Author(s): Chung CH, Wong S, Ang KK, Hammond EH, Dicker AP,
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Abstract Head and neck cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the United States, with an overall survival rate of approximately 40-50\%. In an effort to improve patient outcomes, research efforts designed to maximize benefit and reduce toxicities of therapy are in progress. Basic research in cancer biology has accelerated this endeavor and provided preclinical data and technology to support clinically relevant advances in early detection, prognostic and predictive biomarkers. Recent completion of the Human Genome Project has promoted the rapid development of novel "omics" technologies that allow more broad based study from a systems biology perspective. However, clinically relevant application of resultant gene signatures to clinical trials within cooperative groups has advanced slowly. In light of the large numbers of variables intrinsic to biomarker studies, validation of preliminary data for clinical implementation presents a significant challenge and may only be realized with large trials that involve significant patient numbers. The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) Head and Neck Cancer Translational Research Program recognizes this problem and brings together three unique features to facilitate this research: (1) availability of large numbers of clinical specimens from homogeneously treated patients through multi-institutional clinical trials; (2) a team of physicians, scientists, and staff focused on patient-oriented head-and-neck cancer research with the common goal of improving cancer care; and (3) a funding mechanism through the RTOG Seed Grant Program. In this position paper we outline strategic plans to further promote translational research within the framework of the RTOG.
This article was published in Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology