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June 5, 2019

Mayo Clinic at ASCO 2019

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

Every year the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) hosts a gathering of cancer researchers and clinicians from around the world to teach and learn from each other, sharing their research and innovations in patient care.

ASCO's mission is "conquering cancer through research education, and promotion of the highest quality patient care" - a theme that Mayo Clinic Cancer Center is in full agreement with.

Mayo Clinic has long had a strong presence at #ASCO19 - the largest gathering of its kind, and 2019 was no exception. Below are brief summaries (and links to) of Mayo news releases sent out from the 2019 ASCO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Two studies that explore types of discrimination and gender bias in health care organizations were presented by Mayo Clinic researchers.

Katharine Price, M.D., a medical oncologist, and Rahma Warsame, M.D., a hematologist, presented an abstract that reviews discrimination and inclusion among hematology and oncology trainees. Their study involved anonymous telephone interviews with 17 hematology and oncology fellows regarding discrimination, harassment and inclusion. According to the study, discrimination toward fellows was common, and it was more common from patients than staff.

The second study, led by Narjust Duma, M.D., chief hematology-oncology fellow at the Rochester, Minnesota, campus of Mayo Clinic, zeros in on speaker introductions and how professional titles have been used at past American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meetings.

"Gender bias can be reinforced through the use of gender-subordinating language and differences in forms of address," Dr. Duma says.

"Our results suggest that unconscious bias may be present and be a driver of gender disparities in medicine."


Studies show that the risk of breast cancer can be reduced by half through the use of a five-year course of tamoxifen or raloxifene, and also by aromatase inhibitors. Nevertheless, women at high risk of breast cancer have a low acceptance of preventive medicine.

A new study by Mayo Clinic and collaborators at the University of Manitoba and CancerCare Manitoba suggests that when women at high risk are presented with personalized genetic information, they're more likely to take preventative medications to reduce their chance of developing breast cancer. The research involved a new blood test developed by Mayo Clinic to identify women at higher genetic risk for developing breast cancer.


The largest randomized trial involving smoldering multiple myeloma suggests that lenalidomide, a cancer drug, may delay the onset of myeloma symptoms, according to Mayo Clinic researchers. The study was conducted by the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group and funded by the National Cancer Institute.

The findings are in line with a smaller trial in 2013 by researchers in Spain. "In conjunction with the Spanish data, this trial may support a change in clinical practice," the study says.

"At present, the standard of care for smoldering multiple myeloma is observation without therapy," says S. Vincent Rajkumar, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist and senior author of the trial. "We found that treatment of smoldering myeloma delays progression to symptomatic myeloma and can prevent damage to organs that occurs in multiple myeloma."


New studies on early detection of colorectal cancer and the quality-of-life impact of cell therapy were among several Mayo Clinic presentations at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

Hao Xie, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic hematology-oncology fellow, presented an abstract, "Methylated DNA Markers in Primary and Metastatic Colorectal Cancers," that indicates the DNA markers are broadly informative for early detection of cancer.

Also mentioned in this news release was a presentation by Surbhi Sidana, M.B.B.S., an advanced hematology fellow at Mayo Clinic.

Her study, "Quality of Life in Patients Undergoing CAR-T Therapy Versus Stem Cell Transplant," suggests patients receiving chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR-T cell therapy) do not experience a more significant decline in quality of life, compared with patients undergoing a bone marrow stem cell transplant using their own or donor stem cells.


These news releases cover only a tiny portion of the cancer research shared at #ASCO19. You can visit the conference website to find the full listing of Mayo Clinic research highlighted at #ASCO19.

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Tags: bias, cancer, cancer prevention, CAR-T, clinical trials, colorectal cancer, DNA, Events, Findings, genetics, Hao Xie, hematology, Katharine Price, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, multiple myeloma, Narjust Duma, News, oncology, quality of life, Rahma Warsame, Surbi Sidana, Vincent Rajkumar

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