The ROI has selected David Palma, MD, PhD, to receive the 2019 ROI Publication Award as the lead author of the manuscript, “Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy Versus Standard of Care Palliative Treatment in Patients with Oligometastatic Cancers (SABR-COMET): A Randomised Phase 2, Open-Label Trial”. The highly anticipated results of the SABR-COMET study were published in The Lancet in April after initially being presented during the plenary session at ASTRO’s 60th Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
The SABR-COMET study was the first phase 2 clinical trial of its kind, and showed that stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), also known as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), can increase survival for patients with oligometastatic disease and double the length of time that they live without disease progression. These findings challenge the long-held idea that patients with metastatic cancer are incurable.
To generate evidence in support of the oligometastatic paradigm that suggests survival could be improved by treating lesions with radiation or surgery. Dr. Palma, a researcher at the London Health Sciences Centre, led a team of researchers from ten hospitals in Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland and Australia. Together they enrolled 99 patients with a controlled primary tumor and one to five metastatic lesions in the trial. One-third of the patients received the palliative standard of care treatments while the other two-thirds were treated with SABR prior to receiving the standard of care treatments.
The SABR-COMET trial demonstrated a 13-month improvement in median overall survival, which was 41 months for patients treated with SABR compared to 28 months for those receiving standard treatment. Treatment with SABR also doubled the time of progression free survival from 6 months to 12 months. Dr. Palma and the SABR-COMET team have launched two additional phase 3 clinical trials that could expand the indications for SABR even further.
The ROI chose Dr. Palma to receive the 2019 Publication Award because the SABR-COMET trial is producing the evidence necessary to shift the standard of care for oligometastases to SABR by demonstrating the comparative effectiveness and value of the treatment. Such a change could have a wide-spread impact on the field of radiation oncology by significantly increasing the volume of patients treated with radiation. The ROI will present the Publication Award to Dr. Palma at the ROI “Celebration of Giving” reception on Sunday, September 15, at the ASTRO Annual Meeting in Chicago. The Publication Award also includes a $5,000 grant to build upon the published work, and Dr. Palma plans to use the funds to conduct cost effectiveness analyses of using SABR for oligometastases in healthcare settings in the U.S. and in Europe.
At the “Celebration of Giving,” the ROI will recognize the lead authors of two additional outstanding manuscripts as this year’s Publication Award Honorable Mentions: James E. Bates, MD, and Joshua Rodríguez-López, MD. Dr. Bates’s article, “Therapy-Related Cardiac Risk in Childhood Cancer Survivors: An Analysis of the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study,” was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and presents the results of the largest study of children or adults examining the relationship between the volume of the heart irradiated and the risk of late-onset cardiac disease. The study’s findings could lead to improved guidelines on screening for survivors and refined dose-volume constraints for children receiving radiation therapy near the heart. Dr. Rodríguez-López authored, “Lag Time Between Evidence and Guidelines: Can Clinical Pathways Bridge the Gap?” which was published in the Journal of Oncology Practice. The study utilized a unique methodology to demonstrate how a clinical pathway could be used to ensure delivery of cost-effective care for breast cancer. The research could have a lasting impact on the field because the method could be applied to other disease sites and other institutions.
The ROI Publication Award recognizes the best scientific work published in the past year in one of the priority areas for radiation oncology that form the ROI’s research agenda: communication, safety and quality, toxicity management, comparative effectiveness and value. Many strong nominations were submitted, a positive sign of the growth in the evidence base of research demonstrating the life-saving and quality-of-life benefits of radiation therapy. This year’s Publication Award Winner and Honorable Mentions exemplify the exceptional research being done by radiation oncologists that will help drive practice transformation and ensure that radiation oncology is a leader in cancer care. Congratulations to Dr. Palma, Dr. Bates and Dr. Rodríguez-López!