NCI Cancer Research Persists Despite COVID-19 Limitations
Most of the global biomedical research community, especially those at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is consumed with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Because the U.S. federal government is under strict orders to limit its operations to only essential personnel, many of the 27 NIH institutes and centers are redirecting their efforts toward COVID-19 topics. However, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is continuing its cancer research in certain priority areas.
Latinas’ Breast Cancer Genetic Disparities Require More Focused Counseling and Testing
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer death in Latina women. Compared to all patients with breast cancer, Latinas are the second most common ethnic group to carry BRCA1 deleterious mutations, after Ashkenazi Jewish women. However, Latinas are less likely to receive genetic counseling education, referrals, and testing services and have the least awareness of genetic testing compared to non-Hispanic whites and other minority populations. Research indicates that despite their low awareness, Latinas have high interest in participating in genetic counseling and testing.
Pembrolizumab Is More Cost Effective Than Atezolizumab for NSCLC
Adding atezolizumab to treatment with bevacizumab, carboplatin, and paclitaxel as first-line therapy for metastatic, nonsquamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is associated with survival benefit—but it comes at a cost, researchers said in study results published in JAMA Network Open. In comparison, pembrolizumab offers a more cost-effective survival benefit.
The Case of the Candy-Coated (Mis)Conception
P.G. is a 54-year-old woman who presents to the infusion center to receive her second cycle of chemotherapy for breast cancer. As her oncology nurse, you check the chemotherapy orders and patient history and are concerned to see that her weight has dropped by 10% from baseline, necessitating a change in dosing.
Beta Data Browser Puts Precision Medicine Cohort at Researchers’ Fingertips
The future of cancer care is here: precision medicine has led to many of today’s newest cancer treatments and has made incredible progress since former President Barak Obama first announced the U.S. Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) in 2015.
Personalized Combination Therapies Yield Better Cancer Outcomes
In a perpetual search to refine research and scientific advancements in the pursuit of fighting cancer, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is investing in research that will help practitioners further understand how treatments and combinations of treatments can benefit patients. Through a focus on precision oncology, researchers are examining which combinations of therapies would work best for each individual patient based on a number of factors, including genetics and genomics.
Congress Tackles Youth Smoking; Pelosi Drug Pricing; Biden's Cancer Commitment
Healthcare advocates assembled in the U.S. Congress to hear from panelists about the national epidemic of youth smoking. From those conversations, a common theme emerged: many believe that the rise in youth vaping and smoking is directly related to marketing and sales tactics by large tobacco manufacturers.
FDA Oncology Center of Excellence Establishes a Commitment to Patients
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) mission is primarily to protect the American public by regulating the sale and development of consumer items like cosmetics, food, tobacco products, medication, and much more. However, a lesser known arm is FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, established to further prevention, detection, patient-centered research, and cancer-specific education.
Trump Promises $500 Million Increase to Pediatric Cancer Research
Pediatric cancers have more than an 80% overall cure rate, and that, at first glance, seems like something to celebrate. However, in terms of lives lost to different pediatric cancers, the American Cancer Society estimated that more than 1,100 children under the age of 15 will die from their disease in 2019—roughly one in five children diagnosed. Although survival rates are improving in cancers like acute lymphocytic leukemia and Hodgkin lymphoma, other childhood cancer types haven’t seen increased survival since the early 2000s.
Experience the Power of Patient-Centered Research Through PCORI
How often have you gone to the mailbox, pulled out your latest issue of the or , and excitedly read about some innovative study with game-changing outcomes that’ll revolutionize the delivery of health care—only to find that it never moves off the pages of the journal? What does it take to move research from the proverbial bench to the community? That was the focus of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), “ ” held from October 31–November 2, 2018, in Washington DC.
President’s Cancer Panel Calls for Renewed Commitment to Vaccinate for HPV
For years, the human papillomavirus vaccination (HPV) has been recommended to young adult patients to help prevent certain forms of cancer. In a November 2018 report, the President’s Cancer Panel recommended to further the United States’ goal to prevent cancer associated with HPV.
Cancer Moonshot Moves to Research Phase
Still a popular program throughout the government, the , encourage collaboration in finding treatments and cures, and to improve data sharing to make a decade’s progress in half the time. Through NIH’s Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel and the 2016 passage of the 21st Century Cures Act—allocating $1.8 billion over seven years for Moonshot—the initiative is moving out of planning and into the research phase.
Former President Bush’s Legacy Holds Strong Commitment to Advancing Cancer Care
As a staunch advocate for the advancement of cancer treatments, research, and patient care, President George H.W. Bush left an enduring legacy through contributions to the field of oncology and health care in the wake of his death on November 30, 2018. His continued support of healthcare professionals—including oncology nurses—spoke to his administration’s focus before, during, and after his tenure in Washington, DC.
Advocacy Community Supports NCI Fiscal Year 2020 Proposal
A billion dollars was once an astronomical amount of money to spend on one federal agency. But since the 1950s when Senator Dirksen (R-IL) was a leading voice for fiscal conservatives, the federal government’s budget has ballooned, with both political parties equally responsible for increases. During this time, great achievements have been made, and much of it in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as what former Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) often referred to as the crown jewel of the federal government.
Medicare Cracks Down on Opioid Prescriptions, Abuse; Health Care Tops Poll of American Worries; Leading Chemotherapy Researcher, Physician Dies at 92
An estimated 14.4 million Medicare recipients were prescribed some form of opioid treatment in 2016, paid for by their Medicare benefits. In an attempt to help curb the national opioid epidemic, officials from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that Medicare would no longer pay for long-term, high-dose prescription pain medication. Unsurprisingly, the plan received flak from patient and provider advocacy groups alike. Opponents to the CMS announcement decried the efforts, citing barriers to crucial medications needed for patients in chronic or severe pain—including those with cancer.
Key Funding Increases for Cancer Research, Nursing, Public Health; Patients, Providers, or Politicians: Whose Choices Matter Most?; FDA Targets Flavored Tobacco Products
Racing against the clock to ensure the government stayed funded through September 2018, President Trump signed the Consolidation Appropriations Act, a $1.3 trillion spending bill that includes funding for a number of key nursing and public health initiatives. The bill, which had made its way through the House of Representatives and the Senate last week, also contains new clarifying language for the Dickey Amendment, ending a 22-year ban on government-funded gun violence research. ONS joined the Nursing Community Coalition—led in part by the efforts of the American Nurses Association—to support evidence-based inquiry into gun violence and its potential impacts on public health.
FDA Approves Brentuximab Vedotin for Previously Untreated Stage III, IV Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma
On March 20, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved brentuximab vedotin to treat adult patients with previously untreated stage III or IV classical Hodgkin lymphoma in combination with chemotherapy.
President’s Budget Proposal Recommends Severe Cuts to HHS
Putting together the federal budget is an arduous task. Department by department, suggestions for program funding increases and decreases are reviewed, discussed, analyzed, and submitted. Budget officials are trying to match the administration’s priorities and review the fiscal environment, not to mention craft spending items to gain support from congress, who ultimately votes on the budget.
NIH: A Look Back at 2017 in Research
To plan for a strong future, one must understand the past. Reviewing the previous year’s accomplishments is always a good policy for reflection and improvement. It can help remind us of the accomplishments achieved in 12 short months. Such was the case at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as director Francis Collins addressed the research achievements for 2017 in his opening blog.
FDA Approves Lutetium Lu 177 Dotatate for Treatment of GEP-NETS
On January 26, 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lutetium Lu 177 dotatate a radiolabeled somatostatin analog, for the treatment of somatostatin receptor-positive gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), including foregut, midgut, and hindgut neuroendocrine tumors in adults.
Understanding Medical Cannabis in Cancer Care
Medicinal cannabis, a topic that remains largely unstudied in human trials in the United States, is slowly becoming introduced in areas of health care and oncology in states that have legalized it for medical and adult recreational use.
Multiple Myeloma Survivors Still Experience Symptoms and Psychological Concerns
Survival from multiple myeloma (MM) has improved, and more attention is required for symptom burden and psychological impact in the long-term management of this disease. Researchers assessed the incidence of self-reported pain, depression, financial and family burden, and impairment of performance status, as well as determined the correlation of total distress with survival. Joshua R. Richter, MD, at the John Theurer Cancer Center in Hackensack, NJ, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Physical Activity Level Before and After Cancer Diagnosis Impacts Survival for Lymphoma
Researchers assessed the impact of physical activity levels before and after cancer diagnosis on overall survival (OS) and lymphoma-specific survival (LSS) outcomes in patients with lymphoma. They found that higher levels of physical activity during adult life and within three years of diagnosis improve survival. Priyanka Pophali, MD, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Better Symptom Management Is Needed for Patients With CML
Patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) often experience symptoms and treatment-related adverse events (AEs) that are chronic and may require care from an interdisciplinary team. A study sought to assess symptom burden, palliative care needs, and experiences with healthcare team communication in this patient population. Alexandra K. Zaleta, PhD, at the Research and Training Institute, Cancer Support Community in Philadelphia, PA, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Sexual Function Varies by Some Treatments in Breast Cancer Survivors
Surgical modality and receipt of chemotherapy or radiotherapy are not associated with sexual function, as measured by the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). Patients receiving endocrine therapy with an aromatase inhibitor had significantly lower sexual function scores than those who received no endocrine therapy or those on tamoxifen, said a group of U.S. researchers who presented their findings during a poster session on Saturday, December 10, at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Latinas With BRCA1 or 2 Mutations Are More Likely to Choose Surgery
The uptake of prophylactic surgeries among Latinas with germline BRCA mutations may be slightly lower than what has been reported in non-Hispanic whites but higher than in African Americans, a group of U.S. researchers said. They presented their findings on Saturday, December 10, during a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Real-World Findings for Ibrutinib in Patients With CLL: Toxicities, Discontinuations, and More
Ibrutinib is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Researchers sought to study real-world outcomes related to adverse events (AEs), treatment discontinuation, outcomes, and subsequent therapies in those treated with frontline ibrutinib. Anthony R. Mato, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania Abramson Cancer Center in Philadelphia, PA, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Do Survivorship Care Plans Decrease Cancer Treatment Distress?
Researchers conducted a randomized study to assess the impact of survivorship care plans (SCPs) on cancer survivors who underwent hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT). They assessed confidence in survivorship information (primary analysis), as well as cancer treatment distress, knowledge of transplant exposures, health behaviors, healthcare use, and health general self-efficacy. Navneet S. Majhail, MD, MS, at the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Factors Predict 30-Day Hospital Readmissions for Patients With Hematologic Malignancies
Data are limited on repeated unplanned hospital readmissions among patients with hematologic malignancies, so researchers analyzed baseline characteristics of patients with one or more 30-day unplanned readmissions, as well as factors related to these readmissions. Girish Kunapareddy, MD, at the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Individualized Care Plans Decrease Emergency Department Use
Unplanned hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits are an ongoing problem for patients with cancer. At the Taussig Cancer Institute, just 6% of all discharged patients accounted for more than 40% of unplanned readmissions (defined as a hospitalization occurring within 30 days of discharge). Those patients are also at high risk for future admissions, intensive care unit (ICU) stay, ED visits, overuse of chemotherapy, and underuse of hospice resources. Researchers developed an individualized care plan (ICP) for patients with the highest preventable use to see if this would impact hospital use and readmissions. Girish Kunapareddy, MD, at the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Supervised Exercise Reduces Fatigue in Patients With Breast Cancer
Exercise—preferably supervised—represents a viable intervention for prevention and treatment of fatigue among patients with breast cancer, a group of Australian, European, and U.S. researchers said. They presented their findings during a poster session on Saturday, December 9, during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Type 2 Diabetes May Increase Breast Cancer Mortality in Hispanic Women
The presence of type 2 diabetes mellitus at the time of breast cancer diagnosis has been suggested to adversely affect survival—independent of breast cancer stage, grade, and tumor phenotype—but few of those studies included people of Hispanic descent. Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and the University of Louisville in Kentucky examined the association between self-reported diabetes history, breast cancer-specific and all-cause mortality among Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women diagnosed with breast cancer. They presented their results on Saturday, December 9, during a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Statins Enhance Venetoclax Response in CLL and MM
Venetoclax—an oral, small-molecule BCL-2 inhibitor—is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in those with del(17p) mutation. Statins, which are used to lower cholesterol, have shown a potential to induce apoptosis in various cancer cell lines, and evidence suggests a synergism when combined with BCL-2 inhibition. Based on this, researchers conducted a post-hoc analysis to see whether statins enhance the activity of venetoclax in patients with CLL or multiple myeloma (MM). Andrew W. Roberts, MS, at AbbVie Inc., in North Chicago, IL, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Diet Choices and Supplement Use May Affect MPN Symptom Burden
Patients with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) have increased inflammatory cytokines that contribute to symptom burden and nutritional deficiencies. Some studies have indicated that diets and supplements have demonstrated antioxidant and anti-inflammatory pharmacologic properties, such as decreased inflammatory markers and reactive oxygen species. Researchers conducted a study to examine nutritional and supplemental needs in this patient population. Robyn M. Scherber, MD, at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Patients With CLL Report Worse QoL and Other Factors
Researchers assessed how patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) describe quality of life (QoL) compared to other U.S. populations, as well as the effects on daily living, finances, and professional and family relationships. Joanne S. Buzaglo, PhD, at the Research and Training Institute, Cancer Support Community in Philadelphia, PA, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Activity Tracker Data Correlates With Patient-Reported Outcomes
Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are an important part of patient management but may be burdensome for patients to track. Wearable activity monitors provide objective, continuous activity data that may correlate with PROs, and researchers assessed the use of this technology in a study. Carrie A. Thompson, MD, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Factors Related to Palliative Care Use in Patients With Hematologic Malignancies
No data exist on current trends and practice patterns for palliative care use among patients with cancer, particularly those with hematologic malignancies. Sikander Ailawadhi, MD, at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL, discussed their findings on these trends at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Disease Factors Influence Treatment Decisions More Than Comorbidities in Patients With Follicular Lymphoma
Data from U.S. Lymphocare suggest that older patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) are more commonly treated with watchful waiting or single-agent rituximab and found no difference in outcomes by treatment groups, but comorbidity was not studied. Researchers aimed to describe patient features, comorbidity use of positron-emission tomography (PET) staging, management choices, and the impact of polypharmacy on outcomes of patients with FL aged 70 years or older. Prathima Reddy, MD, at CHI Franciscan Hospital in Federal Way, WA, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Study Assesses Ibrutinib’s Impact on Major Hemorrhage in Patients With B-Cell Malignancies
Ibrutinib is a first-in-class, once-daily inhibitor of Bruton tyrosine kinase that is approved for various B-cell malignancies. However, the drug is associated with increased rates of low-grade hemorrhage and sometimes serious hemorrhage, which is listed as a warning in the prescribing information. Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) are at an increased risk for major hemorrhage (MH) compared to the general population.
Autoimmune and Infectious Diseases Are Increased in DLBCL Survivors Compared to Other Cancer Survivors
Many lymphoma treatments are known to affect the immune system, so researchers assessed whether survivors of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) have an altered risk of developing autoimmune and infectious diseases compared to other cancer survivors. Tanaya Shree, MD, PhD, at Stanford University Medical Center in California, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Study Compares Adverse Event Profile for CPX-351 and Conventional 7+3 for AML
CPX-351 is a dual-drug liposomal encapsulation of cytarabine and daunorubicin that delivers a synergistic drug ratio. In a randomized, phase III study, researchers evaluated induction therapy with CPX-351 versus conventional cytarabine/daunorubicin (referred to as 7+3 regimen) in adults aged 60–75 years with newly diagnosed, treatment-related acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or AML with myelodysplasia-related changes. Bruno C Medeiros, MD, at Stanford University School of Medicine in California, discussed the findings at the ASH Annual Meeting.
Community Breast Physicians Network Study Supports Broader Testing
Ongoing and increasing evidence suggest that an equivalent rate of mutations may be found regardless of whether patients meet current testing criteria, according to a large group of community breast physicians. They presented their findings on Friday, December 8, during a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Exercise Is Beneficial in Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and possibly cancer recurrence, and its occurrence is higher in breast cancer survivors than age-matched postmenopausal women. Now, a study on exercise has found that aerobic and resistance exercise intervention reduced metabolic syndrome in sedentary, overweight, and obese Hispanic breast cancer survivors. U.S. researchers presented their findings during a poster session on Friday, December 8, at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Disparities Remain in Breast Cancer Mortality Based on Health Insurance Status
Significantly higher rates of death are found in Medicaid and uninsured hospital admissions when compared to Medicare-enrolled admissions with breast cancer, suggesting that insurance status “appears to play a crucial role in patient outcomes.” Researchers with Drexel University in Philadelphia presented their findings on Friday, December 8, during a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Younger Age Equates to Unfavorable Subtypes, Higher Stage, and Worse Survival in BC
Patients with breast cancer who are younger than 40 years are likely to have unfavorable subtypes, higher stage, and lower overall survival and disease-free survival (DFS) as compared to their older counterparts, according to researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY. They presented their findings on Friday, December 8, during the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.
Serum Vitamin D Linked to Inability to Achieve Pathologic Complete Response
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with the inability to reach pathologic complete response (pCR) in patients with breast cancer undergoing neoadjuvant systemic chemotherapy (NAC), and a trend for worse survival was seen in patients with triple negative tumors. Results from an analysis were presented on Thursday, December 7, during a poster session at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS).
Factors Increase Risk for Fibrosis After Whole Breast Radiation Therapy in Lateral Position
Whole breast radiation therapy in isocentric lateral decubitus position is well tolerated with good cosmesis and low rates of fibrosis, said a group that had previously confirmed the efficacy and safety of the technique. Researchers from the Institut Curie in Paris presented their results during a poster session on Thursday, December 7, at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.