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Charles M. Rudin, Christine L. Hann, Craig D. Peacock and D. Neil Watkins

A diagnosis of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) today confers essentially the same terrible prognosis that it did 25 years ago, when common use of cisplatin-based chemotherapy began for this disease. In contrast to past decades of research on many other solid tumors, studies of combination chemotherapy using later generation cytotoxics and targeted kinase inhibitors have not had a significant impact on standard care for SCLC. The past few years have seen suggestions of incrementally improved outcomes using standard cytotoxics, including cisplatin-based combination studies of irinotecan and amrubicin by Japanese research consortia. Confirmatory phase III studies of these agents are ongoing in the United States. Antiangiogenic strategies are also of primary interest and are in late-phase testing. Several novel therapeutics, including high-potency small molecule inhibitors of Bcl-2 and the Hedgehog signaling pathway, and a recently discovered replication-competent picornavirus, have shown remarkable activity against SCLC in preclinical models and are currently in simultaneous phase I clinical development. Novel therapeutic approaches based on advances in understanding of the biology of SCLC have the potential to radically change the outlook for patients with this disease.

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Norma F. Kanarek, Hua-Ling Tsai, Sharon Metzger-Gaud, Dorothy Damron, Alla Guseynova, Justin F. Klamerus and Charles M. Rudin

This study assessed the effects of race and place of residence on clinical trial participation by patients seen at a designated NCI comprehensive cancer center. Clinical trial accrual to cancer case ratios were evaluated using a database of residents at the continental United States seen at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins from 2005 to 2007. Place of residence was categorized into 3 nonoverlapping geographic areas: Baltimore City, non–Baltimore City catchment area, and non–catchment area. Controlling for age, sex, county poverty level, and cancer site, significant race and place of residence differences were seen in therapeutic or nontherapeutic clinical trials participation. White non–Baltimore City catchment area residents, the designated reference group, achieved the highest participation rate. Although the test of interaction (control group compared with all others) was not significant, some race–geographic area group differences were detected. In therapeutic trials, most race–place of residence group levels were statistically lower and different from reference; in nontherapeutic trials, race-specific Baltimore City groups participated at levels similar to reference. Baltimore City residents had lower participation rates only in therapeutic trials, irrespective of race. County poverty level was not significant but was retained as a confounder. Place of residence and race were found to be significant predictors of participation in therapeutic and nontherapeutic clinical trials, although patterns differed somewhat between therapeutic and nontherapeutic trials. Clinical trial accruals are not uniform across age, sex, race, place of residence, cancer site, or trial type, underscoring that cancer centers must better understand their source patients to enhance clinical trial participation.

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Gregory P. Kalemkerian, Wallace Akerley, Paul Bogner, Hossein Borghaei, Laura Chow, Robert J. Downey, Leena Gandhi, Apar Kishor P. Ganti, Ramaswamy Govindan, John C. Grecula, James Hayman, Rebecca Suk Heist, Leora Horn, Thierry M. Jahan, Marianna Koczywas, Cesar A. Moran, Harvey B. Niell, Janis O'Malley, Jyoti D. Patel, Neal Ready, Charles M. Rudin and Charles C. Williams Jr.

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Gregory P. Kalemkerian, Wallace Akerley, Paul Bogner, Hossein Borghaei, Laura QM Chow, Robert J. Downey, Leena Gandhi, Apar Kishor P. Ganti, Ramaswamy Govindan, John C. Grecula, James Hayman, Rebecca Suk Heist, Leora Horn, Thierry Jahan, Marianna Koczywas, Billy W. Loo Jr, Robert E. Merritt, Cesar A. Moran, Harvey B. Niell, Janis O’Malley, Jyoti D. Patel, Neal Ready, Charles M. Rudin, Charles C. Williams Jr, Kristina Gregory and Miranda Hughes

Neuroendocrine tumors account for approximately 20% of lung cancers; most (≈15%) are small cell lung cancer (SCLC). These NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for SCLC focus on extensive-stage SCLC because it occurs more frequently than limited-stage disease. SCLC is highly sensitive to initial therapy; however, most patients eventually die of recurrent disease. In patients with extensive-stage disease, chemotherapy alone can palliate symptoms and prolong survival in most patients; however, long-term survival is rare. Most cases of SCLC are attributable to cigarette smoking; therefore, smoking cessation should be strongly promoted.