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Alfredo A. Santillan, Jeffrey M. Farma, Kenneth L. Meredith, Nilay R. Shah, and Scott T. Kelley

Esophageal cancer represents a major public health problem worldwide. Several minimally invasive esophagectomy (MIE) techniques have been described and represent a safe alternative for the surgical management of esophageal cancer in selected centers with high volume and expertise in them. This article reviews the most recent and largest series evaluating MIE techniques. Recent larger series have shown MIE to be equivalent in postoperative morbidity and mortality rates to conventional surgery. MIE has been associated with less blood loss, less postoperative pain, and decreased intensive care unit and hospital length of stay compared with conventional surgery. Despite limited data, conventional surgery and MIE have shown no significant difference in survival, stage for stage. The myriad of MIE techniques complicates the debate of defining the optimal surgical approach for treating esophageal cancer. Randomized controlled trials comparing MIE with conventional open esophagectomy are needed to clarify the ideal procedure with the lowest postoperative morbidity, best quality of life after surgery, and long-term survival.

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Gabrielle Gauvin, Chi Chi Do-Nguyen, Johanna Lou, Eileen Anne O’Halloran, Leigh T. Selesner, Elizabeth Handorf, Molly E. Collins, and Jeffrey M. Farma

Background: Gastrostomy tubes (G-tubes) are invaluable clinical tools that play a role in palliation and nutrition in patients with cancer. This study aimed to better understand the risks and benefits associated with the placement and maintenance of G-tubes. Methods: Patients who underwent placement of a G-tube for cancer from January 2013 through December 2017 at a tertiary care center were considered for inclusion. Clinical data were retrospectively collected from medical records. Results: A total of 242 patients with cancer, whose average age at diagnosis was 61 years (range, 21–94 years), underwent G-tube placement for nutrition (76.4%), decompression (22.7%), or both (0.8%). Successful insertion was achieved in 96.8%, but 8 patients required >1 attempted method of insertion. In the decompression group, minor postplacement complications were less common (23.6% vs 53.5%; P<.001) and survival was shorter (P<.001) compared with the nutrition group. For those with decompressive G-tubes, 45.5% had a palliative care consult; 56.4% were seen by social workers; and 46.3% went to hospice. The frequency of hospice discharge was higher in patients who had consults (53.7% vs 23.1%; P=.01). Conclusions: Half of the patients who received decompressive G-tubes presented with stage IV disease and died within 1 month of placement. Those with >1 consult were more likely to be discharged to hospice. Patients with G-tubes for nutrition saw no change in functionality, complication rate, or survival, regardless of adjunct chemotherapy status. These findings illustrate the need for a tool to allow a better multidisciplinary approach and interventional decision-making for patients with cancer.

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Sonali Agrawal, Caitlin R. Meeker, Sandeep Aggarwal, Elizabeth A. Handorf, Sunil Adige, Efrat Dotan, Crystal S. Denlinger, William H. Ward, Jeffrey M. Farma, and Namrata Vijayvergia

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Christopher K. Bichakjian, Thomas Olencki, Sumaira Z. Aasi, Murad Alam, James S. Andersen, Rachel Blitzblau, Glen M. Bowen, Carlo M. Contreras, Gregory A. Daniels, Roy Decker, Jeffrey M. Farma, Kris Fisher, Brian Gastman, Karthik Ghosh, Roy C. Grekin, Kenneth Grossman, Alan L. Ho, Karl D. Lewis, Manisha Loss, Daniel D. Lydiatt, Jane Messina, Kishwer S. Nehal, Paul Nghiem, Igor Puzanov, Chrysalyne D. Schmults, Ashok R. Shaha, Valencia Thomas, Yaohui G. Xu, John A. Zic, Karin G. Hoffmann, and Anita M. Engh

This selection from the NCCN Guidelines for Merkel Cell Carcinoma (MCC) focuses on areas impacted by recently emerging data, including sections describing MCC risk factors, diagnosis, workup, follow-up, and management of advanced disease with radiation and systemic therapy. Included in these sections are discussion of the new recommendations for use of Merkel cell polyomavirus as a biomarker and new recommendations for use of checkpoint immunotherapies to treat metastatic or unresectable disease. The next update of the complete version of the NCCN Guidelines for MCC will include more detailed information about elements of pathology and addresses additional aspects of management of MCC, including surgical management of the primary tumor and draining nodal basin, radiation therapy as primary treatment, and management of recurrence.