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The Front Line
The Front Line: Charles D. Blanke, MD, SWOG Chair

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A Strong Showing for SWOG, and Our Patients, at SABCS and ASH

Dec. 11, 2015 - Clinical research is our core business. Disseminating results of that research obviously allows us to achieve our goals of helping to prevent and cure cancer. Presentations and publications are a critical way we create value and remain the main metrics of our success.

It's been a good couple of weeks.

At this week's 2015 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the most influential event for breast cancer researchers outside of ASCO, SWOG researchers are presenting results from four SWOG-led trials -- and are co-authors of three other NCTN group-led trial presentations. These seven SWOG presentations are the most presented at SABCS in five years.

S8814 is one trial still getting attention in Texas. Dr. Kathy Albain, a long-time SWOG researcher and leader from Loyola University, coordinated S8814, and presented some fascinating new results that were made possible with RNA samples from that long-closed study. Using next generation whole-genome expression analysis with RNA sequencing, Dr. Albain and her team found unique biomarkers associated with better disease-free survival among post-menopausal women with estrogen receptor-positive, node-positive breast cancer. These molecular predictors of survival included previously unreported genetic signatures -- a particularly exciting finding.

If I may pat us on the back, SWOG hit a true home run at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) held in Orlando, Florida last week. First, SWOG researchers were involved in a whopping 17 ASH presentations -- nine oral and eight posters. This is also the most in five years. Of the 17 presentations, 11 were based on SWOG-led trials.

The SWOG star of the ASH meeting was S0777, led by Dr. Brian Durie, a physician at Cedars-Sinai Outpatient Cancer Center and chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation board of directors. Durie took the ASH stage last Saturday to report that the addition of bortezomib to a standard two-drug regimen for myeloma patients statistically and clinically prolonged progression-free and overall survival. These findings indicate a possible new standard of care.

Congratulations to Drs. Albain and Durie, and to every SWOG researcher who took part in the important works unveiled in San Antonio and Orlando. And thanks to SWOG executive officers Dr. Julie Gralow and Dr. Susan O'Brien for supporting our breast cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma research. SWOG is going strong and, together, we're making an impact.