Meeting News

Community oncology to play vital role in future clinical trials

Michael Diaz, MD
Michael Diaz

ORLANDO — Misinformation about clinical trials in the oncology community setting continues to hamper patient accrual, according to a presentation at Community Oncology Alliance Annual Conference.

Despite misinformation, accrual has improved over the past several years. But work still needs to be done, the presenters said.

One of the most common myths patients believe about clinical trials is that they could receive a placebo and not be treated for cancer.

“While some placebos are important for clinical trial design, in oncology it would never be appropriate for us to not at least give patients the standard of care,” Katie Goodman, RN, BSN, CCRP, director of clinical research at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, said during the presentation. “We would never just give a placebo alone without an accompanying treatment that’s approved and appropriate for that patient. We would never not treat a patient’s cancer, and I think that’s important for families and patients to understand.”

Five-year survival rates for patients with cancer increased from 49% between 1975 and 1977 and 55% between 1987 and 1989 to 69% between 2008 and2014.

The increase is a result of new therapies and an overall decrease in tobacco use in the United States, Harsha Vyas, MD, oncologist at the Cancer Center of Middle Georgia, said during the presentation.

However, the lifetime probability of developing cancer is still one in three.

An estimated 870,970 males and 891,480 females will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States in 2019. Among those individuals, 20% of males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 30% of females will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lung and colon cancers are the next most common malignancies among both genders.

Most patients in the community setting do not realize how much effort goes into creating a clinical trial and how rigorous the process is to get one approved, according to the presenters.

Before the trial even makes it to the community practice, they are reviewed by ethics review boards who look at the scientific evidence that got it where it is today,” Goodman said. “That data is then submitted to the FDA and to other entities, where it gets rigorous scientific reviews to make sure it is appropriate.”

Goodman added that a broad range of people, not only physicians, are on the ethics review boards.

“There are multiple layers of review that happen before a clinical trial can be opened,” Michael Diaz, MD, assistant managing physician and director of patient advocacy at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, added. “Even when we do have a clinical trial opened, there are different levels of audits and oversights ... to make sure patients are protected.”

Darryl Keef , a patient with stage IV lung cancer and advocate for the Community Oncology Alliance Patient Advocacy Network at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, said he was diagnosed in 2010 and developed an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy he was receiving.

In 2014, Diaz, who is his physician, recommended Keef take part in a clinical trial involving immunotherapy.

The discussions lasted several weeks before Keef consented to being part of the trial.

“Consenting to a trial includes paperwork that is almost a full book of information,” Diaz said. “It has all the information that you need before making the decision.”

Keef is now a vocal advocate for affordable care for all patients with cancer. – by John DeRosier

Reference:

Diaz M, et al. Clinical trials in the community setting: How community oncology is shaping the future of cancer care. Presented at: Community Oncology Alliance Annual Conference; April 4-5, 2019; Orlando.

Disclosures: HemOnc Today could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of reporting.

Michael Diaz, MD
Michael Diaz

ORLANDO — Misinformation about clinical trials in the oncology community setting continues to hamper patient accrual, according to a presentation at Community Oncology Alliance Annual Conference.

Despite misinformation, accrual has improved over the past several years. But work still needs to be done, the presenters said.

One of the most common myths patients believe about clinical trials is that they could receive a placebo and not be treated for cancer.

“While some placebos are important for clinical trial design, in oncology it would never be appropriate for us to not at least give patients the standard of care,” Katie Goodman, RN, BSN, CCRP, director of clinical research at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, said during the presentation. “We would never just give a placebo alone without an accompanying treatment that’s approved and appropriate for that patient. We would never not treat a patient’s cancer, and I think that’s important for families and patients to understand.”

Five-year survival rates for patients with cancer increased from 49% between 1975 and 1977 and 55% between 1987 and 1989 to 69% between 2008 and2014.

The increase is a result of new therapies and an overall decrease in tobacco use in the United States, Harsha Vyas, MD, oncologist at the Cancer Center of Middle Georgia, said during the presentation.

However, the lifetime probability of developing cancer is still one in three.

An estimated 870,970 males and 891,480 females will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States in 2019. Among those individuals, 20% of males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 30% of females will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Lung and colon cancers are the next most common malignancies among both genders.

Most patients in the community setting do not realize how much effort goes into creating a clinical trial and how rigorous the process is to get one approved, according to the presenters.

Before the trial even makes it to the community practice, they are reviewed by ethics review boards who look at the scientific evidence that got it where it is today,” Goodman said. “That data is then submitted to the FDA and to other entities, where it gets rigorous scientific reviews to make sure it is appropriate.”

Goodman added that a broad range of people, not only physicians, are on the ethics review boards.

“There are multiple layers of review that happen before a clinical trial can be opened,” Michael Diaz, MD, assistant managing physician and director of patient advocacy at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, added. “Even when we do have a clinical trial opened, there are different levels of audits and oversights ... to make sure patients are protected.”

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Darryl Keef , a patient with stage IV lung cancer and advocate for the Community Oncology Alliance Patient Advocacy Network at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, said he was diagnosed in 2010 and developed an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy he was receiving.

In 2014, Diaz, who is his physician, recommended Keef take part in a clinical trial involving immunotherapy.

The discussions lasted several weeks before Keef consented to being part of the trial.

“Consenting to a trial includes paperwork that is almost a full book of information,” Diaz said. “It has all the information that you need before making the decision.”

Keef is now a vocal advocate for affordable care for all patients with cancer. – by John DeRosier

Reference:

Diaz M, et al. Clinical trials in the community setting: How community oncology is shaping the future of cancer care. Presented at: Community Oncology Alliance Annual Conference; April 4-5, 2019; Orlando.

Disclosures: HemOnc Today could not confirm relevant financial disclosures at the time of reporting.

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