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Ya-Fu Cheng, Wei-Heng Hung, Heng-Chung Chen, Ching-Yuan Cheng, Ching-Hsiung Lin, Sheng-Hao Lin and Bing-Yen Wang

Background: The therapeutic strategies for clinical stage T1–3N2 (cT1–3N2) lung cancer are controversial. For operable tumors, treatment can vary by center, region, and continent. This study aimed to identify the optimal therapeutic method and type of surgical strategy for cT1–3N2 lung cancer. Methods: This retrospective evaluation analyzed the records of 17,954 patients with cT1–3N2 lung cancer treated in 2010 through 2015 from the SEER database. The effects of different therapeutic methods and types of surgical strategies on overall survival (OS) were assessed. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed using a Cox proportional hazards model. Results: The 5-year OS rates were 27.7% for patients with T1N2 disease, 21.8% for those with T2N2 disease, and 19.9% for T3N2 disease. Neoadjuvant therapy plus operation (OP) plus adjuvant therapy, and OP plus adjuvant therapy, provided better 5-year OS rates than OP alone or concurrent chemoradiotherapy (34.1%, 37.7%, 29.3%, and 16.1%, respectively). In the T1N2, T2N2, and T3N2 groups, lobectomy provided better 5-year OS than pneumonectomy, sublobectomy, and no surgery. Both univariate and multivariate analyses showed that young age, female sex, well-differentiated histologic grade, adenocarcinoma cell type, neoadjuvant and adjuvant therapy, lobectomy, and T1 stage were statistically associated with better 5-year OS rates. Conclusions: In cT1–3N2 lung cancer, multimodal treatments tended to provide better 5-year OS than OP alone or concurrent chemoradiotherapy. In addition, lobectomy was associated with better survival than other operative methods.

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Alyson Haslam, Jennifer Gill and Vinay Prasad

Background: Noninferiority (NI) trials should help identify interventions that offer some benefit (eg, lower financial costs, more tolerable, or less invasive) without sacrificing noticeable effectiveness, and researchers should adhere to appropriate standards in the conduct and reporting of methods. This study describes the characteristics of a systematic sampling of NI studies from an updated search of recent published oncology trials. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of NI research published between 2014 and 2018 in the top 3 medical journals and top 3 oncology journals. We estimated the percentage of NI trials in oncology that report informative details of study, such as justification for conducting NI trial, justification of NI margin, analysis population, and alpha level. Results: There were 94 NI studies and 104 comparisons, and 59.6% (n=62) of comparisons declared NI. The median NI margin of comparisons reporting an odds or hazard ratio was 1.3 (1.05–3.2; n=64). Twenty-three percent (n=22) of studies did not provide a justification for conducting a NI study; 54.3% (n=51) of studies did not provide a justification of the margin they used in their study. Only approximately 46% (n=43) of comparisons used both an intention-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol (PP) analysis, and 37.3% (n=35) of studies used a one-sided alpha level of >.025. There is notable variation in key elements of the conduct and reporting of NI trials, including the NI margin, the alpha level, and the population analyzed. Furthermore, a high number of studies do not provide justification for conducting a NI study or the margin used for determining NI. Conclusions: These results suggest that there is room for improvement in the reporting and conduct of NI trials in oncology.

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Guru Subramanian Guru Murthy, Aniko Szabo, Laura Michaelis, Karen-Sue Carlson, Lyndsey Runaas, Sameem Abedin and Ehab Atallah

Background: Outcomes of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) have significantly improved with the availability of targeted agents. It remains unclear whether the population-level outcomes of APL have improved over time. Methods: Using the SEER database, we identified patients aged ≥20 years with pathologically confirmed APL diagnosed in 2000 through 2014 and who were actively followed. Patients were stratified by diagnosis period into 3 groups (2000–2004, 2005–2009, and 2010–2014) to assess the temporal trends in overall survival (OS), cause-specific survival (CSS), and other outcomes. Results: A total of 2,962 patients with a median age of 48 years (range, 20–96 years) were included. Hispanic patients constituted 21.5% of the cohort and the largest proportion (47.9%) of uninsured patients. The incidence of APL was 0.33 cases per 100,000 population per year. Incidence varied significantly by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and diagnosis period. Survival was significantly higher for patients diagnosed in 2010 through 2014 compared with those diagnosed in 2005 through 2009 and in 2000 through 2004 (4-year OS, 73.4% vs 65.6% vs 57.3%, respectively; 4-year CSS, 78.3% vs 70.8% vs 60.8%, respectively). Early mortality improved significantly over time (2000–2004, 25.3%; 2005–2009, 20.6%; 2010–2014, 17.1%) and was higher in men and Hispanic patients. According to multivariate analysis, diagnosis before 2010 and unmarried status were associated with a higher mortality risk. Uninsured patients had a significantly higher early mortality without a significant difference in post-30-day CSS. No significant changes were noted in risk of secondary malignancies. Conclusions: Population-level outcomes of APL have continued to improve over time. However, significant discrepancies in disease outcomes continue to exist, highlighting the need for more research.

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Margaret Tempero

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NCCN Guidelines Insights: Uveal Melanoma, Version 1.2019

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

P. Kumar Rao, Christopher Barker, Daniel G. Coit, Richard W. Joseph, Miguel Materin, Ramesh Rengan, Jeffrey Sosman, John A. Thompson, Mark R. Albertini, Genevieve Boland, William E. Carson III, Carlo Contreras, Gregory A. Daniels, Dominick DiMaio, Alison Durham, Ryan C. Fields, Martin D. Fleming, Anjela Galan, Brian Gastman, Kenneth Grossman, Valerie Guild, Douglas Johnson, Giorgos Karakousis, Julie R. Lange, ScM, Kim Margolin, Sameer Nath, Anthony J. Olszanski, Patrick A. Ott, Merrick I. Ross, April K. Salama, Joseph Skitzki, Susan M. Swetter, Evan Wuthrick, Nicole R. McMillian and Anita Engh

The NCCN Guidelines for Uveal Melanoma include recommendations for staging, treatment, and follow-up of patients diagnosed with uveal melanoma of the choroid or ciliary body. In addition, because distinguishing between uveal melanoma and benign uveal nevi is in some cases difficult, these guidelines also contain recommendations for workup of patients with suspicious pigmented uveal lesions, to clarify the tests needed to distinguish between those who should have further workup and treatment for uveal melanoma versus those with uncertain diagnosis and low risk who should to be followed and later reevaluated. These NCCN Guidelines Insights describe recommendations for treatment of newly diagnosed nonmetastatic uveal melanoma in patients who have already undergone a complete workup.

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Siddhartha Yadav, Sri Harsha Tella, Anuhya Kommalapati, Kristin Mara, Kritika Prasai, Mohamed Hamdy Mady, Mohamed Hassan, Rory L. Smoot, Sean P. Cleary, Mark J. Truty, Lewis R. Roberts and Amit Mahipal

Background: Current staging systems for gallbladder cancer (GBC) are primarily based on surgical pathology and therefore are not relevant for unresectable patients and those undergoing neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Methods: Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of GBC managed at a tertiary referral center (2000–2016) were included. Independent predictors of overall survival (OS) were identified using multivariable analysis (MVA). A combination of these variables was then assessed to identify a set of factors that provided maximal accuracy in predicting OS, and a nomogram and a new staging system were created based on these factors. Harrell’s C-statistic was calculated to evaluate the predictive accuracy of the nomogram and staging system. Results: A total of 528 patients were included in the final analysis. On MVA, factors predictive of poor OS were older age, ECOG performance status, hemoglobin level <9 g/dL, presence of metastases, and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level >200 U/L. A nomogram and a 4-tier staging system predictive of OS were created using age at diagnosis, ECOG status, tumor size, presence or absence of metastasis, and ALP level. The C-statistic for this novel staging system was 0.71 compared with 0.69 for the TNM staging system (P=.08). In patients who did not undergo surgery, the C-statistics of the novel and TNM staging systems were 0.60 and 0.51, respectively (P<.001). Conclusions: We created a novel, clinically based staging system for GBC based on nonoperative information at the time of diagnosis that was superior to the TNM staging system in predicting OS in patients who did not undergo surgery, and that performed on par with TNM staging in surgical patients.

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Luke R.G. Pike, Trevor J. Royce, Amandeep R. Mahal, Daniel W. Kim, William L. Hwang, Brandon A. Mahal and Nina N. Sanford

Background: Socioeconomic factors affecting outcomes of HPV-associated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) are poorly characterized. Methods: A custom SEER database identified adult patients with primary nonmetastatic SCCHN and known HPV status diagnosed in 2013 through 2014. Multivariable logistic regression defined associations between patient characteristics and HPV status, with adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals reported. Fine-Gray competing risks regression estimated adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% confidence intervals for cancer-specific mortality (CSM), including a disease subsite * HPV status * race interaction term. Results: A total of 4,735 patients with nonmetastatic SCCHN and known HPV status were identified. HPV-associated SCCHN was positively associated with an oropharyngeal primary, male sex, and higher education, and negatively associated with uninsured status, single marital status, and nonwhite race (P≤.01 for all). For HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN, white race was associated with lower CSM (aHR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.34–0.88; P=.01) and uninsured status was associated with higher CSM (aHR, 3.12; 95% CI, 1.19–8.13; P=.02). These associations were not observed in HPV-negative or nonoropharynx SCCHN. Accordingly, there was a statistically significant disease subsite * HPV status * race interaction (Pinteraction<.001). Conclusions: Nonwhite race and uninsured status were associated with worse CSM in HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN, whereas no such associations were observed in HPV-negative or nonoropharyngeal SCCHN. These results suggest that despite having clinically favorable disease, nonwhite patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN have worse outcomes than their white peers. Further work is needed to understand and reduce socioeconomic disparities in SCCHN.