SWOG researchers go digital at ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program

May 18, 2020

PORTLAND, OR - Researchers from SWOG, a cancer clinical trials group funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health, will make 31 presentations as part of the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program, the online annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which runs May 29-31.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, ASCO officials cancelled the annual Chicago meeting, the world's largest cancer research conference, and switched to an online format. About 2,215 abstracts will be presented over three days, and more than 3,400 abstracts were accepted for online publication. SWOG investigators will report on trials involving cancer treatment, prevention, and care strategies, as well as results of the first trial run through the NCI's National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) to focus on financial toxicity - the severe financial and emotional toll exacted on patients by the costs of their cancer care.

Davendra Sohal, MD, MPH, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, will deliver an oral presentation on the primary findings from S1505, a randomized SWOG trial that compares two common chemotherapy regimens for early-stage pancreatic cancer, and tests chemotherapy prior to pancreatic cancer surgery.

In S1505, one group of pre-surgery patients received modified FOLFIRINOX, or mFOLFIRINOX, a combination of three chemotherapy drugs - fluorouracil, irinotecan, and oxaliplatin. The other group received a combination of gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel. Sohal and his team found that chemotherapy treatment prior to surgery results in good outcomes - regardless of the drugs patients receive. Of the patients who received mFOLFIRINOX, 73 percent underwent surgery for their pancreatic cancer, while 70 percent of patients who received gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel underwent surgery. Two years after treatment, 43 percent and 47 percent of all eligible patients who started treatment were alive in the mFOLFIRINOX and gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel arms, respectively.

"We didn't find that one regimen was better than the other," Sohal said. "We did demonstrate that treating pancreatic cancer patients with chemotherapy before surgery can be done safely, and we established a benchmark with this approach, which can help us build future trials that can test other pancreatic cancer drugs and further refine pre-surgery chemotherapy treatment."

Here are other SWOG highlights of the ASCO20 Virtual Scientific Program: "I'm particularly impressed with this year's ASCO presentations," said SWOG Chair Charles D. Blanke, MD. "They spotlight some of our most ground-breaking clinical trials in recent years, and are a testament to the creativity, ambition, and tenacity of SWOG researchers."
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SWOG Cancer Research Network is part of the National Cancer Institute's National Clinical Trials Network and the NCI Community Oncology Research Program, and is part of the oldest and largest publicly-funded cancer research network in the nation. SWOG has nearly 12,000 members in 47 states and six foreign countries who design and conduct clinical trials to improve the lives of people with cancer. SWOG trials have led to the approval of 14 cancer drugs, changed more than 100 standards of cancer care, and saved more than 3 million years of human life. Learn more at swog.org.

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