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December 20, 2022

From the Co-Chairs, October 2022

Dr. O'Dwyer and Dr. Schnall

By Peter J. O’Dwyer, MD (left)
and Mitchell D. Schnall, MD, PhD

We are pleased to bring you this edition of the ECOG-ACRIN Newsletter, the last before our Group Meeting in Washington, DC on October 26 – 28. This meeting will have several sessions that are accessible virtually, but some will remain in-person only, given the need to maintain the integrity of confidential research and drug development data that are shared with us for purposes of protocol planning only. 

More about the meeting in a moment, but first we want to draw your attention to the second of our trials to be presented at the new Virtual ASCO Plenary Series. The global phase 3 PALLAS trial (PALbociclib CoLlaborative Adjuvant Study) for women with early breast cancer is a collaboration involving PrECOG with the Alliance Foundation Trials, the Breast International Group, and others, and the latest findings will be presented by Dr. Angela DeMichele on October 18 at 3:00 pm ET. The trial accrued 5,796 patients in 39 months, and 51 of our institutions joined the trial. We congratulate the study team on implementing and completing this high-profile study.

Kudos also to the GU Committee and EA8143/PROSPER RCC PI Dr. Mohamad Allaf, whose presentation of the initial trial results at the ESMO Plenary Session provided an important finding for the adjuvant therapy of resectable kidney cancer. The trial results, as well as the planned correlative studies will have a major impact in this rapidly-changing arena. 

In this issue of the Newsletter, in addition to a focus on some key ongoing trials, we gain insight into our fellow institutions, first through the inspiring journey of Charmaine Green, a key administrator at Thomas Jefferson University, and also through an up-close look at the accomplished members of the Michigan Cancer Research Consortium, a group of oncologists and allied scientists who lead in multiple dimensions of community oncology. We are fortunate to have both as our colleagues in advancing patient care. 

At the meeting in DC, there are several sessions that will have a new focus, and we are in the process of bringing forward some working groups that have been highly productive. As an example, early- and mid-career investigators, both from academic and community sites, should be aware of the potential for new studies that will be outlined in the Robert L. Comis, MD Translational Science Symposium, scheduled for Wednesday, October 26 from 3:30 – 5:30 pm ET.  Our previous symposium addressed the importance and some of the theoretical aspects of Real-World Data and Real-World Evidence in several aspects of cancer research. The agenda for the coming symposium discusses the opportunities and implementation of such trials. The FDA has emphasized the need to understand the broad efficacy of the newest treatments as their use expands beyond the restrictive populations involved in registration trials to the broader community. How well (and with what side effects) do these therapies work in subsets of the population—racial/ethnic, high BMI, rural/urban, co-morbidities, for example. The ways in which studies and analyses can be done, and the databases that can be built to that end, are the topic for this session, and an important future activity in ECOG-ACRIN. 

In addition, the General Session, to be held on Thursday, October 27 from 5:30 – 7:15 pm ET, will honor two stalwarts who have had a major impact on research in ECOG-ACRIN: Mary Lou Smith, JD, MBA, chair of the Cancer Research Advocates Committee, and Worta McCaskill-Stevens, MD, chief of the Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group of the Division of Cancer Prevention of NCI. The session will feature the presentation by the 2022 winner of the ECOG-ACRIN Young Investigator Award, Dr. Jennifer Eads, and the recently released results of two key leukemia trials, each practice-changing in its own way. We are also honored by an address by Dr. Monica Bertagnolli, Director of the National Cancer Institute, whose appointment to that position we celebrate. We look forward to your participation in all these events at the General Session, and invite you to a reception to follow. 

Safe travels to Washington, and we look forward to seeing you there!

Read the October 2022 issue here.

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