Immunotherapy, Non-Cytotoxic Therapy, and the Importance of Case Reports

We spoke with Maurie Markman, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Karger’s journals Oncology and Case Reports in Oncology, about new treatments and prospects in the field of oncology.

maurie markman

Maurie Markman, MD became the Editor-in-Chief of Karger’s journal Oncology in 2007 and is the founding Editor of the journal Case Reports in Oncology.

He is President of Medicine & Science at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® and Chief Clinical Officer for CTCA Health. For more than 30 years Dr. Markman has been engaged in clinical research in the area of gynecologic malignancies, with a particular focus on new drug development and exploring novel management strategies in female pelvic cancers.

Among other distinctions, he was named by OncLive® to an elite group of 21 inductees of the 2018 Giants of Cancer Care® recognition program. The program celebrates pioneers, innovators and leaders who have made remarkable achievements in oncology research and clinical practice. Dr. Markman was selected by his peers in recognition of his contributions in gynecologic cancers.

At Karger, we are very happy to count this distinguished researcher among the Editors-in-Chief of our journals. We have asked him a few questions about himself and his views on publishing.

Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you become interested in oncology?

While serving as an internal medicine resident at Bellevue Hospital/New York University Medical Center I was fascinated by both the incredible evolving revolution in our understanding of the biology of cancer and at the same time the major challenges and opportunities associated with caring for cancer patients. I decided to enter the field of medical oncology and hematology and I have never regretted this decision. After serving as a Chief Medical Resident I spent two years working at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and completed a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at Johns Hopkins University Medical Center. It has been a wonderful experience, both in patient care and clinical research.

What challenges and developments can we expect to see for this field in the next few years?

Probably the most important developments will be in the area of novel anti-cancer pharmaceutical agents. The management of a number of malignancies has been transformed over the past decade with the introduction of effective molecularly-targeted therapeutics and immunotherapy (checkpoint inhibitors). It is likely this trend will continue with combination non-cytotoxic therapy (therapy that does not aim  to directly kill cancer cells) becoming more prominent in disease management. One critical issue for the future will be strategies to determine how to optimally utilize these very expensive drugs, especially as it is increasingly recognized that advanced cancers are being converted into more chronic disease processes where effective and tolerable treatments may be delivered over a period of “years”, rather than “months”.

As the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Oncology, you introduced the section “Reducing the Worldwide Burden of Cancer”. What was your motivation to include this section and what kind of submissions would you like to see in this section?

It is well-recognized that cancer is a worldwide problem and certain cancers are actually far more common in the developing world. The idea was to focus on cancer developments in these countries and to include investigators who may not otherwise have the opportunity to publish their work in a journal of the quality of Oncology.

You are also the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Case Reports in Oncology. In your opinion, what is the role of case reports in scientific publishing?

This is an important but complex question. Clearly, a single case summary, no matter how well written or documented, should never be seen as providing the level of data observed in a well-designed prospective clinical trial. However, case reports can be extremely helpful in individual management of an uncommon clinical scenario or may provide unique insight into a novel molecular mechanism that should be further investigated in a clinical trial. It is critical to emphasize that such case reports are rarely accepted in major oncology journals as there is always competition for limited space. An online journal devoted specifically to communication of cases seemed to be the appropriate venue, and when Dr. Karger suggested this opportunity to me I was delighted to assume the role of Editor-in-Chief of this novel oncology communication venue.

Thank you for giving us insight into your motivation to become an oncologist and into your views on publishing cancer research.

Read the articles from the section “Reducing the Worldwide Burden of Cancer”.

Also, check out the latest publications from the journals “Oncology” and “Case Reports in Oncology”.

Interested in reading other interviews with our Editors-in-Chief? Check out the interview with Editor in Chief of our journal Gynecologic and Obstetric Investigation, Prof. Dr. med. Thomas M. D’Hooghe. 

Steffi Hentzelt

Steffi is a Publication Manager with the Editorial Development team and manages several journals, mostly from the oncology and hematology portfolios. She loves to ride her mountain bike and is an avid nature photographer.