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ONCOLOGY BOARD REVIEW. Calvin Thigpen, M.D. July 18, 2014. If you could only…. Study 5 things in oncology, they should be: Breast Cancer Lung Cancer Colon Cancer Prostate Cancer Complications (of these diseases and their therapy). As you study…. Pay close attention to:

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oncology board review


Calvin Thigpen, M.D.

July 18, 2014

if you could only
If you could only…

Study 5 things in oncology, they should be:

  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Colon Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Complications (of these diseases and their therapy)
as you study
As you study…

Pay close attention to:

  • Interventions that lead to a cure
  • Emergent situations
  • Inherited conditions
  • Atypical approaches to cancer care

These are the kinds of things practicing general internists need to know.

breast cancer
Breast Cancer

It will DEFINITELY be on the exam.

what they will ask
What they will ask
  • Risk factors
  • Locoregional disease therapy
  • Hormone/endocrine therapy
    • Indications
    • Side effects
  • Recurrent disease
what they won t ask
What they won’t ask
  • Exactly when to start, or how often to get, mammograms
  • Specific combinations of chemotherapy
look for this in the stem
Look for this in the stem
  • Age and family history
  • Menopausal status
  • Exposure to estrogen
  • Hormone receptor status
  • Previous cancer therapy
  • Site of metastasis
  • Drugs
we are young
We Are Young

A nulliparous 29-year-old Ashkenazi Jewish woman has a palpable left breast mass present for 6 months. Her mother was adopted; her father is 72 years old and has a history of prostate cancer. Her paternal aunt was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at age 48 years. Another paternal aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 49 years. Her paternal grandmother died of complications from breast cancer at age 60 years.

On exam, there is a 4-cm mass in the left breast affixed to the chest wall and a 1-cm, freely movable left axillary lymph node. Biopsy reveals moderately differentiated ER+, PR+, H2N- invasive ductal carcinoma. CT and bone scan show no metastatic disease. She will receive preoperative chemotherapy followed by surgery.

Which of the following will be most helpful in determining the best surgical approach?

A. Counseling and genetic testing

B. Genomic profile assay

C. PET scan

D. Tumor marker testing

key point
Key Point

For women who have breast cancer and are at high risk for BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations, genetic testing and counseling may inform surgical options.

brca1 and brca2 risk
BRCA1 and BRCA2 risk
  • 2 1st degree relatives with breast cancer (one at <50 years of age)
  • 3 or more 1st or 2nd degree relatives with breast cancer regardless of age;
  • Both breast and ovarian cancer among 1st and 2nd degree relatives;
  • 1st degree relative with bilateral breast cancer;
  • 2 or more 1st or 2nd degree relatives with ovarian cancer regardless of age;
  • 1st or 2nd degree relative with both breast and ovarian cancer at any age; or
  • Breast cancer in a male relative.
why genetic testing
Why genetic testing?
  • The history suggests genetic cancer
  • Test results either:
    • Establish the diagnosis
    • Influence the management of family members at risk
  • Test those already with cancer if at all possible
i can t go f or that
I Can’t Go For That

A 65-year-old woman is evaluated for a 2-cm right breast mass discovered on routine mammography.

Vital signs and physical exam are unremarkable, and there is no palpable breast mass or lymphadenopathy.

Ultrasound-guided needle biopsy reveals a well-differentiated, ER+, PR+, H2N- invasive ductal carcinoma.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

A. Right breast lumpectomy

B. Right breast lumpectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, and radiation

C. Right breast mastectomy

D. Right breast mastectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, and radiation

key point1
Key Point

Breast conservation therapy, which consists of excision of the primary tumor and radiation therapy, is equivalent to mastectomy in long-term survival.

primary therapy
Primary therapy
  • All breast cancer patients need surgery at some point.
  • Breast-conserving therapy is equivalent to mastectomy.
  • Sentinel lymph node biopsy:
    • For clinically lymph node negative disease
    • Fewer side effects (far less lymphedema)
  • Adjuvant radiation reduces local recurrence.
endocrine therapy
Endocrine therapy
  • ER+/PR+
    • Premenopausal
      • Tamoxifen for 5 years
      • If tumor large, chemotherapy + Tamoxifen
    • Postmenopausal
      • Aromatase inhibitor (anastrazole, letrozole, exemestane) for 5 years
      • +/- Tamoxifen for 5 years prior to AI
      • If tumor large, chemotherapy + AI
  • H2N+
    • One year of Trastuzumab
systemic therapy
Systemic therapy

For those with the two most important prognostic factors:

  • Positive lymph nodes
  • Larger tumors (>1 cm)
metastatic therapy
Metastatic therapy
  • Endocrine therapy + chemotherapy
    • Endocrine therapy
      • Premenopausal – Tamoxifen
      • Postmenopausal – Aromatase inhibitor
    • Chemotherapy
      • Sequential single agents equivalent to combination
      • Anthracyclines, Taxanes, Methotrexate, Cytoxan, 5-FU
    • H2N
      • Trastuzumab
      • In combination with chemotherapy or not
  • Zoledronic acid or denosumab for bony disease
she s always a woman
She’s Always a Woman

A 45-year-old woman undergoes evaluation after a recent diagnosis of stage II ER+, PR+, H2N- breast cancer. She is premenopausal. She was treated with modified radical mastectomy and just completed adjuvant chemotherapy. She had a DVT associated with oral contraceptive pill use 20 years ago. She is a nonsmoker and is very physically active.

Physical exam and labs are unremarkable.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

A. Adjuvant aromatase inhibitor therapy

B. Adjuvant trastuzumab therapy

C. Baseline imaging with whole-body CT scan or PET scan

D. Ovarian ablation

key point2
Key Point

Tamoxifen can increase the risk for thromboembolic complications.

hello again
Hello Again

A 60-year-old woman is evaluated for 6 weeks of worsening left hip and right arm pain. She had stage III ER+, PR+, HER2- breast cancer diagnosed 5 years agoand treated withmodified radical mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation. She declined adjuvant hormonal therapy.

Physical exam reveals tenderness over the left sacroiliac joint and the right humerus.

Bone scan shows uptake in the bilateral femurs, lumbar spine, and right humerus consistent with metastases. CT shows no abnormalities in the lungs or liver, but bony lesions are evident and are consistent with the bone scan findings. No pathologic fractures are present.

Which of the following is the most appropriate intervention?

A. Aromatase inhibitor

B. Bone biopsy

C. Chemotherapy

D. Radiation therapy

E. Trastuzumab therapy

key point3
Key Point

A lesion due to a first recurrence of breast cancer should be biopsied to confirm malignancy and hormone receptor and HER2 status, which then guides treatment.

  • Originally, the only FDA approved drug for primary breast cancer prevention (5 years)
  • Used in adjuvant treatment for ER+ tumors to reduce the risk of recurrence (5 years)
  • Used in treatment of ER+ metastatic breast cancer
  • Side effects:
    • Thromboembolism
    • Endometrial cancer
    • Serotonin syndrome (when given with SSRIs)
aromatase inhibitors
Aromatase inhibitors
  • Anastrazole, letrozole, exemestane
  • Adjuvant therapy for postmenopausal women with ER+ tumors to prevent recurrence
  • Therapy for postmenopausal women with metastatic ER+ tumors
  • Side effects:
    • Hot flashes
    • Arthralgias
    • Osteoporosis
  • Doxorubicin, epirubicin, daunorubicin
  • Reduce dose for hepatic dysfunction
  • Cardiac toxicity
    • Determined by cumulative dose of drug
    • Cardiomyopathy largely irreversible, difficult to treat
trastuzumab herceptin
Trastuzumab (Herceptin)
  • For women with Her-2-neu + tumors
  • To be given for 52 weeks as adjuvant therapy
    • Reduces recurrence by 50%
    • Reduces mortality by up to 30%
  • Given in metastatic disease
  • MAJOR side effect – can induce heart failure
    • Especially when given with an anthracycline (so don’t do it)
    • Monitor LV EF before, during, and after treatment
i gotta feeling
I Gotta Feeling

A 45-year-old woman is evaluated for severe hot flushes that significantly limit her quality of life as well as vaginal dryness that is controlled with local lubricants. She had stage II ER+, PR+, HER2- invasive breast cancer diagnosed 1 year ago and treated with lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. She has not had a menstrual cycle since her 4th cycle of chemotherapy. She began taking tamoxifen 3 months ago after completing radiation therapy. Nonpharmacologic interventions for hot flushes have brought no improvement.

Physical exam is normal other than evidence of surgery on the left breast and radiation changes on her skin.

Which of the following is the most appropriate therapy for this patient?

A. Fluoxetine

B. Low-dose estrogen-progesterone

C. Red clover

D. Venlafaxine

key point4
Key Point

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that are potent CYP2D6 inhibitors (such as fluoxetine and paroxetine) should be avoided in patients with menopausal symptoms caused by tamoxifen.

50 ways to say goodbye
50 Ways to Say Goodbye

A 65-year-old woman is evaluated during a routine examination. She is asymptomatic. She had stage I ER-, PR-, HER2- breast cancer diagnosed 3 years ago treated with modified radical mastectomy followed by chemotherapy with docetaxel and cyclophosphamide.

On physical exam, the left chest wall is well healed with no nodularity. No right breast masses, axillary lymphadenopathy, or supraclavicular lymphadenopathy arepresent.

The patient will undergo periodic mammography and routine health maintenance.

Which of the following would be the most appropriate additional evaluation in this patient?

A. Bone scan yearly

B. CT scan yearly

C. PET scan yearly

D. Tumor marker measurement, complete blood count, and comprehensive metabolic panel yearly

E. No additional studies

key point5
Key Point

The use of screening blood tests (including tumor markers) and imaging is not recommended for routine breast cancer follow-up in an otherwise asymptomatic patient with no specific findings on clinical examination.

lung cancer
Lung Cancer

The most common and the biggest killer

what they may ask
What they may ask
  • Knowing when to search for it – smoker with symptoms
  • Non-small cell
    • Early stage therapy – surgery or radiation
    • Metastatic therapy – platinum-based chemotherapy
    • Isolated recurrent therapy – resection, then chemotherapy
what they may ask1
What they may ask
  • Small cell
    • Limited stage therapy – concurrent chemoradiation, then prophylactic brain irradiation
    • Extended stage therapy – platinum-based chemotherapy
what they won t ask1
What they won’t ask
  • Specifics of staging in non small cell
  • Use of gamma knife radiation in brain metastases
  • Specific combinations of chemotherapy
a few definitions
A few definitions…
  • Non small cell
    • Early stage – I or II
      • Tumor confined to one lobe
      • No mediastinal nodes
    • Advanced stage – III
      • Another nodule in the same lung
      • Mediastinal nodes
    • Metastatic disease
      • Nodule in opposite lung
      • Pleural effusion
      • Disease in other organs
a few definitions1
A few definitions…
  • Small cell
    • Limited stage
      • Disease confined to one hemithorax or radiation port
      • Includes mediastinal and ipsilateral supraclavicular nodes
    • Extensive stage
      • Any spread outside of the above
      • 1/3 of the time, this is in the brain
and generalities
…and generalities…
  • Non-small cell
    • Slower growing
    • Not very chemo- or radiosensitive
    • Resect disease confined to one lobe and nodes on one side
  • Small cell
    • Faster growing
    • Very chemo- and radiosensitive
    • Surgery only accidentally
and paraneoplasias
…and paraneoplasias
  • Hypercalcemia – PTHrP – squamous cell
  • Hyponatremia – ectopic ADH – small cell
  • Cushing’s syndrome – from ectopic ACTH – small cell
  • Hypertrophic pulmonary osteoarthropathy
  • Lambert-Eaton Syndrome
  • Cerebellar degeneration
non small cell lung cancer
Non-small cell lung cancer

More serious than the common cold

keep the faith
Keep the Faith

A 56-year-old woman is evaluated for a persistent cough of 2.5 months' duration. She also notes a 10-lb weight loss. The patient has no history of pulmonary disease and has never smoked cigarettes.

Physical exam is unremarkable.

Right hilar and subcarinal lymphadenopathy, as well as several hepatic hypodensities consistent with metastatic disease, are identified on CT of the chest and abdomen. MRI brain is normal. Bone scan notes uptake in several ribs. Lung biopsy demonstrates adenocarcinoma.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in the evaluation of this patient?

A. CT-guided biopsy of the liver

B. Epidermal growth factor receptor mutation tumor analysis

C. Mediastinoscopy with biopsy

D. Serum chromogranin measurement

key point6
Key Point

Patients with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene tumor mutations—most commonly women with adenocarcinoma who are never smokers or have a very limited smoking history and women of East Asian descent—often benefit dramatically from therapy targeting this receptor.

who gets the knife
Who gets the knife?
  • Patients with no evidence of nodal disease, or with nodal disease only in the ipsilateral lung (and hilum) on PET, PET/CT, or medastinoscopy
  • Patients with a single lesion recurrence in the liver or brain
  • Patients with cord compression
  • Patients with a good performance status

Remember this is in non-small cell only!

who gets chemo
Who gets chemo?

Anyone with positive lymph nodes or metastatic disease

who gets radiation
Who gets radiation?
  • Any patient who was a candidate for surgery, but for their functional status
  • Patients with localized pain from their tumor
  • Patients with brain metastases
  • Patients with cord compression where surgery was not performed
i m coming out
I’m Coming Out

A 52-year-old man is evaluated for a 5-week history of hemoptysis, a 6-month history of cough, and a 10-lb weight loss. He has a 60-pack-year smoking history.

On physical exam, he hasexpiratory wheezing localized to the left upper pulmonary lobe.

CT of the thorax and abdomen reveals a 7-cm pulmonary mass in the left upper lobe and small mediastinal lymph node enlargement. Biopsy of the lung lesion shows squamous cell carcinoma. A PET/CT shows extensive uptake in the mass but a low level of uptake in the mediastinal nodes. An MRI brain is normal. Mediastinoscopy and lymph node sampling reveal no evidence of cancer. Stage II disease is confirmed.

Which of the following is the most appropriate treatment of this patient?

A. Combination radiation and chemotherapy

B. Surgical resection

C. Surgical resection followed by chemotherapy

D. Systemic chemotherapy

key point7
Key Point

Stage II non-small cell lung cancer is potentially curable with surgical resection and adjuvant postoperative chemotherapy to reduce the recurrence risk.


A 54-year-old woman is evaluated for shortness of breath of 3 months' duration and a 10-lb weight loss. She has a 35-pack-year smoking history.

On physical exam, O2 sat is 92% on room air. The patient has clubbing of the fingertips. The lung fields are clear on the left, with diminished breath sounds and dullness to percussion over the lower half of the right lung.

CXR reveals a large right pleural effusion. A thoracentesis demonstrates an exudate, with cytologic analysis indicating adenocarcinoma. A chest tube is placed, and talc pleurodesis is performed. A CT scan reveals a 4-cm right peripheral lung mass with no obvious lymphadenopathy. A bone scan and brain MRI are normal.

Which of the following is the most appropriate treatment?

A. Combination chemotherapy and radiation

B. Radiation

C. Surgical resection of the lung mass

D. Systemic chemotherapy

key point8
Key Point

Patients with non-small cell lung cancer and a malignant pleural effusion have, by definition, metastatic disease, and the most appropriate therapy is palliative systemic chemotherapy.

small cell lung cancer
Small Cell Lung Cancer

Not a small deal

always on my mind
Always on My Mind

A 65-year-old man is evaluated for a 3-week history of hemoptysis and a recent 10-lb weight loss. He has a 90-pack-year smoking history.

On physical exam, vital signs are normal. The pulmonary exam reveals occasional crackles at the posterior right midlung field.

CT of the chest shows a 5-cm right hilar mass with bulky mediastinal lymphadenopathy. Bronchoscopy reveals small cell lung cancer. MRI brain and bone scan are negative.

The patient receives 6cycles of cisplatin and etoposide chemotherapy with radiation to the lung mass and regional disease concurrent with the first cycle of chemotherapy. A follow-up CT chest shows a residual 1.5-cm right hilar abnormality.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in this patient's management?

A. Biopsy of the residual mass

B. Three additional cycles of chemotherapy

C. Whole-brain radiation

D. Observation

key point9
Key Point

Patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer who respond to chemotherapy and radiation should receive prophylactic brain irradiation to decrease central nervous system relapses and prolong median survival.

who gets chemo1
Who gets chemo?

In small cell, they all do!

who gets the knife1
Who gets the knife?

In small cell, no one does! (at least for the board exam)

who gets radiation1
Who gets radiation?
  • Patients with limited stage disease – to the chest
  • Patients with limited stage disease and good response to chest therapy – to the brain prophylactically
  • Patients with extensive stage disease (and no brain mets) who respond to therapy
  • Patients with brain mets

Remember that we’re talking about small cell here!

whip it
Whip It

A 63-year-old man is evaluated for fatigue and a persistent cough of 7 weeks' duration. He has a 60-pack-year smoking history.

Physical exam is unremarkable.

CT of the thorax shows a right perihilar mass and enlarged hilar and mediastinal lymph nodes.

An endobronchial mass is identified by bronchoscopy; brushings and biopsy reveal small cell lung cancer. CT of the abdomen and pelvis is negative. A bone scan and MRI brain are negative.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in the management of this patient?

A. Chemotherapy with adjunctive radiation therapy

B. Mediastinoscopy

C. Radiation therapy

D. Resection for cure

key point10
Key Point

Patients with limited-stage small cell lung cancer are treated with combination chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

colorectal cancer
Colorectal Cancer

The 4th most common malignancy, the 2nd leading cause of death

what they may ask2
What they may ask
  • Screening measures
  • Colon cancer
    • Treatment for node negative disease – surgery
    • Treatment for node positive disease – surgery, then adjuvant chemotherapy
    • Treatment for metastatic disease – surgery, then chemotherapy (with bevacizumab)
    • Treatment for isolated recurrence in the liver – resection
  • Treatment for localized rectal cancer – surgery, then adjuvant chemoradiation
common ground
Common ground

All patients with colorectal cancer need surgery! All of them!

what they won t ask2
What they won’t ask
  • Hair-splitting questions about high-risk Stage II disease
  • The use of monoclonal antibodies other than bevacizumab
  • Chemotherapy combinations for metastatic rectal cancer
  • 2nd line chemotherapy
at risk groups
At risk groups
  • FAP – Familial Adenomatous Polyposis
    • Mutation in the APC gene
  • HNPCC – Hereditary Non-Polyposis Colorectal Cancer
    • Mutation in the MSH2, PMS1, or PMS2 genes
    • At risk for ovarian and endometrial cancer
  • Or any of the following
    • Personal history of adenomatous, villous, or tubulovillous polyps
    • Family history of the same
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Diabetes, obesity, tobacco, alcohol
screening when
Screening – When?
  • Average risk – age 50
  • 1st degree relative affected (by cancer or with adenomatous polyp)
    • Age 40, OR
    • 10 years younger than the family member was diagnosed
screening what
Screening – What?
  • Guaiac FOBT – annual
  • Fecal Immunochemical Testing (FIT) – annual
  • Sigmoidoscopy – every 5 years (with FOBT every 3 years)
  • Colonoscopy – every 10 years (or every 3-5 for those with relatives diagnosed at <60)
  • Colon cancer
    • Perioperative colonoscopy
    • Colonoscopy at 1 year, repeat in 3 years, then repeat in 5 years (assuming all were normal)
    • CEA every 3 months for 2 years, every 6 months for 3 more years
    • CT Chest/Abdomen/Pelvis annually for 3 years
  • Rectal cancer
    • Same as above, PLUS
    • Proctosigmoidoscopy every 3 to 6 months for 3 years
colon vs rectal
Colon vs. Rectal
  • Colon
    • Above the peritoneal reflection
    • Tends to metastasize to the liver first
  • Rectal
    • Below the peritoneal reflection
    • Can spread to the lungs before the liver
    • Radiation used to reduce local recurrence
what chemotherapy
What chemotherapy?
  • Colon
    • Oxaliplatin based (often with 5-FU)
    • With bevacizumab for metastatic disease
  • Rectal
    • 5-FU based for localized disease
    • Metastatic depends on squamous vs. adenocarcinoma (highly unlikely to be tested)
alive and kicking
Alive and Kicking

A 51-year-old man is evaluated for 6 months of increased fatigue and decreased exercise tolerance. He is otherwise well with no significant medical history.

Physical exam is unremarkable. FOBT discloses brown, guaiac-positive stool.

Labs: Hgb 8.4; MCV 80.

Colonoscopy reveals a 5-cm mass in the cecum. Biopsy shows moderately differentiated adenocarcinoma. CT of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis demonstrates the cecal mass and no evidence of metastatic disease. Final pathology from right hemicolectomy reveals a tumor penetrating into the pericolonic fat with clear margins, and 3 of 28 lymph nodes have cancer (T3N1M0; stage III).

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A. 5-Fluorouracil and leucovorin

B. 5-Fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX)

C. Radiation therapy

D. Radiation therapy plus 5-fluorouracil followed by FOLFOX

key point11
Key Point

An adjuvant chemotherapy regimen of 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) has been shown to improve disease-free survival in patients with stage III colon cancer.

c est la vie
C’est La Vie

A 68-year-old woman underwent right hemicolectomy 2 years ago for stage III colon cancer. She received 6 months of chemotherapy with 5-fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) after surgery. On a recent follow-up visit, CEA was 43 ng/mL (upper limit of normal, 5 ng/mL). She has no comorbidities and takes no medications. She works full time and is fully functional.

Physical exam reveals a palpable liver edge just below the right costal margin.

Labs: Hgb 13.5, WBC 9000, platelets 288,000.

CT of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis shows 3 hypodense lesions on the right lobe of the liver ranging from 1.5 to 4.0 cm.

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A. CT-guided fine-needle aspiration of liver lesion

B. Hepatic arterial embolization

C. Palliative systemic chemotherapy

D. Radiation therapy to the liver

E. Right hepatectomy

key point12
Key Point

Surgical resection of a few isolated metastatic lesions may be curative for patients with colorectal cancer.

prostate cancer
Prostate Cancer

The most common cancer in men

what they may ask3
What they may ask
  • Making a decision on whether or not to treat – risk categories
  • Treatment for disease confined to prostate
  • Side effects of therapy
  • Cord compression
what they won t ask3
What they won’t ask
  • Screening recommendations
  • Differentiating between types of radiation
  • Chemotherapy other than docetaxel
i will wait
I Will Wait

An 80-year-old man undergoes an annual physical exam. He has had mild stable nocturia for many years. He reports no bone pain, weight loss, fever, chest pain, or shortness of breath. Medical history is notable for HTN and type 2 DM for which he takes antihypertensive and diabetic medications.

Rectal exam reveals an enlarged prostate gland with a nodule on the right side.

PSA 6.4 ng/mL.

Prostate biopsy reveals several small foci of adenocarcinoma in 2 of 12 cores on the right side, with a Gleason score of 6.

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A. Androgen deprivation therapy

B. Radiation with androgen deprivation therapy

C. Radical prostatectomy

D. Observation

key point13
Key Point

Patients with low-risk prostate cancer and a short life expectancy are optimally managed with observation.

up all night
Up All Night

A 73-year-old man is evaluated for a 6-month history of progressive nocturia.

Rectal exam reveals a hard, irregular, and markedly enlarged prostate gland.

PSA is 22.5 ng/mL. Bone scan is negative. CT scan reveals a markedly enlarged prostate gland and extension into the seminal vesicles. No lymphadenopathy or evidence of metastatic disease is present. Prostate biopsy reveals adenocarcinoma in all 12 cores with a Gleason score of 8. He has high-risk T3 stage III prostate cancer.

Which of the following is the most appropriate treatment?

A. Androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)

B. ADT and radiation therapy

C. Brachytherapy

D. Radiation therapy

E. Radical prostatectomy

key point14
Key Point

Patients with high-risk prostate cancer are optimally managed with a combination of androgen deprivation therapy and radiation.

order of therapy
Order of therapy
  • Surgery and radiation equally effective for early stages
  • Check PSA q6-12 months x 5 years after primary treatment
  • Goal with recurrence: achieve castrate levels of testosterone
    • Orchiectomy or androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)
    • Surgical and hormonal (ADT) castration equivalent
  • Docetaxel based chemotherapy for those who are hormone refractory
hormone therapy1
Hormone therapy?
  • Potential side effects:
    • Impotence
    • Hot flashes
    • Weight gain
    • Fatigue
    • Gynecomastia
    • Osteopenia
    • Diarrhea
    • Hepatotoxicity
    • Diabetes
    • Cardiovascular disease

Observation doesn’t sound so bad

or other therapy
Or other therapy?
  • Radiation side effects:
    • Proctitis
    • Cystitis
    • Erectile dysfunction
  • Prostatectomy side effects:
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Urinary incontinence
back in time
Back in Time

A 55-year-old man is evaluated in the ER for gradually increasing midback pain for 3 weeks. Metastatic prostate cancer was diagnosed 18 months ago and progressed on antiandrogen therapy. He is now taking bicalutamide, zoledronic acid, docetaxel, and prednisone.

On physical exam, the lower extremities are diffusely weak. He has diminished pinprick sensation from the nipples downward. Reflexes are 2+ in the biceps and triceps and 3+ in the knees and ankles. An extensor plantar response is present bilaterally. Anal sphincter tone is diminished.

IV dexamethasone is administered.

MRI confirms spinal cord compression at the 4th thoracic vertebra.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in treatment?

A. Addition of leuprolide

B. Anterior surgical decompression

C. Radiation therapy

D. Substitution of paclitaxel for docetaxel

key point15
Key Point

Clinical outcomes in solid tumors are better with surgical decompression of spinal cord compression than they are with radiation or chemotherapy.

cord compression
Cord Compression
  • Breast, Lung, Prostate (blastic only), Renal, Lymphoma, and Myeloma (lytic only)
  • MRI of the entire spine
  • IV Decadron to reduce vasogenic edema, relieve pain
  • Neurosurgical consultation for surgical decompression and spine stabilization
don t know what you got
Don’t Know What You Got

A 63-year-old woman presents with abrupt onset left upper-extremity weakness and no other symptoms. Until today, she has been active and fully functional. She had stage IIB non-small cell lung cancer diagnosed 1 year ago and underwent right upper lobectomy followed by adjuvant cisplatin and vinorelbine chemotherapy. Mediastinoscopy at the time was negative, and PET showed no metastatic disease.

Neurologic exam shows weakness of the left arm with hyperreflexia of the brachioradialis reflex.

MRI brain demonstrates a right parietal lesion measuring 1.5 cm, with evidence of significant edema. She has no evidence of extracranial disease.

Dexamethasone is initiated.

Which of the following is the most appropriate next step in management?

A. Best supportive care

B. Initiation of erlotinib

C. Initiation of temozolomide followed by radiation therapy

D. Surgical resection of metastasis

key point16
Key Point

Resect isolated brain (or liver) metastases when there is no other evidence of cancer.


Brain mets are life-limiting; they must always be addressed immediately when found.

  • Decadron immediately
  • Surgery
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy
head games
Head Games

A 46-year-old woman is evaluated for the recent onset of headaches that are most intense on waking in the morning and are not relieved by analgesics. She has no nausea or vomiting but notes some difficulty with fine motor skills when using her right hand. The patient has a 2-year history of stage II breast cancer last treated with chemotherapy 2 years ago.

Funduscopic exam reveals papilledema. She has reduced strength (4/5+) in her right hand.

A CT of the head reveals 2 separate masses in the left temporal lobe with associated edema, as well as blastic lesions involving the skull.

Which of the following is the most appropriate management?

A. Chemotherapy

B. Intravenous dexamethasone and radiation therapy

C. Lumbar puncture

D. Resection of the masses

key point17
Key Point

Immediate corticosteroid administration and early initiation of radiation therapy are indicated to treat brain metastasis and increased intracranial pressure.

risk and screening
Risk and Screening
  • The most significant risk factor for ovarian cancer, especially in premenopausal women, is the presence of BRCA1/BRCA2 gene mutations; hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer syndrome also confers a significantly increased risk.
  • Use of oral contraceptive agents decreases the risk of ovarian cancer by as much as 50% with the protective effect lasting up to 20 years after oral contraception cessation.
  • Screening for ovarian cancer is not recommended for average-risk women.
  • In women at high risk for developing ovarian cancer, prophylactic bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy before age 40 years reduces the risk of developing cancer by 95%.
diagnosis and staging
Diagnosis and Staging
  • Most patients with ovarian cancer have advanced disease at initial evaluation.
  • Findings on ultrasonography suggestive of ovarian cancer include a solid mass, a cyst with thick septations, and ascites.
  • The diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer is usually made by CT or ultrasound-guided biopsy of a suspicious mass or cytologic examination of ascitic fluid.
surgical role
Surgical Role
  • Optimal tumor debulking (no residual tumor mass >1 cm) is associated with increased survival in patients with ovarian cancer.
  • Surgical resection is appropriate for patients with a recurrent solitary ovarian tumor or with limited relapse of cancer at sites favorable for surgical removal.
  • Adjuvant chemotherapy is indicated for patients with high-risk, early-stage ovarian cancer and those with advanced disease.
  • Use of hematopoietic growth factors to maintain adequate blood counts has helped improve the quality of life and decrease complication rates in patients with ovarian cancer who are receiving chemotherapy.
follow up
  • Patients who have completed initial treatment for ovarian cancer require routine follow-up clinical evaluations, including history, physical examination, and serum CA-125 measurement.
pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic Cancer
  • Patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer have a median survival ranging from 4 to 6 months; those with locally unresectable disease have a median survival of about 1 year.
  • Surgery is the only potentially curative intervention for patients with pancreatic cancer who have an apparent technically resectable tumor without evidence of metastases.
gastric cancer
Gastric Cancer
  • Helicobacter pylori infection is a major risk factor for development of gastric cancer.
  • In patients who undergo surgery as initial therapy for gastric cancer, postoperative 5-fluorouracil and leucovorin plus radiation therapy have been shown to confer a survival benefit compared with postoperative observation alone.
  • Patients with gastric and gastroesophageal junction adenocarcinoma whose tumors expressed HER2 experienced statistically significantly improved median survival when trastuzumab was added to cisplatin plus 5-fluorouracil or capecitabine.
esophageal cancer
Esophageal Cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease, Barrett esophagus, and obesity are risk factors for esophageal cancer.
  • The diagnosis of esophageal cancer is established by upper endoscopy and biopsy.
  • Local and locoregional esophageal cancers are usually treated surgically; perioperative treatment with chemotherapy or chemotherapy plus radiation therapy may improve survival.
anal cancer
Anal Cancer
  • Anal cancer is treated initially with combined radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
  • Mitomycin plus 5-fluorouracil is the standard chemotherapy regimen used in conjunction with radiation therapy in the treatment of anal cancer.
  • Superior vena cava syndrome is most often caused by lung cancer; other causes are lymphoblastic and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and germ cell tumors.
  • Primary therapy for the underlying malignancy is usually associated with rapid and complete resolution of symptoms and physical findings of superior vena cava syndrome.
  • Lumbar puncture is contraindicated when increased intracranial pressure is due to mass effect because the procedure may precipitate catastrophic brainstem herniation.
  • Corticosteroids such as dexamethasone are initially used to treat patients with increased intracranial pressure.
  • Patients with breast, lung, and prostate cancer are most likely to develop spinal cord compression.
  • Patients with suspected spinal cord compression require prompt diagnosis (MRI of the spine), usually before any motor deficit is detected, and immediate administration of corticosteroids.
  • A malignant pleural effusion is most often caused by lung cancer, breast cancer, and lymphoma, and less frequently by cancer of unknown primary site.
  • Thoracentesis is required for immediate palliation of a symptomatic malignant pleural effusion.
  • Excessive drainage in patients with malignant pleural effusion should be avoided to prevent pulmonary edema following lung re-expansion.
  • Echocardiography is essential to establish the diagnosis of malignant pericardial effusion.
  • Prevention and treatment of tumor lysis syndrome require hydration with normal saline as well as allopurinol or rasburicase in high-risk patients to limit the degree of hyperuricemia.
  • Symptoms of hypercalcemia include nausea and vomiting, constipation, polyuria and polydipsia, weakness, and confusion.
  • The mainstays of treatment of hypercalcemia are aggressive hydration with normal saline for short-term control and parenteral bisphosphonates for longer-term control.
  • The risk of life-threatening infection in patients receiving cancer treatment significantly increases with absolute neutrophil counts lower than 500/µL (0.5 × 109/L) and as the duration of neutropenia increases.
  • Recombinant granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor are effective in preventing neutropenia and neutropenic fever and maintaining the dose intensity of chemotherapy.
  • Myelodysplasia and leukemia can be caused by chemotherapy and, to a lesser extent, radiation therapy.
  • Involved-field radiation therapy may cause acute and chronic cardiac disorders.
  • Patients with breast cancer who are treated with combined chemotherapy or radiation have an increased lifetime risk for developing myelodysplasia, leukemia, endometrial cancer, and rarely, soft tissue sarcoma.
  • Long-term administration of aromatase inhibitors in women with breast cancer has significantly increased the incidence of osteopenia and risk for late pathologic fractures.
risk and presentation
Risk and Presentation
  • The major risk factors for development of head and neck cancer are alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Epstein-Barr virus and human papillomavirus infection may be responsible for development of head and neck cancer in a subset of patients without a history of tobacco use.
diagnosis and staging1
Diagnosis and Staging
  • Presenting signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer depend on the location of the primary tumor.
  • Patients with cervical lymphadenopathy require expert evaluation of the upper aerodigestive tract to identify a primary lesion; fine-needle aspiration of a palpable lymph node is performed, followed by a lymph node biopsy if the aspirate is nondiagnostic.
  • Goals of treatment of head and neck cancer focus on improving survival while preserving organ function and minimizing complications.
  • Early-stage (stage I and II) head and neck cancer is highly curable with surgical resection or radiation therapy.
  • Locally advanced stage III and IV head and neck cancer is treated with a combination of surgical resection, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
  • Complications following treatment of head and neck cancer include damage to cranial and sensory nerves, xerostomia, swallowing dysfunction, voice changes, altered taste sensation, fibrosis, dental problems, and esophageal strictures.
germ cell tumor
Germ Cell Tumor
  • Testicular cancer is the most common solid tumor in young men and is one of the most highly curable of all malignancies.
  • The primary risk factors for development of testicular cancer are the presence of Klinefelter syndrome, cryptorchidism, and a family history of testicular cancer.
  • Patients with testicular cancer usually present with a unilateral mass or testicular swelling.
germ cell tumor1
Germ Cell Tumor
  • Initial urologic evaluation of a patient with suspected testicular cancer includes a chest radiograph, CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis, and determination of serum tumor marker levels.
  • All patients with testicular cancer (either seminoma or nonseminoma) require radical orchiectomy as initial treatment.
  • Patients with nonseminoma have a poorer prognosis than those with seminoma and require more aggressive treatment, but even with widespread metastases, may be cured with additional surgery and combination chemotherapy.
bladder cancer
Bladder Cancer
  • Most bladder cancers occur in men, who are typically over 60 years of age.
  • Cigarette smoking is the major risk factor for development of bladder cancer.
  • Patients with bladder cancer most often present with painless hematuria.
  • All components of the urinary tract must be evaluated in patients with hematuria to identify a potential malignant source (or sources) of bleeding.
bladder cancer1
Bladder Cancer
  • Approximately 60% of patients with bladder cancer are found to have noninvasive disease at the time of initial TNM staging.
  • Patients with noninvasive bladder cancer are usually treated with transurethral resection of the bladder tumor and have an excellent prognosis.
  • Patients with bladder cancer that invades muscle usually require radical cystectomy, including removal of the bladder, adjacent pelvic organs, and regional lymph nodes.
  • Metastatic bladder cancer is incurable, and palliative platinum-based chemotherapy is often used in this setting.
renal cell cancer
Renal Cell Cancer
  • Most patients with renal cell cancer present with a mass found incidentally on a radiographic study performed for other reasons.
  • Large solid tumors seen on ultrasound imaging are so likely to be renal cell carcinoma that needle biopsy is not needed before definitive surgical resection is planned.
  • Partial nephrectomy is appropriate for patients with renal cell tumors measuring less than 4 cm that are not adjacent to the renal pelvis.
  • Molecularly targeted agents such as sunitinib, sorafenib, bevacizumab, temsirolimus, and everolimus have been shown to be effective in treating patients with resected renal cell cancer who develop metastatic disease.
  • Before more specialized studies are done in patients with cancer of unknown primary site, biopsy samples of tumor from the most accessible location should be obtained for immunohistochemical marker determinations.
  • An exhaustive search for a primary tumor should not be done in patients with cancer of unknown primary site because finding an asymptomatic and occult primary tumor has not been shown to improve outcome.
  • Evaluation of patients with cancer of unknown primary (CUP) site should focus on whether findings are consistent with a treatable primary tumor or a treatable subtype of CUP.
treatment prognosis
Treatment & Prognosis
  • Women with cancer of unknown primary site associated with isolated malignant axillary lymphadenopathy should be assumed to have locoregional breast cancer until proved otherwise.
  • Women with cancer of unknown primary site presenting as abdominal carcinomatosis and ascites should be assumed to have ovarian cancer until proved otherwise.
  • Patients with cancer of unknown primary site that is not included in a favorable subgroup generally have a poor prognosis and typically receive empiric therapy.
risk treatment
Risk & Treatment
  • Risk factors for melanoma include sun exposure, a history of multiple sunburns, fair complexion, the presence of multiple cutaneous nevi, and a personal or family history of melanoma or dysplastic nevi.
  • The primary treatment of local and locoregional melanoma is surgical resection.
  • Resection is indicated for patients with limited metastatic melanoma that is surgically resectable.
final advice
Final Advice
  • If you get stuck, remember these generalities:
    • The only way to “cure” cancer includes surgery.
    • Cancer that has spread to lymph nodes or beyond requires systemic treatment (i.e., chemotherapy).
    • If you’re going to act, make it definitive (e.g., obtain a diagnosis, prefer curative treatments).
    • You stand a good chance of guessing correctly.
good luck
Good Luck!

If you prepare well, you won’t need it.