Panelists:Michael J. Birrer, MD, PhD, Mass General ; Robert A. Burger, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center; Warner K. Huh, MD, UAB ; Maurie Markman, MD, CTCA ; James Tate Thigpen, MD, University of Mississippi School of Medicine
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Cervical cancers are difficult tumors to study in the lab, and particularly in clinical trials, as they are relatively rare in the United States, comments Michael J. Birrer, MD. Moreover, the patient population affected by this disease is often socioeconomically challenged and some do not return for follow-up while enrolled in a clinical trial.
Research for cervical cancer should heavily emphasize prevention, states Robert A. Burger, MD, citing a need for improvement in public healthcare policy funding. Vaccination and screening continue to be problems, notes Warner K. Huh, MD.
In the next several years, ovarian cancer will be approached differently, from treatment to screening, Huh believes. The greatest challenge ahead, according to James Tate Thigpen, MD, is the development of new clinical approaches. Approvals in ovarian cancer are generally based on overall survival. This outcome, Thigpen observes, is nearly impossible to demonstrate using current study designs. He adds that researchers and regulatory agencies must work together to determine new ways of demonstrating efficacy in a realistic and timely fashion.