Clinical Research

Special Clinical Research Activities

Breast/Women’s Cancers Program

Over the last year, the clinical trials portfolio has grown in number and accrual, with an ongoing focus on investigator-initiated and other trials to translate early findings emanating from USC-generated research and through internal and external collaborators. Progress has also been made in securing grants as well as other funding for clinical trials efforts and outreach. The Program has continued to generate pivotal publications that change research directions and clinical practice.

Accrual has been completed to a study assessing soy effects on breast cancer risk biomarkers (breast density), and results from an earlier green tea prevention study have been published by Dr. Spicer. Drs. Russell and Spicer had their work published in prestigious journals such as Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, The Oncologist, Breast and Frontiers in Oncology.

Genitourinary Cancer Section

The Genitourinary Cancer Section of the Division of Medical Oncology has continued to make meritorious progress in the past year. Members have excelled in obtaining peer reviewed funding, running innovative clinical trials and publishing in high-impact journals.

Dr. David Agus received an R01 grant to explore the potential for modeled therapeutics across different cancers as an extension of work done in the Physical Sciences-Oncology Consortium grant. In addition, his book A Short Guide to a Long Life graced the New York Times bestseller list for a second year in a row. Dr. Amir Goldkorn excelled in his work on circulating tumor cells with publications on CTC numbers and CTC telomerase expression and a new R01 grant with Dr. Jacek Pinski for correlatives for the SWOG trial S1216, which adds the hydrolyze inhibitor orterenol to initial androgen deprivation therapy in metastatic prostate cancer. In an NCI grant-funded phase I/II clinical trial, Dr. Pinski also continued his focus on the LH receptor pathology in prostate and other cancers with development of doxorubicin linked to a LH avid molecule that binds the drug to cancer cells; the work will be published in Clinical Cancer Research. Dr. Mitchell Gross worked on the development of resistance to androgen pathway blockade in prostate cancer with high-technology interrogation of CTCs that demonstrated the phenomena of c-myc amplification and androgen receptor aberration as resistance develops; the work was presented at AACR. Dr. James Hu is the USC Principal Investigator on several internationally important germ cell cancer trials, working through SWOG as well as with the Australian New Zealand Urology and Prostate Cancer Group and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. In addition, he continues his physician leadership role with the Adolescent Young Adult program. Dr. David Quinn continues work with eribulin in urothelial cancer, with translational and correlative studies in prostate cancer, genomic-therapeutic combinations and fasting in chemo protection and sensitization. Dr. Sarmad Sadeghi joined the GU team from Cleveland Clinic and received an NCI CTEP Career Development Award for his clinical trial work looking at gemcitabine and eribulin in non-cisplatin eligible patients with advanced urothelial cancer. He will also pursue an interest in outcomes research and modeling of cost contingencies in GU cancer care.

Section members have published in high-impact journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Cell Stem Cells, Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Future clinical trials will focus on emergent checkpoint inhibitors, mutation targeted agents and EphB4. Key collaborations are ongoing with colleagues in the Departments of Urology, Radiation Oncology, Pathology, Pharmacy, Gerontology, Preventative Medicine, Radiology and Nuclear Medicine as well as with other Cancer Center members.