The Tisch Cancer Institute

In the News

  • Dr. Ramon Parsons elected into the National Academy of Medicine.
    October 16, 2017
    Ramon Parsons elected into the National Academy of Medicine. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.
  • Tisch Cancer Institute 2017 Town Hall
    September 26, 2017
    The Tisch Cancer Institute Town Hall gave an overview of the Cancer Center’s accomplishments, present state, and future goals. It was presented by Drs. Burakoff and Parsons to our faculty, staff, and trainees.
  • RT Plus Chemo Triples PFS In Limited Metastatic Lung Cancer - Roxanne Nelson, BSN, RN
    September 26, 2017
    Accrual was halted early after an unplanned interim analysis found a significant improvement in PFS in the SAbR plus maintenance chemotherapy arm. In addition, rates of local control and delay in distant metastases favored combination therapy. Among patients who received consolidative local therapy, there were no recurrences in original sites of gross disease; there were seven failures in the patients who received only maintenance therapy. "This study is encouraging for patients suffering from metastatic lung cancer, as metastatic lung cancer is incurable, and the standard treatment is chemotherapy alone," commented Kenneth Rosenzweig, MD, professor and system chair of radiation oncology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "This study shows that treating small tumors with highly focused stereotactic radiation can improve survival with minimal toxicity and a high level of convenience," he said. "Since this study is so small, its results will need to be confirmed in a larger study."
    - Kenneth Rosenzweig, MD, Professor, System Chair, Radiation Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Mild Hypothermia During Prolonged Surgery May Reduce Complications
    September 22, 2017
    The ideal core temperature for patients undergoing prolonged major head and neck surgery remains unknown. Previous data indicates the low temperatures may increase the risk of developing postoperative complications such as tissue loss, hematomas, or surgical infections. A study done at The Mount Sinai Hospital looked at the core temperature of 519 patients during prolonged surgery for head and neck cancer in order to identify the optimal temperature range for these patients to prevent complications. The study found that higher intraoperative temperatures were associated with worse outcomes in terms of tissue loss, wound complications, and infection. Brett Miles, DDS, MD, FACS, associate professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and co-chief in the division of head and neck oncology for the Mount Sinai Health System, said "Our study suggests an optimal temperature range of 35.3C-37.6C. If patients were above or below that range for a significant period of time, their complications increased. Therefore maintaining this temperature range (mild hypothermia) may improve flap outcomes in this population."
    - Brett A. Miles, DDS, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Co-Chief, Division of Head and Neck Oncology, Fellowship Director, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Mount Sinai Health System 
  • Expert Discusses Approval of First CAR T-Cell Therapy - Danielle Bucco
    September 18, 2017
    The FDA's recent approval of tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah) as the first chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell Therapy, marks a new era in oncology. Tisagenlecleucel is specifically approved for the treatment of patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia  that is refractory or in second or later relapse, based on phase II results from the single-arm, international ELIANA trial. "Having the ability to genetically engineer a person's lymphocytes and essentially weaponize them to kill these cells is a huge advance," said James L. Ferrara, MD, DSc, professor of pediatrics, oncological sciences and medicine, hematology and medical oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Co-director of Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium. It is likely that this therapy will extend to other subsets of leukemia and lymphoma, Dr. Ferrara added.
    - James L.M. Ferrara, MD, DSc, Professor of Pediatrics, Oncological Sciences and Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology at The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Co-director of Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium (MAGIC)
  • Gene Alterations Predict Response to Immunotherapy in Urothelial Carcinoma
    September 13, 2017
    Alterations in DNA damage repair and response genes appear to improve response to immune checkpoint blockade among patients with urothelial carcinoma, according to findings presented at the ASCO Annual Meeting. These results "clearly" indicate that such alternations could be "a potential predictive biomarker for response to immune checkpoint blockade," says Matthew Galsky, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology, assistant professor of urology and the director of genitourinary medical oncology at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "This is not ready for prime time, but there are ongoing, randomized clinical trials in the first-line setting in urothelial cancer, randomizing patients to chemotherapy alone vs. chemotherapy plus immune checkpoint blockade," Dr. Galsky said. "Those cohorts are ideally suited for testing this biomarker question."
    - Matthew Galsky, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology; Assistant Professor, Urology; Director, Genitourinary Medical Oncology, The Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Extent of Remnant Liver Ischemia May Predict Survival After Colorectal Liver Metastases - Marilynn Larkin
    September 8, 2017
    A greater degree of remnant liver ischemia (RLI) after hepatic resection may be a significant predictor of worse recurrence-free and cancer-specific survival in patients who undergo curative resection of colorectal metastases (CLMs), researchers say. Sander Florman, MD, director of the Recanati/Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai and professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai told Reuters Health, "This is an interesting manuscript, and the findings merit publication and consideration. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the study well and also correctly conclude that high-quality surgical techniques are imperative to successful curative liver surgery for colorectal carcinoma metastases."
    - Sander Florman, MD, Director, Recaanti/Miller Transplantation Institute, Professor, Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • As Cancer Patients Look To Last-Chance Therapies, Hard Conversations Are Getting Postponed - Bob Tedeschi
    September 1, 2017
    A new generation of immune-boosting therapies has been hailed as nothing short of revolutionary, shrinking tumors and extending lives. When late-stage cancer patients run out of other options, some doctors are increasingly nudging them to give immunotherapy a try. But that advice is now coming with unintended consequences. Doctors who counsel immunotherapy, experts say, are postponing conversations about palliative care and end-of-life wishes with their patients - sometimes, until it's too late. Cardinale Smith, MD, associate professor of medicine, hematology and medical oncology, geriatrics, and palliative medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, said she has seen a handful of patients who tried immunotherapy treatments after failing chemotherapy, and who were later admitted to the hospital in poor condition. Almost all of them died there, without having been asked about where, and under what conditions, they might prefer to die. "These conversations are not occurring because of the hope that this will be the miracle treatment," Dr. Smith said. "Unfortunately, on the part of the oncologist, treatments like immunotherapy have become our new Hail Mary." Immunotherapies work for only around 15 to 20 percent of cancer patients who receive them.
    - Cardinale Smith, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Geriatrics, Palliative Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Ramon Parsons Named Director Of The Tisch Cancer Institute At Mount Sinai
    August 31, 2017
    Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, professor and chair of oncological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai was recently named the director of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai. One of Dr. Parsons' most important discoveries is the identification of PTEN, a tumor suppressor gene that is often mutated in cancer, which provides critical therapeutic targets in breast, brain, prostate, and endometrial cancer. In his new role as director of The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Dr. Parsons will retain his role as chair of the Department of Oncological Sciences and will continue his research program.
    - Ramon Parsons, MD, PhD, Director, The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai, Professor, Chair, Oncological Sciences, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Cancer Patients Write To Heal In Unique Writing Workshop - Fran Lowry
    August 22, 2017
    A special writing workshop for cancer patients, cancer survivors, and caregivers is helping them to process their experiences through a safe and creative outlet. The Cancer Supporting Services Program at Mount Sinai Cancer Center offers weekly workshops overseen by Emily Rubin, an author and cancer survivor. Rubin uses prompts and quotes to get the creative juices flowing in her writers. "Participants do not need to have writing experience, and often caregivers are encouraged to participate. Participants utilize the time to share thoughts about cancer or take time out to not think about treatment and side effects," said Allison Snow, PhD, assistant director of cancer supportive services at the Mount Sinai Hospital.
    - Alison Snow, PhD, Assistant Director, Cancer Supportive Services, The Mount Sinai Hospital

  • Vitamin C Slows Leukemia In Mice By Tweaking Key Gene - Emma Laycock
    August 21, 2017
    High doses of vitamin C may help fight certain leukemias by boosting the activity of a particular gene, according to a new study. Daily injections of vitamin C slowed the progression of leukemia in mice with a faulty gene called TET2, and increased efficiency in the drug treatment. "If these findings withstand clinical testing, the impact for patients with blood cancers could be significant," said Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, associate professor of oncological sciences, medicine, hematology, and medical oncology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
    - Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Oncological Sciences, Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Vitamin C Blocks Leukemia Progression In Mice — Aggie Mika
    August 17, 2017
    Researchers have halted the progression of leukemia in mice by restoring the enzyme TET2 in hematopoietic stem cells, either by reestablishing its gene expression in transgenic mice or by promoting the protein’s function with high doses of vitamin C. In a small experiment, vitamin C injections also suppressed leukemia progression in immunocompromised mice transplanted with hematopoietic stem cells from two leukemia patients. “If these findings withstand clinical testing, the impact for patients with blood cancers could be significant,” said Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, associate professor of oncological sciences, medicine, hematology, and medical oncology, at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “These patients have currently limited therapeutic options, particularly the more elderly patients, who cannot tolerate highly toxic treatment, like high-dose chemotherapy or bone marrow transplantation.”
    -Eirini Papapetrou, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Oncological Sciences, Medicine, Hematology, and Medical Oncology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Comparing Male And Female Breast Cancer — Charles Shapiro, MD
    August 14, 2017
    Men have breast tissue too, and some of them will develop breast cancers. Estimates of the annual incidence of invasive breast cancer in men in 2017 are just less than 2,500 cases, or 1 in 1,000 men over their lifetime. In contrast, the incidence of invasive breast cancer in women in the United States is about 253,000, or 1 in 8 women over the course of a lifetime. The primary risk factors for breast cancer in men and women are similar, with one exception. Common to both sexes is aging, although the average age at presentation is slightly older in men about 66, versus 61 years in women. Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at the Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, “Perhaps the most interesting aspect of male breast cancer is the higher frequency of inherited genetic mutations in predisposing breast cancer genes of known importance in female breast cancers.”
    - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

  • Answers To 'Critical Questions' May Personalize Treatment Of HPV-Associated Head, Neck Cancer
    August 10, 2017
    Prevalence of head and neck cancers increased from 30,000 total cases in 1996 to 50,000 in 2016. It is difficult to determine the primary cause of this trend because of the nature of how the virus develops and spreads, said Krzysztof Misiukiewicz, MD, associate professor of medical oncology an otolaryngology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and HPV program for men at the Mount Sinai Center for Head and Neck Cancer. "We know that it takes at least 10 years from exposure of the virus to develop cancer. There are no proven reasons why this prevalence is occurring, but some ideas include migration - there is increased incidence of the infection in other areas or the world - lack of public awareness, and moving away from the traditional model of sexual partners" added Dr. Misiukiewicz. Raising awareness about vaccination should be a priority for clinicians.
    - Krzysztof Misiukiewicz, MD, Associate Professor, Medical Oncology, Assistant Professor, Otolaryngology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, HPV Program for Men, Mount Sinai Center for Head and Neck Cancer
  • Cancer Survivors More Likely To Be Prescribed Opioids Even Years Later - Alexa Mieses, MD
    August 7, 2017
    As if battling cancer wasn't enough, many long-term survivors may eventually find themselves dealing with opioid dependency, according to a new study. Cancer survivors are substantially more likely to be prescribed opioid painkillers over many years. Prescription opioids, which are in the same class as illicit heroin, are often indicated and prescribed for pain during cancer treatment and recovery. "This article highlights a dilemma about those long-term survivors who are on chronic opioids, and maybe we should take a harder look at them in terms of pain management," said Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at The Tisch Cancer Institute and professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "But we often don't have the resources to take that harder look. It is important not to discount the usefulness of opioids for helping cancer patients manage serious, sometimes debilitating pain." We can't lose the message that opioids are indicated for that group with chronic pain and they work well, Dr. Shapiro added.
    - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Six Warning Signs Of Stomach Cancer That Have Nothing To Do With Pain - Markham Heid
    August 4, 2017
    Stomach cancer has a reputation for being one of the most painful forms of cancer. But for many sufferers, pain is not among the disease's early warning signs. In fact, the most common feature of stomach cancer's early stages may be that it causes no symptoms at all, says Umut Sarpel, MD, an associate professor of surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. "We all get stomachaches from time to time, and that can make people worry about stomach cancer," said Dr. Sarpel. "But it's not one of the most common cancers, and in most cases stomachaches or pain are not going to be the result of cancer."
    - Umut Sarpel, MD, Associate Professor, Surgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Medscape - Essential Cancer Updates For Primary Care Physicians - Liam Davenport
    August 4, 2017
    The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting not only provides a focus for cancer specialists looking for updates on state-of-the-art treatments and novel therapies but also presents research directly related to primary care physicians. William Oh, MD, professor of medicine, hematology, medical oncology, and urology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai provides takeaways on how the findings could influence primary care. The findings included helping smokers navigate skin cancer screening, which can improve detection rates. "We know that over the past few years, randomized trials have demonstrated the benefit of lung cancer screening in smokers. In this study, there was evidence that this approach really worked, particularly in community health centers, where lower-income smokers may not have the same access to some of the lung cancer screening guidelines as patients in private centers," said Dr. William Oh, Professor, Medicine, Hematology, Medical Oncology, Urology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
  • Healio -FDA Approves Imbruvica As First Therapy For Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease - James L.M. Ferrara, MD, DSc 
    August 2, 2017
    The FDA approved ibrutinib for the treatment of adults with chronic graft-versus-host disease who failed prior systemic therapy. "Chronic GVHD is a major toxicity of bone marrow transplant, which is one of the most effective therapies we have for high-risk malignancies. Both patients and physicians are reluctant to undertake transplantation, not only because of its initial intensity, but because of some of the long-term toxicities. Even if patients are cured of their leukemia or lymphoma, they can end up with this immune-mediated disease that can affect their skin, liver, lungs, gastrointestinal tract and joints. When it is severe, it can be fatal. It is the dark side of the therapy," says author of perspective James L. M. Ferrara, MD, professor of oncological sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

    Additional coverage:
    Medscape

  • CBS New York - A Deep Dive: The Breast Cancer Pill— Pat Farnack
    July 31, 2017 
    Research of a new breast cancer pill, Olaparib, found that it can be used to treat a certain rare form of breast cancer. Charles Shapiro, MD, director of cancer survivorship and translational breast cancer research at the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said, ”the more we take a deep dive into the growth of these cells, the more we find that these breast cancers are different. Each woman has a unique breast cancer, instead of targeting that cancer with chemotherapy; we need to find the actual defect and targeting therapy based on the genes that make the tumor thick.” This breast cancer pill can be given to certain breast cancer populations instead of chemotherapy. - Charles Shapiro, MD, Director, Cancer Survivorship, Translational Breast Cancer Research, The Tisch Cancer Institute, Professor, Medicine, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai