Clinical Trials for Metastatic Cancer

We are currently recruiting patients for several clinical trials testing promising new therapies for metastatic cancer. Some of these studies involve using radiation with immunotherapy drugs as well as injectable nanoparticles to augment the effects of radiation. Trials are also underway to test drugs that modulate the DNA damage response.

For more information about clinical trials underway at UChicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center:

Metastatic Cancer Research Publications

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine have published numerous articles that have advanced how physicians around the world understand and treat metastatic cancer, particularly oligometastasis. Some of their key papers are listed below.

Understanding Oligometastasis

Samuel Hellman, MD, and Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, first defined oligometastasis in 1995. (Hellman and Weichselbaum, J Clin Oncol 1995;13:8–10.)

Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, and Samuel Hellman, MD, reviewed clinical and laboratory data to support their hypothesis that oligometastasis is a distinct clinical entity. (Weichselbaum and Hellman, Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2011;8:378–82.)

Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, presented clinical and molecular data to support the hypothesis that some metastases are limited in number and pace, and are curable with ablative therapies. (Weichselbaum, J Clin Oncol 2018;36:3240–50.)

Sean Pitroda, MD, and Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, co-authored a review presenting evidence supporting their hypothesis that integrated clinical and molecular classification of metastases along the spectrum of disease influences the staging and treatment of patients with cancer (Pitroda and Weichselbaum, Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2019;16:581–88).

Treatment for Oligometastasis

Steve Chmura, MD, PhD, led a national Phase I trial testing the safety of stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT) for treating patients with multiple metastases. The study found SBRT was safe for patients with three to four metastases or two metastases in close proximity. (Chmura et al., JAMA Oncol 2021;7:845–52.)

Researchers at UChicago Medicine found that multisite SBRT followed by the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab was safe for patients with metastatic disease. Median overall survival was 9.6 months and median progression-free survival was 3.1 months. (Luke et al., J Clin Oncol 2018;36:1611–18.)

Steven Chmura, MD, PhD, and other researchers at UChicago Medicine found that SBRT was safe for patients with limited metastases. Of the 61 patients enrolled, one-year progression-free survival rate was 33% and the two-year progression-free survival rate was 22%. (Salama et al., Cancer 2012;118:2962–70.)

Sean Pitroda, MD, Mitchell Posner, MD, Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, and other cancer experts analyzed colorectal liver metastases at the molecular level and categorized them according to three different levels of risk, based on survival rates. They found that a cure was achieved in about 30% of a subgroup of patients following a liver resection, chemotherapy and treatment of primary colorectal tumors. (Pitroda et al., Nat Commun 2018;9:1793.)

Sean Pitroda, MD, and Ralph Weichselbaum, MD, presented evidence supporting their hypothesis that integrated clinical and molecular classification of metastases along the spectrum of disease influences staging and treatment of metastatic cancer. (Pitroda and Weichselbaum, Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2019;16:581–88).

Cancer experts at UChicago Medicine provided a rationale for integrating radiotherapy and immunotherapy to treat oligometastases. (Pitroda et al., Lancet Oncol 2019;20:e434–42.)

Cancer experts Kiran Turaga, MD, and Oliver Eng, MD, demonstrated novel treatments for peritoneal metastases and created national guidelines in the management of disease. (Chicago Consensus Working Group, Cancer 2020 Jun 1;126(11):2510-2512.)

Kiran Turaga, MD, demonstrated the value and efficacy of laparoscopic HIPEC in the management of patients with peritoneal disease (Arjona-Sanchez et al., Eur J Surg Oncol 2021 Jun;47(6):1420-1426.)

Our team demonstrated the change in markers of immunosensitivity to tumors treated with HIPEC. (White et al., Br J Cancer 2021 Feb;124(3):564-566.)

The regional therapies team discussed enhanced recovery for patients undergoing surgery and disseminated their protocols to the national audience. The Chicago team also established the benchmarks for successful outcomes from these procedures. (Liu et al., Ann Surg Oncol. 2020 Dec;27(13):5039-5046., Diman et al., Ann Surg Oncol 2021 Nov;28(12):6955-6964.)

Team of peritoneal surgeons including Kiran Turaga, MD, demonstrate long-term survival in 8-year-old patient with highly aggressive metastatic cancer. (Xiao et al., J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 2021 Aug 1;43(6):228-231.)

Technical advances in cytoreductive surgery and HIPEC are described and discussed by the team to allow for safer, faster surgery. (Vining et al., J Surg Oncol 2020 Jul;122(1):85-95.)


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Limited Metastatic Cancer Program (L-MEC)