeting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jo Cavallo  /  May 25, 2020

As the worldwide cases of the coronavirus started to mount in February and March, medical societies and organizations monitoring the escalating COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international and domestic travel made the difficult decision to postpone or cancel their scientific conferences. On Mar...

Global Cancer Care

How the ASCO Breakthrough Global Summit Is Bringing Together Innovators to Transform Cancer Care

Jo Cavallo  /  July 25, 2019

Earlier this year, ASCO announced plans for its first-ever international meeting, ASCO Breakthrough: A Global Summit for Oncology Innovators, which will be held October 11–13, 2019, in Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting is a joint effort by ASCO and the Thai Society of Clinical Oncology to bring togethe...

Issues in Oncology
Health-Care Policy

Advancing Cancer Research in Challenging Times

Jo Cavallo  /  March 10, 2018

ON OCTOBER 17, 2017, Norman E. Sharpless, MD, became the 15th Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), succeeding Harold E. Varmus, MD, who stepped down as Director of the agency in March 2015, and replacing Douglas R. Lowy, MD, who had served as Acting Director for 2 years. The appointmen...

Colorectal Cancer
Issues in Oncology

Could the Rising Rates of Colorectal Cancer in AYAs Be Linked to HPV Infection?

Jo Cavallo  /  October 25, 2017

TWO STUDIES published this year examining the incidence of colorectal cancer in adolescents and young adults (AYAs) show an undeniable and sobering trend: Colorectal cancer rates are increasing in this age group, and younger people are dying of the cancer at slightly higher rates than in previous ...

ASCO CEO Reflects on His First Year in Office and What Is Ahead

Jo Cavallo  /  May 25, 2017

June 27, 2017, marks the 1-year anniversary since Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, began his tenure as Chief Executive Officer of ASCO. With the launch of the national Cancer Moonshot and the changes in the White House and Congress, it has been a year of tremendous activity drawing on...

Issues in Oncology

How ASCO’s CancerLinQ Discovery™ Will Help Speed Research Advances and Improve Patient Outcomes

Jo Cavallo  /  April 25, 2017

This past November, ASCO announced the launch of CancerLinQ Discovery™, a big data learning platform physicians and researchers can use to analyze highly curated, de-identified, real-world cancer care data sets to broaden their clinical knowledge about specific cancers and eventually improve patient...

Issues in Oncology

Cancer Registries and the Evolving Role of Big Data in Cancer Care

Ronald Piana  /  February 10, 2016

In 1956, the American College of Surgeons encouraged the development of hospital-based registries, but for the most part, these efforts were clumsy, inaccessible card files of data. Today, advanced microcomputer technology has increased the ability to not only collect and cull cancer data but also t...

Cost of Care

Making Their Voices Heard: 118 Oncologists Speak Out About Stemming the High Cost of Cancer Drugs

Jo Cavallo  /  September 25, 2015

In a bold move to shed light on the ramifications of the ever-increasing cost of cancer drugs for patients with cancer and for the health-care system, 118 prominent oncologists came together to write a commentary in Mayo Clinic Proceedings detailing their concerns.1 To learn more about these proposa...

Charting a New Course: From Clinical Investigator to University President

Jo Cavallo  /  September 10, 2015

What first intrigued Fadlo R. Khuri, MD, FACP, about the prospect of becoming the 16th President of the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon was the chance to give back to an institution and a country that had given him so much. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1963, Dr. Khuri was raised ...