A (Slightly Surprising) Year in Review
Despite a pandemic, we made progress this year – substantial progress.
This is undeniably clear now that we’ve submitted our 2020 main grant report to the National Cancer Institute. Every December, we tell the NCI about the scientific, personnel, and training advances we’ve made, and share our budget plans for the next grant year.
Based on that report, I can tell you that SWOG Cancer Research Network:
- Activated 14 new trials in 2020 – the most in five years
- Changed the standard of care several times, thanks to trials like S1001 in lymphoma
- Published 15 manuscripts out of the breast cancer committee alone
- Held the first group meeting of the immunotherapeutics committee
- Made major progress on master protocols such as iMATCH and MyeloMATCH
- Shared promising results from our DART rare cancers trial, including responses to its immunotherapy combination in angiosarcoma, metaplastic breast cancer, and neuroendocrine tumors
This was a particularly banner year for dissemination of SWOG results – including newsworthy abstracts at ASCO, AACR, ASH, and more. We landed some high-impact publications, as well. Just a sample:
- Dr. Terri Parker from Yale shared results from S1702 at the ASH annual meeting. Read about those findings here in our press release.
- Dr. Michael Wagner from University of Washington shared results from DART, or S1609, at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer annual meeting. Read about those findings here in our press release.
- Dr. Catherine Van Poznak from University of Michigan published, in JAMA Oncology, results of S0702 that provide rigorous medically-induced incidence data on osteonecrosis of the jaw. Read the press release here.
- Dr. Alain Algazi of University of California presented results of S1320, a first-of-its-kind melanoma trial at the AACR annual meeting. Read our press release here.
- Dr. Dawn Hershman of Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Hospital published results of S1105, a trial putting text messaging to the test in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Read about those findings here in our press release.
And we can thank S8814, our high-impact breast trial led by Dr. Kathy Albain, for inspiring not one but two blockbuster findings announced in 2020. At the top of the year, in January, Dr. Wendy Woodward of MD Anderson Cancer Center reported in JAMA Oncology that the Oncotype DX test scores can not only predict chemotherapy benefit, but benefit from radiation, as well. And at the bottom of the year, just this month, Dr. Kevin Kalinsky of Emory University reported at SABCS results of S1007, or RxPONDER, that showed that women with HR+ HER2-breast cancer that has spread to one to three lymph nodes, and whose recurrences scores are relatively low, do not benefit from chemotherapy when it is added to hormone therapy.
Finally, in our NCI report, we were asked to weigh in on the impact of COVID. I was grateful to report that, because our biospecimen bank stayed open, SWOG sites were able to continue collecting and processing trial specimens. I was also able to report that our accrual has rebounded. After bottoming out in March, April, and May, accrual to both NCTN and NCORP trials began to rise steadily. As of the first week of this month, our accrual is back to pre-pandemic levels. What a gift – and a relief.
Thank you for getting through this year with us, and continuing to make our good work possible. Because the next two Fridays fall on a holiday – Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – we will skip the Front Line for a bit. I’ll be back to you in January with a copy of our 2020 Impact Report, so get ready for more information on our progress. Be well and see you in the new year.