When your doctor goes to any scientific meeting, whether it’s the ASCO Annual Meeting or one of the many thematic symposia that happen throughout the year, they are there for many reasons: to network with other professionals, to learn from experts in their field, and to hear the newest and most exciting research.
In the Research Round Up podcast series, Cancer.Net’s Associate Editors answer this question: “What was the most exciting or practice-changing news you heard at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting?” Listen to the podcast below or read on to see the highlights in 4 specific areas of cancer research: older adults, colorectal cancer, gynecologic cancers, and melanoma.
This is a prerecorded audio podcast. It can be listened to online or downloaded to your computer. A transcript of this podcast is also available. For more information, visit the Cancer.Net podcast page.
Clinical trials and caregiving for older adults [1:07]
Dr. Hyman B. Muss, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Geriatric Oncology, discusses why it’s important to consider participating in clinical trials in light of a new study which showed that relatively few older adults participate in these trials. He also discusses research on the increased impact that people who care for loved ones with advanced cancer face, offering practical suggestions for family caregivers.
“If you're going to the clinic to see your physician about treatment for cancer or you're a family member, you should ask what clinical trials are available. There's some wonderful information on Cancer.Net that can help provide you with questions, but you should say, ‘What's available? Am I, or is my family member, eligible for the trial? And what are the potential benefits of the trial? What are the side effects? What are the logistics? How many times do I have to come to the doctor, etc.?’”
Chemotherapy after surgery for colorectal cancer [7:46]
Dr. Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Gastrointestinal Cancers, discusses a large international study that looked at whether it was possible to reduce the amount of chemotherapy after surgery for stage III colorectal cancer from 6 months to 3 months. He explains why this question was studied and what the results of this study suggest for patient care.
“The goal of the effort was to look at whether patients who standardly get 6 months of oxaliplatin and fluoropyrimidine, which was either the drug IV 5-FU or an oral form, capecitabine, could receive 3 months without compromising efficacy and hopefully having less toxicity. The main concern with oxaliplatin is a cumulative neuropathy that affects patients' fingertips and toes, and it can affect function. And what we also know is that this side effect is dose dependent. The less therapy you receive with oxaliplatin, the less likelihood to develop neuropathy and/or the less severity.”
Advances in ovarian and uterine cancer [17:10]
Dr. Jonathan S. Berek, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Gynecologic Cancers, discusses new research in ovarian cancer and uterine cancer, including 2 different studies on surgery for ovarian cancer, 1 study on adding chemotherapy to radiation therapy for uterine cancer, and another study that compared 2 different chemotherapy drugs for uterine cancer.
“A very large randomized trial, comparing women with or without the chemotherapy, showed that for what we call low stage, or stage I and II [uterine cancer], that it really didn't benefit to have the extra chemotherapy. Whereas for some of the women with stage III disease, more advanced disease, the chemotherapy did help prolong survival. And it was a significant improvement, after 5 years, of 11%, which is a very significant improvement in this particular study.”
Melanoma that has spread to the brain [22:45]
Dr. Ryan Sullivan, Cancer.Net Associate Editor for Melanoma and Skin Cancer, discusses 3 studies that specifically looked at ways to treat melanoma that has spread to the brain, called brain metastasis. He explains why this type of metastatic melanoma hasn’t been studied as much in the past and what the results of these 3 trials mean for patients.
“The 3 trials demonstrating benefit to our standard therapies in patients with metastatic disease to the brain is truly an amazing accomplishment for the reasons I stated. That these are patients that often have been refused entry into clinical trials, that they have 3 trials that have not only been opened and run but completed and showing substantial benefit with these therapies is an amazing accomplishment.”