publication date: Sep. 11, 2020

Conversation with The Cancer Letter

Mitch Schnall: “We don’t want to lose momentum as this review is happening”

Mitchell D. Schnall

Mitchell D. Schnall MD, PhD

Group co-chair, ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group;

Eugene P. Pendergrass Professor of Radiology,

The Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania


NCI’s publicly announced move to create an ad hoc working group that would review the feasibility and viability of the TMIST trial threatens to undercut this trial, said Mitchell Schnall, co-chair of ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group, the group conducting the study.

TMIST [Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial] was accruing patients steadily, but below monthly projections before the pandemic hit, and the scientific leadership of ECOG-ACRIN was considering alternative approaches to getting the answers.

Before COVID-19, accruals were at about 2,000 women a month among 99 sites, short of the 5,000 a month among 130 to 150 sites needed to reach the 165,000 target on schedule. New sites were activating the trial on a steady basis.

With COVID, in March and April, when federal authorities recommended that all screenings in the U.S. cease, accrual dropped. However, accrual was coming back. Enrollments rose monthly, with 1,143 in July among 70 sites. The rest of the existing sites are reopening the trial, and last week, four new sites joined.

On Sept. 2, the National Cancer Advisory Board voted in favor of forming the ad hoc group (The Cancer Letter, Sept. 4, 2020).

Continue reading Mitch Schnall: “We don’t want to lose momentum as this review is happening”

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