Friday, November 15, 2013

NEWS: Meeting Details Latest Sarcoma Research

Doctors examine studies on posters at CTOS.

By Suzie Siegel

The New York City marathon of sarcoma research ended this month, and we will have a series of reports on it.

The annual meeting of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society drew 815 people, making it the largest gathering of sarcoma physicians and scientists that the world has ever seen.

No reporters showed up, even though I sent out PR and begged everyone I know in the area. (I was a newspaper reporter and editor for 18 years before being diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma.) This illustrates the importance of patient advocacy in getting the word out about trends, ideas and research not yet published.

Michael Leahy, MD, a medical oncologist for the Greater Manchester and Oswestry Sarcoma Service at The Christie in England, tweeted the photo above. We were among a handful of people tweeting from the conference.

Dr. William Tap
This was my seventh CTOS meeting. When I lamented my inability to understand some presentations, William Tap, MD, said he didn’t understand everything either. That’s really saying something since he’s the section chief for sarcoma oncology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. But the inscrutability was a good sign, he said. It indicated that the meeting was more multidisciplinary, with more on biochemistry and genetics.

As scientists and physicians search for more targeted treatments, they continue to revise subtypes.

Dr. Picci
For example, Piero Picci, MD, director of the Experimental Oncology Laboratory at the Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli in Bologna, discussed a retrospective study of spindle-cell sarcomas of the bone. Of the 400+ cases, more than 100 had to be thrown out because they would be categorized differently today.

When cases were reclassified, the study indicated that patients whose leiomyosarcoma started in the bone did worse than those in other categories. Chemotherapy given before surgery seemed to help more than chemo afterward, Dr. Picci said.

He also suggested that synovial sarcoma be reclassified because it doesn’t arise from synovial tissue.

Dr. Jon Trent
"He presented not only a reclassification of spindle-cell sarcoma of bone, but he also presented which patients benefited from chemotherapy and which types were less likely to benefit. There was a lot of data that will help us manage patients," said Jonathan Trent, MD, PhD, who directs the Sarcoma Medical Research Program and co-directs the Musculoskeletal Center at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in Miami. "To me, it was the highlight of CTOS."

Sosipatros Boikos, MD, medical director of the National Institutes of Health's Pediatric/Wildtype GIST Clinic, presented a multi-institution study of gastrointestinal stromal tumors without KIT or PDGFRA mutations.

The study found the tumors could be divided into three groups. Two resembled the traditional, adult GIST. The other one was different and SDH deficient. Dr. Boikos now refers to wildtype GIST as SDH-deficient GIST, and the audience seemed to agree with the new term.

‪A study by the Royal Marsden Hospital in London found that the spread of solitary fibrous tumors (SFT) is more predictable than thought. Angelo Paolo Dei Tos, MD, director of oncology and anatomic pathology at the General Hospital of Treviso, Italy, suggested that physicians no longer use the term “benign SFT” because it can metastasize, although at a lower rate than “malignant SFT.”

For more information, see my previous post on reclassifying sarcomas.CTOS has summaries of papers and posters at: Searching by your subtype is an easy way to plow through the information, but keep in mind that some summaries don't mention particular subtypes.

Suzie Siegel is a former journalist and longtime Sarcoma Alliance volunteer. The views represented here do not necessarily reflect those of Sarcoma Alliance and nothing here should be taken as medical advice.

1 comment:

Karen said...

Thanks Suzie. Dr. Tap is my oncologist and that is what I like about him. He is brilliant yet humble.