E-Newsletter - October 2018


Six Alliance investigators have been recently selected to receive funding awards through the Alliance NCORP Research Base. The Alliance NCORP Research Base, which is supported by the NCI Division of Cancer Prevention (DCP), supports Alliance researchers and junior investigators and their work through annual funding awards: Alliance Cancer Control Program (CCP) Pilot Project Award, Alliance CCP Junior Faculty Award and/or Alliance Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) Pilot Project Award. All applications were scored using the National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant application scoring system, and those applications with the lowest score were considered for funding. This year, three projects were selected to receive an Alliance CCP Pilot Project Award, one project was selected for an Alliance Junior Faculty Award, and two projects were selected to receive an Alliance CCDR Pilot Project Award.

Alliance CCP Pilot Project Awards (2018)

Rachel Freedman, MD (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute)
"'ADVANCE' (A Pilot Trial) ADjuVANt Chemotherapy in the Elderly: Developing and Evaluating Lower-Toxicity Chemotherapy Options for Older Patients with Breast Cancer"

This multi-site trial (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA; UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; and City of Hope, Duarte, CA) will evaluate the feasibility of two chemotherapy options for older breast cancer patients (≥ 70 years) who are recommended for neoadjuvant or adjuvant chemotherapy in the setting of triple negative and hormone receptor-positive disease. Dr. Freedman will also assess toxicity, patient experience, genomic profiling of tumors and shorter-term breast cancer outcomes in order to eventually develop a therapeutic regimen that is tolerable and efficacious for older patients with breast cancer. If successful, the resulting regimen could have a significant positive impact on disease outcomes. This study is sponsored by Alliance Cancer in the Older Adult and Health Outcomes Committees.
Nathan Staff, MD Mayo Clinic)   
Charles Loprinzi, MD (Mayo Clinic)  
"A Pilot Trial of Fingolimod for Prevention or Treatment of Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathy"  

This proposal will assess whether fingolimod will prevent CIPN in patients receiving weekly adjuvant paclitaxel therapy; evaluate whether it markedly improves symptoms in patients with established CIPN; evaluate its tolerability in treated patients; and evaluate S1P concentrations in blood and S1PR1 receptor expression on peripheral blood leukocytes before and after starting fingolimod. Currently, there are limited options available for treating this side effect of neurotoxic chemotherapy, and there are no established solutions to prevent this problem.  If successful, results from this Mayo Clinic trial (Rochester, MN) will be used to support a larger clinical trial within the Alliance. This trial is sponsored by both the Alliance Symptom Intervention and Health Outcomes Committees.

Lisa Yee, MD (City of Hope)  
Maryam Lustberg, MD (Ohio State)

"Curcumin for Breast Cancer Survivors with Aromatase Inhibitor-induced Joint Arthropathy: A Randomized Double-blinded Controlled Pilot Study"  

In this collaborative study between City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center (Duarte, CA) and Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (Columbus, OH), Drs. Yee and Lustberg will evaluate the feasibility of using the Brief Pain Inventory to detect changes in aromatase inhibitor-induced joint symptoms in postmenopausal women with breast cancer at three months of curcumin vs. placebo. They will also obtain pilot data regarding changes in grip strength, adherence and tolerability, toxicity, plasma biomarkers of inflammation and serum estrogen bioavailability. Previous research suggests that curcumin could be used to alleviate symptoms of joint pain and stiffness resulting from AIs, and this will be the first randomized, double-blinded pilot trial testing curcumin vs. placebo.  This trial is sponsored by both Alliance Symptom Intervention and Health Outcomes Committees.

Alliance CCP Junior Faculty Award (2018)
Elizabeth Cathcart-Rake, MD (Mayo Clinic)  
"Development of a Mini-Curriculum to Teach Healthcare Providers to Query Cancer Patients about Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Status and Sexual Health"

Mentored by Drs. Aminah Jatoi, Carmen Radecki Breitkopf, and Judith Kaur, Dr. Cathcart-Rake will develop a learning module to educate oncology healthcare providers on how to acquire information on SGM status and sexual health from all cancer patients. If providers gather this important information, it will help mitigate cancer- and SGM-related disparities and improve sexual health among cancer patients in general.  This trial will be based at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) and is sponsored by the Alliance Health Disparities and Health Outcomes Committees.

Alliance CCDR Pilot Project Awards (2018)
Sarah Birken, PhD (UNC Chapel Hill)  
"Identifying Strategies for Comprehensive Survivorship Care Plan Implementation"  

Dr. Birken is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The long-term goals of this study are to improve processes and outcomes of care for breast cancer survivors. The setting for the study will be Commission on Cancer accredited institutions. The proposed project will go beyond identifying what cancer programs have done to successfully implement survivorship care plans to understand how they developed comprehensive approaches to survivorship care plan implementation.

Cindy Matsen, MD, MSCI, FACS (University of Utah)
"Understanding and Addressing Patient and Provider Preference Around Discussions of Cost of Breast Cancer Care"

Dr. Matsen is an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah. The proposed project will aim to understand patient preferences and influence of provider communication about the cost of cancer care. Breast cancer surgeons and newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at a single institution will participate in the study.

 To learn more about the Alliance Cancer Control and CCDR Program awards, visit the Alliance Awards webpage.


For other articles in this issue of the Alliance E-News newsletter, see below.