Routine monitoring of carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels is standard in patients with resected colorectal cancer (CRC). The incidence of false-positives and the upper limits of false-positive elevations have not been previously well characterized. A search of medical records at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center identified 728 patients who underwent an R0 resection of locoregional CRC between January 2003 and December 2012 and who had an increase in CEA level above the normal range after a normal perioperative CEA level. Of these, 358 had a false-positive elevation of CEA level, 335 had a true-positive elevation indicative of recurrent CRC, and 35 had a true-positive elevation indicative of the development of a new, non-CRC malignancy. Of those with false elevations, 111 had a single isolated CEA level elevation (median highest CEA level of 5.5 ng/mL) with no further abnormal measurements, whereas 247 had elevations on 2 or more readings, with a median highest level of 6.7 ng/mL. Of these 247 patients with confirmed false-positive CEA level elevations, only 5 (2%) had measurements greater than 15 ng/mL, and no confirmed elevation greater than 35 ng/mL was a false-positive. False-positive CEA test results in the range of 5 to 15 ng/mL are common. Confirmation of CEA elevation in this range before initiating imaging studies may be appropriate. False-positive results greater than 15 ng/mL are rare, and all confirmed CEA levels greater than 35 ng/mL were associated with cancer recurrence.
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Anya Litvak, Andrea Cercek, Neil Segal, Diane Reidy-Lagunes, Zsofia K. Stadler, Rona D. Yaeger, Nancy E. Kemeny, Martin R. Weiser, Melissa S. Pessin, and Leonard Saltz
Mohamedtaki A. Tejani, Anna ter Veer, Dana Milne, Rebecca Ottesen, Tanios Bekaii-Saab, Al B. Benson III, Deborah Schrag, Stephen Shibata, John Skibber, Martin Weiser, Neal Wilkinson, and Steven J. Cohen
Appendiceal malignancies are rare and represent 1% of intestinal tumors in the United States. The role and efficacy of modern systemic therapy in advanced appendiceal adenocarcinoma has not been established. This study analyzed patients with recurrent or metastatic appendiceal adenocarcinoma in the database for Colorectal Cancer (CRC; 2005-2012). This database tracks longitudinal care for patients treated at 8 specialty centers across the Unites States. Study objectives were to describe and evaluate the efficacy of systemic therapy and investigate relationships with clinicopathologic features. Cox regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Of 248 patients with advanced appendiceal carcinoma, 112 (45%) received systemic therapy for measurable disease and are the focus of this report. The most common chemotherapy regimens included FOLFOX with or without bevacizumab (n=39 and n=37, respectively), FOLFIRI (n=15), and single-agent fluoro-pyrimidine (n=10). Among 99 patients evaluable for best response, 39 experienced a response (response rate [RR], 39%) and 36 (36%) had stable disease. The median PFS was 1.2 years (95% CI, 1.0-1.8) and median OS was 2.1 years (95% CI, 1.6-2.3). Patients with non-mucinous histology or high-grade tumors and those who underwent nondebulking surgery had worse PFS and OS. Treatment of advanced appendiceal adenocarcinoma at NCCN Member Institutions commonly incorporates agents used for CRC. RR, PFS, and OS are comparable to those achieved in the treatment of metastatic CRC. Poor prognostic factors include nonmucinous histology or high-grade tumors and history of nondebulking surgery.
Marsha Reyngold, Joyce Niland, Anna ter Veer, Dana Milne, Tanios Bekaii-Saab, Steven J. Cohen, Lily Lai, Deborah Schrag, John M. Skibber, William Small Jr, Martin Weiser, Neal Wilkinson, and Karyn A. Goodman
Based on randomized data, neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy has been incorporated into the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for stage II-III rectal cancer. Factors associated with nonadherence to evidence-based guidelines for neoadjuvant radiotherapy (RT) were examined at dedicated cancer centers. The prospective NCCN Oncology Outcomes Database for Colorectal Cancers was queried for patients with stage II-III rectal cancer who underwent a transabdominal surgical resection between September 2005 and June 2012. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with omission of RT. Among 1199 identified patients, 1119 (93%) received neoadjuvant RT, 51 (4%) did not receive RT, and 29 (2%) received adjuvant RT. Among 51 patients not receiving RT, only 19 (37%) were referred and evaluated by a radiation oncologist. On multivariable analysis, clinical factors associated with not receiving RT included a history of prior pelvic RT (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 23.9; P=.0003), ECOG performance status of 2 or greater (aOR, 11.1; P=.01), tumor distance from the anal verge greater than 10 cm (aOR, 5.4; P=.009), age at diagnosis of 75 years or older (aOR, 4.43; P=.002), body mass index of 25 to 30 kg/m2 and less than 25 kg/m2 (aOR, 5.22 and 4.23, respectively; P=.03), and clinical stage II (aOR, 2.27; P=.02). No significant change was seen in RT use according to diagnosis year, nor was any correlation seen with distance to the nearest RT facility. Concordance with NCCN Guidelines for neoadjuvant RT is high among NCCN Member Institutions. After adjusting for clinical characteristics that increase the risk for RT toxicity, including history of pelvic RT and high comorbidity burden/low functional status, the authors found that non-obese patients of advanced age or those with more favorable clinical features were more likely to not receive RT.
Sherif R. Z. Abdel-Misih, Lai Wei, Al B. Benson III, Steven Cohen, Lily Lai, John Skibber, Neal Wilkinson, Martin Weiser, Deborah Schrag, and Tanios Bekaii-Saab
Background: Nodal status has long been considered pivotal to oncologic care, staging, and management. This has resulted in the establishment of rudimentary metrics regarding adequate lymph node yield in colon and rectal cancers for accurate cancer staging. In the era of neoadjuvant treatment, the implications of lymph node yield and status on patient outcomes remains unclear. Patient and Methods: This study included 1,680 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer from the NCCN prospective oncology database stratified into 3 groups based on preoperative therapy received: no neoadjuvant therapy, neoadjuvant chemoradiation, and neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Clinicopathologic characteristics and survival were compared between the groups, with univariate and multivariate analyses undertaken. Results: The clinicopathologic characteristics demonstrated statistically significant differences and heterogeneity among the 3 groups. The neoadjuvant chemoradiation group demonstrated the statistically lowest median lymph node yield (n=15) compared with 17 and 18 for no-neoadjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, respectively (P<.0001). Neoadjuvant treatment did impact survival, with chemoradiation demonstrating increased median overall survival of 42.7 compared with 37.3 and 26.6 months for neoadjuvant chemotherapy and no-neoadjuvant therapy, respectively (P<.0001). Patients with a yield of fewer than 12 lymph nodes had improved median overall survival of 43.3 months compared with 36.6 months in patients with 12 or more lymph nodes (P=.009). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that neither node yield nor status were predictors for overall survival. Discussion: This analysis reiterates that nodal yield in rectal cancer is multifactorial, with neoadjuvant therapy being a significant factor. Node yield and status were not significant predictors of overall survival. A nodal metric may not be clinically relevant in the era of neoadjuvant therapy, and guidelines for perioperative therapy may need reconsideration.
Dorothy Romanus, Martin R. Weiser, John M. Skibber, Anna Ter Veer, Joyce C. Niland, John L. Wilson, Ashwani Rajput, Yu-Ning Wong, Al B. Benson III, Stephen Shibata, and Deborah Schrag
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Outcomes Database was created to assess concordance to evidence- and consensus-based guidelines and to measure adherence to quality measures on an ongoing basis. The Colorectal Cancer Database began in 2005 as a collaboration among 8 NCCN centers.
Newly diagnosed colon and rectal cancer patients presenting to 1 of 8 NCCN centers between September 1, 2005, and May 21, 2008, were eligible for analysis of concordance with NCCN treatment guidelines for colorectal cancer and with a set of quality metrics jointly developed by ASCO and NCCN in 2007. Adherence rates were determined for each metric. Center-specific rates were benchmarked against mean concordance rates for all participating centers.
A total of 3443 patients were evaluable. Mean concordance rates with NCCN colorectal cancer guidelines and ASCO/NCCN quality measures were generally high (≥ 90%). However, relatively low mean concordance rates were noted for adjuvant chemotherapy treatment recommendations within 9 months of diagnosis of stage II to III rectal cancer (81%), and neoadjuvant chemoradiation in clinical T4 rectal primaries (83%). These low rates of concordance seemed to be consistent across centers.
Adherence to guidelines and quality measures is generally high at institutions participating in the NCCN colorectal cancer database. Lack of documentation, patient refusal, delayed treatment initiation, and lack of consensus about whether treatment was essential were the primary reasons for nonconcordance. Measurement of concordance and the reasons for nonconcordance enable participating centers to understand and improve their care delivery systems.
Andrea Cercek, Karyn A. Goodman, Carla Hajj, Emily Weisberger, Neil H. Segal, Diane L. Reidy-Lagunes, Zsofia K. Stadler, Abraham J. Wu, Martin R. Weiser, Philip B. Paty, Jose G. Guillem, Garrett M. Nash, Larissa K. Temple, Julio Garcia-Aguilar, and Leonard B. Saltz
Standard therapy for locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC) is preoperative chemoradiotherapy and postoperative chemotherapy. At Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) the authors began offering FOLFOX (5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin) as initial treatment for patients with high-risk LARC to target micrometastases while treating the primary tumor. The purpose of this study is to report the safety and efficacy of initial FOLFOX given before chemoradiotherapy on tumor downsizing and pathologic complete response (pathCR) in LARC. The records of patients with stage II/III rectal cancer treated at MSKCC between 2007 and 2012 were reviewed. Of approximately 300 patients with LARC treated at MSKCC, 61 received FOLFOX as initial therapy. Of these 61 patients, 57 received induction FOLFOX (median 7 cycles) followed by chemoradiation, and 4 experienced an excellent response, declined chemoradiation, and underwent total mesorectal excision (TME). Twelve of the 61 patients did not undergo TME: 9 had a complete clinical response (CCR), 1 declined despite persistent tumor, 1 declined because of comorbidities, and 1 developed metastatic disease. Among the 61 patients receiving initial FOLFOX, 22 (36%) had either a pathCR (n=13) or a CCR (n=9). Of the 49 patients who underwent TME, all had R0 resections and 23 (47%) had tumor response greater than 90%, including 13 (27%) who experienced a pathCR. Of the 28 patients who received all 8 cycles of FOLFOX, 8 experienced a pathCR (29%) and 3 a CCR (11%). No serious adverse events occurred that required a delay in treatment during FOLFOX or chemoradiation. FOLFOX and chemoradiation before planned TME results in tumor regression, a high rate of delivery of planned therapy, and a substantial rate of pathCRs, and offers a good platform for nonoperative management in select patients.