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In 1944, Jan G. Waldenström, MD, published his observations about a series of patients who presented with anemia, hepatosplenomegaly, hyperviscosity, bleeding, lymphoplasmacytic infiltrate in the bone marrow, and a large serum protein or “macroglobulin.”1 Today, Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, also known as lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is classified as a rare, indolent, and heterogeneous type of lymphoma of the lymphatic system.
Conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy works primarily by interfering with the division and growth of cells, including cancer cells and normal tissue. However, because it is nonselective, cytotoxic chemotherapy can damage healthy cells and can cause severe side effects. Recognizing this challenge, drug developers have been looking for new ways to deliver chemotherapy to address clinical and pharmacologic challenges in the administration of intravenous (IV) cytotoxic drugs, and selectively target cancer cells to improve clinical outcomes and reduce severe adverse events.
Cutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma (CSCC) is a type of nonmelanoma skin cancer that affects the squamous cells in the middle and outer layers of the skin. CSCC occurs most frequently on sun-exposed areas, such as the scalp, ears, lips, face, neck, and backs of the hands. Less often, CSCC can be in the skin of the genital area.
Lung and bronchus cancer, the second most common form of cancer, accounts for 13.5% of all new cancer cases in the United States. In 2018 alone, lung cancer was newly diagnosed in 234,030 individuals and accounted for 154,050 deaths. In fact, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality in men and women, and is responsible for more than 25% of all cancer deaths. The 5-year survival rate for patients whose lung cancer has spread regionally (to regional lymph nodes) is 29.7%, but that survival rate is only 4.7% for patients with distant metastases.
Hairy-cell leukemia (HCL) is a rare and indolent hematologic cancer. HCL, which is 4 to 5 times more frequent in men than in women, accounts for 2% of all leukemias. Approximately 1000 new cases of HCL are diagnosed in the United States annually.
Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs), also known as carcinoids and islet-cell tumors, are tumors of the neuroendocrine cells that occur in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. GEP-NETs are heterogeneous and complex. Although relatively rare, GEP-NETs are more common than other tumors of the GI tract, including stomach and pancreatic carcinomas combined.
Two human genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2 (BRCA1/2), produce proteins that block the growth of cancer, such as breast or ovarian cancer. These proteins ensure the stability of each cell’s genetic material and help to repair damaged DNA. A mutation in either BRCA results in these proteins not functioning correctly. Specifically, DNA damage may not be repaired effectively, which can lead to cancer.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a rare but deadly cancer. In 2018, approximately 19,500 new cases of AML were estimated to be diagnosed in the United States and more than 10,600 people to die from the disease. Clinical trials data show that up to 70% of adults with AML have disease that completely responds to initial treatment with cytotoxic chemotherapy. However, the 3-year survival rate for patients with AML remains poor, at approximately 25%.
Febrile neutropenia is a serious complication of cancer chemotherapy that can require treatment delays and chemotherapy dose reductions, which compromise the efficacy of treatment. Among patients with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy, approximately 1% have febrile neutropenia. This condition affects patient morbidity and mortality and its clinical management requires significant healthcare resources.
Gene mutations or rearrangements in the tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) family of receptor tyrosine kinases are emerging as an important driver of cancer-cell growth in a wide range of cancers. Research has shown that neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) genes, which encode for TRK proteins, can fuse abnormally to other genes and enhance cell signals that support tumor growth. NTRK gene fusions are found in a variety of tumor types, including soft-tissue sarcoma, salivary gland cancer, infantile fibro­sarcoma, thyroid cancer, and lung cancer.
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