Dr. O'Dwyer and Dr. Schnall
From the Co-Chairs, June 2022
June 21, 2022
Penn State Cancer Institute exterior photo
Institution Spotlight: Penn State Cancer Institute
August 16, 2022

Devin Peipert Becomes PRO Working Group Chair

John Devin Peipert, PhD, is the newly appointed chair of the Patient-Reported Outcomes (PRO) Working Group, replacing Lynne I. Wagner, PhD. Dr. Peipert is an assistant professor of medical social sciences at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and the quantitative lead of the Northwestern University Center on Outcomes Research and Education.

Dr. Peipert (Devin, informally) is an investigator and psychometrician who focuses on the application of PROs in patient-focused drug development and in clinical monitoring to optimize patient management. In this capacity, he works extensively on establishing evidence to qualify PROs as clinical outcome assessments to implement in drug trials. In addition, he has a line of research examining new tools and methods to quantify and manage drug intolerability in oncology.

The PRO Working Group is part of the Psychosocial Outcomes and Health Promotion Subcommittee of the Cancer Control and Survivorship Committee. These groups are part of ECOG-ACRIN's Cancer Control and Outcomes Program (view the org chart).

UMANA Illinois Receives Humanitarian Global Health Award

In June, the Institute of Medicine of Chicago presented the Illinois Chapter of the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA) with the 2022 Humanitarian Global Health Award. Chapter members were recognized for their hard work in collecting and sending medical supplies to help the people of Ukraine. ECOG-ACRIN researcher Nataliya V. Uboha, MD, PhD (second from the right) is a key contributor to these efforts. Together with other doctors and volunteers, she coordinates with UMANA to assist her native Ukraine. Please consider donating to UMANA today.

Dr. Uboha (University of Wisconsin/UW Carbone Cancer Center) is the study chair for EA2183, A Phase III Study of Consolidative Radiotherapy in Patients with Oligometastatic HER2 Negative Esophageal and Gastric Adenocarcinoma, and a member of the ECOG-ACRIN Gastrointestinal Cancer Committee.

Patient Resource Features Lung Cancer Advocate Jill Feldman

In honor of World Lung Cancer Day on August 1, Patient Resource published a feature on Jill Feldman, lung cancer survivor, international research advocate, and member of ECOG-ACRIN’s Thoracic Cancer Committee and Cancer Research Advocates Committee. Jill has been living with lung cancer for over 10 years, and lost several close family members to the disease. Even before her diagnosis, she focused on advancing research and supporting patients and their loved ones. Read Jill’s story.

 

EVOLV Study Team Recommends New Approach for Assessing Treatment Tolerability

Current measures to assess patients' ability to tolerate cancer treatment only capture a part of the total picture and are missing opportunities to focus on the patient, according to ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Advocates Committee Chair Mary Lou Smith, JD, MBA (Research Advocacy Network), and John Devin Peipert, PhD (Northwestern University), on behalf of the EVOLV study team. In a recent commentary, the authors recommend that assessing treatment tolerability requires capturing key indicators of both the patient experience and patient disposition towards this issue—rather than relying on the NCI's Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE) and Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy (FACIT).

"In addition to patient experience, we suggest assessment of patients' disposition toward staying on treatment," say the authors. "To do so, we must tap the patient's preferences and attitudes about treatment, including willingness to stay on treatment even while enduring side effects. This captures the essence of tolerability, at least as viewed from the patient perspective."

Key indicators of the patient experience and disposition aspects of treatment tolerability

Patient experience

Patient disposition

Overall side effect burden

Overall willingness to stay on treatment while enduring side effects

Specific adverse events

Preferences for treatment

Functional ability

Attitudes toward treatment

Peipert, J.D., Smith, M.L. & On Behalf of the EVOLV Study Team. Reconsidering tolerability of cancer treatments: opportunities to focus on the patient. Support Care in Cancer 30, 3661–3663 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-021-06700-0

Save the Date for the Fall 2022 Group Meeting

Mark your calendar for the ECOG-ACRIN Fall 2022 Group Meeting, Wednesday, October 26 – Friday, October 28. The event will occur in person at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel. Sessions will likely begin mid-morning on Wednesday and end mid-afternoon on Friday (subject to change). For sessions offered virtually, participation will be limited to chat/Q&A.

Registration will open very soon. ECOG-ACRIN will send an email announcing when registration is open, so please keep an eye on your inbox. As usual, the meeting is open to researchers and staff affiliated with member institutions, ECOG-ACRIN patient advocates, industry representatives, and other invited individuals.

Submit an Abstract for the 2022 Young Investigator Symposium

The ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group is now accepting research abstracts from early-career investigators interested in presenting their research as part of the upcoming Fall 2022 Group Meeting. You may be eligible to apply if you are engaged in clinical, translational, imaging, or basic cancer research or in non-cancer-related research that has application to cancer biology, prevention, screening, diagnosis, imaging, or treatment. View full eligibility criteria and the official abstract submission form.

The Fall Group Meeting will occur in person at the Renaissance Washington, DC Downtown Hotel from Wednesday, October 26 – Friday, October 28. The Symposium will take place on Wednesday, October, 26 from 10 AM - 12 PM (Eastern). The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, September 7, 2022, 11:59 PM (Eastern).

Follow Us on Instagram

ECOG-ACRIN has a new social media account! Follow us on Instagram @ecog_acrin and stay up-to-date with the EA community. The account will feature timely information about our clinical trials, innovative research, and educational resources. Visit our page and spread the word to colleagues and collaborators.

TMIST Update

The study chair for this trial is Etta Pisano, MD (American College of Radiology Chief Research Officer).

The Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST) continues to enroll new participants at a steady pace despite the ongoing pandemic. Total accrual stands at 73,638 participants among 123 participating sites as of August 15, 2022.

Welcome new sites! Essentia Health NCORP opened the trial at its third site, Essentia Health St. Mary's Hospital-Superior in Superior, WI. Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium NCORP opened the study at its first site, Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center in Midlothian, VA.

"I want to welcome and thank those new sites coming on board at a very exciting time in this landmark study. TMIST continues to be one of the fastest-growing clinical trials of the COVID era due to the dedication of site staff and local investigators. We look forward to working together to advance breast cancer screening," said Dr. Pisano.

Trial leaders continue to seek approximately 30 new sites to participate. In a recent Oncology Times interview, Dr. Pisano and ECOG-ACRIN Health Equity Committee Co-Chair Edith Mitchell, MD, discussed the successful enrollment of Black participants—as well as current efforts to encourage more imaging centers in underserved areas to open the study. For example, while the rate of Black participation is currently at 20.7%, there is a need to add sites that serve Native American and Asian communities.

"Reaching more women in local communities, especially women of color, will ensure that the trial results apply to all women—and move health equity forward," said Dr. Mitchell.

Important reminders:

  • Share the new TMIST advocacy blog trial spotlight with cancer research advocates and others in your community
  • Access education and recruitment materials in multiple languages (English, Spanish, Chinese Simplified, Korean, and Vietnamese)
  • Tell other sites about this trial! Interested sites may visit acr.org/TMIST, read this card, and watch this videoContact TMIST staff to discuss the study requirements, reimbursement/payment structure, and the application process.
  • Consider the supplemental trial EAQ201 assessing COVID-19-related financial hardship and distress in women who decline participation in TMIST

ECOG-ACRIN in the News

For the latest interviews and feature articles, visit News Stories at ecog-acrin.org.

Two highlights:

  • The Journal of Nuclear Medicine features an extensive conversation between Peter O'Dwyer, MD, and Associate Editor for Continuing Education Lale Kostakoglu, MD, MPH (University of Virginia). Dr. O'Dwyer discusses his career, the current developmental therapeutics research environment, and the growing interest in precision medicine clinical trials due to the landmark NCI-MATCH trial.
  • An article recently published in the Philadelphia Business Journal features the ECOG-ACRIN Medical Research Foundation. Between 2019 and 2021, ECOG-ACRIN was the third largest local recipient of National Cancer Institute (NCI) research grant funding in the region ($91.4M), after the University of Pennsylvania ($234.1M) and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia ($122.6M), according to Research!America. The NRG Oncology Foundation ranks fourth ($86.9M). During the 3-year period, 43 Philadelphia-area organizations captured more than $765M in NCI grant funding—a figure that ranks fourth in the nation. Access to the article is limited to paid subscribers.

Research Results

Lung Cancer – In this publication, members of the ECOG-ACRIN Thoracic Cancer Committee and Radiation Oncology Committee review the history of treatment for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and relevant biomarkers that led to the development of the ongoing randomized phase III trial EA5181. The authors also address concerns for late cardiac and pulmonary toxicities associated with treatment. Study EA5181 is testing the addition of the antibody durvalumab to standard chemoradiation followed by durvalumab for one year versus standard chemoradiation alone followed by one year of durvalumab in patients with unresectable stage 3A NSCLC. Varlotto JM. Clin Lung Cancer. June 2022

NCI-MATCH – Arm B of the NCI-MATCH precision medicine cancer trial evaluated afatinib, an oral ErbB family tyrosine kinase inhibitor, in patients with selected ERBB2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor 2)-activating mutations. Although afatinib did not meet the pre-specified threshold for anti-tumor activity in a heavily pretreated cohort, the response in a patient with extra-mammary Paget disease, a rare tumor type with no standard therapy, is notable and warrants further investigation. Bedard PL. JCO Precis Oncol. August 2022

Prostate Cancer – Does the metabolic dysregulation caused by obesity impact survival for men with metastatic hormone-sensitive prostate cancer? Does the oral antihyperglycemic drug metformin, commonly used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, have antitumor activity in these patients? A post hoc analysis of 788 men treated with androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) alone or ADT plus early chemotherapy in the CHAARTED (E3805) study explores these questions. There was no link between baseline body mass index (BMI) and survival, but lower baseline BMI was associated with features of greater cancer burden and poorer baseline quality of life (QOL). Nearly 80% of patients with BMI < 25 had high volume disease. The authors hypothesize that these men may have had a higher BMI before diagnosis, but had unintentional weight loss due to advanced disease before study entry. It is not likely that a higher BMI portends a better prognosis but that a lower BMI is associated with a more significant cancer burden, and the findings are due to reverse causation. The analysis found no overall survival benefit from metformin exposure; however, the authors caution that definitive recommendations await ongoing studies such as the STAMPEDE MRC trial. Morgans AK. The Prostate. May 2022

 

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