Oncology Nursing News Top Stories: June 2023

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Each month, Oncology Nursing News® takes a look back at our most popular stories.

In June 2023, data presented at the 2023 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting showcased encouraging data on antibody-drug conjugates for patients with hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative, metastatic breast cancer. Findings from the phase 2/3 PROSPECT trial (NCT01515787) suggest that patients with locally advanced rectal cancer may be able to safely omit radiation therapy.

This month, we also interviewed 2 investigators who discussed oncology nurse perceptions on medical cannabis use for patients. In a feature from our June publication, a deep dive into the evolving landscape of melanoma highlights the changes effecting nurses in the clinic. In an editorial column from our partner, Melisa Celikoyar, LCSW, discusses the benefits of wilderness therapy for patients with cancer.

Below are the top 5 articles from June 2023. For more, please sign-up for our newsletter.

5. TROPiCS-02 Final OS Analysis Shows Superior Outcomes With Sacituzumab Govitecan For HR+/HER2– Breast Cancer

During the 2023 ASCO Annual Meeting, Sara M. Tolaney, MD, MPH, presented findings from the final overall survival (OS) analysis of the phase 3 TROPiCS-02 study (NCT03901339). The data demonstrated that patients with pretreated, endocrine-resistant, hormone receptor–positive, HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer achieved superior OS outcomes with sacituzumab govitecan-hziy (Trodelvy) than with treatment of physician’s choice.

“With an extended follow-up of approximately 13 months, sacituzumab govitecan continued to demonstrate durable efficacy compared with treatment of physician’s choice chemotherapy, with continued improvements in progression-free survival and OS among patients who were pretreated with endocrine-resistant, metastatic, hormone receptor–positive breast cancer,” Tolaney said.

4. Nurses Report Positive Patient Experiences After Allowing Cannabis In the Inpatient Cancer Unit

In an interview with Oncology Nursing News, Amanda McKaig, BSN-RN, OCN; and Alyssa Ridad, BSN-RN, OCN, discussed Ryan’s Law and its effect on inpatient oncology care in California.

Ryan’s Law, or Senate Bill (CA SB) 311, requires California to allow patients with terminal illnesses to access their medical cannabis therapy if admitted. According to the 2 nurse investigators, who presented on the topic during the 48th Annual Oncology Nursing Society Congress, patients treated at UCLA had demonstrable improvements in insomnia and anxiety after cannabis use. Further, no nurses reported negative experiences with the new protocol.

3. FOLFOX Demonstrates Comparable Efficacy to Chemoradiation for Neoadjuvant Treatment of Locally Advanced Rectal Cancer

Data presented at the 2023 ASCO suggest that patients with locally advanced rectal cancer who would like to avoid radiation may achieve comparable disease-free survival (DSF) outcomes with neoadjuvant FOLFOX (fluorouracil, leucovorin, and oxaliplatin). The 5-year DFS rates with FOLFOX (n = 585) were 80.8% vs 78.6% with standard pelvic chemoradiation (n = 543).

Moreover, 98.2% of those in the FOLFOX arm were reported to be free of local recurrence at this time point vs 98.4% of those in the standard arm. The 5-year OS rates were 89.5% and 90.2%, respectively. No meaningful difference in these secondary end points was observed between the arms.

2. Novel Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors, Bispecific Antibodies Become Clinical Mainstays in Melanoma Nursing

In the June publication of Oncology Nursing News, an interview with Krista M. Rubin, MS, FNP-BC, RN, a nurse practitioner with the Center for Melanoma at Mass General Cancer Center in Boston and the chair of the Melanoma Nursing Initiative, highlighted 2 melanoma treatment regimens that were approved in 2022. Throughout the conversation, she reflected on her experience integrating relatlimab combined with nivolumab (Opdualag) and tebentafusp (Kimmtrak) into clinical practice and discussed what oncology nurses working in this setting need to know.

“If you know how to manage nivolumab, you will know how to manage patients receiving the LAG-3 combination,” she told Oncology Nursing News.She added, “There were no new toxicities identified with this combination, but oncology nurses should remain vigilant in looking for irAEs. And, if in doubt, everything is immune-related toxicity unless proved otherwise.”

1. Opinion: Wilderness Therapy Offers Benefits to Patients With Cancer

In an editorial, Melisa Celikoyar, LCSW, a social worker with CancerCARE, explains the concept of wilderness therapy and the potential benefits it can offer patients with cancer. According to Celikoyar, by encouraging individuals to forge relationships and rely on one, outdoor programs can help patients combat the feelings of social isolation that can often accompany a cancer diagnosis. Further, the physical feat of summiting a mountain or braving whitewater rapids helps embolden individuals with a sense of strength that can apply to the hospital setting: whether a patient is facing a scan or advocating for their health, the improved confidence will them feel more secure.

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