Radiation Therapy Plus Checkpoint Inhibitors Did Not Increase Adverse Events in Metastatic Lung Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Florence K Keane MD Resident, Radiation Oncology Harvard Radiation Oncology Program Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Keane

Florence K Keane MD
Resident, Radiation Oncology
Harvard Radiation Oncology Program
Boston, Massachusetts

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs) have recently transformed the management of patients with metastatic lung cancer, demonstrating significant improvements in overall and progression-free survival in both the first-line setting in patients with increased expression of PD-L1 (≥50%) and in patients with previously treated NSCLC who have progressed on chemotherapy. CPIs are also moving into the treatment of patients with localized lung cancer, with the recently published PACIFIC trial demonstrating a significant improvement in progression-free survival in patients with inoperable stage III NSCLC treated with adjuvant durvalumab after definitive chemoradiotherapy.

However, CPIs are associated with unique toxicities as compared to cytotoxic chemotherapy, including pulmonary, endocrine, neurologic, gastrointestinal, and dermatologic adverse events, which may be fatal in some cases. The risk of autoimmune pneumonitis with checkpoint inhibitors is estimated to be on the order of 5%. Many patients with lung cancer will require radiotherapy for palliation of symptoms. Thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) is also a risk factor for pneumonitis, with a dose- and volume-dependent impact on risk. However, it is unknown whether treatment with CPIs and TRT is associated with increased risk of toxicity.

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Prostate Cancer: Immune Content May Predict Response To Post-Op Radiation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Shuang George Zhao, MD House Officer, Radiation Oncology University Hospital Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5010

Dr. Zhao

Dr. Shuang George Zhao, MD
House Officer, Radiation Oncology
University Hospital
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Targeting cancer through the immune system has been a longstanding goal of cancer research, and with recent advances in immunotherapy, it is now a reality. However, the role of immunotherapy in prostate cancer is still being defined. Sipuleucel-T was the first FDA approved immunotherapy in prostate cancer, and is a personalized cellular therapy that has been shown to prolong survival in patients with metastatic prostate cancer. On the other hand, two recent phase III randomized trials looking at ipilimumab, a CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitor in metastatic prostate cancer have both been negative for their primary endpoint of OS. Interestingly, there was a PSA response, suggesting that there may be some therapeutic effect in a subset of patients. Therefore, understanding the immune infiltrate is likely critical to selecting patients and therapeutic strategies utilizing the immune system. Unfortunately, it is difficult and laborious to histologically assess immune infiltrate directly. Therefore, we used existing high throughput transcriptomic data with new computational methods in order to more fully characterize the immune landscape of localized prostate cancer.

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Early Breast Cancer: Radiation Before Surgery Reduce Risk of Second Tumors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Heiko Enderling, Ph.D. Associate Member & Director for Education and Outreach Dept. of Integrated Mathematical Oncology Dept. of Radiation Oncology H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute Tampa, FL 33612

Dr.Enderling

Heiko Enderling, Ph.D.
Associate Member & Director for Education and Outreach
Dept. of Integrated Mathematical Oncology
Dept. of Radiation Oncology
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
Tampa, FL 33612

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although radiation therapy after breast-conserving surgery for early-stage breast cancer has significantly improved patient prognosis, many patients will face a second cancer diagnosis within 20 years of primary treatment. Experimental and clinical studies have shown that local radiation therapy can activate an immune response that can propagate systemically to attack distant untreated metastases. However, current radiotherapy practice has not specifically focused on enhancing immune responses.

We asked the question if pre-operative irradiation, when applied to the bulk of disease, could have potentially higher immune stimulatory effects. To study this, we analyzed historic outcomes of breast cancer patients treated with either adjuvant (radiation after surgery) or neoadjuvant (radiation before surgery) radiotherapies.

Our analysis showed that the risk of developing a second tumor after neoadjuvant compared with adjuvant RT was significantly lower, especially for estrogen receptor-positive women who underwent breast conserving surgery or mastectomy. Historic data revealed an increase in disease-free survival of 12% over 20 years after treatment of the original tumor.

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Stereotactic Radiation Therapy Achieves Superior Results in Some Brain Tumors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Rakesh Jalali, MD Professor of Radiation Oncology President, Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology Tata Memorial Parel, Mumbai India

Dr. Jalali

Professor Rakesh Jalali, MD
Professor of Radiation Oncology
President, Indian Society of Neuro-Oncology
Tata Memorial
Parel, Mumbai India 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Randomized controlled trials to test the efficacy of radiotherapy techniques are challenging to perform. High-precision conformal techniques such as stereotactic radiosurgery/radiotherapy, intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and particle therapy, etc have been incorporated into routine clinical practice including for brain tumors without always being supported by level-1 evidence.

We therefore conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled trial of stereotactic conformal radiotherapy compared to conventional radiotherapy in young patients with residual/progressive bening and low grade brain tumors requiring radiotherapy for optimal disease control.

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Promising Study of Shorter Course of Radiation Therapy After Mastectomy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bruce G. Haffty, MD Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

Dr. Haffty

Bruce G. Haffty, MD
Professor and Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology
Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Shorter courses of radiation for patients treated by lumpectomy are now commonly employed. For patients receiving radiation to the chest wall and lymph nodes after mastectomy, the standard 5 to 6 week course is used and shorter courses have not been adopted.

We initiated this trial of a shorter course of radiation to the chest wall and lymph nodes after mastectomy to test its feasibility, safety and outcome.
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Shorter Term Precision Radiation Found Effective For Prostate Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Charles N Catton, MD, FRCPC Cancer Clinical Research Unit (CCRU) Princess Margaret Cancer Centre UHN

Dr. Catton

Charles N Catton, MD, FRCPC
Cancer Clinical Research Unit (CCRU)
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
UHN 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Prostate cancer is a very common malignancy which is frequently treated with external beam radiotherapy. A typical standard treatment course can extend over 7.5-8.5 weeks.

The introduction of high-precision radiotherapy treatment techniques provided the opportunity to compress treatment courses by delivering fewer, but more intensive daily treatments. The concerns with giving fewer and larger daily treatments (hypofractionation) is that toxicity may increase and that cancer control may become worse.

This international randomized trial enrolled 1206 men with intermediate risk prostate cancer and compared a standard 8 week course of external beam radiation treatment with a novel hypofractionated treatment course that was given over 4 weeks. Cancer control as measured by PSA control and clinical evidence of failure, bowel and bladder toxicity and quality of life were compared.

At a median follow-up of 6 years the hypofractionated regimen was found to be non-inferior to the standard regimen for cancer control. There was no difference early or late bladder toxicity between the two treatments. There was slightly worse early bowel toxicity during and immediately after treatment with the hypofractionated regimen, but there was actually slightly less long-term bowel toxicity with this same regimen.

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Using a Spacer During Prostate Radiation May Help Preserve Sexual Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel A. Hamstra, MD PhD The Texas Center for Proton Therapy Irving, TX

Dr. Hamstra

Daniel A. Hamstra, MD PhD
Radiation Oncologist
Beaumont Hospital
Dearborn Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the The SpaceOAR phase 3 trial study and the hydrogel spacer?

Response: External beam radiation therapy is commonly used to treat men with prostate cancer. As part of this treatment, side effects can occur involving bowel, urinary, and sexual symptoms.

This study was performed to test if an absorbable hydrogel placed between the prostate and rectum (using a simple outpatient procedure) could move the rectum away from the prostate and thus result in sparing of the rectum and decreased bowel toxicity. The study randomized 222 men and the three-year data were just published (The International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology and Physics). With three years of follow-up, we saw that the spacer did improve the radiation plans and decreased both rectal toxicity and urinary toxicity.

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Reduction in Radiation Has Reduced Second Tumors in Pediatric Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lucie Turcotte, MD, MPH University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Assistant Professor Minneapolis, MN 55455

Dr. Lucie Turcotte

Lucie Turcotte, MD, MPH
University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital
Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
Assistant Professor
Minneapolis, MN 55455

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have observed dramatic improvements in the number of survivors of childhood cancer over the last 60 years. As more children are surviving, we have identified many important late health consequences of cancer therapy. One of the most devastating of these late health consequences is the diagnosis of a second cancer. As we have identified late effects, such as second cancers, we have modified therapy in an effort to prevent long-term sequelae of therapy, while still maintaining superior survival rates.

For this study, we utilized data from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS), which is a cohort of more than 23,000 survivors of childhood cancer from multiple centers in North America, who were initially diagnosed between 1970 and 1999. Our analysis focused on elucidating whether survivors diagnosed more recently were experiencing fewer second cancers, and determining whether a reduction in second cancers could be associated with treatment modifications.

The most important finding from this study is that the reductions in therapeutic radiation exposure that occurred between 1970-1999 resulted in a significant reduction in the second cancers experienced by survivors of childhood cancer.

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Targeted Radiosurgery Beats Whole Brain Radiation For Brain Tumor Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

N. Scott Litofsky, M.D. Chief of the Division of Neurological Surgery University of Missouri School of Medicine

Dr. N. Scott Litofsky,

N. Scott Litofsky, M.D.
Chief of the Division of Neurological Surgery
University of Missouri School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Radiosurgery is being used more often for treatment of brain metastases to avoid potential side effects of whole-brain radiation, such as cognition and mobility impairment. After surgical resection of a brain metastases, some radiation treatment is generally needed to control brain disease. Few studies have directly compared efficacy of tumor control between surgery followed by whole-brain radiation and surgery followed by radiosurgery.

Our objective was to compare outcomes in two groups of patients – one whose brain metastasis was treated with surgery followed by whole-brain radiation and one whose surgery was followed by radiosurgery to the post-operative tumor bed.

We found that tumor control was similar for both groups, with survival actually better in the radiosurgery group. The complications of treatment were similar.

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Radiation Therapy Improves Pain and Quality of Life in Bone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rachel McDonald, MD(C)

Department of Radiation Oncology
Odette Cancer Centre
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Radiation treatment has been demonstrated in numerous studies to provide effective and timely pain relief to those suffering from painful bone metastases. However, as a palliative treatment, the goal should be not only to reduce pain but also to maintain and even improve quality of life. To date, studies have not effectively demonstrated this; most of these have included either small sample sizes or utilize questionnaires that aren’t tailored to the palliative cancer population with bone metastases.

We aimed to determine how soon after radiation treatment one can expect an improvement in quality of life. Our results showed that patients who had a pain response to radiation also had significantly greater improvements in pain, pain characteristics, functional interference, and psychosocial aspects of well-being at day 10 post-treatment. Further improvements in most domains of quality of life were found for responders at day 42.

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Fall in PSA Best Predictor of Mortality After Prostate Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Trevor Royce MD MS
Resident, Harvard Radiation Oncology Program

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Clinical trials in early prostate cancer take more than a decade to report on.

Multiple early reporting endpoints have been proposed, but which one is best, remains unknown, until now. Of all the possible early endpoints examined, to date, how low a PSA blood test falls to, after treatment with radiation and hormonal therapy, appears to be the best, specifically, if the PSA doesn’t get below half a point, that patient is very likely to die of prostate cancer if given standard treatment for recurrence.

Those men deserve prompt enrollment on clinical trials in order to properly save their life.

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Adjuvant Radiotherapy May Benefit Elderly ER- Breast Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emily C. Daugherty, MD
Upstate Medical University
Radiation Oncology Resident, PGY-4

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Adjuvant radiation following breast conserving surgery has been well
established in the management of early-stage breast cancer as it has
been shown to decrease the incidence of ipsilateral breast tumor
recurrences and also reduce breast cancer mortality. Large prospective
trials have shown for elderly patients with favorable, ER positive
pathology, omission of radiation after lumpectomy can be considered.

However, women with ER negative disease were typically not included in
these trials and given their higher risk for relapse as well as lack of
effective endocrine therapy, we hypothesized that adjuvant radiation
would benefit women over 70 years with early-stage, ER negative tumors.

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Post-Op Radiotherapy Improved Survival In Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michelle M. Chen, MD/MHS Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery Stanford University

Dr. Michelle Chen

Michelle M. Chen, MD/MHS
Department of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery
Stanford University 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The benefit of post-operative radiotherapy (PORT) for patients with T1-T2 N1 oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer without adverse pathologic features is unclear. Starting in 2014, the national guidelines no longer recommended consideration of post-operative radiotherapy for N1 oropharyngeal cancer patients, but left it as a consideration for N1 oral cavity cancer patients. We found that post-operative radiotherapy was associated with improved survival in both oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers, particularly in patients younger than 70 years of age and those with T2 disease.

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Mibefradil Dihydrochoride with Hypofractionated Radiation for Recurrent Glioblastoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nataniel Lester-Coll, MD Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Yale New Haven, Connecticut

Dr. Nataniel Lester-Coll

Nataniel Lester-Coll, MD
Chief Resident in Radiation Oncology at Yale
New Haven, Connecticut 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Recurrent Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) has limited treatment options and the prognosis is poor. Mibefradil diydrochloride was identified using a high-throughput compound screen for DNA double stranded break repair inhibitors. Mibefradil was found to radiosensitize GBM tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. Based on these findings, we sought to determine the maximum tolerated dose of mibefradil and radiation therapy in a Phase I recurrent GBM study. Eligible patients with recurrent  Glioblastoma Multiforme received Mibefradil over a 17 day period, with hypofractionated radiation (600 cGy x 5 fractions). There are 18 patients currently enrolled who have completed treatment. Thus far, there is no clear evidence of radionecrosis. A final dose level of 200 mg/day was reached as the maximum tolerated dose. The drug was very well tolerated at this dose. We saw intriguing evidence of enhanced local control in selected cases. Patients enrolled in a translational substudy who received Mibefradil prior to surgery were found to have adequate levels of Mibefradil in resected brain tumor tissue.

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Synergy Between Radiation and Chemotherapy Enhances Melanoma Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

James S. Welsh, MS, MD, FACRO President, American College of Radiation Oncology Professor and Medical Director Director of Clinical & Translational Research Department of Radiation Oncology Stritch School of Medicine Loyola University- Chicago Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center Maguire Center, Rm 2932 Maywood, IL 60153 Chief of Radiation Oncology Hines VA Medical Center

Dr. James Welsh

James S. Welsh, MS, MD, FACRO
President, American College of Radiation Oncology
Professor and Medical Director
Director of Clinical & Translational Research
Department of Radiation Oncology
Stritch School of Medicine Loyola University- Chicago
Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center
Maywood, IL 60153
Chief of Radiation Oncology
Hines VA Medical Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Welsh: Cancer immunotherapy could represent a truly powerful means of addressing cancer. Although immunotherapy itself is not new, there are new agents and combinations of older agents (including radiation therapy) that could prove more successful than anything we have seen in many years. The data in melanoma thus far is quite encouraging and this preliminary success could possibly extend to many other malignancies as well.

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Intra-operative Radiation For Breast Cancer Better For Patients and Environment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jayant S Vaidya MBBS MS DNB FRCS PhD  Professor of Surgery and Oncology,  Scientific Director, Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science, University College London Whittington Health - Clinical Lead for Breast Cancer Royal Free Hospital University College London Hospital
Jayant S Vaidya MBBS MS DNB FRCS PhD 
Professor of Surgery and Oncology,
Scientific Director, Clinical Trials Group,
Division of Surgery and Interventional Science,
University College London
Whittington Health – Clinical Lead for Breast Cancer
Royal Free Hospital
University College London Hospital

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Prof. Vaidya: TARGIT-A randomised clinical trial (ISRCTN34086741) compared giving TARGIT IORT during lumpectomy vs. traditional EBRT given over several weeks after lumpectomy for breast cancer; local-recurrence-free-survival was similar in the two arms of the trial, particularly when TARGIT was given simultaneously with lumpectomy. Also, there were significantly fewer deaths from other causes with TARGIT IORT.

This study calculated journeys made by patients with breast cancer to receive their radiotherapy, using the geographic and treatment data from a large randomised trial.

The study then assessed the same outcomes (travel distances, travel time and CO2emissions) in two semi-rural breast cancers—the results of this assessment confirm and reinforce the original results: the benefit of the use of TARGIT for patients from two semi=rural breast centres was even larger (753 miles (1212 km), 30 h, 215 kg CO2 per patient).

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Genetic Variants May Raise Risk of Breast Cancer In Pediatric Radiation Therapy Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lindsay M. Morton, PhD Senior investigator in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetic National Cancer Institute Bethesda, Maryland

Dr. Lindsay Morton

Lindsay M. Morton, PhD
Senior investigator in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch of the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetic
National Cancer Institute
Bethesda, Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Morton: We know that childhood cancer survivors, particularly those who received radiotherapy to the chest, have strongly increased risk of developing breast cancer. We studied about 3,000 female survivors of childhood cancer to identify whether inherited genetic susceptibility may influence which survivors go on to develop breast cancer.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Morton: In this discovery study, we found that specific variants in two regions of the genome were associated with increased risk of breast cancer after childhood cancer among survivors who received 10 or more gray of chest radiotherapy. A variant at position q41 on chromosome 1 was associated with nearly two-fold increased risk and one at position q23 on chromosome 11 was associated with a more than three-fold increased risk for each copy of the risk alleles. However, the variant alleles didn’t appear to have an effect among survivors who did not receive chest radiotherapy.

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Chemotherapy Plus Radiation Demonstrated Control of Liver Metastases in Colon Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Guy van Hazel Clinical Professor of Medicine, School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia

Dr. Guy van Hazel

Dr Guy van Hazel
Clinical Professor of Medicine,
School of Medicine and Pharmacology,
University of Western Australia 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. van Hazel: The SIRFLOX study is based on original work by Dr Bruce Gray and myself almost two decades ago, when we studied the combination of Selective Internal Radiation Therapy (SIRT) with Y-90 resin microspheres – which was absolutely new at the time – with hepatic artery chemotherapy. This study showed an increase in liver control with the addition of SIRT [Gray B et al. Ann Oncol 2001; 12: 1711–1720.].

We then proceeded to initiate a trial comparing systemic SIRT plus 5-FU/LV according to the Mayo Clinic regimen compared to the Mayo Clinic regimen alone, but unfortunately this had to be abandoned because new chemotherapy became available which made it unethical to offer the control arm. However, in those patients who were treated up to that point with SIRT plus 5-FU/LV [van Hazel G et al. J Surg Oncol 2004; 88: 78–85.] we did see a very high response rates compared to the control arm, with an impressive survival of 29 months. We subsequently did a phase l/ll study of modified FOLFOX6 with or without SIRT and again found very high response rates [Sharma R et al. J Clin Oncol 2007; 25: 1099–1106.].  This led us to launch the SIRFLOX study in 2007.

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Radiation Converts Some Resistant Head and Neck Cancer Cells Into Aggressive Stem Cells

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Erina Vlashi, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90095-1714

Dr. Erina Vlashi

Erina Vlashi, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1714

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Vlashi: It has been known for quite some time that head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC) that test positive for human papilloma virus (HPV) respond to radiation therapy more favorably than HPV-negative HNSCCs. Our team reviewed a cohort of 162 patients with a head and neck squamous carcinoma diagnosis over a two-year period, and confirmed that the outcomes were correlated with the patient’s HPV status. The work that followed was prompted by a discovery we had made earlier in breast cancer suggesting that breast cancer cells that manage to survive radiation therapy have the capacity to convert into more de-differentiated, therapy-resistant cells with characteristics of cancer stem cells, and that the degree of this conversion depended on the type of breast cancer: the more aggressive types of breast cancer being more prone to the therapy-induced phenotype conversion. So, we hypothesized that this therapy-induced conversion phenomenon may especially be at play in  head and neck squamous cell carcinomas given the clinical observation that HPV-positive HNSCCs respond to radiation therapy much more favorably than HPV-negative HNSCCs, despite optimum treatment modalities. And indeed, that is what we found: tumor cells derived from a panel of  head and neck squamous cell carcinomas cell lines that do not respond well to radiation therapy have an enhanced ability to convert the cells that survive radiation into more aggressive cells, cancer stem-like cells that will resist the next round of radiation therapy.  Continue reading

Proton Radiation Therapy: Treats Pediatric Brain Tumor With Fewer Long Term Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Torunn Yock, MD Director, Pediatric Radiation Oncology Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Radiation Oncology Quality Assurance Massachusetts General Hospital, Proton Center Boston, MA

Dr. Torunn Yock

Dr. Torunn Yock, MD
Director, Pediatric Radiation Oncology
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Radiation Oncology Quality Assurance
Massachusetts General Hospital, Proton Center
Boston, MA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Yock: Proton radiotherapy is a highly targeted form of radiation therapy that can spare normal tissues better than standard x-ray/photon based radiotherapy. Because, all side effects from radiotherapy come from radiation dose to normal healthy tissues, it is widely believed that proton radiotherapy has great potential to mitigate the side effects of treatment, both acute and long term side effects. There have been many planning studies that show that proton radiation can achieve a more highly conformal dose distribution and appear to spare 50% or more normal tissue from unnecessary irradiation.  However, there have been only a handful of retrospective studies that report disease control and side effects of treatment. While the technology looked promising, the definitive clinical data has been lacking to date. Because of this lack of clinical outcome data, the role and benefit of proton radiotherapy has been a subject of great debate in the oncology community.  Critics assert that proton radiotherapy is expensive and unproven and therefore a leading culprit in escalating costs of oncologic health care. Proponents assert that when used in the appropriate patient setting, the margin of benefit in terms of improved health outcomes, outweighs the increased cost of treatment.

We embarked on this study to answer help answer the call for prospectively collected clinical outcome data to better define the most appropriate role for proton radiotherapy. Importantly, this study addresses both disease control and side effects of treatment in a pediatric medulloblastoma cohort of children.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Yock: This study shows that disease control in the pediatric medulloblastoma population is very much the same as that which is achieved by photon based radiotherapy treatments. However, more importantly, late side effects commonly attributed to radiotherapy such as neurocognitive decline over time and hearing loss appear to be improved compared with published photon treated cohorts of pediatric medulloblastoma patients.  Additionally, adverse late side effects on the cardiopulmonary, GI, and reproductive systems were essentially eliminated.

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Radiation Overutilized in Elderly Stage1 ER+ Breast Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Quyen Chu, MD, MBA, FACS Charles Knight Professor in Surgery Professor of Surgery Chief, Surgical Oncology Director, Surface Malignancies Program Feist-Weiller Cancer Center Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, Shreveport

Dr. Quyen Chu

Quyen Chu, MD, MBA, FACS
Charles Knight Professor in Surgery
Professor of Surgery
Chief, Surgical Oncology
Director, Surface Malignancies Program
Feist-Weiller Cancer Center
Louisiana State University
Health Sciences Center, Shreveport

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Chu: In 2004, national treatment recommendations changed for a select group of elderly breast cancer patients with the Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 9343 trial. Research found that postoperative radiation therapy was not needed to prolong survival in a select group of women 70 or older, mainly those with a small, estrogen receptor (ER) positive tumor, and receiving anti-hormone therapy.  Even with this information, nearly two thirds of the women who fit these criteria were still receiving radiation therapy after undergoing a lumpectomy although it has been proven to be safe to omit.

We found that as a nation, we are mostly not following the national guideline on breast cancer treatment and that the possible side effects of RT can be avoided.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Chu: Clinicians and patients should take away from this report that in U.S. women 70 or older with stage I, ER+ breast cancer and receiving anti-hormone therapy, radiation therapy is overly utilized as it is not needed to prolong survival.  

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Brachytherapy Offers Alternative Treatment of Difficult Non Melanoma Skin Cancer

Radiation Oncologist Redical director of 21st Century Oncology of Arizona

Dr. Ajay Bhatnagar

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
Dr. Ajay Bhatnagar MD
Radiation Oncologist
Medical director of 21st Century Oncology of Arizona

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this report? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bhatnagar: I recently presented updated data regarding my research at the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in a poster titled “Electronic brachytherapy for the treatment of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer: Results up to 5 years.”

For this clinical study, I have been using the Xoft® Axxent® Electronic Brachytherapy (eBx®) System® which is FDA cleared, CE marked and licensed in Canada for the treatment of cancer anywhere in the body, including early-stage breast cancer, gynecological cancers, and nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) including basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).

For the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer, the Xoft System uses a proprietary, miniaturized x-ray source to deliver a precise dose of targeted radiation directly to the surface lesion. This treatment uses electronic brachytherapy (eBx) to target cancerous cells while sparing healthy tissue. It is painless, non-invasive and offers a number of patient benefits, including fewer treatments than traditional radiation therapy.

According to my findings, the Xoft System is safe and effective for the treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancer, with low rates of recurrence and excellent clinical outcomes.

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Lung Cancer: Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy Linked to Improved Quality of Life

Benjamin Movsas, MD Chairman of Radiation Oncology Henry Ford Hospital Detroit, Michigan

Dr. Movsas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Benjamin Movsas, MD

Chairman of Radiation Oncology
Henry Ford Hospital
Detroit, Michigan 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Movsas: The background is that a recent randomized lung cancer trial (RTOG 0617) showed a lower (rather than a higher) survival among the patients who received a higher dose of radiation (RT).  This unexpected finding was puzzling as there were few differences in toxicity between the radiation dose arms noted by health care providers.

The main finding of the quality of life (QOL) analysis was that there was indeed a large difference in QOL as reported by the patients themselves (with lower QOL on the high RT dose arm at 3 months).  Moreover, while this study was not randomized for RT technique, about half of the patients received intensity modulated RT (IMRT), a more sophisticated approach than the alternative (3D conformal RT), which can better protect normal tissues.  Despite the fact that patients with larger tumors received IMRT, their self reported QOL one year later was significantly better (ie, much less decline in QOL) relative to patients who received 3D conformal RT.  Finally, higher QOL at baseline significantly predicated for better survival.

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STAMPEDE Trial: Radiation Therapy Reduced Prostate Cancer Relapses

Prof Nicholas James STAMPEDE Trial Chief Investigator Director of the Cancer Research Centre Warwick Medical School University of Warwick Coventry and Professor of Clinical Oncology Cancer Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham

Prof. Nicolas James

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof Nicholas James
STAMPEDE Trial Chief Investigator
Director of the Cancer Research Centre
Warwick Medical School
University of Warwick Coventry and
Professor of Clinical Oncology
Cancer Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Birmingham

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. James: The STAMPEDE trial is a multi-arm, multi-stage trials platform testing a range of different therapies in addition to standard of care (SOC) for men commencing long term androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for newly diagnosed locally advanced or metastatic prostate cancer. These data from the control arm form part of a pair of publications detailing outcomes in the control arm of STAMPEDE and help to make sense of the forthcoming paper on the randomised comparisons currently in press at the Lancet.

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Outcomes of Shorter Radiation Therapy for Prostate Cancer Reported

Luca Incrocci, MD, PhD Department of Radiation Oncology Erasmus MC-Daniel den Hoed Cancer Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Prof. Incrocci

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Luca Incrocci, MD, PhD
Department of Radiation Oncology
Erasmus MC-Daniel den Hoed Cancer
Rotterdam, The Netherlands 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr.Incrocci: The trial was designed in 2005-2006. The rationale was to reduce the number of fractions and therefore increase patient’s comfort. At that moment some preliminary data was available on the sensitivity of prostate cancer cells to a higher does per fraction.

Our calculations brought us to choose this new fractionation schedule.

The hypofractionation arm (19×3.4 Gy/3 times per week) has shown equivalence in outcome compared to the conventional treatment (39×2 Gy/5 times per week) at a follow-up of 5 yrs. Toxicity is comparable, with a slight increase in bowel complaints at 5yrs. Patients will be followed-up to 10yrs.

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Men’s Supplements Never Tested Despite Marketed as “Clinically Proven”

Dr. Nicholas G. Zaorsky MD Resident Physician, Radiation Oncology Fox Chase Cancer Center

Dr. Nicholas Zaorsky

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Nicholas G. Zaorsky MD
Resident Physician, Radiation Oncology
Fox Chase Cancer Center

Medical Research: What was the motivation for your studies?

Dr. Zaorsky: Men often walk down grocery store aisles and see bottles of pills labeled “men’s health” or “prostate health.” We call these pills “men’s health supplements.” Our goal is to determine what effect (if any) these pills have on the cancer that men are most commonly diagnosed with – that is, prostate cancer.

Medical Research: What is the significance of these findings in simple terms? What are the implications for human health? What would you hope a general audience might take away from these findings?

Dr. Zaorsky:  Men with prostate cancer commonly use these pills because of the high incidence of prostate cancer (about 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with the disease), the stress associated with the diagnosis, the desire to benefit from all potential treatments, and the limited regulation on marketing and sale of the supplements.  Many men believe the supplements will help their cancer or (at worst) do nothing – so what’s the harm?  We found that men’s health supplements have no effect on curing prostate cancer treated with radiation therapy (a common treatment option). Men who took these pills also had no difference in their side effects during or after treatment.  Although we did not see a change in side effects, there have been thousands of cases in the US where supplements have harmed patients.

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Shorter Palliative Radiation Therapy May Benefit Debilitated Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kavita Vyas Dharmarajan M.D., M.Sc Assistant Professor Radiation Oncology Assistant Professor Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: Forty to fifty percent of all patients having radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment are having the treatment for palliative reasons – meaning, not to cure the cancer but rather to alleviate or prevent symptoms caused by it. The most common reason for referral to a radiation oncologist in the setting of advanced cancer is for alleviation of pain or prevention of an impending fracture due to bone metastases. Radiation therapy is very effective at relieving pain; in fact, published response rates are about 60-80%. The standard treatment has been two weeks of radiation treatment, and this is a common treatment scheme followed by many radiation oncologists. This may be too long or burdensome for some patients given their overall state of illness, or other personal or logistical factors. Several large randomized trials have shown that shorter radiation courses, even as short as 1 fraction of treatment, can be just as effective as 10 fractions (or, two weeks) of treatment. However, literature suggests that these condensed approaches are underutilized by radiation oncologists. A major disadvantage of traditional 2-week courses of radiation is that patients who are very debilitated may be kept in the hospital to undergo this treatment. Some patients stop early because it is too burdensome. Moreover, some may not survive long enough after the treatment to appreciate its benefits. At Mount Sinai, we proposed an intervention that combined the technical expertise within radiation oncology with the whole-patient support services of palliative medicine into a service model led by a single radiation oncologist specializing in the care of advanced cancer patients and collaboration with experts in palliative care. The service model was meant to care for patients suffering from advanced cancer with the goal of improving the quality of care that these patients receive. About two years into the establishment of this new model, we assessed patient outcomes of pain improvement, length of hospitalization, utilization of palliative care services after radiation, treatment completion rates, and duration of treatments. To accomplish this study, we reviewed the charts of 336 consecutively treated patients who underwent radiation therapy at the Mount Sinai Hospital over the last 5 years. We compared the outcomes of the patients treated before the model was established in 2013 to those treated after the model was established. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: We found large differences in quality of care for advanced cancer patients being treated for symptomatic bone metastases after establishment of our palliative radiation oncology consult service. The rate of short-course treatments (meaning 5 or fewer radiation fractions) rose from 26% to 61%, while the corresponding rate of traditional length treatments (meaning, treatments over 5 fractions) declined from 74% to 39%. Hospital length of stay declined by 6 days, from 18 to 12 days (median). We also found that more patients were finishing their treatments -- the proportion of treatments left unfinished halved, from 15% to 8%. More patients were accessing palliative care services within 30 days of finishing radiation, (34% vs. 49%). We did not see a significant change in the proportion of patients experiencing pain relief from the treatment. In fact, we saw a slight improvement (74% to 80%), but this was not a statistically significant increase. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from this report? Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: Our study validates the importance of cohesive collaboration in cancer care. The palliative radiation oncology service model thrives at the Mount Sinai Hospital because of the unique and strong partnership between palliative care and radiation oncology departments. Yet, there are elements of palliative care practice that can transcend other disciplines including radiation oncology. These include eliciting and attending to goals, preferences, expectations, and concerns of patients and families being evaluated for treatment. Shorter treatment courses for advanced cancer patients are effective, and the implications of using such treatments goes beyond that of just finishing the treatment early. Patients treated within our service model were more likely to finish their treatment and spend 6 more days at home with their families. Clinicians should know that using such an approach did not compromise the efficacy of the treatment. Medical Research: What should patients know about your study? Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: Patients should know that their voices, their preferences, and their goals matter when making decisions about palliative radiation treatment. My goal as a palliative radiation oncologist is to engage patients and their families to set realistic expectations and incorporate their goals and preferences into their treatment plans. By involving key players in this process, such as palliative care specialists, we can ensure that patients receive the best quality of care that treats the whole person, not just a tumor. Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study? Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: Our study showed that making small changes to everyday practice in the real world can lead to large impacts on patient outcomes in a population of cancer patients who are often the sickest. Our next projects revolve around 1) how best to equip radiation oncologists with the skills needed to appropriately provide treatment and primary palliative care to advanced cancer patients, and 2) to empower patients and families to engage with their physicians in discussions about their treatment including their overall goals and preferences. Both of these concepts ultimately have direct impacts on treatment recommendations and treatment outcomes for advanced cancer patients and their families. Citation: upcoming Palliative Care abstract: A palliative radiation oncology consult service’s impact on care of advanced cancer patients with symptomatic bone metastases.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Kavita Vyas Dharmarajan M.D., M.Sc
Assistant Professor Radiation Oncology
Assistant Professor Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? 

Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: Forty to fifty percent of all patients having radiation therapy as part of cancer treatment are having the treatment for palliative reasons – meaning, not to cure the cancer but rather to alleviate or prevent symptoms caused by it. The most common reason for referral to a radiation oncologist in the setting of advanced cancer is for alleviation of pain or prevention of an impending fracture due to bone metastases.

Radiation therapy is very effective at relieving pain; in fact, published response rates are about 60-80%. The standard treatment has been two weeks of radiation treatment, and this is a common treatment scheme followed by many radiation oncologists. This may be too long or burdensome for some patients given their overall state of illness, or other personal or logistical factors.

Several large randomized trials have shown that shorter radiation courses, even as short as 1 fraction of treatment, can be just as effective as 10 fractions (or, two weeks) of treatment. However, literature suggests that these condensed approaches are underutilized by radiation oncologists. A major disadvantage of traditional 2-week courses of radiation is that patients who are very debilitated may be kept in the hospital to undergo this treatment. Some patients stop early because it is too burdensome. Moreover, some may not survive long enough after the treatment to appreciate its benefits.

At Mount Sinai, we proposed an intervention that combined the technical expertise within radiation oncology with the whole-patient support services of palliative medicine into a service model led by a single radiation oncologist specializing in the care of advanced cancer patients and collaboration with experts in palliative care. The service model was meant to care for patients suffering from advanced cancer with the goal of improving the quality of care that these patients receive. About two years into the establishment of this new model, we assessed patient outcomes of pain improvement, length of hospitalization, utilization of palliative care services after radiation, treatment completion rates, and duration of treatments. To accomplish this study, we reviewed the charts of 336 consecutively treated patients who underwent radiation therapy at the Mount Sinai Hospital over the last 5 years. We compared the outcomes of the patients treated before the model was established in 2013 to those treated after the model was established.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Vyas Dharmarajan: We found large differences in quality of care for advanced cancer patients being treated for symptomatic bone metastases after establishment of our palliative radiation oncology consult service. The rate of short-course treatments (meaning 5 or fewer radiation fractions) rose from 26% to 61%, while the corresponding rate of traditional length treatments (meaning, treatments over 5 fractions) declined from 74% to 39%. Hospital length of stay declined by 6 days, from 18 to 12 days (median). We also found that more patients were finishing their treatments — the proportion of treatments left unfinished halved, from 15% to 8%. More patients were accessing palliative care services within 30 days of finishing radiation, (34% vs. 49%). We did not see a significant change in the proportion of patients experiencing pain relief from the treatment. In fact, we saw a slight improvement (74% to 80%), but this was not a statistically significant increase.

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Chemotherapy and Radiation For Brain Cancer Lead To Brain Shrinkage

Jorg Dietrich, MBA MMSc MD PhD Director, Cancer & Neurotoxicity Clinic and Brain Repair Research Program Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Assistant Professor of Neurology Harvard Medical SchoolMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jorg Dietrich, MBA MMSc MD PhD 
Director, Cancer & Neurotoxicity Clinic and Brain Repair Research Program
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Assistant Professor of Neurology
Harvard Medical School

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Dietrich: Understanding the adverse effects associated with cancer therapy is an important issue in oncology. Specifically, management of acute and delayed neurotoxicity of chemotherapy and radiation in brain cancer patients has been challenging. There is an unmet clinical need to better characterize the effects of standard cancer therapy on the normal brain and to identify patients at risk of developing neurotoxicity. In this regard, identifying novel biomarkers of neurotoxicity is essential to develop strategies to protect the brain and promote repair of treatment-induced damage.

In this study, we demonstrate that standard chemotherapy and radiation in patients treated for glioblastoma is associated with progressive brain volume loss and damage to gray matter – the area of the brain that contains most neurons.

A cohort of 14 patients underwent sequential magnetic resonance imaging studies prior to, during and following standard chemoradiation to characterize the pattern of structural changes that occur as a consequence of treatment.

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Radiation of Internal Mammary Nodes May Have Small Breast Cancer Survival Benefit

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD Head of Department, Radiation Oncology ESTRO President Radboud university medical center The Netherlands  Medical Research: What is the background for this study?   Dr. Poortmans:  Based on the former hypothesis that breast cancer sequentially spreads from breast to lymph nodes and from there to distant organs, up to the eighties it was very custom to perform extended radical surgery and to irradiate extensively locoregional for most patients. With the growing interest in systemic treatments to prevent development (= from already present undetectable cancer cells to really visible and threatening metastases) of distant metastases, new information about possible late side effects and our increasing knowledge about the biological behaviour of breast cancer in the eighties and the nineties, the extend of especially locoregional treatment was gradually reduced. For radiation therapy, often the irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes was left aside, as this was linked to the delivery of radiation dose to the heart, possibly or probably leading to late side effects. At the start of the study, about half of the radiation oncology departments did include irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes in patients with risk factors, while the other half did not. Hereby we had an ideal base for the investigation of the value of treating the non-operated part of the regional lymph nodes.  Medical Research: What are the main findings?  Dr. Poortmans:  We found a decreased risk for development of distant metastases of 3% at 10 years, translated in a 3% overall improved overall disease free survival. Up to now, It leads to an improvement of 1.6% in overall survival at 10 years, which is, in contrast to the earlier 2 findings, just not statistically significant (borderline at p = 0.06). On the other hand, breast cancer related mortality is significantly improved and we did not see an increase in non breast cancer related causes of death. Overall toxicity was limited with only a significant increase in pulmonary toxicity, however to a low grade in the big majority of those patients. The benefit in overall survival is in a similar order of magnitude than adding for example taxanes to anthracycline-based adjuvant chemotherapy for a similar patient population as ours.  Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Poortmans:     First, we should appreciated that the regional (lymph node) recurrence rate is a poor endpoint for evaluation of also locoregional treatment. This can be explained by the fact that once distant metastases are found, no further search for local (breast) or regional (lymph nodes) recurrences is performed any more, as this is not relevant anymore for treatment or prognosis. However, the spread of distant metastases might occur from cancer involvement of the lymph nodes, explaining why we saw the effect of the lymph node irradiation basically only on the rate of development of distant metastases.     As a second message, we can appreciate that the 3% decreased distant metastases rate did not yet fully translate into a survival benefit, which can be explained by the need for even longer follow-up than 10 years. The explanation lies simply in the fact that even after development of distant metastases, patients can live for quite some more years with, however, only very little chance for definitive cure.     Thirdly, we demonstrated with the quality assurance programme linked to this trial that radiation treatment as used those days (the accrual phase was from 1996 until January 2004) radiation therapy techniques should be nowadays considered as suboptimal with a lack of full coverage of the target volumes and delivery of a too high dose to the organs at risk. With modern techniques, we expect that the results will even be quite better.     And finally, that the overall outcome of breast cancer improved a lot: at the start of the trial, we estimated overall survival at 10 years being 50%, which we revised in 2000 to 75% and we ended up with more than 80%. Thereby, it becomes more of a challenge to demonstrate benefits of further improving treatment as the same relative improvement will be translated into a lower absolute improvement. Nevertheless, by more effectively preventing the development of distant metastases by improved systemic therapy (or even better by earlier detection with a lower basal rate of distant metastases) the importance of optimizing locoregional control becomes even higher.   Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?  Dr. Poortmans:   o	First of all we have to improve our ability to define which patients will gain most from this treatment.  o	Secondly, we have to further investigate how to optimize the technical aspects of this loco regional treatment and … o	Thirdly how to optimally integrate all treatment aspects including locoregional ones and systemic ones.  o	Based on all this, we can develop and then provide the patients with shared decision making tools.    Citation: Internal Mammary and Medial Supraclavicular Irradiation in Breast Cancer Philip M. Poortmans, Ph.D., Sandra Collette, M.Sc., Carine Kirkove, Ph.D., Erik Van Limbergen, Ph.D., Volker Budach, Ph.D., Henk Struikmans, Ph.D., Laurence Collette, Ph.D., Alain Fourquet, Ph.D., Philippe Maingon, M.D., Mariacarla Valli, M.D., Karin De Winter, M.D., Simone Marnitz, M.D., Isabelle Barillot, Ph.D., Luciano Scandolaro, M.D., Ernest Vonk, M.D., Carla Rodenhuis, Ph.D., Hugo Marsiglia, Ph.D., Nicola Weidner, Ph.D., Geertjan van Tienhoven, Ph.D., Christoph Glanzmann, Ph.D., Abraham Kuten, M.D., Rodrigo Arriagada, M.D., Harry Bartelink, Ph.D., and Walter Van den Bogaert, Ph.D. for the EORTC Radiation Oncology and Breast Cancer Groups N Engl J Med 2015; 373:317-327 July 23, 2015 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1415369       MedicalResearch.com is not a forum for the exchange of personal medical information, advice or the promotion of self-destructive behavior (e.g., eating disorders, suicide). While you may freely discuss your troubles, you should not look to the Website for information or advice on such topics. Instead, we recommend that you talk in person with a trusted medical professional. The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website. Philip.Poortmans@radboudumc.nl

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD
Head of Department, Radiation Oncology
ESTRO President
Radboud university medical center
The Netherlands

 


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Poortmans: Based on the former hypothesis that breast cancer sequentially spreads from breast to lymph nodes and from there to distant organs, up to the eighties it was very custom to perform extended radical surgery and to irradiate extensively locoregional for most patients. With the growing interest in systemic treatments to prevent development (= from already present undetectable cancer cells to really visible and threatening metastases) of distant metastases, new information about possible late side effects and our increasing knowledge about the biological behaviour of breast cancer in the eighties and the nineties, the extend of especially locoregional treatment was gradually reduced. For radiation therapy, often the irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes was left aside, as this was linked to the delivery of radiation dose to the heart, possibly or probably leading to late side effects. At the start of the study, about half of the radiation oncology departments did include irradiation of the internal mammary lymph nodes in patients with risk factors, while the other half did not. Hereby we had an ideal base for the investigation of the value of treating the non-operated part of the regional lymph nodes.

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Shorter Radiation Course For Early Breast Cancer Results In Better Quality of Life

Simona F. Shaitelman, MD, EdM Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology University of  Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX 77030MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Simona F. Shaitelman, MD, EdM

Assistant Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of  Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX 77030


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Shaitelman: Our study compared two different radiation therapy regimens for women with early stage breast cancer and examined the acute and short term toxicities associated with these two different treatments.  The treatments compared a shorter versus a longer course of whole breast irradiation, both delivered with a tumor bed boost.  Although prior published data supported giving a shorter course regimen, this was being used only in about one third of appropriate women in the United States, in part because of concerns regarding toxicities, restricted tumor enrollment in the earlier studies, as well as the earlier lack of incorporation of a tumor bed boost (which is standard and known to decrease the risk of tumor recurrence).

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Shaitelman: A total of 287 patients were enrolled, age 40 years and older, with stage 0-II breast cancer.  76% of patients in the study were overweight or obese (in comparison with previous studies that had excluded patients with a larger body mass index).  We found that during radiation treatment, women with the shorter course regimen had less breast pain, dermatitis, hyperpigmentation, and fatigue.  At six months, by both physician assessment and patient report, patients treated with the shorter regimen had less fatigue.  Patients treated with the shorter course regimen also reported having a better ability to care for the needs of their family compared to those patients treated with the longer course regimen.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Shaitelman: We believe that for women with early stage breast cancer, the shorter course regimen should be the starting point for discussions about whole breast radiation.  As breast cancer outcomes continue to improve, focusing on how our treatments impact patients’ quality of life in both the short and long-term will be increasingly important.

Citation:

MedicalResearch.com is not a forum for the exchange of personal medical information, advice or the promotion of self-destructive behavior (e.g., eating disorders, suicide). While you may freely discuss your troubles, you should not look to the Website for information or advice on such topics. Instead, we recommend that you talk in person with a trusted medical professional.

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

Simona F. Shaitelman, MD, EdM (2015). Shorter Radiation Course For Early Breast Cancer Results In Better Quality of Life 

Shorter Courses of Radiation For Breast Cancer Found Safe and Effective with Fewer Side Effects

Dr. Reshma Jagsi MD, DPhil Associate Professor and Deputy Chair for Faculty and Financial Operations in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Michigan Health System Research Investigator at the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine University of MichiganMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil
Associate Professor and Deputy Chair
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of Michigan

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: In recent years, there has been accumulating evidence from clinical trials that have supported the long-term safety and effectiveness of shorter courses of radiation therapy—“hypofractionated radiation therapy”—for patients with breast cancer.  However, little has been known about the experiences of patients during treatment, especially when this new approach is administered outside the setting of closely controlled clinical trials.  Our study examined the side effects and patient-reported experiences during radiation treatment of over 2000 breast cancer patients in the state of Michigan.  It found that women who received hypofractionated treatment were less likely to report side effects (including skin reaction and fatigue) than patients treated with more traditional courses of radiation treatment, delivered daily over 5-6 weeks or longer.

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Melanoma: Lymph Node Radiation After Lymphadenectomy Did Not Improve Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael A Henderson
MBBS BMedSc MD FRACS
Professor of Surgery, University of Melbourne
Deputy Director Division of Cancer Surgery
Head Skin and Melanoma Service
Division of Cancer Surgery
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
East Melbourne Victoria  Australia

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Henderson:  A number of retrospective reviews of adjuvant radiotherapy after lymphadenectomy for patients at high risk of further lymph node field relapse had all suggested that the risk of lymph node field relapse was reduced but there was controversy about whether there was any impact on survival. In addition many clinicians were concerned about the side effects of radiotherapy and in the absence of a proven survival benefit were reluctant to recommend it. Previously a phase 2 trial of adjuvant radiotherapy conducted by one of our co-authors Prof Bryan Burmiester confirmed that the morbidity of lymph node field radiotherapy was limited and the risks of recurrence was reduced. On that basis the current ANZMTG TROG randomised multicentre trial was initiated.

In summary this final report updates information on overall survival, lymph node field relapse etc and provides information for the first time on long term toxicity of treatment, quality of life and lymphedema. Adjuvant lymph node field radiotherapy for patients at high risk of further lymph node field relapse reduces the risk of further lymph node field relapse by 50% but it has no effect on survival. Although radiotherapy toxicity was common (3 in 4 patients), mostly involving skin and subcutaneous tissue it was mild-to-moderate in severity and had little impact upon the patient’s quality of life as measured by the FACT-G quality of life tool. Specific regional symptoms were more common in the radiated group. Limb volume measurements confirmed a significant but modest increase for patients receiving inguinal radiation (15%) but not for axillary radiation.

In the design of this trial, a decision was made to allow patients in the observation arm who developed an isolated lymph node field relapse to be salvaged by surgery and or radiotherapy. There were only two patients in the radiotherapy arm who developed an isolated lymph node field relapse and both died of metastatic disease. In the observation arm 26 patients developed an isolated lymph node field relapse and the majority (23) achieved lymph node field control with a combination of surgery and or radiotherapy. The five-year survival FROM development of a lymph node field relapse in this group was 34% which is comparable to the overall survival of the entire cohort (42% five-year overall survival). This information whilst a subset analysis suggests that if it would be reasonable in some patients to consider a policy of observation only, reserving further surgery and or radiotherapy for a second relapse.

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Cognitive Function Decline Common After Whole Brain Radiotherapy For Brain Metastases

MB. Pinkham, Clinical Oncology Christie NHS Foundation Trust Manchester UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
MB. Pinkham, Clinical Oncology

Christie NHS Foundation Trust
Manchester UK

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Response: Brain metastases are a serious complication of advanced malignancy and for most patients the objective is to maximise quality of survival. As treatment decisions become increasingly tailored to the individual, patient-focussed measures of efficacy such as neurocognitive function (NCF) are an important consideration. This is illustrated by the NCCTG N0574 randomised study reported last month at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2015 Annual Meeting. 208 patients with 1-3 brain metastases each <3cm were randomised to stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) or SRS with whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT). The addition of WBRT improved intracranial disease control but did not translate into a survival benefit and was associated with a decline in neurocognitive function at 3 months.

The objective of our study was to describe the types of changes in neurocognitive function that can occur, summarise how they are assessed and review approaches used to mitigate their effects. We wanted to provide busy physicians with a clear and comprehensive overview of the topic that could be used to inform clinical decisions.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: Using sensitive tests, most patients with brain metastases have deficits in neurocognitive function at diagnosis. Evaluating and understanding changes after treatment is complex because neurocognitive function is a dynamic process that is influenced by a long list of inter-related factors.

For patients treated using whole brain radiotherapy alone, worsening neurocognitive function is observed in about two-thirds within 2-6 months. Deficits in verbal memory and fine motor control are most common. It is unclear what proportion relates to treatment toxicity as opposed to disease progression or pre-terminal decline because both are unfortunately also common events during this interval. By contrast, in other patients, NCF improves after WBRT due to treatment response.

For patients with 1-4 brain metastases treated using SRS, the addition of WBRT improves intracranial disease control at the expense of deficits in verbal memory at 4 months but the impact of recurrence and salvage therapy on neurocognitive function later than this is uncertain. Scant data suggests that some deficits in neurocognitive function after WBRT may improve with time in long term survivors. For patients with ≥5 brain metastases, SRS and/or systemic therapies may be considered in select patients instead of upfront whole brain radiotherapy but high quality evidence is lacking.

Advanced radiotherapy technologies, such as hippocampal-sparing WBRT and post-operative cavity SRS, can limit the dose delivered to unaffected areas of the brain in the hope of reducing toxicity. Randomised studies assessing their efficacy and cost-effectiveness in various clinical situations are underway prior to routine use. Small but statistically significant improvements in certain neurocognitive domains can also be achieved using medications such as memantine and donepezil. Preclinical data suggests that some commonly available drugs (such as ramipril, lithium and indomethacin) may have neuroprotective properties following WBRT; further evaluation is warranted.

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No Definitive Biomarker Predicts Cancer Response To Radiation Therapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Ananya Choudhury

Consultant and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, Clinical Oncology
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust,
Wilmslow Road
Withington, Manchester, UK

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although more than half of newly diagnosed cancer patients are treated with radiotherapy, it is still not possible to select patients who will respond and tolerate radiotherapy compared to those who do not. There has been a lot of work done to try and isolate intrinsic biomarkers which will identify either radio-responsive or radio-resistant disease. We have undertaken a systematic view summarising the evidence for biomarkers as predictors of radiotherapy.

Despite identifying more than 500 references during a systematic literature search, we found only twelve studies which fulfilled our inclusion criteria. Important exclusion criteria included pre-clinical studies, studies with no control population and a sample size of less than 100 patients.

Only 10 biomarkers were identified as having been evaluated for their radiotherapy-specific predictive value in over 100 patients in a clinical setting, highlighting that despite a rich literature there were few high quality studies suitable for inclusion. The most extensively studied radiotherapy predictive biomarkers were the radiosensitivity index and MRE11; however, neither has been evaluated in a randomised controlled trial. Continue reading

Some Breast Cancer Patients Have Excellent Results With Partial Breast Radiation

Dr. Mitchell Kamrava MD Department of Radiation Oncology University of California Los Angeles Los Angeles, CAMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Mitchell Kamrava MD
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Kamrava: Breast conservation (lumpectomy followed by radiation) is known, based on multiple randomized trials with over 20 years of follow-up, to provided equivalent outcomes as mastectomy.  The radiation component of breast conservation has standardly been delivered to the whole breast.  Studies show that the majority of breast recurrences occur near the lumpectomy cavity causing some to ask whether it is necessary to treat the whole breast in order to reduce the risk of a recurrence.

Partial breast radiation delivers treatment just to the lumpectomy cavity with a small margin of 1-2 cm.  It’s delivered in a shorter time of 1 week compared with about 6 weeks for standard whole breast radiation and 3-4 weeks for hypofractionated whole breast radiation.

The original method developed to deliver partial breast radiation is interstitial tube and button brachytherapy.  This uses multiple small little tubes that are placed through the lumpectomy cavity to encompass the area at risk.  One end of these tubes can be connected to a high dose rate brachytherapy machine that allows a motorized cable with a very small radiation source welded to the end of it to be temporarily pushed in and out of each of the tubes so that the patient can be treated from “inside out”.  This helps concentrate the radiation to the area of the lumpectomy cavity while limiting exposure to normal tissues.  This treatment is most commonly delivered as an out-patient two times per day for a total of 10 treatments.

The main finding from our paper is that in reviewing the outcomes on over 1,000 women treated with this technique with an average follow-up of 6.9 years that the 10 year actuarial local recurrence rate was 7.6% and in women with more than 5 years of follow-up physician reported cosmetic outcomes were excellent/good in 84% of cases.

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Prostate Cancer: Does Timing of Radiation Therapy Affect Outcome?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Timothy N. Showalter, MD, MPH
Associate Professor & Residency Program Director
Department of Radiation Oncology
University of Virginia School of Medicine

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Showalter: Early radiation therapy has been shown to be an effective curative treatment for prostate cancer patietns with a rising PSA blood test after radical prostatectomy and for men with locally advanced prostate cancer who are at high risk of recurrence after prostatectomy. Despite evidence that radiation therapy is more effective when delivered early (or when the PSA is low), radiation therapy delivery is often delayed to allow more time for patients to recover urinary and sexual function. In order to provide evidence regarding whether delaying radiation therapy does reduce the risks of side effects of treatment, my colleagues and I evaluated outcomes of for a large cohort of patients who received treatment in the Emilia Romagna Region of Italy. We identified a total 0f 9,786 prostate cancer patients who received prostatectomy, including 22% of whom received post-prostatectomy radiation therapy. We found that earlier delivery of radiation therapy was not associated with increased risk of any adverse events, including gastrointestinal, urinary or sexual complications.

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Long-Term Androgen Deprivation Plus Radiation For High Risk Prostate Cancer

Almudena Zapatero MD PhD Senior Consultant Dpt Radiation Oncology Instituto Investigación Sanitaria IIS-IP Hospital Universitario de la Princesa MadridMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Almudena Zapatero MD PhD

Senior Consultant Dpt Radiation Oncology
Instituto Investigación Sanitaria IIS-IP
Hospital Universitario de la Princesa
Madrid


Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Zapatero: There is a significant body of evidence from randomized trials showing a significant improvement in clinical outcome with the combination of androgen deprivation and conventional-dose radiotherapy (≤70 Gy) in patients with high-risk and intermediate-risk prostate cancer. However, the optimal duration the optimum duration of androgen deprivation in the setting of high-dose radiotherapy remained to be determined.

The results of our trial (DART01/05) show that 2 years of adjuvant androgen deprivation is superior to 4 months androgen deprivation when combined with plus high-dose radiotherapy  in terms of biochemical control, freedom from metastasis and overall survival, particularly in patients with high-risk prostate cancer.

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Men with Favorable Intermediate-Risk Prostate Cancer May Also Be Candidates for Active Surveillance

Ann Caroline Raldow, M.D. Brigham and Women's Hospital Resident in Radiation OncologyMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ann Caroline Raldow, M.D.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Resident in Radiation Oncology

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Raldow: Active surveillance (AS) means monitoring the course of prostate cancer (PC) with the expectation to start treatment if the cancer progresses. Men who enter an AS program are able to defer and possibly avoid the side effects of prostate cancer treatment.

According to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, active surveillance is currently considered as an initial treatment approach for men with low-risk PC and a life expectancy of at least 10 years. However, no direct comparison has been made between favorable intermediate-risk and low-risk PC with regard to PC-specific mortality or all-cause mortality following treatment with high-dose radiation therapy such as brachytherapy, where radioactive seeds are placed inside the prostate to kill the cancer. We therefore assessed whether the risks of prostate cancer-specific mortality and all-cause mortality following brachytherapy were increased in men with favorable intermediate-risk versus low-risk prostate cancer. The study consisted of more than 5,000 men who were treated with brachytherapy at the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Chicago.

After a median follow-up of 7.69 years, there were no significant differences in prostate cancer-specific mortality and all-cause mortality between men with low-risk and favorable intermediate-risk prostate cancer, suggesting that men with favorable intermediate-risk prostate may also be candidates for AS.

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Non-Adherence to Guidelines May Lead To Inappropriate Radioactive Iodine Treatment for Thyroid Cancer

Sanziana Roman MD FACS Professor of Surgery Duke University  Section of Endocrine Surgery Director of the Endocrine Surgery Fellows and Scholars Program Duke University School of Medicine Chief, General Surgery and Associate Chief of Surgery for Clinical Affairs, DVAMCMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sanziana Roman MD FACS

Professor of Surgery Duke University
Section of Endocrine Surgery
Director of the Endocrine Surgery Fellows and Scholars Program
Duke University School of Medicine
Chief, General Surgery and Associate Chief of Surgery for Clinical Affairs, DVAMC

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Roman: Adjuvant radioactive iodine (RAI) is commonly used in the management of differentiated thyroid cancer. The main goals of adjuvant RAI therapy are to ablate remnant thyroid tissue in order to facilitate long-term follow-up of patients, decrease the risk of recurrence, or treat persistent and metastatic lesions.

On the other hand, Adjuvant radioactive iodine ( therapy is expensive, with an average cost per patient ranging between $5,429.58 and $9,105.67. It also carries the burden of several potential complications, including loss of taste, nausea, stomatitis with ulcers, acute and/or chronic sialoadenitis, salivary duct obstruction, dental caries, tooth loss, epiphora, anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, acute radiation pneumonitis, pulmonary fibrosis, male infertility, and radiation-induced malignancies. Therefore, Adjuvant radioactive iodine ( should be used only for appropriately selected patients, for whom the benefits would outweigh the risks.

Based on current guidelines, adjuvant RAI is not recommended for patients with papillary thyroid cancers confined to the thyroid gland when all foci are ≤1 cm (papillary thyroid microcarcinoma, or PTMC). Similarly, Adjuvant radioactive iodine ( does not have a role in the treatment of medullary and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Given the fact that variation in treatments exist, our goal was to analyze patterns of inappropriate adjuvant RAI use in the U.S. in order to identify potential misuses leading to an increase of costs for the healthcare system and unnecessary patients’ exposure to risks of complications.
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Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer: Stereotactic Radiation Plus Chemo Improved Survival

Dr. Puneeth Iyengar (left) and Dr. Robert Timmerman

Dr. Puneeth Iyengar (left) and Dr. Robert Timmerman

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Puneeth Iyengar, MD, PhD
.
Assistant Professor Director of Clinical Research
Dept of Radiation Oncology Co-leader, Thoracic Disease Oriented Team Harold Simmons Cancer Center
UT Southwestern Medical Center  Dallas, TX

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Stage IV Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains a disease of limited survival, in the range of one year for a majority of patients who historically have gone on to receive systemic therapy only. Disease in this patient population most often recurs in the sites of original gross disease. With greater understanding of the biology and patterns of failure that occur in stage IV NSCLC, it is becomingly increasingly obvious that there are subsets of patients, those with limited sites of metastatic disease, who may benefit with more aggressive local therapy in addition to systemic agents to effectuate longer progression free survival (PFS) and potentially overall survival (OS). Since failures of treatment occur most commonly in original gross deposits, local non-invasive therapy in the form of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) may offer a means to curtail the recurrences, perhaps as a way to shift the time to and patterns of failure.

To address these concepts, a multi institutional single arm phase II study was conducted at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and University of Colorado Medical Center. Twenty-four patients with limited metastatic NSCLC (fewer than or equal to six sites of disease including the primary) who had progressed through at least one systemic therapy regimen were treated with SBRT to all sites of gross disease and the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib with progression free survival the primary end point. The results of the study were very significant, with a PFS in this study cohort of 14.7 months, compared to historical ranges of 2-4 months, and an OS of 20.4 months, compared to historical ranges of 6-9 months for this same patient population. The SBRT treatments were found to be very safe and efficacious – only 3 out of 47 measurable lesions irradiated recurred with a concomitant shift in failure patterns from local to distant sites. As importantly, EGFR status was evaluated in 13 patient tumors, with none harboring the most common mutations. One could, therefore, predict that with a mutation enriched population, the combination of EGFR inhibitor and SBRT may have offered even greater PFS and OS benefits. Our observations also suggest that the SBRT treatments probably contributed the most to the dramatic PFS and OS outcomes.

These findings were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in the December 1, 2014 print issue with an accompanying editorial.

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Lung Cancer Survival Improved By Thoracic Radiotherapy

Prof. dr. B.J. Slotman VU University Medical Center Cancer Center Amsterdam NetherlandsMedicalResearch.com Interview wth:
Prof. dr. B.J. Slotman
VU University Medical Center Cancer Center
Amsterdam Netherlands

Medical Research: What are the main findings of this study?

Prof. Slotman: This randomized trial showed that the use of thoracic radiotherapy in patients with extensive stage small cell lung cancer reduces the risk of intrathoracic progression by about 50% and improves 2 years survival from 3 to 13%.

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Nasal Cavity Malignancies: Charged Particle Therapy May Be Superior To Conventional Photon Therapy

Dr. Robert Foote MD Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MNMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Robert Foote MD
Chair, Department of Radiation Oncology
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Foote: Charged particle therapy (mainly protons and carbon ions) provide superior overall survival, disease-free survival and tumor control when compared to conventional photon therapy.  In particular, it appears that proton beam therapy provides superior disease-free survival and tumor control when compared to the state of the art intensity modulated radiation therapy using photons.

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Head & Neck Cancer: Biomarkers Predict Radiation Resistance

Jan Akervall, M.D., Ph.D. Co-director, Head and Neck Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak Clinical Director of Beaumont’s BioBankMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jan Akervall, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-director, Head and Neck Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic
Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
Clinical Director of Beaumont’s BioBank
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Akervall: We identified biomarkers that can predict who will have an unfavorable response from radiation for head and neck cancer. These can be analyzed using standard laboratory techniques on biopsies that routinely are taken for diagnosis.
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Does Cialis Work For Erectile Dysfunction in Men afer Prostate Cancer Radiation?

Dr. Thomas M. Pisansky MD Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MinnesotaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Thomas M. Pisansky MD
Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Pisansky: This patient-reported outcomes research did not identify a beneficial effect of once-daily tadalafil to prevent radiotherapy-related erectile dysfunction in men with prostate cancer.

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Breast Cancer: Guidelines on Margins for Breast-Conserving Surgery

dr_monica_morrow
MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation with:

Monica Morrow MD
Anne Burnett Windfohr Chair of Clinical Oncology
Chief Breast Service memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Morrow: The study is the report of a Consensus panel examining the question of whether more widely clear lumpectomy margins than no ink on tumor decrease local recurrence.  A metaanalysis of published literature was used as the primary evidence base for the conclusion.
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Breast Cancer: Cognitive Therapy Plus Hypnosis For Radiation Fatigue

Guy H. Montgomery, Ph.D. Director, Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program Cancer Prevention and Control Department of Oncological Sciences, Box 1130 Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029-6574MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Guy H. Montgomery, Ph.D.
Director, Integrative Behavioral Medicine Program
Cancer Prevention and Control
Department of Oncological Sciences
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY 10029-6574

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Montgomery: A brief psychological intervention comprised of cognitive behavioral techniques and hypnosis (CBTH) reduced fatigue during, and for up to six months after, radiotherapy in breast cancer patients.
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Breast Cancer: Intraoperative vs Whole Breast Radiotherapy

Prof Jayant S Vaidya PhD Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science University College London, London, UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof Jayant S Vaidya PhD
Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery and Interventional Science
University College London, London, UK


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Vaidya: The main findings are

  • a) these are longer term results that have confirmed our original publication in 201
  • (b) We found that when TARGIT intraoperative radiotherapy is given at the time of lumpectomy for breast cancer, the local control and survival from breast cancer is similar to several weeks of whole breast radiotherapy
  • c) we also found that with TARGIT there are significantly fewer deaths from other causes – i.e., fewer deaths from cardiovascular causes and other cancers

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Proton Therapy Radiation: Decreased Need for Feeding Tubes in Oropharnygeal Cancer Patients

Steven J. Frank, M.D., associate professor of Radiation Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven J. Frank, M.D., associate professor of Radiation Oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center discusses the findings of his latest study, “Gastrostomy Tubes Decrease by Over 50% with Intensity Modulated Proton Therapy during the Treatment of Oropharyngeal Cancer Patients.”


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Frank: The study found that the use of feeding tubes in oropharyngeal carcinoma (OPC) cancer patients treated with intensity modulated proton therapy (IMPT) decreased by more than 50% percent compared to patients treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). This suggests that proton therapy may offer vital quality of life benefits for patients with tumors occurring at the back of the throat.

Of the 50 OPC patients enrolled in the study:

  • Twenty-five patients were treated with IMPT and 25 received IMRT.
  • Five patients treated with IMPT required the use of feeding tubes (20%) compared to 12 patients treated with IMRT (48%).
  • IMPT patients were spared from serious side effects, usually a result of IMRT, such as loss of taste, vomiting, nausea, pain, mouth and tongue ulcers, dry mouth, fatigue, and swallowing difficulty.
  • IMPT patients could better sustain their nutrition and hydration levels, often leading to faster recovery during and after treatment.

IMPT is an advanced form of proton radiation therapy and a treatment currently only offered in North America at The University of Texas MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center. It delivers protons to the most complicated tumors by focusing a narrow proton beam and essentially “painting” the radiation dose onto the tumor layer by layer. Unlike IMRT, which destroys both cancerous and healthy cells, IMPT has the ability to destroy cancer cells while sparing surrounding healthy tissue from damage. Therefore, important quality of life outcomes such as neurocognitive function, vision, swallowing, hearing, taste and speech can be preserved in head and neck patients.
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Pancreatic Cancer: Short Course Radiation May Benefit Elderly Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Raphael Yechieli
Department of Radiation Oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit:

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Yechieli:  The main findings of the study are that elderly patients with pancreatic cancer who also have significant co-morbidities can still be safely and effectively treated with a short course of radiation treatment. Furthermore, the local control and survival data from our study are similar to previously published data, where patients were treated with more intense and longer courses of treatment.

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Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy Reduces Risk of Side Effects in Breast Cancer Patients

Newswise — Breast cancer patients treated with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) instead of standard whole breast irradiation (WBI) have a lower incidence of acute or chronic toxicities, according to a study in Practical Radiation Oncology (PRO), the official clinical practice journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Researchers are constantly conducting studies to determine the most effective breast cancer treatment that also reduces the incidence of potential side effects, including skin inflammation, swelling and infection.

Researchers in this study sought to compare standard WBI to WBI with IMRT (using both a typical treatment time and an accelerated treatment time) in terms of toxicity levels for patients. In a retrospective review, over 300 patients treated with one of the forms of radiation therapy were looked at and it was determined that radiation therapy using IMRT, regardless of the length of treatment, is associated with greatly reduced toxicities compared with the older, more standard radiation therapy technique.

A side analysis determined that larger breasted women had higher toxicity levels than smaller breasted women, however they still had reduced toxicities with IMRT over standard radiation, even though these levels were higher than smaller breasted women. This included IMRT with a shorter treatment time; previous trials usually exclude larger breasted women from receiving radiation using an accelerated treatment schedule.

“Our data support the increasing role of IMRT in delivering not only whole breast irradiation but also whole breast irradiation using an accelerated treatment time,” Frank Vicini, MD, a radiation oncologist with Michigan Healthcare Professionals/21st Century Oncology in Farmington Hills, Mich., said. “This is great news for breast cancer patients who, if eligible, can not only receive their radiation treatment in a shorter amount of time but also reduce their risk of many side effects.”