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Jennifer R. Brown and William G. Wierda

With the enormous progress made in treatment and management, many oncologists have called this the golden age of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The past few years alone have seen the approval of multiple agents, including small molecule inhibitors that have led to longer, more durable periods of disease control. However, the introduction of these new drugs into the armamentarium has raised an important question regarding standard of care: is there still a role for chemoimmunotherapy in the first-line setting? At the NCCN 2019 Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies, Drs. William G. Wierda and Jennifer R. Brown presented opposing sides of the debate.

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Joshua B. Brown, Reetesh K. Pai, Melissa A. Burgess, Jennifer Chennat and Amer H. Zureikat

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) represent 1% of alimentary tract neoplasms. Up to 90% of GISTs are driven by activating mutations in tyrosine kinase KIT or PDGFRα genes. Imatinib mesylate is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has recently been used in a neoadjuvant role for locally advanced GIST. Pathologic complete response (pCR) to imatinib, however, is rare and may be limited to patients with certain mutations. We report on a 71-year-old woman with a large advanced gastric GIST near the gastroesophageal junction initially involving the pancreas, spleen, adrenal, and aortic wall. The tumor harbored a KIT exon 11 deletion mutation in codon 558, which predicts a favorable response to imatinib. After 6 months of neoadjuvant imatinib therapy, the tumor was downstaged to allow partial gastric resection without the need for total gastrectomy reconstruction. The patient underwent partial gastrectomy, distal pancreatectomy, and splenectomy, and histologic examination showed a margin-negative resection with a near-pCR, with <5% viable tumor. Prolonged neoadjuvant therapy was undertaken based on the prognostic significance of a KIT exon 11 deletion mutation in codon 558, which facilitated an R0 resection while minimizing the surgical extent of the resection. A near-pCR of a large gastric GIST after neoadjuvant imatinib therapy remains a rare occurrence. Molecular testing should be undertaken before neoadjuvant therapy, because specific mutations can identify patients who will respond to imatinib and those likely to achieve significant downstaging and pCR.

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Suepattra G. May, Caroline Huber, Alison R. Silverstein, Mark Linthicum, Jason Shafrin, Katie Brown, Upal Basu Roy and Jennifer Bright

Background: Targeted therapies for non-small lung cancer (NSCLC) have vastly improved survival and other outcomes for patients whose tumors have genetic mutations such as ALK, BRAF, EGFR, and ROS1. Identification of genetic mutations often indicates a mutation-specific course of therapy; however, the relationship between genetic mutation status, patient treatment preferences, and other determinants of patient value in NSCLC cancer care is not well understood. Methods: Qualitative study utilizing focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted with metastatic NSCLC patients who had received systemic therapy. Interviews explored how patients valued and prioritized factors and attributes associated with NSCLC therapy. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded for key themes using MAXQDA qualitative data analysis software (VERBI, GmbH). Thematic analysis identified determinants of value that patients with genetic mutations considered most important in decision-making. Results: Of 19 total participants with metastatic NSCLC (mean [SD] age, 55.8 [12.6] years; 79% female), 15 (79%) reported a known genetic mutation. Most participants valued oncogene testing and indicated that they had developed a distinct identity based on their specific mutation. Further, participants in our study with identified mutations reported facing distinctly different decisions than those without known mutations. Participants also highlighted unmet needs for diagnosis, treatment, and support tailored to their patient subgroup, including a critical need for better provider training and awareness of genetic testing and mutation-specific treatment options. Across patient subgroups, mutation-specific social media and support networks were highly valued for the care and treatment information they provide, especially among those with rare mutations, limited treatment options, or less-experienced providers. Conclusions: Our study suggests important differences among NSCLC patients based on identified genetic mutations. As treatment for NSCLC evolves, so do the needs and preferences of patients, especially those with driver mutations. Our findings highlight the need for a better understanding of how mutation status may impact patient goals and preferences in order to provide the highest value care to each patient.

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William G. Wierda, John C. Byrd, Jeremy S. Abramson, Seema Bhat, Greg Bociek, Danielle Brander, Jennifer Brown, Asher Chanan-Khan, Steve E. Coutre, Randall S. Davis, Christopher D. Fletcher, Brian Hill, Brad S. Kahl, Manali Kamdar, Lawrence D. Kaplan, Nadia Khan, Thomas J. Kipps, Jeffrey Lancet, Shuo Ma, Sami Malek, Claudio Mosse, Mazyar Shadman, Tanya Siddiqi, Deborah Stephens, Nina Wagner, Andrew D. Zelenetz, Mary A. Dwyer and Hema Sundar

Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare type of indolent B-cell leukemia, characterized by symptoms of fatigue and weakness, organomegaly, pancytopenia, and recurrent opportunistic infections. Classic HCL should be considered a distinct clinical entity separate from HCLvariant (HCLv), which is associated with a more aggressive disease course and may not respond to standard HCL therapies. Somatic hypermutation in the IGHV gene is present in most patients with HCL. The BRAF V600E mutation has been reported in most patients with classic HCL but not in those with other B-cell leukemias or lymphomas. Therefore, it is necessary to distinguish HCLv from classic HCL. This manuscript discusses the recommendations outlined in the NCCN Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of classic HCL.

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Joseph C. Alvarnas, Patrick A. Brown, Patricia Aoun, Karen Kuhn Ballen, Naresh Bellam, William Blum, Michael W. Boyer, Hetty E. Carraway, Peter F. Coccia, Steven E. Coutre, Jennifer Cultrera, Lloyd E. Damon, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Dan Douer, Haydar Frangoul, Olga Frankfurt, Salil Goorha, Michael M. Millenson, Susan O'Brien, Stephen H. Petersdorf, Arati V. Rao, Stephanie Terezakis, Geoffrey Uy, Meir Wetzler, Andrew D. Zelenetz, Maoko Naganuma and Kristina M. Gregory

The inaugural NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) were developed as a result of meetings convened by a multi-disciplinary panel of experts in 2011. These NCCN Guidelines provide recommendations on the diagnostic evaluation and workup for ALL, risk assessment, risk-stratified treatment approaches based on the Philadelphia chromosome status and age (adults vs. adolescents/young adults), assessment of minimal residual disease, and supportive care considerations. It is recommended that patients be treated at specialized centers with expertise in the management of ALL.

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Pamela Sue Becker, Elizabeth A. Griffiths, Laura M. Alwan, Kimo Bachiashvili, Anna Brown, Rita Cool, Peter Curtin, Shira Dinner, Ivana Gojo, Ashley Hicks, Avyakta Kallam, Wajih Zaheer Kidwai, Dwight D. Kloth, Eric H. Kraut, Daniel Landsburg, Gary H. Lyman, Ryan Miller, Sudipto Mukherjee, Shiven Patel, Lia E. Perez, Adam Poust, Raajit Rampal, Rachel Rosovsky, Vivek Roy, Hope S. Rugo, Sepideh Shayani, Sumithira Vasu, Martha Wadleigh, Kelly Westbrook, Peter Westervelt, Jennifer Burns, Jennifer Keller and Lenora A. Pluchino

Management of febrile neutropenia (FN) is an integral part of supportive care for patients undergoing cancer treatment. The NCCN Guidelines for Hematopoietic Growth Factors provide suggestions for appropriate evaluation, risk determination, prophylaxis, and management of FN. These NCCN Guidelines are intended to guide clinicians in the appropriate use of growth factors for select patients undergoing treatment of nonmyeloid malignancies. These NCCN Guidelines Insights highlight important updates to the NCCN Guidelines regarding the incorporation of newly FDA-approved granulocyte-colony stimulating factor biosimilars for the prevention and treatment of FN.

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William G. Wierda, John C. Byrd, Jeremy S. Abramson, Syed F. Bilgrami, Greg Bociek, Danielle Brander, Jennifer Brown, Asher A. Chanan-Khan, Julio C. Chavez, Steve E. Coutre, Randall S. Davis, Christopher D. Fletcher, Brian Hill, Brad S. Kahl, Manali Kamdar, Lawrence D. Kaplan, Nadia Khan, Thomas J. Kipps, Shuo Ma, Sami Malek, Anthony Mato, Claudio Mosse, Vishala T. Neppalli, Mazyar Shadman, Tanya Siddiqi, Deborah Stephens, Nina Wagner, Mary A. Dwyer and Hema Sundar

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is generally characterized by an indolent disease course. Histologic transformation (also known as Richter's transformation) to more aggressive lymphomas, such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or Hodgkin lymphoma, occurs in approximately 2% to 10% of patients and is associated with a poor prognosis. These NCCN Guidelines Insights discuss the recommendations for the diagnosis and management of patients with histologic transformation.

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William G. Wierda, John C. Byrd, Jeremy S. Abramson, Syed F. Bilgrami, Greg Bociek, Danielle Brander, Jennifer Brown, Asher A. Chanan-Khan, Julio C. Chavez, Steve E. Coutre, Randall S. Davis, Christopher D. Fletcher, Brian Hill, Brad S. Kahl, Manali Kamdar, Lawrence D. Kaplan, Nadia Khan, Thomas J. Kipps, Megan S. Lim, Shuo Ma, Sami Malek, Anthony Mato, Claudio Mosse, Mazyar Shadman, Tanya Siddiqi, Deborah Stephens, Suchitra Sundaram, Nina Wagner, Mary Dwyer and Hema Sundar

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) are characterized by a progressive accumulation of leukemic cells in the peripheral blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid tissues. Treatment of CLL/SLL has evolved significantly in recent years because of the improved understanding of the disease biology and the development of novel targeted therapies. In patients with indications for initiating treatment, the selection of treatment should be based on the disease stage, patient’s age and overall fitness (performance status and comorbid conditions), and cytogenetic abnormalities. This manuscript discusses the recommendations outlined in the NCCN Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with CLL/SLL.