• Category eNews
  • DATE 27 Jul 2022

Australia and New Zealand Sarcoma Association

July 2022

Sarcoma Awareness Month

July is an important time of year for ANZSA — it’s Sarcoma Awareness Month. Sarcoma Awareness Month is an opportunity to create public awareness of sarcoma and to stand in solidarity with the sarcoma community, which includes health professionals, researchers, patients and their loved ones.

This July, ANZSA is hosting two webinar’s to help raise awareness for sarcoma. The first was held on the 18 July which focused on Functional Outcomes and Rehabilitation with Sophie Hayward and A/Prof Claudia Di Bella. The second is on 28 July, shining a light on research in the STRASS II trial with A/Prof David Gyorki.

Another major focus of this year’s Sarcoma Awareness Month has been the promotion of ANZSA’s new sarcoma clinical guidelines. The new guidelines aim to improve the care of patients with sarcoma from the initial diagnosis through to staging, treatment and follow up.

Sarcoma Clinical Guidelines

For the past two years, ANZSA has engaged a multidisciplinary working party to perform rigorous review of scientific evidence to develop specific recommendations for different aspects of sarcoma care.  The working party consists of independent experts include doctors, and researchers — and consumer representatives — such as patients who have had sarcoma treatment and their carers.

As each sarcoma treatment differs between each patient, the working party has worked hard to ensure the guidelines reflect issues that are relevant to patients. From their research, the working party has been able to produce a series of topics and clinical research questions for the guidelines.

The development of these guidelines will be ongoing, with new questions and content to be released in the near future. The content of the guidelines will continue to be updated in accordance to new published research when it becomes available.  Further series covering other clinical questions will be released shortly.

Annual Scientific Meeting

In the first week of November, ANZSA will be hosting its Annual Scientific Meeting. This is a chance to hear from researchers and sarcoma specialists — from both Australia and from around the world — about the research they have conducted. The discussions held at this meeting will cover current challenges, innovations, and the latest in sarcoma research and treatment.

The event will be held simultaneously in both Sydney and Queenstown in New Zealand on the 4 – 5 of November, marking the first time that the event will be held outside of Australia too.

ANZSA featuring in an ASCO Plenary Presentation

Research conducted by ANZSA featured in the rEECUR plenary presentation at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago this past June. ANZSA partnered with other cancer associations around the world to produce the presentation — with board member Prof. Marianne Phillips working as a co-author on the project and Dr Susie Bae as co PI in Australia

This is a major achievement for the sarcoma community and for ANZSA, on an international stage.  The rEECUR study is a ground-breaking study for Ewing Sarcoma patients that will continue to recruit to new arms of investigations. ANZSA with our international partners and our local collaborators ANZCHOG (ANZ Children’s & Haematology Oncology Group) are proud to be able to offer this study for our Australian and New Zealand patients. 

The presentation focused on the research into the rEECUR trial that ANZSA is participating in amongst other cancer research organisations around the world. rEECUR is an international randomised controlled trial of chemotherapy for the treatment of recurrent and primary refractory Ewing sarcoma.

QUEST Trial

Throughout the year, ANZSA has continued it sponsorship with the QUEST (QUality of life and Experiences of Sarcoma Trajectories) survey.

The aim of the survey is to gain insight into the diagnostic pathway for sarcoma patients in order to improve this and outcomes for future patients.

Currently, the QUEST survey is open to willing participants at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Chris O'Brien Lifehouse/Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in New South Wales and the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Queensland.

STRASS II Trial

Last year, ANZSA director Dr David Gyorki and collaborators were the recipients of a grant worth nearly $1 million AUD to fund the STRASS II study in Australia.

The EORTC 1809 STRASS II study is the first official trial looking into potential benefits of chemotherapy before surgery to improve disease control and survival in patients with retroperitoneal sarcoma. It is a pan-European study with a transatlantic collaboration with multiple specialized sarcoma centres in Australia, Canada and North America.

The purpose of the STRASS 2 trial is to determine whether the administration of chemotherapy before surgery represents a better treatment compared to surgery alone and if the administration of chemotherapy before surgery is safe. It is also to assess whether specific chemotherapy can be used to reduce recurrence risk in a patient with either high-grade leiomyosarcoma or high-grade dedifferentiated liposarcoma.

The trial currently operates out of Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Victoria, Royal Prince Alfred/Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in New South Wales and at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Queensland.

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