IMAGE: Ralph Weichselbaum, M.D., the Daniel K. Ludwig Distinguished Service Professor, chair of radiation and cellular oncology at UChicago and director of the Ludwig Center for Metastasis Research. view more
Credit: The University of Chicago Medicine
In 1995, two University of Chicago-based cancer specialists suggested there was an intermediate state — somewhere between curable localized cancers and lethal widespread disease — for patients with metastatic cancer.
Those physicians, Samuel Hellman and Ralph Weichselbaum, both still at the University of Chicago, labeled that clinically significant intermediate state “oligometastasis,” Greek for “a few that spread.” They focused on tumors that had migrated from an initial cancer in the colon or rectum to one or a few distant sites.
They also made the controversial suggestion that many of these patients, depending on the extent of disease burden, could be cured with surgery or targeted radiation therapy.
Twenty-three years later, Weichselbaum, Hellman, the Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus and former dean of the biological sciences at the University of Chicago, and colleagues, working with patients in treatment for colorectal cancer, have confirmed their oligometastasis hypothesis and for the first time have identified molecular patterns that can be used to predict which patients are
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