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Derek J. Erstad, Mariela Blum, Jeannelyn S. Estrella, Prajnan Das, Bruce D. Minsky, Jaffer A. Ajani, Paul F. Mansfield, Naruhiko Ikoma, and Brian D. Badgwell

Background: The optimal number of examined lymph nodes (ELNs) and the positive lymph node ratio (LNR) for potentially curable gastric cancer are not established. We sought to determine clinical benchmarks for these values using a large national database. Methods: Demographic, clinicopathologic, and treatment-related data from patients treated using an R0, curative-intent gastrectomy registered in the National Cancer Database during 2004 to 2016 were evaluated. Patients with node-positive (pTxN+M0) disease were considered for analysis. Results: A total of 22,018 patients met the inclusion criteria, with a median follow-up of 2.2 years. Mean age at diagnosis was 65.6 years, 66% were male, 68% were White, 33% of tumors were located near the gastroesophageal junction, and 29% of patients had undergone preoperative therapy. Most primary tumors (62%) were category pT3–4, 67% had a poor or anaplastic grade, and 19% had signet features. Clinical nodal staging was inaccurate compared with staging at final pathology. The mean [SD] number of nodes examined was 19 [11]. On multivariable analysis, the pN category, ELNs, and LNR were independently associated with survival (all P<.0001). Using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis, an optimal ELN threshold of ≥30 was established for patients with pN3b disease and was applied to the entire cohort. Node positivity and LNR had minimal change beyond 30 examined nodes. Stage-specific LNR thresholds calculated by ROC analysis were 11% for pN1, 28% for pN2, 58% for pN3a, 64% for pN3b, 30% for total combined. By using an ELN threshold of ≥30, prognostically advantageous stage-specific LNR values could be determined for 96% of evaluated patients. Conclusions: Using a large national cancer registry, we determined that an ELN threshold of ≥30 allowed for prognostically advantageous LNRs to be achieved in 96% of patients. Therefore, ≥30 examined nodes should be considered a clinical benchmark for practice in the United States.

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Grace E. McKay, Anna L. Zakas, Fauzia Osman, and Amanda Parkes

Background: Given a link between sarcomas and hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes, including Li-Fraumeni syndrome, the consideration for genetic counseling is recommended for all adolescent and young adult (AYA) patients diagnosed with sarcoma. The aim of this study was to evaluate factors influencing genetic consultations in AYA patients with sarcoma at the University of Wisconsin (UW). Methods: A retrospective chart review was performed on AYA patients diagnosed with sarcoma between the ages of 15 and 39 years who were seen at least once between 2015 to 2019 at UW. Our chart review identified discussions regarding genetics, referrals to genetics, genetic consultations, and results of genetic testing. Variables hypothesized to affect patient referrals for genetic consultation were identified a priori. Descriptive statistical methods and a univariate analysis were used to identify patient characteristics associated with genetic counseling referral. Results: We identified 87 AYA patients with sarcoma. Only 19 (22%) of these patients had documentation of a discussion about genetics, 15 (17%) of whom were subsequently referred for genetic consultation. Of these 15 patients, 9 (60%) were seen in consultation. All 9 patients seen by genetics underwent genetic testing, with 4 (44%) of these patients having identified heritable cancer predisposition syndromes. Likelihood for genetics referral was linked most strongly to documented genetics discussion with an oncology provider (P<.001). Conclusions: Despite the recommendation for consideration for genetic counseling in AYA patients with sarcoma, <25% of such patients in our study had a documented discussion about genetics. Supporting this need, all referred patients met criteria for genetic testing, and 44% of tested patients were found to have a heritable cancer predisposition syndrome. These data support the initial conversation by a provider as critical to genetic referral and suggest the need for more specific national recommendations for the genetic evaluation of all AYA patients with sarcoma.

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P. Connor Johnson, Netana H. Markovitz, Tamryn F. Gray, Sunil Bhatt, Ryan D. Nipp, Nneka Ufere, Julia Rice, Matthew J. Reynolds, Mitchell W. Lavoie, Carlisle E.W. Topping, Madison A. Clay, Charlotta Lindvall, and Areej El-Jawahri

Background: Social support plays a crucial role for patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies as they navigate their illness course. The aim of this study was to examine associations of social support with overall survival (OS) and healthcare utilization in this population. Methods: A cross-sectional secondary analysis was conducted using data from a prospective longitudinal cohort study of 251 hospitalized patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies at Massachusetts General Hospital from 2014 through 2017. Natural Language Processing (NLP) was used to identify the extent of patients’ social support (limited vs adequate as defined by NLP-aided chart review of the electronic health record). Multivariable regression models were used to examine associations of social support with (1) OS, (2) death or readmission within 90 days of discharge from index hospitalization, (3) time to readmission within 90 days, and (4) index hospitalization length of stay. Results: Patients had a median age of 64 years (range, 19–93 years), and most were White (89.6%), male (68.9%), and married (65.3%). A plurality of patients had leukemia (42.2%) followed by lymphoma (37.9%) and myelodysplastic syndrome/myeloproliferative neoplasm (19.9%). Using NLP, we identified that 8.8% (n=22) of patients had limited social support. In multivariable analyses, limited social support was associated with worse OS (hazard ratio, 2.00; P=.042) and a higher likelihood of death or readmission within 90 days of discharge (odds ratio, 3.11; P=.043), but not with time to readmission within 90 days or with index hospitalization length of stay. Conclusions: In this cohort of hospitalized patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies, we found associations of limited social support with lower OS and a higher likelihood of death or readmission within 90 days of hospital discharge. These findings underscore the utility of NLP for evaluating the extent of social support and the need for larger studies evaluating social support in patients with aggressive hematologic malignancies.

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Michael B. Streiff, Bjorn Holmstrom, Dana Angelini, Aneel Ashrani, Amro Elshoury, John Fanikos, Kleber Yotsumoto Fertrin, Annemarie E. Fogerty, Shuwei Gao, Samuel Z. Goldhaber, Krishna Gundabolu, Ibrahim Ibrahim, Eric Kraut, Andrew D. Leavitt, Alfred Lee, Jason T. Lee, Ming Lim, Janelle Mann, Karlyn Martin, Brandon McMahon, John Moriarty, Colleen Morton, Thomas L. Ortel, Rita Paschal, Jordan Schaefer, Sanford Shattil, Tanya Siddiqi, Deepak Sudheendra, Eliot Williams, Liz Hollinger, and Mai Q. Nguyen

NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Cancer-Associated Venous Thromboembolic Disease focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of patients with cancer who have developed or who are at risk for developing venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE is a significant concern among cancer patients, who are at heightened risks for developing as well as dying from the disease. The management of patients with cancer with VTE often requires multidisciplinary efforts at treating institutions. The NCCN panel comprises specialists from various fields: cardiology, hematology/hematologic oncology, internal medicine, interventional radiology, medical oncology, pharmacology/pharmacy, and surgery/surgical oncology. This article focuses on VTE prophylaxis for medical and surgical oncology inpatients and outpatients, and discusses risk factors for VTE development, risk assessment tools, as well as management methods, including pharmacological and mechanical prophylactics. Contraindications to therapeutic interventions and special dosing, when required, are also discussed.

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Margaret Tempero

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Jordan K. Schaefer, Amro Elshoury, Victoria R. Nachar, Michael B. Streiff, and Ming Y. Lim

Venous thromboembolic disease can be a fatal complication of cancer. Despite advances in prevention, thousands of patients require treatment of cancer-associated thrombosis (CAT) each year. Guidelines have advocated low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) as the preferred anticoagulant for CAT for years, based on clinical trial data showing LMWH to be associated with a lower risk of recurrent thrombosis when compared with vitamin K antagonists. However, the potentially painful, subcutaneously administered LMWH injections can be expensive, and clinical practice has not been consistent with guideline recommendations. Recently, studies have compared LMWH to the direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) for the management of CAT. Based on promising trial results outlined in this review, DOACs are now preferred anticoagulants for CAT occurring in patients without gastric or gastroesophageal lesions. For patients with gastrointestinal cancers, who may be at higher risk of hemorrhage with the DOACs, LMWH remains the anticoagulant of choice. Applying the latest data from this rapidly evolving field to care for diverse patient groups can be challenging. This article provides an evidence-based review of outpatient anticoagulant selection for lower-extremity deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism in the setting of cancer, and takes into account special populations with cancer.

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Julie E.M. Swillens, Quirinus J.M. Voorham, Iris D. Nagtegaal, and Rosella P.M.G. Hermens

Background: Standardized structured reporting (SSR) improves quality of diagnostic cancer reporting and interdisciplinary communication in multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings, resulting in more adequate treatment decisions and better health outcomes. However, use of SSR varies widely among pathologists, but might be encouraged by MDT members (MDTMs). Our objectives were to identify barriers and facilitators (influencing factors) for SSR implementation in oncologic pathology from the perspective of MDTMs and their determinants. Methods: In a multimethod design, we identified influencing factors for SSR implementation related to MDT meetings, using 5 domains: (1) innovation factors, (2) individual professional factors, (3) social setting factors, (4) organizational factors, and (5) political and legal factors. Four focus groups with MDTMs in urologic, gynecologic, and gastroenterologic oncology were conducted. We used an eSurvey among MDTMs to quantify the qualitative findings and to analyze determinants affecting these influencing factors. Results: Twenty-three MDTMs practicing in 9 oncology-related disciplines participated in the focus groups and yielded 28 barriers and 28 facilitators in all domains. The eSurvey yielded 211 responses. Main barriers related to lack of readability of SSR: difficulties with capturing nuances (66%) and formulation of the conclusion (43%); lack of transparency in the development (50%) and feedback processes of SSR templates (38%); and lack of information exchange about SSR between pathologists and other MDTMs (45%). Main facilitators were encouragement of pathologists’ SSR use by MDTMs (90%) and expanding the recommendation of SSR use in national guidelines (80%). Oncology-related medical discipline and MDT type were the most relevant determinants for SSR implementation barriers. Conclusions: Although SSR makes diagnostic reports more complete, this study shows important barriers in implementing SSR in oncologic pathology. The next step is to use these factors for developing and testing implementation tools to improve SSR implementation.

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Yao Zhu, Yu Wei, Hao Zeng, Yonghong Li, Chi-Fai Ng, Fangjian Zhou, Caiyun He, Guangxi Sun, Yuchao Ni, Peter K.F. Chiu, Jeremy Y.C. Teoh, Beihe Wang, Jian Pan, Fangning Wan, Bo Dai, Xiaojian Qin, Guowen Lin, Hualei Gan, Junlong Wu, and Dingwei Ye

Background: Although China accounts for 7.8% of worldwide new prostate cancer (PCa) cases and 14.5% of new deaths according to GLOBOCAN 2020, the risk of PCa associated with germline mutations is poorly defined, hampered in part by lack of nationwide evidence. Here, we sequenced 19 PCa predisposition genes in 1,836 Chinese patients with PCa and estimated disease risk associated with inherited mutations. Patients and Methods: Patients were recruited from 4 tertiary cancer centers (n=1,160) and a commercial laboratory (n=676). Germline DNA was sequenced using a multigene panel, and pathogenic/likely pathogenic (P/LP) mutation frequencies in patients with PCa were compared with populations from the gnomAD (Genome Aggregation Database) and ChinaMAP (China Metabolic Analytics Project) databases. Clinical characteristics and progression-free survival were assessed by mutation status. Results: Of 1,160 patients from hospitals, 89.7% had Gleason scores ≥8, and 65.6% had metastases. P/LP mutations were identified in 8.49% of Chinese patients with PCa. Association with PCa risk was significant for mutations in ATM (odds ratio [OR], 5.9; 95% CI, 3.1–11.1), BRCA2 (OR, 15.3; 95% CI, 10.0–23.2), MSH2 (OR, 15.8; 95% CI, 4.2–59.6), and PALB2 (OR, 5.9; 95% CI, 2.7–13.2). Compared with those without mutations, patients with mutations in ATM, BRCA2, MSH2, or PALB2 showed a poor outcome with treatment using androgen deprivation therapy and abiraterone (hazard ratio, 2.19 [95% CI, 1.34–3.58] and 2.47 [95% CI, 1.23–4.96], respectively) but similar benefit from docetaxel. Conclusions: The present multicenter study confirmed that a significant proportion of Chinese patients with PCa had inherited mutations and identified predisposition genes in this underreported ethnicity. These data provide empirical evidence for precision prevention and prognostic estimation in Chinese patients with PCa.