Letters to the Editor


Is Estrogen Protective Against COVID-19?

Avrum Z. Bluming, MD, MACP  /  May 25, 2020

Reports suggest that the severity of coronavirus infection may be significantly more pronounced in men than in women.1 Studies have demonstrated that estrogen reduces both influenza virus replication in human female nasal epithelial cells2 and moderates the cytokine storm in murine models of this in...


Unnecessary Barrier to Blood Donation for British Nationals?

The ASCO Post  /  April 25, 2020

I read with great interest Jo Cavallo’s article “Maintaining Blood Donations During the COVID-19 Pandemic”. My wife and I have been British residents in the United States for over 6 years and are frustrated that we cannot donate blood, especially during this raging global COVID-19 pandemic, when blo...

Reflections on a Career in Hematology/Oncology

Ronald E. Turk, MD  /  March 10, 2020

I am a retired 82-year-old Hematologist/Oncologist who reads The ASCO Post regularly. I am writing to share some brief thoughts with the authors of two articles in the February 10, 2020 issue. First, I would address the article, A Hopeful Look Ahead in Oncology, written by Dan L. Longo, MD, MACP. ...

Breast Cancer

Postmenopausal Estrogen and Risk of Breast Cancer: What Is the Real Story?

Avrum Bluming  /  February 25, 2020

I am responding to an article in the January 25, 2020, issue of The ASCO Post on the conclusion of the 19-year follow-up on the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) presented by Rowan T. Chlebowski, MD, PhD, at the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium: Postmenopausal estrogen administration does not ...

Issues in Oncology

Physicians Should Lead by Example to Combat the Obesity Epidemic

Damien Hansra, MD  /  November 25, 2019

American patients are suffering from an obesity crisis, where it is estimated that 300,000 deaths per year are due to obesity.1 The obesity trend is predicted to worsen, where it is projected that 85% of U.S. adults will be overweight or obese by 2030.2 Consequently, obesity-related illnesses are on...

Issues in Oncology

Being an Expert Witness in a Legal Proceeding: A Learning Experience

Michael B. Van Scoy-Mosher, MD  /  October 10, 2019

I read with great interest and appreciation the Law and Ethics in Oncology column, “Should You Become an Expert Witness in a Legal Proceeding? Here Are the Pros and Cons,” by Thaddeus Pope, JD, PhD (August 25, 2019, issue of The ASCO Post). I am an oncologist and have been an expert witness in a var...

Breast Cancer

Evidence Lacking That Denosumab Alters the Course of Breast Cancer

The ASCO Post  /  June 25, 2019

I am writing to provide personal context to my column on adjuvant denosumab or bisphosphonates for resected breast cancer, which appears on page 52 in this issue of The ASCO Post. I have been upset since 2013 that adjuvant zoledronate has been recommended for women with breast cancer onset after ag...

Well-Deserved Attention on Lung Cancer Screening

Giuseppe Del Priore, MD  /  April 25, 2019

SCREENING FOR LUNG CANCER among high-risk groups deserves the attention that Steven E. Vogl, MD, brought to it in his column At Microphone 1 in the February 10 issue of The ASCO Post. Subspecialist oncologists are not always attuned to the needs of their patients outside of their own specialty.1 Eve...

Pain Management
Issues in Oncology
Supportive Care

Opioid Toolkit: Helping Nebraskan Hospitals to Provide Appropriate Pain Management

The ASCO Post  /  April 10, 2019

As the opioid epidemic continues to sweep the United States, providers across Nebraska are facing the challenge of determining the appropriateness of pain treatment options that both meet the needs of the patients and fall within nationally published guidelines. A recent report published by the Nat...

Pseudosophisticated Language and Needless Confusion?

Charles P. Duvall, MD, MACP  /  July 25, 2018

I’ve been a loyal ASCO member since the early 1970s (aka “back in the day”) and wanted to share a growing pet peeve. I thought of attacking an individual author, but my sense tells me the source of my annoyance is really now a cultural problem and one that can only be fixed at the editor level. With...

Inside Story on the Genesis of Teen Cancer America

Simon Davies  /  June 25, 2018

THANK YOU for publishing the excellent article “We Need to Fill the Gap Between Pediatric and Adult Oncology Care” by Sarah Stream (as told to Jo Cavallo) in the March 25, 2018, issue of The ASCO Post. Sarah’s story and her connection to Teen Cancer America actually go much deeper than she reported ...

Alcohol and Cancer Risk Reconsidered

The ASCO Post  /  December 25, 2017

Having valued communications from ASCO since its birth, I was disappointed by the Society’s position on alcohol consumption and cancer risk, as published in a recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO)1 and summarized in the November 25 issue of The ASCO Post. The statement seems to me ...

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 rucapari...

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...


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 cancer...

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...


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...

Issues in Oncology

Do We Need So Much Emphasis on ‘Quality Care’?

James R. Gould, MD  /  July 25, 2014

Unfortunately, when I see The ASCO Post, my first impression is that you enable a group of researchers (part-time clinicians) to pontificate about their own agendas. The agenda that seems to be missing is the presentation of information that either supports or refutes the freight train of “quality c...

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...


Role of Autologous Stem Cell Transplant in High-Risk NHL

Sameer A. Mahesh, MD  /  January 15, 2014

As described in the December 15 issue of The ASCO Post, Stiff and colleagues treated patients with high-intermediate– or high-risk diffuse, aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma with five cycles of CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) or CHOP plus rituximab (Rituxan). Patients...

Praise for The ASCO Post

M.T., MD  /  January 15, 2014

There is so much “stuff” to read and remember—just to get through a day or a week—that it can be difficult to find time to surf the Web and search information sites, even if you select only a few to review routinely. For those of us who focus on one oncology specialty, The ASCO Post is an incredibl...

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...

Skin Cancer

Intralesional Cytokine Therapy in Cutaneous Melanoma: A Call for Clinical Trials

E. George Elias, MD, PhD  /  November 1, 2013

Cutaneous melanomas are mostly an immunogenic group of tumors, but they are also heterogeneous. Therefore, therapeutic specificity and autogenetic approaches are essential to secure beneficial results. The objective of sentinel lymph node biopsy, at the time of diagnosis, is to identify patients wi...

'Doing Nothing' Is Not an Option

Khalid Rehman, MD, FACP  /  October 15, 2013

I applaud The ASCO Post for continuing to raise awareness about futile medical care at the close of life with the recent publication of a commentary by Dr. Chandrakanth Are (“A Great Privilege to Die Beneath an Open Sky,” The ASCO Post, September 15, 2013, page 1). I would suggest, however, that we...

To Die Beneath an Open Sky

Elizabeth D. Simmons, MD  /  October 15, 2013

I read the essay by Chandrakanth Are, MBBS, FRCS, FACS, published recently in The ASCO Post and found it both thoughtful and compelling (“A Great Privilege to Die Beneath an Open Sky,” The ASCO Post, September 15, 2013, page 1). Dr. Are made one statement with which I take exception, however, and th...

Breast Cancer

Platinum-Based Treatment of Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Larry Weisenthal, MD, PhD  /  October 15, 2013

The last issue of The ASCO Post reports encouraging results with platinum-based treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (September 15, 2013). We predicted these findings 4 years ago in a presentation at the 2009 Breast Symposium.1 We compared the activity of a series of agents (platinum, taxane,...


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...


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 ...


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...


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 ...


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

Conversations with Breast Cancer Patients

Ernest Greenberg, MD  /  July 25, 2013

I am a retired oncologist, previously an attending physician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, with a professional lifetime experience in caring for patients with all stages of breast cancer, and now I am a regular reader of The ASCO Post. In recent months there have been several articles ...