June 2016, Vol. 5, No. 5

Personalized Medicine in Oncology: Expanding Our Knowledge of Precision Medicine

Dear Colleague, This issue of Personalized Medicine in Oncology (PMO) is a testament to how far we’ve come in our understanding of, and novel approaches to, the treatment of cancer. Armed with knowledge of molecular biomarkers, genetic mutations, genomics, immunotherapeutics, and targeted therapies, we are better able to treat patients [ Read More ]

Personalized Medicine in Oncology: Expanding Our Knowledge of Precision Medicine

Letter to Our Readers

Early Recurrence Detection: Analyzing DNA from Circulating Tumor Cells and Circulating Cell-Free DNA

An Interview with Paul W. Dempsey, PhD, and Paul Y. Song, MD, of Cynvenio

Cynvenio is a cancer diagnostics company offering their LiquidBiopsy technology to provide molecular analysis of cancer biomarkers in blood. The company purports that molecular diagnostic approaches to cancer detection and monitoring can benefit from their multiple-template strategy that analyzes DNA from circulating tumor cells (ctcDNA) and circulating cell-free DNA (ccfDNA) [ Read More ]

Interview with the Innovators

Implications of BRAF Mutations in Cancer

Christos Fountzilas, MD; Virginia G. Kaklamani, MD, DSc
Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Cancer Treatment Research Center,
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, TX

Sustaining proliferative signaling is one of the hallmarks of cancer as described by Hanahan and Weinberg.1,2 Signals from multiple receptor tyrosine kinases converge to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction pathway and regulate multiple aspects of cell biology (Figure).3 Guanine triphosphate–binding proteins of the RAS family and regulators of [ Read More ]

BRAF Mutations

Select Ongoing Trials Currently Enrolling Patients with Colorectal Cancer

The following are a selection of key clinical trials that are currently recruiting patients for inclusion in investigations of new therapies or new combinations of available therapies for patients with colorectal cancer. Each clinical trial description includes the NLM Identifier to be used as a reference with ClinicalTrials.gov. The information [ Read More ]

Clinical Trials Tracker

Inherited Ovarian Cancer: What Have We Learned?

Compared with other cancers, ovarian cancer is relatively rare, accounting for just 1.3% of all new cancer cases in the United States. However, it has a high death rate—the highest of any female reproductive system cancer. Only around 1 in 7 women with ovarian cancer are diagnosed at the local [ Read More ]

Cristi Radford, MS, CGC

Genetic Counseling

Nivolumab Represents New Standard in Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer

Programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor treatment with nivolumab significantly improves survival in patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck that progresses after platinum-based therapy, according to data from the phase 3 CheckMate-141 trial. Based on these data, “nivolumab therefore represents a new standard of care option for [ Read More ]


Pembrolizumab Elicits Response in Patients with Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Immunotherapy with the programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor pembrolizumab induced durable responses in a phase 2 clinical trial of a virus-related cancer. Among 26 patients with Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) treated in the trial, 12 of 14 patients (86%) who responded to pembrolizumab have ongoing responses after a median follow-up [ Read More ]


Chemotherapy Use in Breast Cancer Declines with Gene-Based Assay

Women with clinicopathologic high-risk breast cancer received chemotherapy almost half as often with no increased risk of metastatic recurrence when a cancer gene assay was used to guide decision-making, results of a randomized trial showed. Patients at low risk by the 70-gene MammaPrint assay had a 5-year distant metastasis-free survival [ Read More ]


Novel Regimen Outperforms Standard Therapy in HER2 Breast Cancer

An ongoing trial of a novel strategy to evaluate new regimens for early-stage breast cancer has identified another neoadjuvant combination worthy of a phase 3 trial involving patients with HER2-positive disease. The combination of ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) and pertuzumab resulted in an estimated pathologic complete response (pCR) rate of 52% [ Read More ]


To Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence Risk, Exercise—A Lot!

For protection against breast cancer recurrence, one recently reported study can best be described as “good news, bad news.”At the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting, researchers reported a statistically significant dose response for the effects of physical activity on breast cancer recurrence. The catch is that the effect [ Read More ]


Walking Reduces Markers of Inflammation in Smokers with Lung Cancer

If you can’t get your lung cancer patients to stop smoking, at least encourage them to exercise. That’s the message from research conducted on a huge cohort of individuals in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), showing that markers of inflammation were significantly reduced among male smokers with [ Read More ]


Multivitamin Use During Chemotherapy May Reduce Risk of Peripheral Neuropathy

Multivitamin supplement use was associated with a reduction in chemotherapy-associated peripheral neuropathy in a subanalysis of the SWOG S0221 trial. Patients who were using multivitamins before chemotherapy had 40% less neuropathy, and those using them during or after treatment had a 23% reduced risk. The results were reported at the [ Read More ]


Biologic Agents and Cardiac Toxicity Among Patients with Hematologic Malignancies

Targeted therapies used to treat hematologic malignancies can cause unintended cardiac toxicity in some patients and can lead to cardiac-related mortality, according to study results presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting. “Unanticipated cardiac toxicity occurred in about 4% of patients with hematologic malignancies over a 10-year [ Read More ]


Stool DNA Test Performs Well in Community-Based Setting

A noninvasive screening test for colo­rectal cancer demonstrated potential for identifying cancer and advanced adenomas in community-based patients who previously had not followed national screening recommendations.Almost 90% of patients completed the Cologuard stool DNA test when offered the option, and 15% had positive tests that led to referral for diagnostic [ Read More ]