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Genitourinary Cancers Symposium: Immunotherapy for RCC, Neoadjuvant Therapy for Bladder Cancer

This week, we’re continuing our coverage of results presented at the 2021 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, focusing on research findings in renal cell carcinoma and bladder cancer.

bladder cancer
immunotherapy

Tracy L. Rose, MD, on Bladder Cancer: Gemcitabine, Cisplatin, and Pembrolizumab as Neoadjuvant Therapy

Tracy L. Rose, MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, discusses phase II results of gemcitabine and split-dose cisplatin plus pembrolizumab as neoadjuvant therapy prior to radical cystectomy for patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer. The trial showed this combination...

bladder cancer

Elizabeth R. Plimack, MD, on Bladder Cancer Highlights From the 2021 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Elizabeth R. Plimack, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses key abstracts discussed at this year’s meeting on bladder cancer and offers her views on the latest trends and findings (Abstracts 391, 393, 434).

Biden Administration, New Congress Review Recent Rules Affecting Cancer Care Delivery

In the days and weeks leading up to President Biden’s inauguration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—under the prior administration—issued a number of rules and regulations that affect cancer care delivery. Many of those rules and regulations are now subject to review by the new...

Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Conversion Factor Updated to Reflect 2021 Federal Funding Package

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a revised Medicare Physician Fee Schedule conversion factor of $34.8931 for 2021. This represents a 3.3% reduction from the 2020 conversion factor of $36.0869. CMS updated the conversion factor as a result of a provision in the $1.4...

Standardized, Streamlined Processes Key to Implementing Electronic Prior Authorization

On December 23, 2020, ASCO submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the Reducing Provider and Patient Burden and Promoting Patients’ Electronic Access to Health Information proposed rule. This rule builds on the CMS Interoperability and Patient...

issues in oncology

New Framework to Address Cancer Care Disparities in Medically Underserved Populations

A new article published in JCO Oncology Practice puts forth a framework to guide researchers, health-care leaders, advocates, community- and patient-focused service organizations, and policy leaders in their work to address and promote health equity in cancer care access and treatment outcomes.1...

gastrointestinal cancer

ASCO Names Advance of the Year: Molecular Profiling Drives Progress in Gastrointestinal Cancers

Molecular profiling allows clinicians to identify the molecular and genetic signatures that help to deliver treatments that are highly specific to a tumor. This tool has made possible a number of advances in the past year that are improving care for patients with gastrointestinal cancers. In...

hematologic malignancies

In Case You Missed It: Brief Highlights From ASH 2020

In case you missed these while attending the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, below is a sampler of highlights that were not included in our first round of meeting coverage. Many of these reports are on early-phase clinical trials of agents that may raise...

global cancer care

Cancer on the Global Stage: Incidence and Cancer-Related Mortality in Kenya

The ASCO Post is pleased to continue this occasional special focus on the worldwide cancer burden. In this issue, we feature a close look at the cancer incidence and mortality rates in Kenya. The aim of this special feature is to highlight the global cancer burden for various countries of the...

Expert Point of View: Lucia Masarova, MD

Lucia Masarova, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, said the updated long-term data for momelotinib show “durable efficacy and exciting outcomes” in patients with myelofibrosis, regardless of prior exposure to...

hematologic malignancies

SIMPLIFY Trials: JAK Inhibitor Yields Long-Term Survival Benefit and Transfusion Independence in Myelofibrosis

Treatment with the novel JAK inhibitor momelotinib led to long-term overall survival and sustained transfusion independence in patients with intermediate- or high-risk myelofibrosis, according to updates from the SIMPLIFY-1 and SIMPLIFY-2 trials presented at the 2020 American Society of Hematology...

breast cancer
immunotherapy

I Let Science, Not Emotion, Dictate My Treatment

I had my first experience with cancer when I was just 3 or 4 years old and complained to my mother that my “tummy hurt.” I was diagnosed with Wilms tumor, the same cancer my 18-month-old brother died of before I was born. I remember being in the hospital for weeks at a time and being known by...

Paul A. Bunn, Jr, Scientific Award Presented to Joan H. Schiller, MD, FASCO

Joan H. Schiller, MD, FASCO, was recently honored by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) with the Paul A. Bunn, Jr, Scientific Award. Dr. Schiller’s many accomplishments include helping to break the taboo of talking about lung cancer and expanding public...

Crystal Denlinger, MD, FACP, Named Chief Scientific Officer for NCCN

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network© (NCCN) recently announced the appointment of Crystal S. Denlinger, MD, FACP, to the newly created role of Senior Vice President, Chief Scientific Officer. In this position, Dr. Denlinger will help to steer strategic direction for the nonprofit as well as...

IASLC Honors Pan-Chyr Yang, MD, PhD, for Contributions to Lung Cancer Prevention

Pan-Chyr Yang, MD, PhD, Chair Professor at the National Taiwan University Hospital and Academician of Academia Sinica, Taiwan, received the Joseph W. Cullen Prevention/Early Detection Award from the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) at the virtual IASLC 2020 World...

Expert Point of View: Yun Fan, MD, and Deborah Doroshow, MD, PhD

Invited discussant of KEYNOTE-598,1Yun Fan, MD, Director of Thoracic Tumor Center at Zhejiang Cancer Hospital in Hangzhou, China, suggested that patients with non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with low PD-L1 expression and those with high tumor mutational burden may, in fact, derive the most...

survivorship
issues in oncology

When to Start a Conversation With Patients About Subsequent Primary Cancers

Among patients who survive a primary cancer, concern about recurrence, especially metastatic disease, is extremely common; however, information about future risk for subsequent primary cancers is seldom communicated to these patients, leading to missed opportunities to prevent or detect subsequent...

survivorship
issues in oncology

Ongoing Surveillance and Efforts to Reduce Smoking and Obesity Needed to Lower Cancer Survivors’ Risks of New Cancers

The risk of developing or dying of a new primary cancer, particularly those cancers associated with smoking and obesity, was greater among survivors of adult-onset cancers than the expected risk in the general population, according to an analysis of data from more than 1.5 million cancer...

lung cancer

KEYNOTE-598: No Improvement With Addition of Ipilimumab to Pembrolizumab in NSCLC

In the phase III KEYNOTE-598 study, the addition of ipilimumab to pembrolizumab increased toxicity without boosting efficacy as first-line therapy for metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) in patients with high expression of PD-L1. The findings were presented at the International...

Professor Gordon McVie, International Cancer Researcher and Patient Advocate, Dies at 76

An imposing painting of sailing ships graced the wall behind the desk in the office of Professor Gordon McVie, BSc (Hons), MBChB, MD, FRCP, FRCPEd, FRCPS (Glas), FMedSci, DSc. It was a gift from one of his patients with cancer, a long-term survivor who said the painting reminded her of him, walking ...

John Bartlett, MD, Pioneer in Infectious Diseases Research and Treatment, Dies at 83

John Bartlett, MD, a visionary physician-scientist and pioneer in HIV/AIDS study and treatment who built the infectious diseases division at The Johns Hopkins, died on January 19, 2021, in New York. He was 83 years old. “Over his long and illustrious career, John Bartlett epitomized the best of...

Gert Brieger, MD, MPH, PhD, Historian of Medicine and Public Health, Dies at 89

Gert Brieger, MD, MPH, PhD, former Director of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Institute of the History of Medicine, died on January 13, 2021, due to heart failure. He was 89. Dr. Brieger is credited with transforming the department from a research center with occasional students to ...

Joseph V. Simone, MD, Visionary Pediatric Oncologist and ‘Quintessential Mentor,’ Dies at 85

When Joseph V. Simone, MD, was 6 years old, he had his first experience with the death of a child. His 9-month-old brother became sick with the croup and was taken to the nearby children’s hospital, where he died a few days later, leaving Dr. Simone and his family devastated. Caring for sick...

Conversations With the Pioneers of Oncology: Emil J Freireich, MD, FASCO

To hear an interview with Dr. Freireich by Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, of the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center and Past President of ASCO, visit the Journal of Clinical Oncology’s podcast, Cancer Stories, wherever you get your podcasts. In this episode, the Cancer Stories podcast reflects ...

Oncology Community Mourns the Death of Chemotherapy Pioneer Emil J Freireich, MD, FASCO

Legendary oncologist Emil J Freireich, MD, FASCO, died from COVID-19 on February 1, 2021, at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he had worked for 50 years. He was 93. During a career that spanned more than 6 decades, Dr. Freireich was relentless in pursuing cures...

breast cancer

The CARG-BC Score: Novel Tool for Predicting Chemotherapy Toxicity in Early-Stage Breast Cancer

As reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Allison Magnuson, DO, of the University of Rochester Medical Center & Wilmot Cancer Institute, and Mina S. Sedrak, MD, MS, of the City of Hope National Medical Center, along with colleagues, have developed a novel risk tool—the Cancer and Aging...

covid-19

COVID-19 and Cancer: A Toxic Combination

COVID-19 has caused 475,000 deaths in America, disproportionately among communities of color, poverty, immigrants, and older age. It has exposed a variety of inequities within our health-care system. However, the patients at greatest risk of death from COVID-19 are those with cancer. While 1.8% of...

leukemia
immunotherapy

Genome-Edited Donor-Derived Anti-CD19 CAR T-Cell Therapy Is Active in B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Pooled results of two phase I studies, reported in The Lancet by Reuben Benjamin, MBBS, of the Department of Haematological Medicine, King’s College Hospital, London, and colleagues, indicate that the genome-edited donor-derived allogeneic anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell product...

leukemia

Novel Approaches in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

To complement The ASCO Post’s continued comprehensive coverage of the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, here are several abstracts selected from the meeting proceedings focusing on novel therapeutic approaches in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). For full...

Expert Point of View: Rachna T. Shroff, MD, and Gentry King, MD

Invited study discussant Rachna T. Shroff, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Arizona, and Chief of GI Medical Oncology at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, said the study presented by Dr. Javle1 showed the FGFR2 inhibitor infigratinib to be active in FGFR2 fusion–positive...

gastrointestinal cancer

FGFR2 Inhibitor Infigratinib Active in Chemotherapy-Refractory Cholangiocarcinoma

The novel targeted agent infigratinib (BGJ398) showed clinically meaningful activity against chemotherapy-refractory cholangiocarcinoma in patients with fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR2) fusions and rearrangements. The confirmed overall response rate was 23% (34% confirmed/unconfirmed), the ...

lymphoma
immunotherapy

B-Cell and T-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas

To complement The ASCO Post’s continued comprehensive coverage of the 2020 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, here are several abstracts selected from the meeting proceedings focusing on the assessment and treatment of patients with B-cell and T-cell non-Hodgkin...

covid-19

How the COVID-19 Pandemic Can Help Improve Cancer Research

The ripple effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been felt in every area of health care. In our medical specialty, oncology, clinical trials of new treatments were upended by COVID-19. In the early months of the pandemic, widespread interruptions in trial enrollment prevented some patients...

gastrointestinal cancer

Updated Findings Bolster the Use of Checkpoint Inhibitors in Treatment of Liver Cancer

Although optimal regimens are still being determined, checkpoint inhibition has clearly established itself in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, as judged by the number of abstracts on the topic at the 2021 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. The ASCO Post brings readers short summaries of ...

Expert Point of View: Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, and Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH

The invited discussant of CodeBreak 100 was Pasi A. Jänne, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a thoracic oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.1Charu Aggarwal, MD, MPH, Leslye M. Heisler Associate Professor for Lung Cancer Excellence at the University of...

lung cancer

Phase II CodeBreak 100 Validates Benefit of KRAS Inhibitor Sotorasib in Advanced Lung Cancer

The registrational phase II CodeBreak 100 trial has validated the power of KRAS inhibition with sotorasib (AMG 510) in advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).1 In a follow-up to the groundbreaking findings of the phase I trial, the phase II cohort has now shown a durable response rate of...

kidney cancer

Elizabeth R. Plimack, MD, on Renal Cell Cancer Highlights From the 2021 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium

Elizabeth R. Plimack, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses key abstracts discussed at this year’s meeting on renal cell carcinoma and offers her views on the latest trends and findings (Abstracts 269, 308, 270, 313).

covid-19

United States Surpasses 500,000 Deaths Due to COVID-19

On February 22, President Joseph R. Biden issued remarks to proclaim that over 500,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19 infection. He and Vice President Kamala Harris held a moment of silence and ordered flags be lowered to half-mast at federal buildings for the next 5 days to honor those who...

solid tumors
immunotherapy
genomics/genetics

Responses to Anti–PD-1/PD-L1 Immunotherapy in Patients With MSS Solid Tumors and High Tumor Mutational Burden

In a single-institution study reported in JAMA Oncology, Valero et al found that response rates to anti–PD-1 or anti–PD-L1 treatments in patients with microsatellite-stable (MSS) solid tumors were generally higher among those with high tumor mutational burden (TMB) defined as ≥ 10...

prostate cancer

Bone Metastatic Burden and Survival Outcomes With Prostate Radiotherapy for Newly Diagnosed Metastatic Disease

In an analysis from the STAMPEDE trial reported in JAMA Oncology, Ali et al found that a lower number of bone metastases was associated with improved overall and failure-free survival in patients receiving prostate radiotherapy for newly diagnosed M1 metastatic prostate cancer. Study Details The...

covid-19
survivorship

One-Third of Cancer Survivors Reported Worry About Health-Care Disruptions Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic

A new study published by Corinne Leach, MPH, MS, PhD, and colleagues in the Journal of Psychosocial Oncology reported that early in the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, one-third of cancer survivors worried about treatment and cancer care disruptions. Using a mixed-methods approach,...

lymphoma

Addition of Lenalidomide to R-CHOP in Newly Diagnosed Patients With DLBCL

In a phase II signal-seeking trial (ECOG-ACRIN E1412) reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, Grzegorz S. Nowakowski, MD, and colleagues found that the addition of lenalidomide (R) to R-CHOP (rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone; R2CHOP) improved outcomes...

skin cancer

Association of BRAF V600–Mutant ctDNA With Outcomes in Patients With Advanced Melanoma Receiving Dabrafenib or Dabrafenib/Trametinib

In a study reported in The Lancet Oncology, Syeda et al found that higher BRAF V600–mutant cell-free circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) levels prior to and during treatment with dabrafenib or dabrafenib/trametinib were associated with poorer outcomes among patients with advanced melanoma. Study Details...

Expert Point of View: Meredith Regan, ScD, and Sara Hurvitz, MD

In the San Antonio meeting’s closing session, “View From the Trenches: What Will You Do Monday Morning?” Meredith Regan, ScD, and Sara Hurvitz, MD, offered their thoughts on the use of RSClin in the clinic, as described at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium by Joseph Sparano, MD.1 Dr. Regan is ...

breast cancer

Prognostic Tool RSClin Introduced for Early Breast Cancer

Data from the TAILORx study and several National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) trials have been used to develop a new prognostic tool, RSClin, which aims to individualize the estimate of recurrence risk in early breast cancer and to more accurately predict the risk-reduction...

kidney cancer
immunotherapy

Elizabeth R. Plimack, MD, on RCC: Outcomes With Pembrolizumab Plus Axitinib

Elizabeth R. Plimack, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, discusses phase III results from the KEYNOTE-426 study—specifically, an exploratory subgroup analysis of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma who were randomly assigned to receive pembrolizumab plus axitinib and completed 2 years of...

gynecologic cancers
immunotherapy

Bevacizumab Beyond Disease Progression Plus Carboplatin-Based Doublet in Platinum-Sensitive Ovarian Cancer

In the phase III MITO16b/MANGO–OV2/ENGOT–ov17 trial, investigators found that treatment with a carboplatin-based doublet plus bevacizumab beyond disease progression significantly improved progression-free survival vs a carboplatin-based doublet alone in women with platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer...

breast cancer
survivorship

Can Weight Loss During Treatment and Follow-up Affect Breast Cancer Outcomes?

Research published by Martel et al in JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network examined body mass index (BMI) data for patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer—and found a 5% weight loss in patients over 2 years was associated with worse outcomes. Weight gain over the same...

leukemia

Chemotherapy-Induced ‘Dormancy’ in AML Allows Cancer Cell Survival, May Contribute to Relapse

Researchers have identified a cellular resilience mechanism through which acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells survive cancer treatment and repopulate, leading to disease relapse. The research, published by Cihangir Duy, PhD, MS, and colleagues in Cancer Discovery, also suggests that certain drugs...

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