Molecular Oncology Tumor Boards Invite Discussion of Growing Field in Cancer Care

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Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO

We hope that this new educational program will foster learning about tumor molecular genomics in an engaging and interactive format fueled by real-world case studies.

—Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO

Oncologists and other related health-care providers now have an online platform for the discussion of the growing area of tumor molecular profiling tests and studies. In January, ASCO launched the Molecular Oncology Tumor Boards, a series of monthly user-driven discussions designed to help health-care providers navigate new genetic and genomic tests as well as the integration of these tests and their results into the day-to-day clinical care of patients with cancer.

The series, accessible through ASCO University at, is an educational collaboration between ASCO, the College of American Pathologists, and the Association for Molecular Pathology.

New Educational Program

“Understanding the results of tumor molecular profiling studies is challenging, and the field of cancer genomics is rapidly changing, with new information being generated at a dizzying pace,” said ASCO Chief Medical Officer Richard L. Schilsky, MD, FACP, FASCO. “All oncologists struggle to keep abreast of this information and to learn how to use tumor molecular profiling to deliver high-quality, personalized cancer care. We hope that this new educational program will foster learning about tumor molecular genomics in an engaging and interactive format fueled by real-world case studies.”

Each month, the Molecular Oncology Tumor Boards will feature a new case discussion with topics that can vary from a genetic mutation most commonly seen in a specific subspecialty of oncology, to a specific genetic mutation affecting a variety of cancer types. The discussions will be moderated by rotating expert pathologists and medical oncologists.

Unlike traditionally published case reports, this new series will rely on user-driven interactions and will encourage a multidisciplinary discussion of each patient case. All participants are encouraged to read the cases and leave comments or questions relevant to the case in order to generate a wide discussion among the cancer care community.

Case Report: Extended RAS Mutation

The first Molecular Oncology Tumor Board discussion went live online on January 14, 2015. Moderated by ­Stanley Hamilton, MD, a pathologist at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Leonard Saltz, MD, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the first case focused on extended RAS mutation.

The patient case detailed a 62-year-old man with moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma with a BRAF and KRAS exon type wild-type tumor. Details on the patient’s medical history, imaging examinations, comorbidities, and diagnosis were also provided.

As the case moderators, Drs. Saltz and Hamilton posted the case details and several questions to help fuel a discussion of relevant considerations, such as which cytotoxic chemotherapy might be used, whether a biologic should be considered, and if a decision about the use of biologics should be delayed until the results of tumor genotyping are received.

After several professionals weighed in with their responses, Dr. Saltz posted a faculty response detailing his opinion on the best course of treatment for the patient, as well as the relevant research to support his treatment decisions. The moderators also updated the patient case, detailing what eventual course of treatment was selected and how that might affect future consideration for the patient’s treatment.

Each monthly case will be updated with new information throughout a 2-week period as user comments are added and additional questions are posed. After the 2-week discussion period, participants in the tumor boards can access additional course information, post-tests, and certificates of Continuing Medical Education credit, completion, and participation on ASCO University.

ASCO’s Molecular Oncology Tumor Boards are free to access; participants just need to create an account to log in. ■

© 2015. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.