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Shubham Sharma, Christopher M. Booth, Elizabeth A. Eisenhauer, and Bishal Gyawali

Background: Editorials accompanying the publication of trials in major oncology journals can have a substantial influence on clinical practice. We describe the prevalence of financial conflicts of interest (FCOIs) of authors writing such editorials and the extent to which FCOIs may shape the interpretation of clinical trials. Methods: We examined editorials published in 2018 alongside trial reports in the top 5 journals that publish cancer drug trials (New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Lancet Oncology, JAMA Oncology, and Journal of Clinical Oncology). An editorial was considered to have an FCOI if at least one of the editorialists had any disclosed FCOI. An FCOI with the same company whose drug was being discussed in the editorial was classified as a direct FCOI. Editorials were reviewed for their content and classified as being unduly favorable (defined as the presence of a positive spin without discussion of limitations) or not. Association of an FCOI and a direct FCOI with writing an unduly favorable editorial was assessed. Results: Of the 90 editorials assessed, 74% (n=67) were classified as having an FCOI with the pharmaceutical industry, and 39% (n=35) had an FCOI with the same company whose product was being discussed in the editorial (direct FCOI). Editorials were classified as being unduly favorable toward the study drug in 12% (8 of 67) and 13% (3 of 23) (P=1.0) of those with and without FCOIs, respectively; corresponding rates with and without direct FCOI were 23% (8 of 35) and 5% (3 of 55), respectively (P=.009). Conclusions: Editorials in top oncology journals were frequently authored by experts with FCOIs, including direct FCOIs. Authoring an unduly favorable editorial for a new cancer drug was significantly associated with the author having a direct FCOI with the same company. These findings support the call for journals to ensure that authors of editorials have no direct FCOIs.

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Andrea Maurichi, Francesco Barretta, Roberto Patuzzo, Rosalba Miceli, Gianfranco Gallino, Ilaria Mattavelli, Consuelo Barbieri, Andrea Leva, Martina Angi, Francesco Baldo Lanza, Giuseppe Spadola, Mara Cossa, Francesco Nesa, Umberto Cortinovis, Laura Sala, Lorenza Di Guardo, Carolina Cimminiello, Michele Del Vecchio, Barbara Valeri, and Mario Santinami

Background: Prognostic parameters in sentinel node (SN)–positive melanoma are important indicators to identify patients at high risk of recurrence who should be candidates for adjuvant therapy. We aimed to evaluate the presence of melanoma cells beyond the SN capsule—extranodal extension (ENE)—as a prognostic factor in patients with positive SNs. Methods: Data from 1,047 patients with melanoma and positive SNs treated from 2001 to 2020 at the Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milano, Italy, were retrospectively investigated. Kaplan-Meier survival and crude cumulative incidence of recurrence curves were estimated. A multivariable logistic model was used to investigate the association between ENE and selected predictive factors. Cox models estimated the effect of the selected predictors on survival endpoints. Results: Median follow-up was 69 months. The 5-year overall survival rate was 62.5% and 71.7% for patients with positive SNs with and without ENE, respectively. The 5-year disease-free survival rate was 54.0% and 64.0% for patients with positive SNs with and without ENE, respectively. The multivariable logistic model showed that age, size of the main metastatic focus in the SN, and numbers of metastatic non-SNs were associated with ENE (all P<.0001). The multivariable Cox regression models showed the estimated prognostic effects of ENE associated with age, ulceration, size of the main metastatic focus in the SN, and number of metastatic non-SNs (all P<.0001) on disease-free survival and overall survival. Conclusions: ENE was a significant prognostic factor in patients with positive-SN melanoma. This parameter may be useful in clinical practice as a selection criterion for adjuvant treatment in patients with stage IIIA disease with a tumor burden <1 mm in the SN. We recommend its inclusion as an independent prognostic determinant in future updates of melanoma guidelines.

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Héctor G. van den Boorn, Willemieke P.M. Dijksterhuis, Lydia G.M. van der Geest, Judith de Vos-Geelen, Marc G. Besselink, Johanna W. Wilmink, Martijn G.H. van Oijen, and Hanneke W.M. van Laarhoven

Background: A prediction model for overall survival (OS) in metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) including patient and treatment characteristics is currently not available, but it could be valuable for supporting clinicians in patient communication about expectations and prognosis. We aimed to develop a prediction model for OS in metastatic PDAC, called SOURCE-PANC, based on nationwide population-based data. Materials and Methods: Data on patients diagnosed with synchronous metastatic PDAC in 2015 through 2018 were retrieved from the Netherlands Cancer Registry. A multivariate Cox regression model was created to predict OS for various treatment strategies. Available patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics were used to compose the model. Treatment strategies were categorized as systemic treatment (subdivided into FOLFIRINOX, gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel, and gemcitabine monotherapy), biliary drainage, and best supportive care only. Validation was performed according to a temporal internal–external cross-validation scheme. The predictive quality was assessed with the C-index and calibration. Results: Data for 4,739 patients were included in the model. Sixteen predictors were included: age, sex, performance status, laboratory values (albumin, bilirubin, CA19-9, lactate dehydrogenase), clinical tumor and nodal stage, tumor sublocation, presence of distant lymph node metastases, liver or peritoneal metastases, number of metastatic sites, and treatment strategy. The model demonstrated a C-index of 0.72 in the internal–external cross-validation and showed good calibration, with the intercept and slope 95% confidence intervals including the ideal values of 0 and 1, respectively. Conclusions: A population-based prediction model for OS was developed for patients with metastatic PDAC and showed good performance. The predictors that were included in the model comprised both baseline patient and tumor characteristics and type of treatment. SOURCE-PANC will be incorporated in an electronic decision support tool to support shared decision-making in clinical practice.

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Justine M. Kahn and Melissa Beauchemin

Despite extraordinary strides in cancer therapy over the past 30 years, racial/ethnic, socioeconomic, and age-related survival disparities persist. Hodgkin lymphoma offers an excellent paradigm to understand these disparities because successful approaches are well established in both the up-front and relapsed treatment settings. The following review, which accompanies the 2021 NCCN Guidelines for Pediatric Hodgkin Lymphoma, suggests that systemic inequities in cancer care disproportionately affect minority and low-income children, adolescents, and young adults, and directly contribute to observed disparities in cancer-related outcomes. It proposes that the first step toward reducing disparities is large-scale dissemination of guidelines, because equity is best achieved when treatment approaches are clear, comprehensive, and standardized across all clinical practice settings.