Unique Aspects of Cancer Surgery Make Clinical Trials Challenging

Maurie Markman, MD
Published: Monday, Apr 06, 2020
Maurie Markman, MD, editor in chief, is president of Medicine and Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and clinical professor of medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Maurie Markman, MD

The primary role of surgery in the management of malignant disease is indisputable. This modality has been central to the fundamental success of oncology therapeutics from the earliest days of cancer treatment, when essentially the only valid option for cure or palliation was surgical removal of a mass or masses (“solid tumors”), until today, when ever-improving imaging techniques and experience have strikingly refined the extent of such surgical resections. All one has to do is consider the remarkable evolution of the standard-of-care curative approach in the management of breast cancer to appreciate the magnitude of changes in surgical oncologic strategies; the field has moved from the historical Halsted radical mastectomy to the far less morbid lumpectomy followed by external beam radiation.
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