Dr. Markman on Unmet Needs in Rare Gynecologic Cancers

Maurie Markman, MD
Published: Wednesday, Dec 12, 2018



Maurie Markman, MD, president of Medicine and Science, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, editor-in-chief of OncologyLive, 2018 Giant of Cancer Care® for Gynecologic Cancers, discusses unmet needs in rare gynecologic cancers.

A disease like endometrial cancer has a very high cure rate if detected in its early stages, Markman says, but if it is in a high-grade setting or there is lymph node involvement, the prognosis is poor. The question becomes, “What can these patients be given in the adjuvant setting?” Markman argues that because of how uncommon this cancer is, it is increasingly difficult to conduct clinical trials designed to answer this question.

When researchers begin to subset these patients—into those with p53 mutations, for example, a population that has a high risk of recurrence—it becomes even more challenging to conduct these trials because the population becomes even smaller. Trials also take time to yield meaningful results, and these patients cannot wait 5 years for treatment answers, he stresses. Patients want answers as soon as possible. Physicians understand the biology of cancer now more than ever, so to wait for results from large phase III trials has become increasingly irrational. Researchers must find another way to answer these questions, Markman concludes.
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Maurie Markman, MD, president of Medicine and Science, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, editor-in-chief of OncologyLive, 2018 Giant of Cancer Care® for Gynecologic Cancers, discusses unmet needs in rare gynecologic cancers.

A disease like endometrial cancer has a very high cure rate if detected in its early stages, Markman says, but if it is in a high-grade setting or there is lymph node involvement, the prognosis is poor. The question becomes, “What can these patients be given in the adjuvant setting?” Markman argues that because of how uncommon this cancer is, it is increasingly difficult to conduct clinical trials designed to answer this question.

When researchers begin to subset these patients—into those with p53 mutations, for example, a population that has a high risk of recurrence—it becomes even more challenging to conduct these trials because the population becomes even smaller. Trials also take time to yield meaningful results, and these patients cannot wait 5 years for treatment answers, he stresses. Patients want answers as soon as possible. Physicians understand the biology of cancer now more than ever, so to wait for results from large phase III trials has become increasingly irrational. Researchers must find another way to answer these questions, Markman concludes.

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