Issues in Oncology

Cancer Knows No Borders

Marc Lawler, PhD, FRCPath and Satish Gopal, MD, MPH  /  August 10, 2022

This is a critical time for cancer research and cancer care across the world, and the cancer community has clearly highlighted the need for greater and more equitable international collaboration. Addressing the global cancer challenge is a significant undertaking, and it has become more urgent a...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care

Medical Costs and Clinical Value: Playing the Long Game

M. Gregg Bloche, MD, JD; Neel U. Sukhatme, PhD, JD; And John L. Marshall, MD  /  July 25, 2022

Even as soaring medical costs strain public and private budgets around the world, patients yearn for therapeutic breakthroughs. Game-changing cancer treatments, emerging antiviral agents, and mRNA vaccines are powerful reminders of medical technology’s potential. But insurance premiums and out-of-po...

Breast Cancer

Changing the Natural History of ER-Positive, HER2-Negative Breast Cancer With the Introduction of CDK4/6 Inhibition

Richard S. Finn, MD  /  July 25, 2022

It has been 14 years since a collaboration between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Pfizer identified a unique role for cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors in estrogen receptor (ER)-positive human cell line models and demonstrated that these agents act synergistically...

Global Cancer Care

Two Early-Career Cancer Researchers From Africa Aim to Make a Difference and Never Give Up

Safa El Kefi, PhD Candidate, and Khalid El Bairi, MD  /  July 25, 2022

In countries with a high income, research in oncology is sponsored by funding agencies and industry, which has meaningfully improved survival outcomes of patients with cancer. In contrast, the African continent is disadvantaged in all aspects of human development, particularly in the fields of innov...

Issues in Oncology

Death and Clinical Trials in the Plague Years

Bruce D. Cheson, MD, FACP, FAAAS, FASCO  /  July 10, 2022

“Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow, we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky. There have been as many plagues as wars in history; yet always plagues and wars take people equally by surprise.” —Albert Camus, The ...

Issues in Oncology

Cautious Optimism About Mining for Patient-Centric Data

Robert Peter Gale, MD, PhD, DSc (hc), FACP, FRCPI (hon), FRSM  /  July 10, 2022

“If we have data, let’s look at it. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” —James Barksdale  In this issue of The ASCO Post, Daniel Vorobiof, MD, and Irad Deutsch, principles at Belong.Life, a patient-oriented website whose self-described mission is to improve patient quality of life an...

Issues in Oncology

Shaping the Future of Cancer Care: The Value of Managing Aggregated Data From Patients’ Online Communities

Daniel Vorobiof, MD, and Irad Deutsch  /  July 10, 2022

In 2021, more than 1.9 million people in the United States were estimated to be diagnosed with cancer, and that number continues to increase yearly. Medical research is critical in prolonging survival and improving the quantity and quality of life of patients. Cancer research is one of the most heav...

Gynecologic Cancers

ARIEL4 Confirms Rucaparib’s Efficacy in Recurrent, BRCA-Mutated Ovarian Cancer: Does It Tell Us Anything New?

Kathleen Moore, MD, MS  /  June 25, 2022

In March 2022, Kristeleit et al reported the results of the ARIEL4 trial1 of rucaparib in relapsed BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer in The Lancet Oncology (summarized in this issue of The ASCO Post) and are to be congratulated on this accomplishment. This report, along with the almost simultaneous release...

Global Cancer Care

Cancer and War in Ukraine: How the World Can Help Win This Battle

Sergey Kozhukhov, MD, PhD; Nataliia Dovganych, MD, PhD; Ivan Smolanka, MD, PhD; Iryna Kriachok, MD, PhD; and Olexiy Kovalyov, MD, PhD  /  June 25, 2022

In Ukraine, with a population of about 44 million, there are more than 1.3 million patients with cancer. Approximately 160,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year.1 In almost every region, there are local cancer centers; specialized oncologic centers are located in large cities. In Kyiv, hi...

Issues in Oncology

Invest in the Unexpected: Basic Research Enterprise Needs Adequate Funding to Foster Treatment Innovation

Ronald DePinho, MD  /  June 25, 2022

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) now stands as the largest single public funder of biomedical research in the world.1 The FY2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2471), signed into law in March, increases biomedical research funding by nearly 5%, and it provides a total of $45 billion fo...

Gastroesophageal Cancer

PD-1 Inhibition in First-Line Treatment of Advanced Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma: More to Come on New Paradigm

Jill Lacy, MD, and Michael Cecchini, MD  /  May 25, 2022

Esophageal cancer is associated with significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, with more than 600,000 new cases and 540,000 deaths in 2020. The squamous cell histology comprises nearly 90% of cases globally, despite its steady decline in the United States over the past 40 years. Historically, t...

Global Cancer Care

Annual Meeting of the Moroccan Cancer Society: An Opportunity for Young Cancer Researchers to Evolve

Khalid El Bairi, MD; Dounia Filali, MD; Nabil Ismaili, MD; Zouhour Bourhaleb, MD; Ali Sbai, MD; Mohamed Marjani, MD; Zineb Benbrahim, MD; Meriem Iraqi Houssaini, MD; and Mohamed Mesmoudi, MD; On Behalf Of The Moroccan Cancer Society  /  June 10, 2022

The Moroccan Cancer Society (MCS; Société Marocaine de Cancérologie/ was created in 1992 by a group of Moroccan medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, and pathologists who had led the field in the 1980s. To date, this scientific society has more than 350 members practicing in bo...

Cemiplimab-rwlc Following Platinum-Based Chemotherapy in Recurrent or Metastatic Cervical Cancer: Clinical Implications

Renata R. Urban, MD  /  June 10, 2022

It is estimated that globally, more than 600,000 women per year are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and more than 300,000 die annually of the disease.1 Many women continue to be diagnosed with cervical cancer at an advanced stage, with a high risk of recurrence. To date, the most effective combinat...

Breast Cancer

DESTINY-Breast03: Should Trastuzumab Deruxtecan Be the Preferred Second-Line Regimen in HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer?

Nancy U. Lin, MD  /  June 10, 2022

Since the introduction of trastuzumab in the late 1990s, overall survival for patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer has substantially improved. Median overall survival in the pivotal first-line trial was only 20.3 months in the chemotherapy arm, and 25.1 months in the trastuzumab/chem...

Breast Cancer

No Good Treatment Options, So I’ll Eat Ice Cream

Mary Evelyn Burman, PhD, MS, BSN  /  June 10, 2022

On a warm summer afternoon, I stood in front of tables at the local farmers market loaded with my favorite fruits and vegetables: peaches, tomatoes, corn, peppers, melons, kale. I practically drooled thinking about what I could make that week: corn and tomato salad, kale and mushroom quesadillas, ch...

Geriatric Oncology

Missed Opportunities in Geriatric Oncology Research

Stuart M. Lichtman, MD, FACP, FASCO  /  June 3, 2022 - Narratives Special Issue

The underrepresentation of older patients (≥ 65 years) in clinical trials has been well documented for more than 20 years. This has been an issue at all phases of drug development, including pivotal trials for drug approvals,1 despite the fact that many of these new therapeutics will primarily be us...

Skin Cancer

RELATIVITY-047: Relatlimab Plus Nivolumab Worthy of Further Study in Advanced Melanoma and Beyond

James W. Smithy, MD, MHS, and Margaret K. Callahan, MD, PhD  /  April 10, 2022

In the recently published results of the RELATIVITY-047 trial,1 summarized in this issue of The ASCO Post, the addition of relatlimab to nivolumab monotherapy was associated with improved progression-free survival compared with nivolumab alone in patients with previously untreated advanced, unre...

Issues in Oncology

Incidental Respiratory Disease Found in Low-Dose CT Screens: Challenges and Opportunities

Ryan Nguyen, DO, Lawrence E. Feldman, MD, and Mary M. Pasquinelli, DNP, FNP-BC  /  May 25, 2022

A retrospective analysis of the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) by Pinsky et al, summarized in the April 25, 2022, issue of The ASCO Post, found high rates of incidental respiratory abnormalities on low-dose computed tomography (CT) examinations.1 Specifically, the findings of emphysema and ret...

Issues in Oncology

Innovation Can Advance Equitable Cancer Care

Everett Vokes, MD, FASCO  /  May 25, 2022

The North Star of an organization is its mission statement. At ASCO, no initiative gets the green light unless it can fulfill the Society’s mission. ASCO updated its mission statement in 2020 specifically to reinforce our goal of reducing disparities, changing it to read: “Conquering cancer through ...

Lung Cancer

Long-Term Overall Survival in Unresectable Stage III NSCLC With Consolidation Durvalumab in the PACIFIC Trial: Translation to Real-World Outcomes?

Manali I. Patel, MD, MPH, MS  /  May 25, 2022

Lung cancer mortality rates have declined by more than 50% in men since 1990 and more than 30% in women since 2002. These declines in mortality are largely due to increases in smoking cessation. However, in recent years, clinical treatment advances, such as targeted therapies and immunotherapy, have...

Issues in Oncology

The Impact of War on Patients With Cancer

Jo Cavallo  /  May 25, 2022

Just days after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, ASCO, together with its partners the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center–Jefferson Health, began assembling resources to establish a network of oncology professionals to help Ukrainian patients with cancer find clin...

Lung Cancer

DESTINY-Lung01: Is Trastuzumab Deruxtecan the Answer for HER2-Mutant Lung Cancer?

Ibiayi Dagogo-Jack, MD  /  May 10, 2022

The human epidermal growth factor (HER) family of receptors are a well-established therapeutic target. Indeed, seminal studies conducted nearly 2 decades ago identified a key association between activating mutations in the kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR, also known as HE...

Multiple Myeloma

Going the Last Mile: Accelerating Delivery of Multiple Myeloma Therapies to All Patients

Kathy Giusti, MBA  /  May 10, 2022

When I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1996, I was given 3 years to live. At the time, there was little understanding of this disease, which was termed incurable. There were no new treatments, few drugs in the pipeline, hardly any clinical trials, and no multiple myeloma community or ecosys...

Breast Cancer

Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors in Neoadjuvant or Adjuvant Therapy for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer: The Paradigm Shifts

Lisa A. Carey, MD, ScM, FASCO  /  April 25, 2022

The “holy grail” of triple-negative breast cancer therapy has been effective incorporation of drugs to improve outcomes in the early nonmetastatic setting. Although outcomes have improved with better chemotherapy drugs and schedules, triple-negative breast cancer still carries the worst prognosis of...

Issues in Oncology

Phase III Trials and Tribulations

Louis M. Staudt, MD, PhD, and Wyndham H. Wilson, MD, PhD  /  April 25, 2022

Imagine this. You are a large pharmaceutical company that launches an international randomized phase III trial to assess whether one of your drugs improves the outcome of patients with a common type of cancer. The trial was solidly backed by preclinical evidence that the drug target was essentia...

Gynecologic Cancers

MEK Inhibition Is Now a Standard of Care in Recurrent Low-Grade Serous Ovarian Cancer: What Next?

Rachel N. Grisham, MD  /  April 25, 2022

As summarized in this issue of The ASCO Post, the highly anticipated results of the GOG 281/LOGS study, which randomly assigned patients with recurrent low-grade serous ovarian cancer to the MEK inhibitor trametinib vs standard-of-care chemotherapy or endocrine therapy, have now been reported by G...

Issues in Oncology

Reflections on the Evolution of Clinical Care Since the Passage of the National Cancer Act of 1971

Neal J. Meropol, MD, FASCO  /  April 10, 2022

Recently, I had the honor of coauthoring a chapter with Eric P. Winer, MD, President-Elect of ASCO, on the evolution of clinical cancer care since the enactment of the National Care Act of 1971 for the book A New Deal for Cancer: Lessons From a 50-Year War, by Abbe R. Gluck and Charles S. Fuchs, M...

Kidney Cancer

Deciphering Clinical Outcomes Through Molecular Profiling: The IMmotion151 Trial


Over the past decade, an improved understanding of kidney cancer biology together with the development of novel systemic therapies have substantially improved the outcomes of patients with metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC).1 Following extensive clinical investigations, combinations of...

Solid Tumors

Should Patients Aged 80 and Older Receive Single-Agent Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Treatment?

STUART M. LICHTMAN, MD, FACP, FASCO  /  March 25, 2022

The checkpoint inhibitors are among the most important advances in oncology in recent times. They have changed the natural history of many tumors, particularly melanoma. They have a favorable toxicity profile, which for most patients is manageable and tolerable. However, there are several toxicities...

Neuroendocrine Tumors

Peptide Receptor Radionuclide Therapy for Gastroenteropancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors: Implications for Current Practice

Namrata Vijayvergia, MD, FACP, and Pamela L. Kunz, MD  /  March 25, 2022

The rising incidence and prevalence of gastroenteropancreatic endocrine tumors make them the second-most prevalent gastrointestinal cancer.1 Although most of these tumors are relatively slow growing, their histologic grade and differentiation are closely correlated with their clinical behavior.2,3 M...

Global Cancer Care

War Is Hell. It’s Also a Public Health Disaster, Especially for People With Cancer

Robert Peter Gale, MD, PhD, DSc (hc), FACP, FRCPI (hon), FRSM  /  March 25, 2022

We are all following the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine with surprise and horror. I’m sure few readers of The ASCO Post imagined the invasion of a European country by its European neighbor was possible again, naively thinking wars like this ended with the Allied victory in World War II. But the...


(My) German Hodgkin Story

Volker Diehl, MD  /  February 25, 2022

Nearly 200 years ago, Thomas Hodgkin for the first time described a peculiar disease with undulating fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and a big spleen. Its nature was obscure. It was a fatal illness, affecting mainly young adults and children. In 1865, Samuel Wilks named this illness Hodgkin’s disease...

Gynecologic Cancers

Time for a Radical Change in the Treatment of Endometrial Cancer: KEYNOTE-775 and Beyond

B.J. Rimel, MD  /  March 10, 2022

I had the privilege of sitting in a meeting on the treatment of endometrial cancer as a junior investigator in January 2015 where a representative from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was present. The topic of the meeting was on how to design the next endometrial cancer trials. I remember dist...

Global Cancer Care

Cancer in the Arab World: Addressing Challenges to Improve Outcomes

Humaid O. Al-Shamsi, MD, MRCP (UK), FRCP (C), FACP  /  March 10, 2022

I returned home to the United Arab Emirates in 2017, following my oncology fellowship training and work experience in the United States. I immediately realized that I am now dealing with a considerably different cancer patient population in terms of age of onset, stage at presentation, awareness and...

The Greek Alphabet in Waves

Samuel A. Kareff, MD, MPH  /  February 25, 2022

The first 6 months of fellowship in a nutshell: Waves. July A move back to the waves of the Atlantic Calmly and incessantly recoiling while The Greek alphabet regains traction. August The fallout of Delta. Telemedicine for goals of care, While reciting the ABCs of chemotherapy. Septembe...

Skin Cancer

Circadian Timing of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors: Beyond Good Times and Bad Times

Francis Lévi, MD, PhD  /  January 25, 2022

After almost a century of limited efficacy of cancer immunotherapy,1 the breakthrough happened in 2012 with the discovery of immune checkpoint inhibitors,2,3 leading to the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo. Yet about 40% of patients on immune checkpoin...

Breast Cancer

RxPONDER Trial: Another Step in Defining Which Patients With Breast Cancer May Be Spared Adjuvant Cytotoxic Chemotherapy

Gini F. Fleming, MD, FASCO  /  February 10, 2022

As reported by Kalinsky et al and summarized in this issue of The ASCO Post, an interim analysis of the phase III RxPONDER trial showed that the addition of adjuvant chemotherapy to endocrine therapy improved invasive disease–free survival among premenopausal—but not postmenopausal—women with hormon...

Multiple Myeloma

In All Candor, What Does CANDOR Bring to the Table in Relapsed or Refractory Multiple Myeloma?

Sarah A. Holstein, MD, PhD  /  February 10, 2022

An updated analysis of the phase III CANDOR study—recently reported by Usmani et al and summarized in this issue of The ASCO Post—confirmed a significant progression-free survival benefit for the combination of daratumumab, carfilzomib, and dexamethasone (KdD) over carfilzomib and dexamethasone (K...

Issues in Oncology
Cost of Care

How to Rein in Oncology Costs and Save Physician-Owned Practices

Barbara L. McAneny, MD, FASCO, MACP  /  February 10, 2022

I was honored to contribute a chapter on the cancer care delivery system and how to improve it for the book A New Deal for Cancer: Lessons From a 50 Year War, edited by Abbe R. Gluck and Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH (Public Affairs, 2021). The book chronicles what has been accomplished in the 50 years sin...

Issues in Oncology

Oncology Drugs With Accelerated Approval: Is It Time for a Reset?

Charles L. Bennett, MD, PhD, MPP, and Jeromie Ballreich, PhD, MHS  /  February 10, 2022

Regulations that are developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must have some shelf-life before revisions are considered. The FDA has several mechanisms to provide patients with more rapid access to medicines. One such pathway is accelerated approval. Backward Glance at Accelerated A...

Breast Cancer

PALLAS Trial in Hormone Receptor–Positive, HER2-Negative Breast Cancer: Defining the Role of Adjuvant CDK4/6 Inhibition

Gabriel N. Hortobagyi, MD, MACP, FASCO  /  February 10, 2022

Over the past 7 years, the introduction of combined endocrine therapy with cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6 inhibitors resulted in a dramatic improvement in outcomes for patients with metastatic, hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative breast cancer. Early attempts to modulate the cell cycle with ...

Gastroesophageal Cancer

Pembrolizumab Plus Chemotherapy in Advanced Esophageal Cancer: Good News for Some, but More Work to Be Done

Michael K. Gibson, MD, PhD  /  January 25, 2022

Multiple comparisons of traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy combinations that began decades ago led to the adoption of the platinum plus fluorouracil doublet as the standard of care for treatment of recurrent or metastatic esophageal cancer.1 Other combinations created by the addition and/or substitu...

Lung Cancer

Adjuvant Atezolizumab in IMpower010: Moving the Needle in Early-Stage NSCLC

James P. Stevenson, MD  /  January 25, 2022

Adjuvant platinum-based chemotherapy for early-stage non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is currently almost an afterthought and is taken for granted as a standard of care for patients with stage II to IIIA NSCLC after resection. The earliest meta-analysis, published in 1995,1 gave the first hint of ...

Lung Cancer

Promise and Need for More Progress in Treatment of Squamous Cell NSCLC

Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH  /  January 25, 2022

A greater understanding of the mutational landscape in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has identified key oncogenes, such as EGFR, ALK, ROS, RET, and BRAF, among others. These discoveries, coupled with the availability of specific targeted small-molecule inhibitors, have transformed the managemen...

Issues in Oncology

Better Federal Agency Coordination Is Needed to Accelerate Progress Against Cancer

Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FSCT, FASCO  /  January 25, 2022

President Richard M. Nixon signed the National Cancer Act into law on December 23, 1971. The unprecedented legislation granted sweeping authority to the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a national cancer program that included the NCI, other research institutes, and federal ...

How Medical Oncology Came to Be

James O. Armitage, MD, FASCO  /  December 10, 2021

For many, the way things are when you learn about them is assumed to be the way things have always been. For example, antibiotics are wonderful—but if you were practicing medicine when penicillin was discovered, it would have seemed like a miracle. For most of us, there have always been chemical t...

Multiple Myeloma

Maintenance Daratumumab After Initial Therapy for Transplant-Eligible Multiple Myeloma: More Questions Than Answers From CASSIOPEIA Part 2

Ajay K. Nooka, MD, MPH, FACP  /  November 25, 2021

Bortezomib, thalidomide, and dexamethasone (VTd) is an acceptable, effective standard-of-care induction treatment in Europe for patients with newly diagnosed myeloma who are eligible for autologous stem cell transplantation. CASSIOPEIA is a two-part, open-label, randomized, phase III trial in transp...

Multiple Myeloma

Daratumumab in Front-Line Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Transplant-Ineligible Multiple Myeloma: Questions Emerge From MAIA Trial

Monique Hartley-Brown, MD, MMSc  /  December 25, 2021

In the past decade, use of immunotherapy has arisen as a novel adjunct to multiple myeloma therapy. Daratumumab is the first anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in November 2015, for use in treating relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma.1 Si...


Potential Impact of Nurse Navigation Program in Achieving Equitable Care and Outcomes in Patients With Aggressive Large B-Cell Lymphoma

Chijioke Nze, MD, MPH, and Christopher R. Flowers, MD, MS, FASCO  /  December 10, 2021

In a single-institution study reported in the journal Cancer, and reviewed in the September 10, 2021, issue of The ASCO Post, Bei Hu, MD, and colleagues from Levine Cancer Institute/Atrium Health found that the use of a dedicated nurse navigation program aided in producing similar patterns of ca...

Global Cancer Care

The Cancer Research Institute in Morocco: A Center of Excellence Illustrating Progress in Africa in the Age of Global Oncology

Khalid El Bairi, MD  /  December 25, 2021

The enthusiasm behind the open access initiative sprang from the need for scientific research that is accessible to everyone worldwide. Open knowledge based on open access also aimed to increase good research practices such as reproducibility and transparency.1 This movement was launched by develope...