ABTA Mock Brain Tumor Board

13 Sep

Yesterday and today I joined the 2020 National Conference for the American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA). While I enjoyed yesterday’s webinar sessions, I was particularly looking forward to two sessions being held today (Saturday), specifically a Brain Tumor Board (facilitated by Mark R. Gilbert, MD) and a presentation on The Importance of Patient Outcomes Assessments in Determining Optimal Treatment (by Terri S. Armstrong, PhD). I expect both of these sessions will be published on the ABTA’s YouTube Channel.

I found the mock tumor board very interesting. They covered a lot in a short period of time. A couple of adult patients were presented, along with a pediatric case. What I really appreciated was the panelists highlighting how diagnosis, classification and treatment approaches have changed from ten plus years ago to today. They also discussed the importance of long running studies, enrolling in clinical trials and quality of life concerns. It was a perfect session for preceding the presentation on Patient Outcomes Assessments. The panelists who participated in the tumor board session were:

  • Evanthia Galanis, MD (Mayo Clinic)
  • Jason T. Huse, MD PhD (MD Anderson)
  • Jennifer Yu, MD PhD (Cleveland Clinic)
  • Shawn Hervey-Jumper, MD FAANS (UCSF)
  • Vijay Ramaswamy, MD PhD FRCPC (Hospital of Sick Children, U of Toronto)

As a care partner who experienced hearing the classification of a brain tumor diagnosis as an “Anaplastic Oligoastrocytoma” back in 1999, I thoroughly appreciated the discussion by Dr. Huse and Dr. Yu regarding pathology analysis before the addition of genomic dimensions became part of the neuro-pathology toolbox. Below are a couple of slides from during the presentation.

Dr. Huse (MD Anderson Cancer Center)
Dr. Yu (Cleveland Clinic)

Both of the adult patients that were presented included discussion around how the patient experienced progression/ recurrence and what would be discussed along with how new information from long running studies would have been applied differently at initial discovery today. Dr. Hervey-Jumper did an excellent job covering surgical concerns and decision implications related to whether to excise the tumor, conduct a biopsy or consider observation. Likewise Dr. Galanis and Dr. Yu were open on lessons learned associated with low grade gliomas and malignant progression. Below are some slides I captured from that segment.

Dr. Galanis (Mayo Clinic)
Dr. Galanis (Mayo Clinic)
Dr. Yu (Cleveland Clinic)

The tumor board did not go deeply into the molecular dimensions as part of the recurrence, but they did include a slide that illustrated mutational burden associated with disease recurrence. Unfortunately, I did not capture that slide. They applied this same approach to a pediatric case diagnosed with Medullablastoma. Dr. Ramaswamy was obviously front and center for this portion of the session. Below is a slide from that segment.

Dr. Ramaswamy (Hospital for Sick Children, U of Toronto)

All in all, an excellent and highly informative session. My notes do not do justice for what was discussed along with its depth. When the ABTA posts the recording of this presentation, I recommend viewing it along with the question and answers at the end.

Special thanks to ABTA, Dr. Gilbert and the panelists involved. Well done!

Guy Lipof

Accomplished Engineering Executive with deep consulting and sales expertise in healthcare and life sciences, particularly in oncology, driving business strategy, delivering innovative solutions, and improving patient outcomes. Care partner and advocate for raising awareness about and investment towards Brain Cancer Research, such as Glioblastoma Multiforme and IDH mutant gliomas.