Skip to content

The Cancer Letter – Top 25 Stories of 2019

The Cancer Letter – Top 25 Stories of 2019

We went through our analytics: here is what your colleagues in oncology read in 2019.


What are your colleagues reading in The Cancer Letter? Here are the highlights:

  • Robert Peter Gale’s series on the HBO show ‘Chernobyl’ was read around the globe, and one piece was translated into Russian,
  • Robotic mastectomies performed at New Jersey’s Monmouth Medical Center became the epicenter of debate in an ongoing investigation into minimally invasive surgery and cancer-related surgical outcomes,
  • 2019 was a big year for real-world evidence: a new FDA framework, an approval for Ibrance, and the completion of the Friends Pilot Project 2.0 on real-world endpoints,
  • Guest editorials by Etta Pisano, SWOG, and Wafik S. El-Deiry all top the list.
  • Top jobs in oncology came into play, with Scott Gottlieb stepping down at FDA, and NCI’s Ned Sharpless temporarily stepping in, to be later replaced by Stephen Hahn, formerly of MD Anderson Cancer Center.
  • 2019 U.S. Nobel laureates William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza sat down with our reporters for a long chat.


Culture-changing issues came to the forefront:

  • Intellectual property theft,
  • NCI funding and paylines,
  • Gender bias in oncology, and the
  • Controversial red and processed meat guidelines.

Some older stories always make this list, too: Anil Potti, Ronald DePinho’s resignation, and Amy Reed’s obituary are part of The Cancer Letter’s hall of fame.


Also of note, The Cancer Letter resurrected a series of stories about the late Bernard Fisher, his contribution to what we know about breast cancer, and his battle with Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) and his staff of investigators.


This list is compiled based on The Cancer Letter’s web analytics, with related stories grouped for simplicity. All stories were originally published in 2019 unless otherwise noted.


Real-world evidence at a glance: How a collaboration of “frenemies” produced common definitions for real-world endpoints

Ten health care research organizations, with help from FDA and NCI, have developed a set of common definitions for real-world endpoints, including overall survival, progression-free survival, and other non-traditional endpoints.


The new common definitions are published as part of a pilot study led by Friends of Cancer Research, which announced the conclusions of this phase of the project at a recent gathering in Washington, D.C.


At the Sept. 18 event, the 8th Annual Blueprint for Breakthrough Forum, a speaker nicknamed the collaboration “Frenemies of Cancer Research.” The suggestion set off a wave of loud, albeit nervous laughter, because the joke was on the nose—to collaborate, many of these companies had to set aside their competitive agendas, which made for an uneasy peace.


The companies that participated in the Friends Pilot Project 2.0 are: Aetion, CancerLinQ, Concerto HealthAI, COTA, Flatiron Health, IQVIA, Kaiser Permanente, OptumLabs, McKesson Life Sciences, Syapse, and Tempus.