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Proton Therapy in an Era of Cost Containment

Joseph M. Herman

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Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy: A New Standard Option for Pancreatic Cancer?

Joseph M. Herman and Albert C. Koong

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More Than the Sum of Its Parts: How Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Can Benefit Patients, Providers, and Health Systems

Shereef M. Elnahal, Peter J. Pronovost, and Joseph M. Herman

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Local Therapies for Hepatic Metastases

Fabian M. Johnston, Michael N. Mavros, Joseph M. Herman, and Timothy M. Pawlik

The liver is one of the most common sites for metastatic disease, and optimal management of hepatic metastases often requires a multidisciplinary approach. Most commonly, liver metastases are derived from a colorectal or neuroendocrine primary tumor. Liver resection with curative intent is standard for resectable cases, but unfortunately most patients are not initially resectable because of the size, location, and/or extent of disease; inadequate remnant liver volume; or comorbidities. For patients with liver-limited or liver-dominant colorectal liver metastases (CRLM), the current challenges are to use different locoregional treatments to convert some borderline unresectable cases to resectable, and improve local control and overall survival. Although neuroendocrine liver metastases (NELM) may behave in a relatively indolent manner from an oncologic perspective, significant morbidity may be caused by excess hormone production when compared with metastatic liver disease from other primaries, and liver-directed treatment may be beneficial in reducing symptoms and perhaps extending survival. In the multidisciplinary management of patients with liver metastases, local therapies are especially important. Local approaches may be complementary (ie, portal vein embolization) or an alternative (ie, ablation, hepatic arterial infusion, selective radioembolization, and stereotactic body radiotherapy) to surgical resection. This article evaluates the available evidence on current regional strategies for managing patients with liver metastases, with an emphasis on CRLM and NELM, highlighting the clinical usefulness and limitations of each modality.

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Management of the Primary Tumor and Limited Metastases in Patients With Metastatic Pancreatic Cancer

Joseph M. Herman, John P. Hoffman, Sarah P. Thayer, and Robert A. Wolff

New combinations of cytotoxic chemotherapy have been proven to increase response rates and survival times compared with single-agent gemcitabine for patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer. These responses have been dramatic for a subset of patients, therefore raising questions about the management of limited metastatic disease with surgery or other ablative methods. Similarly, for patients having a complete radiographic response to chemotherapy in the metastatic compartment, whether to consider local therapy in the form of radiation or surgery for the primary tumor is now an appropriate question. Therefore, collaboration among experts in surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology has led to the development of guiding principles for local therapies to the primary intact pancreatic tumor for patients with limited metastatic disease and those who have had a significant response after systemic therapy.

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Survival in Patients With Severe Lymphopenia Following Treatment With Radiation and Chemotherapy for Newly Diagnosed Solid Tumors

Stuart A. Grossman, Susannah Ellsworth, Jian Campian, Aaron T. Wild, Joseph M. Herman, Dan Laheru, Malcolm Brock, Ani Balmanoukian, and Xiaobu Ye

Background: The immune system plays an important role in cancer surveillance and therapy. Chemoradiation can cause severe treatment-related lymphopenia (TRL) (<500 cells/mm3) that is associated with reduced survival. Materials and Methods: Data from 4 independent solid tumor studies on serial lymphocyte counts, prognostic factors, treatment, and survival were collected and analyzed. The data set included 297 patients with newly diagnosed malignant glioma (N=96), resected pancreatic cancer (N=53), unresectable pancreatic cancer (N=101), and non–small cell lung cancer (N=47). Results: Pretreatment lymphocyte counts were normal in 83% of the patient population, and no patient had severe baseline lymphopenia. Two months after initiating chemoradiation, 43% developed severe and persistent lymphopenia (P=.001). An increased risk for death was attributable to TRL in each cancer cohort (gliomas: hazard rate [HR], 1.8; 95% CI, 1.13–2.87; resected pancreas: HR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.17–4.12; unresected pancreas: HR, 2.9; 95% CI, 1.53–5.42; and lung: HR, 1.7; 95% CI, 0.8–3.61) and in the entire study population regardless of pathologic findings (HR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.54–2.78; P<.0001). Severe TRL was observed in more than 40% of patients 2 months after initiating chemoradiation, regardless of histology or chemotherapy regimen, and was independently associated with shorter survival from tumor progression. Conclusions: Increased attention and research should be focused on the cause, prevention, and reversal of this unintended consequence of cancer treatment that seems to be related to survival in patients with solid tumors.

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Early and Midtreatment Mortality in Palliative Radiotherapy: Emphasizing Patient Selection in High-Quality End-of-Life Care

Matthew S. Ning, Prajnan Das, David I. Rosenthal, Bouthaina S. Dabaja, Zhongxing Liao, Joe Y. Chang, Daniel R. Gomez, Ann H. Klopp, G. Brandon Gunn, Pamela K. Allen, Paige L. Nitsch, Rachel B. Natter, Tina M. Briere, Joseph M. Herman, Rebecca Wells, Albert C. Koong, and Mary Frances McAleer

Background: Palliative radiotherapy (RT) is effective, but some patients die during treatment or too soon afterward to experience benefit. This study investigates end-of-life RT patterns to inform shared decision-making and facilitate treatment consistent with palliative goals. Materials and Methods: All patients who died ≤6 months after initiating palliative RT at an academic cancer center between 2015 and 2018 were identified. Associations with time-to-death, early mortality (≤30 days), and midtreatment mortality were analyzed. Results: In total, 1,620 patients died ≤6 months from palliative RT initiation, including 574 (34%) deaths at ≤30 days and 222 (14%) midtreatment. Median survival was 43 days from RT start (95% CI, 41–45) and varied by site (P<.001), ranging from 36 (head and neck) to 53 days (dermal/soft tissue). On multivariable analysis, earlier time-to-death was associated with osseous (hazard ratio [HR], 1.33; P<.001) and head and neck (HR, 1.45; P<.001) sites, multiple RT courses ≤6 months (HR, 1.65; P<.001), and multisite treatments (HR, 1.40; P=.008), whereas stereotactic technique (HR, 0.77; P<.001) and more recent treatment year (HR, 0.82; P<.001) were associated with longer survival. No difference in time to death was noted among patients prescribed conventional RT in 1 to 10 versus >10 fractions (median, 40 vs 47 days; P=.272), although the latter entailed longer courses. The 30-day mortality group included 335 (58%) inpatients, who were 27% more likely to die midtreatment (P=.031). On multivariable analysis, midtreatment mortality among these inpatients was associated with thoracic (odds ratio [OR], 2.95; P=.002) and central nervous system (CNS; OR, 2.44; P=.002) indications, >5-fraction courses (OR, 3.27; P<.001), and performance status of 3 to 4 (OR, 1.63; P=.050). Conversely, palliative/supportive care consultation was associated with decreased midtreatment mortality (OR, 0.60; P=.045). Conclusions: Earlier referrals and hypofractionated courses (≤5–10 treatments) should be routinely considered for palliative RT indications, given the short life expectancies of patients at this stage in their disease course. Providers should exercise caution for emergent thoracic and CNS indications among inpatients with poor prognoses due to high midtreatment mortality.

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Baseline Hemoglobin-A1c Impacts Clinical Outcomes in Patients With Pancreatic Cancer

Katherine Y. Fan, Avani S. Dholakia, Aaron T. Wild, Zheng Su, Amy Hacker-Prietz, Rachit Kumar, Mary Hodgin, Charles C. Hsu, Dung T. Le, Ana De Jesus-Acosta, Luis A. Diaz Jr, Daniel A. Laheru, Ralph H. Hruban, Elliot K. Fishman, Todd D. Brown, Timothy M. Pawlik, Christopher L. Wolfgang, Phuoc T. Tran, and Joseph M. Herman

An association between diabetes mellitus and pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA) has long been recognized. This article assesses the effect of the baseline hemoglobin-A1c (HbA1c) value on the clinical outcomes of patients with PDA. HbA1c values were prospectively collected on 656 consecutive patients presenting to a pancreas multidisciplinary cancer clinic from 2009 to 2012. Patients were diagnosed with benign pancreatic disease (BPD) or biopsy-confirmed resectable (R), borderline/locally advanced (BL), or metastatic (M) PDA. Excluded were those with prior treatment for PDA or a history of chronic diabetes mellitus (>1-year or unknown duration), resulting in a final cohort of 284 patients. Of 284 patients, 44 had benign disease, 62 had R-PDA, 115 had BL-PDA, and 63 had M-PDA. Patients with malignant disease (R-, BL-, and M-PDA) collectively had a higher average HbA1c value than patients with BPD (6.1% vs 5.6%; P<.001). Among patients with PDA (n=240), HbA1c values of 6.5% or greater were significantly associated with inferior overall survival (OS) compared with patients with HbA1c values less than 6.5% (hazard ratio [HR], 1.74; OS, 10.2 vs 13.0 months; P=.007), along with other known prognostic factors, such as age of 65 years or older, ECOG performance status of 1 or greater, carbohydrate antigen 19-9 level greater than 90, tumor size larger than 3 cm, and disease stage. HbA1c values of 6.5% or greater remained in the final predictive model using backward elimination (HR, 1.46; P=.097), indicating that HbA1c values of 6.5% or greater influence OS of patients with PDA even when accounting for other known prognostic factors. HbA1c level at presentation is significantly higher in patients with PDA than patients with BPD and seems to affect survival.

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Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, Version 2.2017, NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology

Margaret A. Tempero, Mokenge P. Malafa, Mahmoud Al-Hawary, Horacio Asbun, Andrew Bain, Stephen W. Behrman, Al B. Benson III, Ellen Binder, Dana B. Cardin, Charles Cha, E. Gabriela Chiorean, Vincent Chung, Brian Czito, Mary Dillhoff, Efrat Dotan, Cristina R. Ferrone, Jeffrey Hardacre, William G. Hawkins, Joseph Herman, Andrew H. Ko, Srinadh Komanduri, Albert Koong, Noelle LoConte, Andrew M. Lowy, Cassadie Moravek, Eric K. Nakakura, Eileen M. O'Reilly, Jorge Obando, Sushanth Reddy, Courtney Scaife, Sarah Thayer, Colin D. Weekes, Robert A. Wolff, Brian M. Wolpin, Jennifer Burns, and Susan Darlow

Ductal adenocarcinoma and its variants account for most pancreatic malignancies. High-quality multiphase imaging can help to preoperatively distinguish between patients eligible for resection with curative intent and those with unresectable disease. Systemic therapy is used in the neoadjuvant or adjuvant pancreatic cancer setting, as well as in the management of locally advanced unresectable and metastatic disease. Clinical trials are critical for making progress in treatment of pancreatic cancer. The NCCN Guidelines for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma focus on diagnosis and treatment with systemic therapy, radiation therapy, and surgical resection.

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Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, Version 2.2014

Margaret A. Tempero, Mokenge P. Malafa, Stephen W. Behrman, Al B. Benson III, Ephraim S. Casper, E. Gabriela Chiorean, Vincent Chung, Steven J. Cohen, Brian Czito, Anitra Engebretson, Mary Feng, William G. Hawkins, Joseph Herman, John P. Hoffman, Andrew Ko, Srinadh Komanduri, Albert Koong, Andrew M. Lowy, Wen Wee Ma, Nipun B. Merchant, Sean J. Mulvihill, Peter Muscarella II, Eric K. Nakakura, Jorge Obando, Martha B. Pitman, Sushanth Reddy, Aaron R. Sasson, Sarah P. Thayer, Colin D. Weekes, Robert A. Wolff, Brian M. Wolpin, Jennifer L. Burns, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

The NCCN Guidelines for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma discuss the diagnosis and management of adenocarcinomas of the exocrine pancreas and are intended to assist with clinical decision-making. These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize major discussion points from the 2014 NCCN Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma Panel meeting. The panel discussion focused mainly on the management of borderline resectable and locally advanced disease. In particular, the panel discussed the definition of borderline resectable disease, role of neoadjuvant therapy in borderline disease, role of chemoradiation in locally advanced disease, and potential role of newer, more active chemotherapy regimens in both settings.