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Mark H. Kawachi

Robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy (RALP) has gained immense popularity. This article examines the most critical outcome measures in prostate cancer surgery and shows the reasons why this technique is gaining in popularity. Operative time, length of stay, blood loss, transfusions, postoperative pain, continence, potency, and cancer control all favor or tend toward improvement and benefit in RALP compared with traditional radical retropubic prostatectomy. In addition, as even greater experience and technological improvements are incorporated, further outcome improvements will be appreciated. RALP is now an accepted treatment option for prostate cancer and may soon be the most desirable treatment of prostate cancer patients.

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Kim Margolin

Advanced germ cell cancer can be cured in most patients using chemotherapy with or without surgery. A small fraction of patients with nonseminomatous tumors (NSGCT) and an even smaller percentage of seminoma patients are destined to have a less favorable outcome, due to an inadequate response to first-line chemotherapy (failure to achieve remission, finding of residual viable carcinoma at post-chemotherapy surgery, or relapse after achieving a remission). Despite the apparent salvage potential for regimens containing ifosfamide or paclitaxel, no proof exists that such combinations are superior to the standard regimen of four cycles of cisplatin, etoposide, and bleomycin (PEB) in the front-line therapy of patients with advanced NSGCT. Other modifications of first-line therapy, such as the addition of paclitaxel or the use of escalated doses of cisplatin, also have failed to increase the cure rate. The use of single or tandem cycles of high-dose chemotherapy (HDT with autologous hematopoietic cell transplant [aHCT]) in various settings (for selected patients with poor prognostic features before therapy, patients predicted to have a poor outcome based on the rate of serum tumor marker decline while on therapy, and patients in relapse or failure to achieve adequate response to standard therapy) has been evaluated in many phase II and a limited number of phase III trials, which are summarized in this review. Important questions that remain to be answered include the role of new agents and the use of more sophisticated techniques to understand prognostic and predictive factors in selecting therapy for GCT.

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Charles L. Loprinzi and Peter M. Ravdin

Decisions regarding the use of adjuvant cytotoxic and hormonal therapies for women with breast cancer ideally should be made jointly by the patient and oncologist. For patients to be adequately involved in this decision-making process, they must be provided with appropriate education regarding the potential benefits and risks of adjuvant therapies. The recommended steps for doing this are: 1) understand baseline prognosis with locoregional therapy (surgery, radiation, or both) alone for the individual patient at hand; 2) determine the estimated benefit afforded by adjuvant therapy options for the individual patient; 3) estimate the risk of side effects of adjuvant therapy options; 4) convey the above information to the individual patient; 5) facilitate the individual patient's decision regarding adjuvant systemic therapy; and 6) support the patient's decision. Two computer-based tools (Numeracy and Adjuvant!) are available to facilitate this process.

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Andrew H. Ko and Margaret A. Tempero

Pancreatic adenocarcinoma represents the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related mortality in the United States. The vast majority of patients are diagnosed at advanced stages of the disease when surgery is no longer an option. For these patients, systemic therapy remains the mainstay of care. Although single-agent gemcitabine has remained the standard of care since its approval in 1997, improvements in patient outcomes may potentially be realized by (1) applying pharmacokinetic principles to optimize drug delivery, such as the administration of gemcitabine at a “fixed-dose rate” infusion; (2) combining gemcitabine with other cytotoxic agents for which evidence of synergy exists, such as platinum compounds; and (3) integrating novel targeted agents such as bevacizumab, erlotinib, and cetuximab into treatment paradigms, based on an increasing understanding of the molecular pathways that govern pancreatic tumor growth and maintenance. This article provides the evidence to support each of these approaches and highlights future directions in the management of metastatic pancreatic cancer.

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Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer death worldwide, and non-small cell lung cancer accounts for 80% to 85% of all lung cancer cases. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the 3 modalities commonly used to treat patients with NSCLC and can be used either alone or in combination depending on the disease status. The 2006 NCCN Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Guidelines provide the latest updates in the management of this disease, including stage regrouping and changes in screening recommendations for high-risk patients and in treatment recommendations for several stages. In addition, principles of systemic therapy were expanded to include adjuvant treatment.

For the most recent version of the guidelines, please visit NCCN.org

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Beryl McCormick

The 2007 National Comprehensive Cancer Network Breast Cancer Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology include a consideration for hyperthermia (HT) and radiation for women with recurrent locoregional advanced breast cancers after first-line surgery or radiation failed. Although HT in this setting has been used for several decades, recent reports are few. This article reviews the data from several recent studies, selected because they included at least 100 patients. Unresolved issues of radiation dose, optimal temperature and timing of HT, and quality assurance problems with thermometry are apparent from these studies. Although clearly an effective treatment option in this clinical scenario, more research on HT and radiation is needed before this treatment combination can be considered standard care.

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Jacob P. Laubach, Constantine S. Mitsiades, Anuj Mahindra, Robert L. Schlossman, Teru Hideshima, Dharminder Chauhan, Nicole A. Carreau, Irene M. Ghobrial, Noopur Raje, Nikhil C. Munshi, Kenneth C. Anderson, and Paul G. Richardson

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a clonal B-cell malignancy characterized by aberrant expansion of plasma cells within bone marrow and extramedullary sites. In 2009, 20,580 new cases of MM and 10,580 deaths from the disease occurred in the United States. Treatment traditionally consists of systemic chemotherapy, with adjunctive use of radiation or surgery in selected cases associated with extramedullary disease. The therapeutic landscape in MM has changed markedly in the past decade with the introduction of the novel immunomodulatory agents thalidomide and lenalidomide, and the first-in-class proteasome inhibitor bortezomib. Although MM remains an incurable malignancy, new approaches to therapy incorporating these agents have produced significantly higher response rates and improved intervals of both progression-free and overall survival in the context of randomized, controlled trials. In aggregate, the use of novel therapies in MM has been associated with substantial improvements in patient outcome.

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Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American women, with an estimated 214,640 cases and 41,430 deaths occurring in 2006. Estimating breast cancer risk for individual women is difficult, and most breast cancers are not attributable to risk factors other than female gender and increased age. Developing effective strategies for reducing breast cancer incidence is also difficult because few existing risk factors are modifiable and some potentially modifiable risk factors have social implications. Nevertheless, effective breast cancer risk reduction agents and strategies, such as tamoxifen, raloxifene, and risk reduction surgery, have been identified. These guidelines were developed to help women at increased risk for breast cancer and their physicians apply individualized strategies to reduce breast cancer risk.

For the most recent version of the guidelines, please visit NCCN.org

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Therese B. Bevers

The 1998 approval of tamoxifen for breast cancer risk reduction opened the era of breast cancer chemoprevention. Women at increased risk for breast cancer now had an option other than healthy lifestyle and prophylactic surgery to reduce risk. However, women and their physicians were reluctant to use tamoxifen because of associated risks. Several trials investigating raloxifene suggested it may reduce breast cancer risk without having an apparent effect on the endometrium. The Study of Tamoxifen and Raloxifene (STAR) for the Prevention of Breast Cancer trial opened in 1999 to directly compare raloxifene to tamoxifen for breast cancer risk reduction. Since the unblinding of the STAR trial in 2006, raloxifene has emerged as an option for reducing breast cancer risk for postmenopausal women at increased risk for the disease.

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Mary K. Hayes, Mayra Frau, Erica Bloomquist, and Heather Wright

Background: Accurate axillary lymph node (LN) staging impacts prognosis and treatment. Breast surgeons use pre- and post neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) findings to plan extent of axillary LN surgery. NACT confers an excellent treatment response in