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Daniel G. Coit

In 1997, Alan Houghton accepted the position as chairman of the newly assembled NCCN Melanoma Committee. It was from this group of knowledgeable, often opinionated, and occasionally contentious experts in the clinical management of melanoma that the original guidelines were forged. Beginning with the process of birthing the guidelines and continuing throughout their scheduled reviewing and updating over the past 12 years, Alan's quiet and consistent leadership has encouraged each member's opinion to be heard, emphasized the primacy of data over personal bias, and acknowledged the legitimate controversy of differing approaches to various aspects of melanoma patient care (both in the presence and in the absence of data). Whenever the discussion would digress into questions of managing unusual clinical scenarios, he would keep the group focused on the task at hand, sensibly invoking his “5% Rule,” that guidelines could not possibly substitute for sound clinical judgment in dealing with uncommon events. In many ways, the NCCN Melanoma Guidelines embody Alan's lifelong commitment to better understanding the complex biology of melanoma, and to applying that knowledge to improve the care of patients afflicted with this disease. On behalf of the NCCN Melanoma Committee, with enormous gratitude and unlimited respect, we would like to dedicate this issue of JNCCN – The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to our friend and colleague, Alan N. Houghton, MD.
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Daniel G. Coit and Anthony J. Olszanski

The treatment of melanoma in 2013 has evolved significantly over the past 2 years, according to presentations at the recent NCCN 18th Annual Conference. Ipilimumab and vemurafenib have prolonged the survival of patients with advanced disease, and the research pipeline continues to evaluate a number of new agents highlighting a tremendous optimism to further improve outcomes. These new treatment options were incorporated into the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology in 2012. A recent presentation of these guidelines highlighted changes in both the initial management of very thin melanomas and the ongoing importance of targeted agents and immunotherapy in more advanced disease. This presentation included refining the indication for sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB), which, according to the updated guidelines, is not recommended for very thin lesions (≤ 0.75 mm). Dr. Daniel G. Coit discussed the rationale for this change during the presentation, and Dr. Anthony J. Olszanski reviewed the evidence for new classes of agents that impact survival.

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David A. Kooby and Daniel G. Coit

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.

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Shoko Mori, Cristian Navarrete-Dechent, Tatyana A. Petukhova, Erica H. Lee, Anthony M. Rossi, Michael A. Postow, Lara A. Dunn, Benjamin R. Roman, Vivian T. Yin, Daniel G. Coit, Travis J. Hollmann, Klaus J. Busam, Kishwer S. Nehal and Christopher A. Barker

Background: Tumor board conferences (TBCs) are used by oncologic specialists to review patient cases, exchange knowledge, and discuss options for cancer management. These multidisciplinary meetings are often a cornerstone of treatment at leading cancer centers and are required for accreditation by certain groups, such as the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. Little is known regarding skin cancer TBCs. The objective of this study was to characterize the structure, function, and impact of existing skin cancer TBCs in the United States. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was administered to physician leaders of skin cancer TBCs at NCI-designated Comprehensive and Clinical Cancer Centers. Results: Of the 59 centers successfully contacted, 14 (24%) reported not having a conference where skin cancer cases were discussed, and 45 (76%) identified 53 physician leaders. A total of 38 physicians (72%) completed the survey. Half of the meeting leaders were medical and/or surgical oncologists, and dermatologists led one-third of meetings. TBCs had a moderate to significant impact on patient care according to 97% of respondents. All respondents indicated that the meetings enhanced communication among physicians and provided an opportunity for involved specialists and professionals to discuss cases. The most frequently cited barrier to organizing TBCs was determining a common available date and time for attendees (62%). The most common suggestion for improvement was to increase attendance, specialists, and/or motivation. Conclusions: Results showed overall consistency in meeting structure but variability in function, which may be a reflection of institutional resources and investment in the conference. Future directions include defining metrics to evaluate changes in diagnosis or management plan after tumor board discussion, attendance, clinical trial enrollment, and cost analysis. Results of this survey may aid other institutions striving to develop and refine skin cancer TBCs.

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Daniel G. Coit, Robert Andtbacka, Christopher K. Bichakjian, Raza A. Dilawari, Dominick DiMaio, Valerie Guild, Allan C. Halpern, F. Stephen Hodi, Mohammed Kashani-Sabet, Julie R. Lange, Anne Lind, Lainie Martin, Mary C. Martini, Scott K. Pruitt, Merrick I. Ross, Stephen F. Sener, Susan M. Swetter, Kenneth K. Tanabe, John A. Thompson, Vijay Trisal, Marshall M. Urist, Jeffrey Weber and Michael K. Wong

Melanoma Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology NCCN Categories of Evidence and Consensus Category 1: The recommendation is based on high-level evidence (e.g., randomized controlled trials) and there is uniform NCCN consensus. Category 2A: The recommendation is based on lower-level evidence and there is uniform NCCN consensus. Category 2B: The recommendation is based on lower-level evidence and there is nonuniform NCCN consensus (but no major disagreement). Category 3: The recommendation is based on any level of evidence but reflects major disagreement. All recommendations are category 2A unless otherwise noted. Clinical trials: The NCCN believes that the best management for any cancer patient is in a clinical trial. Participation in clinical trials is especially encouraged. In 2008, an estimated 62,480 new cases of melanoma will have been diagnosed and approximately 8420 patients will have died of the disease in the United States.1 However, these projections for new cases may represent a substantial underestimation, because many superficial and in situ melanomas treated in the outpatient setting are not reported. The incidence of melanoma continues to increase dramatically. Melanoma is increasing in men more rapidly than any other malignancy and more rapidly in women than any other malignancy except lung cancer. For someone born in the United States in 2005, the lifetime risk for developing melanoma may be as high as 1 in 55.2 Melanoma ranks second to adult leukemia in terms of loss of years of potential life, per death. The median age at diagnosis is 59 years. Risk factors for melanoma include...
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Daniel G. Coit, Robert Andtbacka, Christopher J. Anker, Christopher K. Bichakjian, William E. Carson III, Adil Daud, Raza A. Dilawari, Dominick DiMaio, Valerie Guild, Allan C. Halpern, F. Stephen Hodi Jr., Mark C. Kelley, Nikhil I. Khushalani, Ragini R. Kudchadkar, Julie R. Lange, Anne Lind, Mary C. Martini, Anthony J. Olszanski, Scott K. Pruitt, Merrick I. Ross, Susan M. Swetter, Kenneth K. Tanabe, John A. Thompson, Vijay Trisal and Marshall M. Urist

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Melanoma, Version 2.2013

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Daniel G. Coit, Robert Andtbacka, Christopher J. Anker, Christopher K. Bichakjian, William E. Carson III, Adil Daud, Dominick DiMaio, Martin D. Fleming, Valerie Guild, Allan C. Halpern, F. Stephen Hodi Jr., Mark C. Kelley, Nikhil I. Khushalani, Ragini R. Kudchadkar, Julie R. Lange, Anne Lind, Mary C. Martini, Anthony J. Olszanski, Scott K. Pruitt, Merrick I. Ross, Susan M. Swetter, Kenneth K. Tanabe, John A. Thompson, Vijay Trisal, Marshall M. Urist, Nicole McMillian and Maria Ho

The NCCN Guidelines for Melanoma provide multidisciplinary recommendations on the clinical management of patients with melanoma. This NCCN Guidelines Insights report highlights notable recent updates. Foremost of these is the exciting addition of the novel agents ipilimumab and vemurafenib for treatment of advanced melanoma. The NCCN panel also included imatinib as a treatment for KIT-mutated tumors and pegylated interferon alfa-2b as an option for adjuvant therapy. Also important are revisions to the initial stratification of early-stage lesions based on the risk of sentinel lymph node metastases, and revised recommendations on the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy for low-risk groups. Finally, the NCCN panel reached clinical consensus on clarifying the role of imaging in the workup of patients with melanoma.

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Daniel G. Coit, John A. Thompson, Alain Algazi, Robert Andtbacka, Christopher K. Bichakjian, William E. Carson III, Gregory A. Daniels, Dominick DiMaio, Marc Ernstoff, Ryan C. Fields, Martin D. Fleming, Rene Gonzalez, Valerie Guild, Allan C. Halpern, F. Stephen Hodi Jr, Richard W. Joseph, Julie R. Lange, Mary C. Martini, Miguel A. Materin, Anthony J. Olszanski, Merrick I. Ross, April K. Salama, Joseph Skitzki, Jeff Sosman, Susan M. Swetter, Kenneth K. Tanabe, Javier F. Torres-Roca, Vijay Trisal, Marshall M. Urist, Nicole McMillian and Anita Engh

This selection from the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Melanoma focuses on adjuvant therapy and treatment of in-transit disease, because substantial changes were made to the recommendations for the 2016 update. Depending on the stage of the disease, options for adjuvant therapy now include biochemotherapy and high-dose ipilimumab. Treatment options for in-transit disease now include intralesional injection with talimogene laherparepvec (T-VEC), a new immunotherapy. These additions prompted re-assessment of the data supporting older recommended treatment options for adjuvant therapy and in-transit disease, resulting in extensive revisions to the supporting discussion sections.

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Daniel G. Coit, John A. Thompson, Robert Andtbacka, Christopher J. Anker, Christopher K. Bichakjian, William E. Carson III, Gregory A. Daniels, Adil Daud, Dominick DiMaio, Martin D. Fleming, Rene Gonzalez, Valerie Guild, Allan C. Halpern, F. Stephen Hodi Jr, Mark C. Kelley, Nikhil I. Khushalani, Ragini R. Kudchadkar, Julie R. Lange, Mary C. Martini, Anthony J. Olszanski, Merrick I. Ross, April Salama, Susan M. Swetter, Kenneth K. Tanabe, Vijay Trisal, Marshall M. Urist, Nicole R. McMillian and Maria Ho

The NCCN Guidelines for Melanoma provide multidisciplinary recommendations for the management of patients with melanoma. These NCCN Guidelines Insights highlight notable recent updates. Dabrafenib and trametinib, either as monotherapy (category 1) or combination therapy, have been added as systemic options for patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma harboring BRAF V600 mutations. Controversy continues regarding the value of adjuvant radiation for patients at high risk of nodal relapse. This is reflected in the category 2B designation to consider adjuvant radiation following lymphadenectomy for stage III melanoma with clinically positive nodes or recurrent disease.