Fred Hutch researchers present virtually at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting

The latest findings on bladder cancer, pediatric cancer, gender disparities and the financial toxicity of cancer
Fred Hutch researchers presenting at ASCO 2020: Drs. Petros Grivas, Veena Shankaran, Scott Ramsey, Heather Greenlee, Eric Chow, Nancy Davidson
Fred Hutch researchers presenting at ASCO 2020, from top left: Drs. Petros Grivas, Veena Shankaran, Scott Ramsey, Heather Greenlee, Eric Chow and Nancy Davidson Fred Hutch file photos

The annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, held virtually for the first time this year, provides an opportunity to learn about the latest developments in cancer science for oncology professionals, patient advocates, industry representatives, and major media outlets worldwide. The program features over 250 oral presentations and 2,500 poster presentations across 24 fields, including more than 30 presentations led by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center scientists.

See all Fred Hutch presentations at ASCO.

Highlights of Fred Hutch presentations at ASCO 2020

Plenary Talk: Maintenance avelumab + best supportive care (BSC) versus BSC alone after platinum-based first-line (1L) chemotherapy in advanced urothelial carcinoma (UC): JAVELIN Bladder 100 phase III interim analysis

[Read full abstract.]
Dr. Petros Grivas (senior author)
Sunday, May 31, 1 p.m. ET
The embargoed presscast will be held on Tuesday, May 26, 2-3:30 p.m. ET for registered ASCO media. Request media credentials and learn more at ASCO’s Press Center.
The full, final text of this abstract will be posted online at 5 p.m. ET Thursday, May 28. 

Oral Presentation: Underdiagnosis and undertreament of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors: A Childhood Cancer Survivor Study (CCSS) report

[Read full abstract.]
Dr. Eric Chow (presenter)
Oral presentation available for view to registered attendees starting Friday, May 29 at 8 a.m. ET
Survivors of childhood cancer who were treated with heart-damaging cancer therapies are at increased risk of heart disease. Which factors affect whether survivors and their doctors identify and change other risk factors that can improve heart health?

From the abstract: Survivors of childhood cancer exposed to cardiotoxic therapies are at increased risk of heart disease. Hypertension, dyslipidemia, and diabetes are modifiable cardiovascular risk factors that synergistically increase this risk. Therefore, we aimed to determine the prevalence of and predictors associated with cardiovascular risk factor underdiagnosis and undertreatment in this population. Cardiovascular risk factor underdiagnosis and undertreatment among childhood cancer survivors at increased risk of heart disease was common. Greater awareness among survivors and primary care providers and more aggressive control of cardiovascular risk factors may mitigate this risk.

Oral Presentation: Dexrazoxane and heart function among long-term childhood cancer survivors: A Children’s Oncology Group study

[Read full abstract.]
Dr. Eric Chow (presenter)
Oral presentation available for view to registered attendees starting Friday, May 29 at 8 a.m. ET
Scientists know that the drug dexrazoxane can be used to help prevent some of the immediate negative cardiac impacts of a common chemotherapy drug. But until now, they didn’t understand whether the cardioprotective impacts of dexrazoxane lasted beyond the initial treatment.

From the abstract: Dexrazoxane (DRZ) has cardioprotective effects among doxorubicin (DOX) treated childhood cancer survivors up to 5 years after therapy. However, longer-term data are lacking. After >17y, childhood cancer survivors treated with DOX+DRZ had better left ventricular systolic function and less myocardial wall stress compared with those treated with DOX alone. DRZ may preferentially benefit females and those treated with greater DOX doses.

Poster Discussion: Gender differences in faculty rank and subspecialty choice in academic medical oncology

[Read the full abstract.]
Dr. Laura Graham (presenter), Dr. Nancy E. Davidson (senior author)
Poster available for view to registered attendees starting Friday, May 29 at 8 a.m. ET
The gender gap in academia has been a persistent challenge across fields, but it has been closing in the past 10 years. Despite this, does the gender gap still exist in higher-ranking faculty positions in health care?

From the abstract: The gender gap in the United States healthcare field has been closing. In 2000 women made up 45% of medical school matriculants and by 2017 outnumbered men. Based on our personal observations at academic meetings, however, we hypothesized that gender differences persist in faculty rank and subspecialty choice in academic medical oncology. We found that gender differences persist in academic medical oncology. At the top 15 US cancer centers, gender differences are seen in subspecialty representation, with more men in GU oncology and more women in breast oncology. Fewer women than men achieve the rank of full professor, even in breast oncology. Additional research is needed to explore the causes of, and contributors to, these differences as well as their impact.

Poster Discussion: Risk of cardiovascular disease in women with and without a history of breast cancer: The Pathways Heart Study

[Read the full abstract.]
Dr. Heather Greenlee (presenter)
Poster available for view to registered attendees starting Friday, May 29 at 8 a.m. ET
Breast cancer survivors are at an increased risk of later cardiovascular disease due to treatment. What is the scale of increase in risk for cardiovascular disease in breast cancer survivors compared to those without?

From the abstract: Breast cancer survivors are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease following diagnosis, as compared to women without BC. To provide a population-based estimate of cardiovascular risk in breast cancer survivors, we compared risk of cardiovascular disease events in women with and without breast cancer history enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California integrated health system. Women with breast cancer were at increased risk of heart failure, cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrest, venous thromboembolism, and carotid disease. These risks varied by cancer treatment, with higher risk in those who received chemotherapy. Future studies should explore the effects of chemotherapy class and radiation dose exposure on diverse cardiovascular disease endpoints in breast cancer survivors.

Poster Discussion: Cumulative incidence of financial hardship in metastatic colorectal cancer patients: Primary endpoint results for SWOG S1417C 

[Read the full abstract.]
Drs. Veena Shankaran (presenter) and Scott Ramsey (senior author)
Poster available for view to registered attendees starting Friday, May 29 at 8 a.m. ET
Metastatic cancer treatment can come with a slew of medical complications and is often accompanied by high treatment costs. Scientists with the SWOG Cancer Research Network examine this relationship between cancer diagnosis and financial hardship in patients in this first-of-its-kind study.

From the abstract: Despite evidence that rising cancer care costs are contributing to “financial toxicity” in cancer patients no studies, to our knowledge, have prospectively assessed the financial impact of cancer diagnosis using both self-reported and objective financial measures. This study, led by the SWOG Cancer Research Network and conducted in the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program, was the first national prospective cohort study to evaluate time-to-first evidence of major financial hardship in patients with newly diagnosed metastatic colorectal cancer. In a national sample of metastatic colorectal cancer patients on systemic treatment, financial hardship, most commonly in the form of increased debt, accumulates progressively over time. Nearly 3 out of 4 patients experience major financial hardship at 12 months despite access to health insurance coverage. These findings underscore the need for clinic and policy solutions such as early financial navigation and elimination of cost-sharing to protect patients from financial devastation as they continue with treatment. 

News about Fred Hutch science at ASCO

Immunotherapy trial in advanced bladder and other urinary tract cancers shows 'exciting' results |  June 3, 2020 | Fred Hutch News Service

Results from a large trial of the immunotherapy drug avelumab for patients with advanced urothelial cancer could change how cancers of the bladder and other parts of the urinary tract are treated.

Cancer's toll on the heart decades down the road |  June 1, 2020 | Fred Hutch News Service

Dr. Eric Chow and colleagues explore two key questions related to child cancer survivorship: Is there anything doctors can do during a child’s treatment to protect their heart? And for adult survivors like Kristy Sharif, what can we do to monitor and reduce the risk of heart disease? 

'Major financial hardship' hits most patients battling advanced colon cancer | May 28, 2020 | U.S. News & World Report

Veena Shankaran discussed her recent study showing that nearly 75% of those with advanced metastatic colon cancer experienced financial hardship within a year of receiving treatment. Costs are continuing to rise and increasingly being shifted to patients, and warrant further consideration in how we communicate about cancer care.  

What happens when cancer patients get COVID-19? | May 28, 2020 | Fred Hutch News Service 

A large new study of cancer patients with COVID-19 clearly shows patients with active cancer — or who suffer from additional comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease — have worse outcomes.

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