The annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology was held from Oct. 21 to 24 in San Antonio, Texas, and attracted approximately 11,000 participants from around the world, including physicians, oncology nurses, radiation therapists, biologists, physicists, and other cancer researchers. The conference featured educational courses focused on radiation, surgical, and medical oncology.
In one study, Bhisham Chera, M.D., of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues found that a new liquid biopsy test accurately determined whether patients with HPV-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) were cancer-free after radiation therapy.
“We’ve developed a highly specific, sensitive liquid biopsy blood test for people with HPV-associated OPSCC,” Chera said in the statement. “This blood test had exceptional performance in monitoring patients for cancer recurrence after radiation therapy. If the circulating tumor HPV DNA is undetectable, there is a high likelihood that the patient is in remission and cancer-free.”
The investigators found that the test accurately predicted whether a patient was cancer-free, with a negative predictive value of 100 percent. In addition, it could potentially reduce the need for costly radiological scans during post-treatment surveillance, reserving them for patients with detectable circulating tumor HPV DNA.
“We are showing in this abstract that the blood test performs very well. It detects cancer before the scan detects cancer. Using this test, I can walk into a patient’s room and say, ‘You are more than likely cancer-free at this point,'” Chera said in the statement.
Two investigators disclosed financial relationships with Naveris, a company to which intellectual property related to the new test has been licensed.
As part of the FAST (FASTer Radiotherapy for breast cancer patients) trial, Murray Brunt, M.D., of University Hospitals of North Midlands and Keele University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues found that women with early-stage breast cancer who received radiation therapy with fewer, higher doses had similarly low rates of late-onset adverse events as women receiving conventional radiation therapy.
“This study says it’s possible to find a regimen that would allow early-stage breast cancer patients to be treated only once a week over five weeks rather than daily over the same time period,” Brunt said in a statement. “Findings should help doctors discuss risks and benefits with their patients for various courses of radiation therapy and inform shared decision-making between physicians and patients.”