February 2014, Vol 3, No 1

PROGRESS REPORT: Implementation of ASCO’s Blueprint for Transforming Clinical and Translational Cancer Research

In November 2011, ASCO issued a prescription for transforming clinical cancer research in the United States and speeding the creation of effective new therapies for patients. In its report, Accelerating Progress Against Cancer: ASCO’s Blueprint for Transforming Clinical and Translational Cancer Research, ASCO laid out a vision for a cancer [ Read More ]

TRANSFORMING CANCER RESEARCH

The Importance of the Multidisciplinary Team in Personalizing Care

Dear Colleague, One of the things that sets oncology care apart from the care of other illnesses is the necessity for the patient to be under the care of a multidisciplinary team. A patient with a cardiac issue may be managed just fine by a cardiologist. A patient diagnosed with [ Read More ]

Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS

Letter to Our Readers

Partners HealthCare Center for Personalized Genetic Medicine: Utilizing Genetics and Genomics to Improve Care of Patients

An Interview With Scott T. Weiss, MD, MS, and Heidi L. Rehm, PhD

Harvard Medical School and Partners HealthCare System established the Harvard-Partners Center for Genetics and Genomics (HPCGG) in 2001. The center was launched in recognition of the excitement of the Human Genome Project and as an early commitment to the importance of genetic and genomic knowledge in human health. HPCGG offered [ Read More ]

Scott T. Weiss, MD, MS

Interview with the Innovators

Need for Innovative Strategies for Quality Care Will Continue to Grow

Oncology Reimbursement Requires New Approaches, Says Lee Newcomer Current economic trends mandate the development of innovative strategies to effect quality and efficiency in cancer care, applying the same rigor as used in clinical trials, according to Lee N. Newcomer, MD, MHA, Senior Vice President, UnitedHealthcare, who addressed cost issues and [ Read More ]

Value-Based Cancer Care

News from the 2013 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Adjuvant Bisphosphonates: Winner in Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Adjuvant bisphosphonates reduce the risk of bone metastases by about one-third and improve breast cancer–related survival by 17% in postmenopausal women with early breast cancer, according to a large meta-analysis reported here. Bisphosphonates had no effect on premenopausal women in the adjuvant setting. [ Read More ]

2012 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium

Case Study: Use of Biomarkers in Multiple Myeloma

At the 2013 conference of the Global Biomarkers Consortium, which took place October 4-6, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts, David G. Roodman, MD, PhD, director, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, discussed the use of personalizing therapy in the management of multiple myeloma. Outcomes associated with multiple myeloma [ Read More ]

Lenalidomide as Maintenance in Transplant Myeloma Population Still Debated

Lenalidomide as Maintenance in Transplant Myeloma Population Still Debated While the FIRST trial in transplant-ineligible patients demonstrated the benefit of continuous lenalidomide, studies in younger transplant patients yielded conflicting results for maintenance lenalidomide, especially with regard to an overall survival (OS) advantage. Mayo Clinic investigators performed a systematic review and [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

Hematologists Question Panel About Guidelines and Performance Measures

Hematologists Question Panel About Guidelines and Performance Measures At a special symposium on quality and clinical practice guidelines during ASH, guideline developers fielded questions from hematologists. Panelists included Holger Schünemann, MD, PhD, of McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, an expert in guideline development; and Lee H. Schwamm, MD, executive vice [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

Idelalisib Improves Outcomes in Heavily Pretreated CLL Patients

A planned interim analysis of a phase 3 study shows that idelalisib, a first-in-class selective oral kinase inhibitor, when combined with rituximab is superior to rituximab alone on the end point of progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with heavily pretreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The 24-week data from the randomized, [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

Novel Anti-CD20 Antibody Superior to Rituximab on Progression-Free Survival in Unfit CLL Patients

Obinutuzumab, a novel, glycoengineered, type II CD20 antibody, in combination with chlorambucil was superior to rituximab plus chlorambucil in prolonging progression-free survival (PFS) in previously untreated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with comorbidities. Treatment with obinutuzumab also led to a significantly higher objective response rate, and more patients treated [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

ALL: Genetics Providing New Insights Into Signaling Pathways and Treatment Targets

Those frustrated with low long-term remission rates in adult acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) can find hope in the superior outcomes associated with treatment for pediatric ALL. Overall survival with therapy reaches 85% in children but lags at 45% in adults. Targeting specific pathways and adding novel agents to standard therapy [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

Anti-CD20 Agent Improves Outcomes in Elderly/Unfit Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Elderly and unfit patients constitute the majority of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but unfortunately these groups have limited treatment options. A second-generation fully humanized monoclonal antibody against the CD20 protein, ofatumumab, added to chlorambucil improves clinical outcomes and is tolerable irrespective of age and fitness in patients with [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

More Transplants Made Possible Through Haploidentical Donors

For the treatment of leukemia and other hematologic malignancies, the pool of donors for hematopoietic stem cell transplant can be greatly expanded through the use of haploidentical, or half-matched, donors, according to research groups who reported studies with good outcomes at ASH. With allogeneic bone marrow transplant (BMT), finding a [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

Ph+ CML: Deep Molecular Response Achieved and Sustained More Often With Nilotinib

Three large randomized phase 3 trials demonstrated superiority of nilotinib over imatinib in achieving molecular response (MR) and complete cytogenetic response (CyR) across various populations of patients with Philadelphia chromosome–positive chronic myeloid leukemia (Ph+ CML), including those who had a suboptimal response to frontline imatinib. LASOR: Frontline Imatinib Failures In [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

FIRST Trial Shows Value of Continued Use of Lenalidomide in Newly Diagnosed Myeloma Patients

The value of the continued use of lenalidomide in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma was front and center among more than 800 abstracts on multiple myeloma presented at ASH. Featured in a Plenary Session were results from the phase 3 FIRST trial (Frontline Investigation of Revli­mid + Dexamethasone Versus [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

Novel CAR-T Therapy Topped the News at ASH

Excitement was palpable at ASH this year over a novel approach to treating subtypes of leukemia and lymphoma. Although still limited to pilot studies in small numbers of patients, the findings for engineered T cells – so called CAR-T therapy – are very impressive. Patients with highly aggressive and refractory [ Read More ]

ASH 2013

Hematologists Often Ignore Treatment and Monitoring Recommendations

Most hematologists and oncologists do not follow evidence-based recommendations for managing acute or chronic myeloid leukemia (AML, CML) or B-cell lymphomas, according to survey results compiled by inPractice Resources LLC, a company that develops interactive educational resources for oncologists. Among the deficiencies: approximately 40% of clinicians were not appropriately monitoring [ Read More ]

Ask the Expert

New Technology Diffusion Essential to Personalized Medicine: An Interview With Dr Gary Owens

Does the following statement ring a bell? “Scientific knowledge about best care is not applied systematically or expeditiously to clinical practice. It now takes an average of 17 years for new knowledge generated by randomized controlled trials to be incorporated into practice, and even then application is highly uneven.” It [ Read More ]

The Last Word