Pelotonia Dollars Help OSUCCC – James Target Colorectal, Endometrial and Lung Cancers in Ohio

Pelotonia funds are helping the OSUCCC – James change the landscape of cancer care by supporting three major statewide initiatives that promote early detection and better outcomes for patients with colorectal, lung and endometrial (uterine) cancers in Ohio.

These initiatives extend the OSUCCC – James’ individualized screenings, education and care throughout the state via partnerships with a network of 50 community hospitals. The overall goal is to elevate cancer care and reduce healthcare costs while saving lives.

Beating Lung Cancer – in Ohio (BLC-IO)

BLC-IO has two aims: to evaluate the effect of advanced gene testing combined with expert advice on lung cancer treatment and patient survival, and to improve smoking-cessation rates among smokers with lung cancer and their family members and improve patients’ quality of life. BLC-IO is funded with $3 million in Pelotonia money.

The effort is led by Peter Shields, MD, deputy director of the OSUCCC, David Carbone, MD, PhD, director the Thoracic Oncology Center at the OSUCCC – James, Mary Ellen Wewers, RN, PhD, MPH, and Barbara Andersen, PhD. Wewers and Andersen are in the Cancer Control Program at the OSUCCC – James.

A three-year period of patient recruitment began in March 2017. Project leaders anticipate that more than 2,000 newly diagnosed patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer will enroll in BLC-IO via the community hospital network. Each enrollee will receive free testing for more than 300 genes in their cancer specimens, and the local physicians who treat them will receive expert support for interpreting test results and determining treatments.

In addition, the BLC-IO will provide smoking-cessation support for up to three years to all participating lung cancer patients and family members. Researchers will test different models for smoking-cessation support in collaboration with primary care physicians.

Ohio Prevention & Treatment of Endometrial Cancer (OPTEC)

Women with LS have a 40-60 percent lifetime risk of endometrial cancer. OPTEC aims to recruit up to 700 women with endometrial cancer from at least 25 partner hospitals and to screen them for LS and other inherited genetic mutations that raise the risk of endometrial and other cancers. Tumor samples will undergo molecular profiling to guide and personalize treatment according to each patient’s tumor characteristics.

OPTEC was launched by the OSUCCC – James in 2017 and is being funded through $1.25 million in Pelotonia dollars. The initiative is led by David Cohn, MD, director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and geneticist Paul Goodfellow, PhD, with multiple collaborators from the OSUCCC – James and Nationwide Children’s Research Institute.

Patients identified with LS and their at-risk family members will be educated about the importance of genetic testing and cancer-prevention strategies based on their highest risk of LS-associated cancers. Those whose tumors have defective DNA mismatch repair will be considered for immunotherapy clinical trials for endometrial cancer.

OPTEC will conduct its LS screening with a novel one-step genetic sequencing technique developed by Goodfellow and Elaine Mardis, PhD, a geneticist at Nationwide Children’s Research Institute. Genomic profiling also will help identify patients most likely to benefit from new medical therapies, including immunotherapy drugs that target certain proteins.

Ohio Colorectal Cancer Prevention Initiative (OCCPI)

The OCCPI began in 2013 and has involved $4.3 million in Pelotonia funds over five years to establish the 50-hospital network—which also serves the other initiatives—and to set the stage for screening newly diagnosed colorectal cancer (CRC) patients and their biological relatives for Lynch syndrome (LS), a cancer-causing condition that occurs when a person inherits a mutation in one of four genes.

People with LS are very likely to develop CRC, endometrial, ovarian, stomach or other cancers. The OCCPI screenings were designed to identify patients and family members who may be at risk of developing these cancers so they can take precautionary measures, including heightened surveillance for early detection.

“Increased monitoring of these patients, through such procedures as annual colonoscopies starting at age 20 to 25, can save lives by catching precancerous polyps early and removing them before cancer develops,” says OCCPI principal investigator Heather Hampel, MS, LGC, associate director of the Division of Human Genetics at Ohio State.

The OCCPI technically has ended, but Pelotonia money is still covering some costs through 2018 to collect and analyze data and to officially close the project. Hampel says the screening effort enrolled 3,346 newly diagnosed CRC patients, of whom 143 tested positive for LS. She also reports that 204 of their relatives tested positive, while an additional 101 CRC patients were found to have a hereditary cancer syndrome other than LS.

She and colleagues estimate the OCCPI will save about 1,000 years of life and provide some $32 million in benefit to the community because of the lives it has saved in Ohio through early diagnosis of LS and, consequently, a reduced need for cancer treatment.

“Our study findings demonstrate the need and value of screening early-onset CRC patients,” Hampel says, noting that she and colleagues are working to launch this screening approach nationally. “We believe the OCCPI can serve as a roadmap for other states to implement LS screening as well.”

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