National Surgical Oncology Meeting to Highlight Work of Roswell Park Researchers

Seven teams invited to speak at annual symposium dedicated to latest advances in cancer surgery
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Highlights: 
Roswell Park researchers invited to participate in SSO Annual Cancer Symposium
Presentations introduce advances in breast and colorectal cancer research
Findings lend insight on new prognostic tools and approaches to treatment

BUFFALO, N.Y. — More than a dozen Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center clinicians and researchers have been invited to present new findings at the 71st annual Cancer Symposium of the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO), an international organization of surgeons dedicated to advancing the treatment of cancer. The meeting begins today and runs through March 24 in Chicago, Illinois.

Steven Nurkin, MD, MS, FACS, Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Surgical Oncology, will help to kick off the conference today as part of a panel presentation, “Practice-Changing Papers in Surgical Oncology in 2017.” Dr. Nurkin, who specializes in cancers and precancerous conditions and of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, will review the most significant 2017 studies in his area of specialty and discuss how this research is changing the way oncologists treat patients with lower-GI cancers.

Seven Roswell Park teams will share research findings in oral/video abstract presentations at the meeting:

Kazuaki Takabe, MD, PhD, FACS, Professor of Oncology and Clinical Chief of Breast Surgery, will discuss the prognostic significance of the immune cytolytic activity score (CAS) in breast cancer patients (“Clinical Significance of Local Immune Cytolytic Activity in Breast Cancer,” abstract 17: Breast Track). In their study of 1,090 patients with breast cancer, Dr. Takabe and colleagues found that patients with a high CAS, which reflects strong immune activity, had better survival outcomes than patients with lower scores. Their research suggests that CAS is a potential indicator of immunologic response and survival independent of age, hormone receptor status and cancer stage.

In another session, Dr. Takabe will discuss how a new immunogenomics approach developed at Roswell Park can be used to predict survival in breast cancer patients (“Identification of DNA Repair Genes That Attract Tumor Infiltrating Immune Cells and Are Associated with Better Survival in Breast Cancer,” abstract QS1: Breast Track). By studying the interplay between tumor-infiltrating immune cells and DNA repair genes (particularly BRCA1), Dr. Takabe and his team identified genes that attract immune cells into the tumor, which translates to a significantly better prognosis in some patients. “This research reflects that we’re entering into an era where mathematical calculations based on the results of sequencing and genomic analysis and can be a valuable and broadly available diagnostic tool that is likely to lead to improvements in treatment and outcomes,” notes Dr. Takabe.

Dr. Takabe was senior author on another study, to be presented by Eriko Katsuta, MD, PhD, a postdoctoral research affiliate with the Department of Breast Surgery (“H2AX is a Novel Prognostic Marker of Breast Cancer,” abstract QS6: Breast Track). This team investigated the impact of the histone H2AX on breast cancer patients’ survival and the underlying mechanisms driving any effects. They concluded that H2AX may prove to be an effective biomarker to predict those patients who have a worse prognosis but are likely to respond well to radiation therapy.

Kerry-Ann McDonald, MD, Clinical Fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, will discuss a genomics approach developed at Roswell Park that seeks to identify breast cancer patients at high risk of developing metastasis, a common and painful occurrence in advanced disease (“Multigene Recurrence Score that Is Prognostic of Worse Survival in Breast Cancer,” abstract 54: Breast Track). Dr. McDonald and a research team led by Dr. Takabe developed MRS-BM, a multigene recurrence score for patients with bone metastasis, as a tool to predict metastatic disease in women with hormone-positive breast cancer. Their hope is that the MRS-BM can be used to identify breast cancer patients at high risk of metastasis and further develop it as an adjunctive assessment of treatment response in metastatic breast cancer.

Sumana Narayanan, MD, Clinical Fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology, will deliver two podium presentations during the meeting. In the first, she’ll discuss how expression of certain DNA repair genes is associated with survival in patients with colorectal cancer (“Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes and Macrophages Improve Survival in Microsatellite Unstable Colorectal Cancer,” abstract QS27: Colorectal Track). Her second talk (“Cytolytic Activity Score as a Marker for Intra-Tumoral Immunogenicity in Colorectal Cancer,” abstract 68: Colorectal Track), will outline evidence that colorectal tumors with cytolytic activity score corresponded with improved survival, and could potentially be used as a marker of the success of immune checkpoint blockade. Dr. Narayanan was nominated for a Resident/Fellow Essay Award for this second presentation; award winners will be announced during the meeting.

Aaron Saunders, MD, a Clinical Fellow with the Department of Surgical Oncology, will present a video abstract reporting the case of a man with recurrent rectal cancer (“Robotic Assisted Radical Resection of Recurrent Rectal Cancer,” abstract V6: Colorectal Track). The man, in his 40s, was evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging and endoscopy and treated with short-course radiation followed by robot-assisted completion abdominoperineal resection en bloc with a partial sacrectomy, followed by bilateral gluteus fasciocutaneous flaps.

And John M. Kane III, MD, FACS, Chief of Melanoma/Sarcoma and Chair of Surgical Oncology, will be a moderator for Melanoma Poster Grand Rounds on Friday, March 23. Dr. Kane has been an active member of the Society of Surgical Oncology since 2004. Dr. Kane’s clinical and research interests include soft-tissue sarcomas, melanoma and isolated regional therapies.

Additionally, several other Roswell Park teams are presenting new research in poster presentations at the meeting. See the full meeting schedule at eventmobi.com/sso2018/agenda/199758.

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Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@roswellpark.org.

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org