Although the incidence of gastric adenocarcinoma in the United States has declined steadily since the early 1900s, it remains a significant health problem. Progress has been made during the past few decades in several areas: Lymph node staging has been refined, perioperative mortality has fallen, and plausible adjuvant therapy has emerged. Currently, complete surgical resection is the mainstay of therapy because it is the only potentially curative option; however, considerable controversy remains regarding the specifics of a surgical approach. This article examines 4 major controversies in the management of gastric cancer: extent of gastric resection, role of extended lymph node dissection, value of elective splenectomy for proximal gastric lesions, and current state of adjuvant therapy. Pertinent retrospective and prospective studies are reviewed to help formulate meaningful conclusions.
David A. Kooby and Daniel G. Coit
Jean F. Botha and Alan N. Langnas
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide and the most common primary hepatic malignancy. It arises on a background of hepatic cirrhosis in approximately 95% of the cases in the United States. A wide variety of treatment modalities have been applied in the treatment of HCC. Liver transplantation has emerged as the preferred treatment for patients with small HCC. Transplantation for patients whose tumors do not exceed the Milan criteria yields results equivalent to those of transplantation for non-HCC indications. Controversy now exists regarding the use of living donors, expansion of selection criteria, and role of adjuvant therapy.
Lyndsay J. Willmott, Daniele A. Sumner, and Bradley J. Monk
Though cervical cancer incidence and prevalence have decreased in the United States, the disease remains a very important cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Current therapy for early-stage disease is surgical with adjuvant therapy being administered according to histopathologic findings. Pelvic radiation with concomitant platinum-based chemotherapy is used to treat locally advanced disease, whereas metastatic and recurrent lesions continue to be difficult to effectively treat and cure. Clinical trials in this latter scenario have suggested that clinical benefit may be associated with biologic therapies. This article focuses on the use of targeted therapies in cervical cancer, specifically evaluating antiangiogenesis and endothelial growth factor receptor–related treatments.
John Charlson, Elizabeth C. Smith, Alicia J. Smallwood, Purushottam W. Laud, and Joan M. Neuner
Objectives: Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are standard adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with early-stage, estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer. We designed our study to determine whether women initiating adjuvant therapy with an AI underwent baseline bone mineral density testing, as well as what factors predicted adherence with testing guidelines. Methods: Medicare Parts A, B, and D claims were used to identify a cohort of women aged 67 years and older with incident breast cancer in 2006 and 2007 who started AI therapy. Medicare claims provided information about bone density testing, as well as demographic and other treatment data through 2012. We also ascertained which patients were treated with bisphosphonates and studied the relationship of bisphosphonate therapy with bone density testing. Results: Approximately two-thirds of patients had baseline bone density testing. Older age, comorbidity, low income, and black race were associated with lower rates of baseline bone density testing. Testing rates decreased substantially with increasing age from 73% for women aged 67 to 70 years to 51% for those 85 years of age and older (adjusted odds ratio for not being tested, 2.48 [Cl, 2.17–2.82]). The proportion of women who had neither bone density testing nor bisphosphonate therapy increased with age as well. Conclusions: Despite the importance of age as a risk factor for fractures, older women starting treatment with AIs for treatment of breast cancer are less likely to undergo recommended bone density assessment.
UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death in both men and women in the United States. An estimated 213,380 new cases (114,760 men and 98,620 women) of lung and bronchus cancer will be diagnosed in 2007, and 160,390 deaths (89,510 in men, 70,880 in women) are estimated to occur because of the disease. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80% to 85% of all lung cancer cases and includes 3 major types: (1) adenocarcinoma; (2) squamous cell (epidermoid) carcinoma; and (3) large-cell carcinoma. Adenocarcinoma is the most common type of lung cancer seen in the United States and is also the most frequently occurring cell type in nonsmokers. Important updates to the 2008 guidelines on NSCLC include the addition of tables on drugs and dosing information on chemotherapy regimens for adjuvant therapy.
For the most recent version of the guidelines, please visit NCCN.org
Hillary Johnson-Jahangir, William Sherman, and Désirée Ratner
Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans (DFSP) is an uncommon, low grade soft-tissue malignancy associated with a high risk for local recurrence and widespread subclinical extension. Imatinib, a selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has been a beneficial adjuvant therapy in patients with unresectable, recurrent, or metastatic DFSP. Because of its characteristic infiltrative growth, effective surgical excision of DFSP may be limited by the risk for disfigurement or functional impairment. In recent cases, neoadjuvant imatinib mesylate therapy has been shown to reduce preoperative tumor size and lessen surgical morbidity associated with the removal of residual DFSP. Use of neoadjuvant imatinib before surgery, however, requires appropriate patient selection and careful weighing of the potential risks and benefits of this treatment.
Adam L. Cohen and John H. Ward
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a premalignant condition that, if left untreated, may progress to invasive breast cancer. After lumpectomy, DCIS can recur, and about half of recurrences are invasive. In 4 randomized trials, radiation has been shown to decrease the local recurrence rate by about half, though it does not change survival. Based on the results of 3 randomized trials, tamoxifen probably decreases cancer recurrence by about 30%, particularly in young women. Low fat diets, weight loss, and physical activity decrease invasive breast cancer recurrence and may be recommended to certain women with DCIS. Prognostic factors include age, extent of DCIS, margin status, grade, and presence of necrosis, although how these affect adjuvant therapy is unclear. Research evaluating other drugs to reduce recurrence risk and on different ways of delivering radiation continues.
Allan C. Halpern and Sanjay K. Mandal
Melanoma is a major focus of dermatology training and practice, with dermatologists playing a central role in managing melanoma through primary prevention, secondary prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thinner tumors. Dermatologists have led public health efforts to raise melanoma awareness, promulgate the early warning signs of melanoma, and promote melanoma prevention through sun protection. Dermatologists have unique expertise in melanoma risk assessment and the clinical diagnosis of melanoma through visual inspection and the use of diagnostic aids, including dermoscopy and photographically assisted follow-up. Increasing incidence of melanoma, earlier melanoma detection, narrower excision margins, and improved surgical training in dermatology have recently combined to enhance the role of dermatologists in melanoma care. For patients with thin primary melanomas, dermatologists are increasingly assuming complete care, including wide local excision and long-term surveillance for both disease recurrence and detection of new primary melanoma. Conversely, the advent of sentinel lymph node biopsy and adjuvant therapy has made melanoma management more complex and has intensified the need for a multidisciplinary approach to the disease. In this context, dermatologists contribute significantly to the formation, administration, and implementation of multidisciplinary melanoma programs.
S. Machele Donat
Since the initial report in 2003 of the Intergroup-0080 trial confirming benefit of combined neoadjuvant M-VAC (methotrexate, vinblastine, adriablastine, and cisplatin) chemotherapy and cystectomy in the treatment of muscle-invasive bladder cancer, debate has continued in the literature as to the relative risk/benefits of integrating perioperative chemotherapy into the care of patients, especially in those with organ-confined, muscle-invasive, node-negative disease in whom the benefit may be less. Because of the inaccuracies of clinical staging, the potential morbidity related to M-VAC chemotherapy, a 70% cure rate in pT2No disease with surgery alone, and only a modest (5%) improvement in absolute overall survival with combined therapy, many favor limiting chemotherapy to patients with a pathologic stage of pT3 or greater or node-positive disease. This philosophy was also reflected in the 2008 National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Bladder Cancer, in which neoadjuvant chemotherapy for clinical T2 disease versus adjuvant therapy based on pathologic risks is only “considered.” Additionally, a recent study looking at the perioperative integration of chemotherapy for stage III bladder cancer in the United States using the National Cancer Data Base showed that only 11.6% of patients underwent any perioperative chemotherapy, with most in the adjuvant setting. These findings indicate that despite randomized trial data showing survival benefit for perioperative chemotherapy, and the current guidelines for therapy supporting those findings, chemotherapy is not being integrated well into the care of patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer, even in those who, experts agree, have the most potential for benefit.
Loretta Loftus, Christine Laronga, Karen Coyne, and Lynne Hildreth
Analysis of Moffitt Cancer Center data on time from breast biopsy to first definitive surgery showed an average of 6.9 weeks, which concerned the breast program faculty members. Delays in curative surgery may impact mortality, quality of life, and time to adjuvant therapy. The purpose of this study was to analyze steps from breast biopsy to definitive breast cancer surgery and to develop proposals and strategies for improvement. Data were collected from various sources, including the tumor registry, patient appointment system, tumor board lists, and the NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database for Breast Cancer. Three phases of the surgical process were identified with regard to lead time: biopsy to first consult (BX-FC); first consult to tumor board (FC-TB); and tumor board to surgery (TB-SU). Other factors, including operating room capacity and schedules, were also evaluated. The greatest percentage of total lead time occurred in the TB-SU phase (52% vs 35% in BX-FC, and 13% in FC-TB phases). The longest average lead time, 3.6 weeks, was also in the TB-SU phase. The TB-SU time was greatest when surgery was scheduled after tumor board and if surgery required breast reconstruction. Limitation of physician capacity was a major factor in treatment delay. The Opportunity for Improvement project enabled institutional analysis of the need for quality improvement in time for curative surgery for breast cancer. A significant factor that created time delay was physician capacity. As a result, additional faculty and staff have been recruited. A new expanded facility is currently in progress that will provide more physical space and services.