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Michelle Guan, Gillian Gresham, Arvind Shinde, Isaac Lapite, Jun Gong, Veronica R. Placencio-Hickok, Christopher B. Forrest and Andrew E. Hendifar

Background: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is associated with high symptom burden. However, treatment decisions currently depend heavily on physician interpretation of clinical parameters and may not consider patients’ health preferences. The NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) initiative standardized a set of patient-reported outcomes for use in chronic diseases. This study identifies preference rankings among patients with PDAC and physicians for PROMIS domains and compares the priorities of patients and their providers. Methods: We condensed the 96 NIH PROMIS adult domains into 31 domains and created a Maximum Difference Scaling questionnaire. Domain preference scores were generated from the responses of patients with PDAC and physicians, which were compared using Maximum Difference Scaling software across demographic and clinical variables. Results: Participants included 135 patients with PDAC (53% male; median age, 68 years) and 54 physicians (76% male; median years of experience, 10). Patients selected physical functioning (PF) as their top priority, whereas physicians identified pain as most important. PF, ability to perform activities of daily living, and symptom management were within the top 5 domains for both patients and physicians, and varied only slightly across age, sex, and ethnicity. However, several domains were ranked significantly higher by patients than by physicians, including but not limited to PF; ability to do things for yourself, family, and friends; ability to interact with others to obtain help; and sleep quality. Physicians ranked pain, anxiety, and depression higher than patients did. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that patients with PDAC value PF and engaging in daily and social activities the most, whereas physicians prioritize symptoms such as pain. Patient-reported outcomes need to become more integrated into PDAC care and research to better identify unmet patient needs, inform treatment decisions, and develop therapies that address outcomes valued by patients.

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Aatur D. Singhi, Siraj M. Ali, Jill Lacy, Andrew Hendifar, Khanh Nguyen, Jamie Koo, Jon H. Chung, Joel Greenbowe, Jeffrey S. Ross, Marina N. Nikiforova, Herbert J. Zeh, Inderpal S. Sarkaria, Anil Dasyam and Nathan Bahary

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is one of the most lethal cancers, with a 5-year survival of 8%. Current therapeutic regimens are largely ineffective and underscore the need for novel treatment strategies. Chromosomal rearrangements involving the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene have been identified in several neoplasms. In addition, ALK protein inhibitors have proven efficacy in patients with ALK-rearranged tumors. However, ALK translocations in PDAC have not been described. Through comprehensive genomic profiling of 3,170 PDACs, we identified 5 cases (0.16%) that harbored an ALK fusion gene: an exon 6 EML4–exon 20 ALK translocation (n=3), an exon 13 EML4–exon 20 ALK translocation (n=1), and an exon 3 STRN–exon 20 ALK translocation (n=1). Among the most prevalent PDAC-related genes, activating KRAS mutations were absent in all 5 cases, who were <50 years of age. Among patients aged <50 years in our study cohort, ALK translocations constituted 1.3% of PDACs. Four of 5 patients were treated with an ALK inhibitor, and 3 of these patients demonstrated stable disease, radiographic response, and/or normalization of serum CA 19-9. Although rare, ALK fusions occur in PDAC, and screening for ALK rearrangements should be considered in young patients with PDAC.

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Ju Dong Yang, Michael Luu, Amit G. Singal, Mazen Noureddin, Alexander Kuo, Walid S. Ayoub, Vinay Sundaram, Honore Kotler, Irene K. Kim, Tsuyoshi Todo, Georgios Voidonikolas, Todd V. Brennan, Kambiz Kosari, Andrew S. Klein, Andrew Hendifar, Shelly C. Lu, Nicholas N. Nissen and Jun Gong

Background: It remains unknown to what extent hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) are detected very early (T1 stage; ie, unifocal <2 cm) in the United States. The aim of this study was to investigate the trends and factors associated with very early detection of HCC and resultant outcomes. Methods: Patients with HCC diagnosed from 2004 through 2014 were identified from the National Cancer Database. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with T1 HCC detection, and Cox proportional hazard analyses identified factors associated with overall survival among patients with T1 HCC. Results: Of 110,182 eligible patients, the proportion with T1 HCC increased from 2.6% in 2004 to 6.8% in 2014 (P<.01). The strongest correlate of T1 HCC detection was receipt of care at an academic institution (odds ratio, 3.51; 95% CI, 2.31–5.34). Older age, lack of insurance, high Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, high alpha-fetoprotein, increased Charlson-Deyo comorbidity score, and nonsurgical treatment were associated with increased mortality, and care at an academic center (hazard ratio [HR], 0.27; 95% CI, 0.15–0.48) was associated with reduced mortality in patients with T1 HCC. Liver transplantation (HR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.20–0.37) and surgical resection (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.48–0.93) were independently associated with improved survival compared with ablation. This is the first study to examine the trend of T1 HCC using the National Cancer Database, which covers approximately 70% of all cancer diagnoses in the United States, using robust statistical analyses. Limitations of the study include a retrospective study design using administrative data and some pertinent data that were not available. Conclusions: Despite increases over time, <10% of HCCs are detected at T1 stage. The strongest correlates of survival among patients with T1 HCC are receiving care at an academic institution and surgical treatment.