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Rare Sarcomas Pose Significant Hurdles, But Foster Collaboration

Laura Panjwani
Published: Monday, Apr 18, 2016

Damon Reed, MD

Damon Reed, MD

With advancements in molecular diagnostics continuing to demonstrate that cancers such as breast, lung, and melanoma are more heterogeneous than previously thought, individualized therapy may soon become the norm.

, Reed discusses the challenges associated with treating rare sarcomas, the importance of collaboration, advancements in the field, and the potential for immunotherapy in the disease.

OncLive: What are you most excited about in sarcoma right now?

Reed: I am hopeful that advances in sequencing trickle down to these rare tumors and, with better collaboration, I am definitely hoping that we will be able to make significant differences in these ultra-rare subtypes of sarcoma.

Epigenetic modifiers are being considered now in other areas, including malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. This ever-growing list of translocation-derived sarcomas will eventually be treated much differently than they are now. We do give doxorubicin to a lot of patients, regardless of their biology, and so we will have more specific agents than that to offer patients.

What are the challenges with treating rare sarcomas?

There are a lot of different sarcomas and I wish we had 20 different studies. However, 20 different studies with 1 or 2 patients each are just unmanageable in every aspect. Models for improved collaboration or lowering barriers in cost are really things that I hope the sarcoma community will continue to work on.
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