Roswell Park Faculty Present at National Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium

Presentations highlight opportunities to improve patient outcomes for several types of abdominal cancer
Friday, January 20, 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center faculty members are among the leaders who helped to plan the 2017 Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium, a three-day specialized oncology meeting that continues through Jan. 21 in San Francisco, CA. Gastrointestinal cancers include cancers of the pancreas, small bowel, hepatobiliary tract, colon, rectum, esophagus and stomach.

“This symposium is an opportunity to collaborate with our colleagues from around the country and share our progress in the multidisciplinary treatment of gastrointestinal cancers,” says Steven Hochwald, MD, FACS, Chief of Gastrointestinal Surgery at Roswell Park. Dr. Hochwald has taken a national leadership role in the annual meeting for the past six years, currently serving as a member of the Symposium program committee. During the 2017 meeting, he also is chairing a panel discussion on clinical trials for pancreatic, small-bowel and liver cancers.

In addition, several other Roswell Park clinicians are presenting new research findings at the meeting.

Renuka Iyer, MD, Co-Director of the Liver and Pancreas Tumor Center at Roswell Park, was the lead author of consensus treatment guidelines for cholangiocarcinoma or bile-duct cancer, a rare and often fatal disease, and will summarize these new recommendations in two presentations at the meeting. The panelists, who represent all U.S. regions as well as some parts of the U.K., agreed on the appropriateness of various therapeutic options for the treatment for this disease. “These guidelines offer appropriate treatments for urgent symptoms in patients with this disease, for whom no guidelines previously existed,” notes Dr. Iyer, whose presentation is entitled “Consensus Treatment Guidelines for Urgent Symptoms in Cholangiocarcinoma Patients with Biliary Stents or Catheters Using the Modified RAND/UCLA Delphi Process.”

Patrick Boland, MD, Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Medicine, is presenting two posters. The first reports the findings of a study evaluating the effectiveness of two chemotherapy drugs for patients diagnosed with advanced metastatic colon cancer. The authors found that combination treatment with nintedanib and capecitabine was well tolerated in the phase I study; a phase II clinical trial is underway. For a second presentation, Dr. Boland and colleagues at Roswell Park evaluated a national database (NCDB) that collects data on approximately 70% of rectal cancer cases in the U.S. They examined more than 2,900 patients whose rectal cancer completely responded to chemoradiation. The team compared patients who received chemotherapy after adjuvant surgery with those who did not, and determined that patients treated with this approach have excellent prognoses. “There is some question as to the true value of adjuvant chemotherapy. Interestingly, the overall survival for patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy was 94% compared to 84% who received no further treatment,” Dr. Boland says.

Lindy Davis, MD, a Fellow in the Department of Surgical Oncology at Roswell Park, is the first author on a study examining a prognostic marker in colorectal cancer. The research team defined expression patterns of the target protein focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in colorectal cancer and correlated those patterns with patient outcomes. They examined tumor samples from 298 patients using tissue microarrays, and found that normal and early-stage colorectal cancer had lower FAK expression when compared to more advanced stages — suggesting possible strategies for treating many solid-tumor cancers.

The 2017 Gastrointestinal Cancer Symposium is a collaborative meeting presented by four leading medical specialty societies: the American Gastroenterological Association Institute, American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Society for Radiation Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology.


The mission of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, Roswell Park is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit, call 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or email Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

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