Managing colorectal cancer patients in the COVID-19 era: international discussion on the role of precision medicine in triaging patients

Video Journal of Biomedicine | Expert Perspective
Video Journal of Biomedicine (2020) doi: 10.2217/vjbm-2020-0017

The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on cancer treatment. Oncologists must now incorporate the risks of coronavirus infection into their decision making. Precision medicine tools identifying the most appropriate treatment strategies for individual patients has never been more important.

Two recent articles published in the journal Colorectal Cancer address this issue from the US and Latin America perspective and provide considerations for optimizing the treatment of patients with colorectal cancer whilst minimizing the risk of coronavirus infection. This video brings together the authors of both publications to discuss their articles and provide their own personal experiences using risk-assessment tools such as Immunoscore in triaging colorectal cancer patients. This international discussion provides oncologists and other healthcare professionals with valuable insights into the multidisciplinary approaches to colorectal cancer management that are needed in the COVID-19 era.

About the authors:

Dr Matías Chacón is currently the sub chief of the Department of Oncology, Instituto Alexander Fleming.

Dr Juan Manuel O’Connor is currently the Head of the Department of Gastrointestinal Tumors at Instituto Alexander Fleming, a position he has held since 2015. He is assistant professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the School of Medicine of the Instituto Universitario CEMIC, Buenos Aires. He is a founding member of the Argentine Group of Neuroendocrine Tumors (ARGENTUM), created in 2005. Dr O´Connor is a member of the Argentinian Intergroup of Gastrointestinal Tumors (IATTGI), and also of the recently created Latin American Society for Gastrointestinal Tumors, chaired by Dr Jorge Gallardo. He has been a member of the Advisory Board of the European Society of Neuroendocrine Tumors, ENETS since 2008, and an active member of ASCO since 2011. He finished his fellowship in Clinical Oncology in 2003, held at the Alexander Fleming Institute, affiliated to the University of Buenos Aires, UBA, rating with Cum Laude10/10. Dr O´Connor has authored over 50 papers and chapters of books about gastrointestinal tumors. He received several international awards for his work in the area of Neuroendocrine Tumors. He has participated in more than 200 national and international events as a speaker. Master in Molecular Oncology, CNIO (Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Oncológicas, Madrid. Dr O´Connor also served as a consultant to the National Cancer Institute in Argentina, and was involved in the development of the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer in Argentina, in 2014.

Dr Benjamin Weinberg obtained his undergraduate degree in biomedical science at the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 and his MD at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in 2011. He completed his post-graduate medical training at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital with a residency in internal medicine in 2014 and a fellowship in hematology and oncology in 2017 where he served as the Chief Fellow from 2016 to 2017. Currently, Dr Weinberg is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center (LCCC) at Georgetown University specializing in gastrointestinal medical oncology and sarcoma. Dr Weinberg is focused on developing new therapies for colorectal and pancreatic cancers by translating research from animal models into early phase clinical trials in humans. He also studies young patients with colorectal cancer in order to understand the dramatic rise in incidence of left-sided colon and rectal cancers in this population.

Original publications:

Official French SARS-CoV-2 guidelines for cancer patients, a triage solution with precision medicine
Juan Manuel O’Connor, Federico Esteso & Matías Chacón
Colorectal Cancer (2020) doi/10.2217/ crc-2020-0018

Colorectal cancer care in the age of coronavirus: strategies to reduce risk and maintain benefit
John L Marshall, Ronit I Yarden & Benjamin A Weinberg
Colorectal Cancer (2020) doi/10.2217/ crc-2020-0010