Tag Archive for: testing

Monitoring for an Endometrial Cancer Recurrence

Monitoring for an Endometrial Cancer Recurrence from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

How are endometrial cancer patients monitored for a recurrence? Expert Dr. Emily Ko shares insight about how monitoring is tailored to a patient’s individual disease and discusses the frequency of observation.

Dr. Emily Ko is a gynecologic oncologist and Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania. Learn more about Dr. Ko.


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Endometrial Cancer Treatment and Research Updates

What Should Endometrial Cancer Patients Know About Clinical Trials?

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How Is Endometrial Cancer Staged?



How are patients monitored for a recurrence, and are there approaches to help prevent a recurrence? 

Dr. Ko:

Sure, absolutely. Great question. It is important to continue monitoring patients, even after they’ve gone through treatment. So, I think of it as a multifaceted approach. Usually, it includes office visits, including a physical exam. It includes a thorough intake of all of their symptoms. 

It also includes – depending on the scenario – in some circumstances, regular imaging studies, such as a CT scan or MRI, and sometimes, we also do things like PET scans, and I think that does have to be tailored to the unique patient’s endometrial cancer, unique case, stage, histology, and we kind of tailor which tests we choose to do. The interval of monitoring can vary, so I would say generally speaking, it could be anywhere from three- to six-month visits, and with potentially added scans, as we talked about, and sometimes, we also do certain blood tests in certain cases where we may choose to follow a CA125 blood tumor marker. 

But, I would say that there are different, definitely variants to how we choose to monitor, and there are certain resources we tend to use, such as the NCCN guidelines that providers may reference, and sometimes may even share with the patients to explain why and how we choose to do the monitoring. 

Expert Advice | Shining a Light on Equitable AML Care

Expert Advice | Shining a Light on Equitable AML Care from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

While treatment options are improving, there are still many factors impacting equitable care for AML patients. Dr. Ann-Kathrin Eisfeld shares advice for improving research and clinical trials for underserved AML populations.

Dr. Ann-Kathrin Eisfeld is Director of the Clara D. Bloomfield Center for Leukemia Outcomes Research at The Ohio State University and a member of the Leukemia Research Program at the OSUCCC – James. Learn more about Dr. Eisfeld.

See More From INSIST! AML

Related Resources:

Advances in AML Research _ Where Do Clinical Trials Fit In

Advances in AML Research: Where Do Clinical Trials Fit In?

What Is the Purpose of AML Genetic Testing

What is the Purpose of AML Genetic Testing?

How Does the Presence of Molecular Markers Affect AML Care

How Does the Presence of Molecular Testing Affect AML Care?


Katherine Banwell:

Dr. Eisfeld, we’ve covered a lot of information related to AML care. As a researcher, what other topics are currently top of mind for you in the field of AML? What are you passionate about? 

Dr. Eisfeld:

Again, so many parts. I think there are probably three main things that I’d like to name. And I think about it as a little bit outside the box. Most of what we know about AML, we have become so much better. It’s because we have been studying patients who were treated over the past decades on clinical trials and very often here in the U.S. or in Europe.  

But all clinical trials have a bias in that most of them have been done A) on patients who are younger than the age of 60. And B) fewer patients of other races and ethnicities included. And had patients not included that have AML, for example, not only in the bone marrow but on extramedullary sites – how we call it – up to 10 percent of their patients. And also, very often have not been done on very old patients where the AML is very common. So, all the patients – patients from other race, ethnicities, or underrepresented minorities, and patients who present with extramedullary disease are currently in my – underserved.  

And these are exciting areas and opportunities of research and of active clinical practice. Because those are the patients we need to include if it’s possible now to include them in clinical trials. 

If there are no trials available, then make sure any other additional molecular testing it done to understand them better and to advance our disease knowledge that we make sure that we can give the best possible care.  

I think that the most important part is to get the molecular testing, and to enroll into clinical trials, and then to very often biobanking 

Why am I saying that is because our knowledge AML comes from patients who donated some tissue so that we could learn – researchers decades ago could learn about the genes. We know that leukemias differ so much in between patients.  

So, I am worried that we are yet missing out on potentially important genes that need to be discovered and where we could develop docs for. This will only be possible with these additional testing. 

 The second part is to really consider going to larger treatment and larger treatment cancer center. And there are support systems in case that can help in here.  

And the third part is to get involved even as early as possible even if you’re not personally affected, with Be The Match – with bone marrow transplant because there’s a paucity of donors, of people of color that makes it harder for these patients to get a potentially curative treatment in here.  

We have other options now in bone marrow transplant where one can use only half-matching donors and or other availabilities. But again, that doesn’t outweigh that the bone marrow and donor registry that we need to get better at.  

And I can – there are just so many factors – such a high degree of structural racism that affects people from every corner. And I think we as physicians, as society, and everybody need to acknowledge that. And we have to make sure that we get better to, again, give every patient the best care and keep the patient in mind and see what’s right for them at the right moment.    

Katherine Banwell:

Where can patients or people who are interested find out about being a donor? 

Dr. Eisfeld:

There is the website called “Be the Match” that one can put in. This is probably the best way to get first information.  

And usually, at all the cancer sites. And sometimes, there is information at lab donation places, universities, either or the American Red Cross. Usually those places have information laid out there as well. 

Medical Tests for Waldenström Macroglobulinemia

Editor’s Note: This guide was originally published by The International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF) here.

By Guy Sherwood, M.D., 2007. Revised by Linda Nelson and Sue Herms, 2016, 2020.


Which CLL Treatment Approach Could be Right for You?

Which CLL Treatment Approach Could be Right for You? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Which CLL treatment approach might be best for your individual disease? This animated video walks through important considerations that help guide treatment decisions, including genetic testing results, lifestyle factors and patient preference. 

See More From The Pro-Active CLL Patient Toolkit

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CLL Treatment Decisions: What Path is Best for YOU?

 How to Be A Partner in Your CLL Care  Key CLL Treatment Decision-Making Factors


Hi, I’m Christy. I’m a nurse practitioner and I specialize in chronic lymphocytic leukemia, or CLL. With a variety of available treatment options, CLL patients often wonder which approach might be best for their individual disease.

Before we walk through the information that goes into choosing a treatment approach, I want to remind you that this video is intended to help educate CLL patients and their loved ones and shouldn’t be a replacement for advice from your doctor.

So, how is a treatment path determined?

CLL physicians will typically consider several key factors to help guide the decision.

When many CLL patients are first diagnosed, their medical team may use an approach called “watch and wait” or “active surveillance.” This means that treatment won’t begin immediately. Their healthcare team will monitor their CLL via in-person visits and lab testing. And, some patients may never even need treatment, depending on their individual situation.

But, if bloodwork indicates advanced disease, enlarged, bothersome lymph nodes develop, or, if symptoms like fatigue and night sweats are negatively affecting a patient’s daily life, then it may be time to treat the CLL.

Physicians typically consider a patient’s age, overall health, and existing conditions before they suggest an approach. There are also several tests on the CLL cells that may help guide treatment decisions.

Physicians use immune globulin heavy chain gene, also known as IGHV, mutational analysis to determine whether a patient is IGHV mutated or unmutated.

In IGHV mutation analysis testing, being “mutated” is a favorable finding. 

If a patient’s IGHV status is mutated, and, depending on other factors such as age and overall health, the physician may recommend a treatment called FCR. FCR stands for the drugs used in this approach, which are two chemotherapy drugs combined with a targeted treatment that is a monoclonal antibody.  

However, it is important to realize that due to side effects and other risks, chemotherapy is not for everybody. Non-chemotherapy treatments work very well for IGHV mutated patients as well as unmutated patients.

If a patient has unmutated IGHV, then a targeted treatment or a clinical trial might be more effective.

Molecular testing, also known as genetic testing, can identify specific genes, proteins, chromosome changes, and other factors unique to your CLL.

The results can provide your healthcare team with information related to prognosis, risk and which therapy may be most effective in treating your disease.  

One of the most widely used tests is call a FISH test and it looks for specific changes in the chromosomes of your CLL cells.  These specific changes can help understand how well certain treatments are likely to work for you. 

For example, patients with the chromosome abnormality “17p deletion” may have higher-risk disease and will not respond well to chemotherapies such as FCR. An oral targeted treatment approach or a clinical trial will be more effective in patients with 17p deletion.

There are several types of targeted treatments that are currently approved to treat CLL including:

  • Monoclonal Antibodies, which work by targeting specific proteins on cancer cells.
  • And, Kinase Inhibitors, which work by blocking proteins that tell the cancer cell to grow and survive.
  • A combination of treatment approaches may also be considered.

Before you start any treatment, it’s essential to ask your doctor if you have had relevant CLL genetic testing, including FISH testing, and what the results could mean for you.

Finally, one of the most important factors that your healthcare team will consider is YOUR treatment goals. 

It’s very important to consider a treatment’s course and potential side effects.

With the many options available today to treat CLL, you will be able to get effective treatment. How your treatment choice affects your other health conditions and your lifestyle is essential.

Remember, you are a partner in your care and have an active voice in finding the best treatment for you.

When treatment is discussed may be a good time to consider a second opinion or a consult with a specialist.  If you don’t feel supported or an active member of your team, then it is always best to get another opinion if you are able.

So, how can you put this information to work for you and help improve your care?

  • Talk to your physician about what you’ve learned.
  • Ask about testing mentioned in this video and whether you need to be retested over time.
  • Discuss clinical trials with your physician.
  • Visit credible resources to stay up to date on CLL information.

Visit powerfulpatients.org/cll to learn more about CLL.

MPN Treatment: Why Testing for Mutations Matters

MPN Treatment: Why Testing for Mutations Matters from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Testing for mutations can influence treatment options available to patients with MPNs and provide a more in-depth understanding into their essential thrombocythemia (ET), polycythemia vera (PV) or myelofibrosis (MF) diagnosis. MPN specialist, Dr. Srdan Verstovsek reviews three key mutations that may impact treatment timing and approaches.

Dr. Srdan Verstovsek is Chief of the Section for Myeloproliferative Neoplasms in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Learn more about Dr. Verstovsek, here.

See More From The Pro-Active MPN Patient Toolkit

Related Resources


MPN Terms Defined: What is Leukocytosis? What is Anemia?


Essential Lab Tests for MPNs


An Expert Summary of Current MPN Treatment Options


Dr. Srdan Verstovsek:

So, what we know is that ET, PV, and MF, these are these three, and we will use the abbreviations for simplicity, are so-called classic myeloproliferative neoplasms. Myeloproliferative means that it is disease of the bone marrow where cells grow without control.

Now, with ET we have high platelets, but ET is the disease of all the cells. In PV you have high red blood cells, and in many patients you have high white cells and platelets. In myelofibrosis, it’s paradoxically many patients present with too few cells because of reactive bone marrow fibers or fibrosis that limits the growth of the cells.

So, these are the three diseases that have underlying problem, same problem in these three conditions, which is high activity of proteins inside the bone marrow cells, proteins inside the bone marrow cells.

A cascade of protein that makes cells grow without control. We call this a JAK-STAT pathway. I had patients; they say JAK-STAT highway. It’s active all the time. This is a protein JAK too, and then the JAK2, and then other, so we call it JAK-STAT pathway.

It’s super active. Active in normal person when we need to make blood, but in the diseased person, active because of acquired mutations that affect that highway, JAK-STAT pathway or highway.

It makes it work all the time, that’s why we have so many cells. And there are three mutations, which are part of diagnostic process. You test for these. You can test in the blood or in the bone marrow sample, and these are JAK2 mutation, calreticulin mutation, and the MPL mutation.

They are almost always exclusive of each other, and about 90 – 95 percent of patients will have one or the other. They are still very few patients that have none of these three, which is interesting. And we are, in others, looking for other reasons in these few patients.

 But one of the three is present, and it’s part of the diagnostic process as well. I didn’t emphasize this before, but it is present as a part of the bone marrow evaluation. That’s where it goes. And it is therefore, helpful to test for it. But one can test for other mutations. Many patients have many other mutations that have nothing to do with the JAK-STAT pathway, and that in large part is responsible why people have different disease ET, PV, or myelofibrosis. We explain this that way because of other genetic abnormalities, other abnormalities that we cannot really describe yet.

Genetic is not the whole picture. There are other parts, I’m sure, in bone marrow environment, in other factors they control the genetic expression, and so on, that contribute why a patient with JAK-STAT hyperactivity has ET, and why another has myelofibrosis.

We don’t really fully understand that. And of course, there is a plethora of patients in between that are not all the same. So, genetics do carry a lot of weight in what happens with the patients, and we do test for that, in addition to testing for JAK2, calreticulin MPL. We test for multiple others. That’s routinely done in academic center. It’s very valuable, and it should be standard practice.

The main utility of widespread testing for additional mutations is to assess the prognosis of the patients. If we are looking at the bone marrow blood chemistry and physical exam, a splenomegaly, and presence of this driver mutation, the JAK, calreticulin or MPL.

We call them driver mutations. They drive that highway. If that is the complexity of the diagnosis, then the next step is, as you remember, the patient will say, “How long I’m gonna live?” Well, obviously, that information comes from the historical experience, and I always emphasize that. But there is valuable information from historical perspective to some intelligence to tell the patients what to expect in general terms.  Since the introduction of the genetic testing in academic centers, we have enhanced our ability to prognosticate. Initially, ten or more years ago, we would be looking at the age of the patients, how the patient fares, the symptoms, the anemia, or white blood cell count, or blasts.

These would be kind of common prognostic factors for assessment of the outcome of the patients. But now, we add information on the presence of one or the other of the driver mutations, and the presence of the number and types of these other additional, which call them somatic mutations that have nothing to do with JAK-STAT pathway.

And you can see now how the prognostication also has the flavor of complexity, and it is really not that easy, and we keep moving forward. That prognostication effort is keep moving to assess the outcome of the patients better and better for one particular reason.

If we have we a sense that a patient, based on this prognostic scoring systems, have a poor outcome, which we define as the life expectancy less than five years, then that patient should be referred to the [stem cell] transplant.

And transplant should be done because the benefit of a cure, and the risk of dying through transplant procedure – unfortunately, that’s the reality, is just justifiable if the prognostic scoring system tells you that the life expectancy is less than five years.

That’s the main role for the genetic complexity testing. Looking also at the chromosomes that might be broken. That’s done on a bone marrow sample. And dividing patients in prognosis scoring groups to guide the decision making on the transplant.