Welcome to Season 3!

Dr. F. Anthony Greco Explains How Precision Medicine Has Led to Better Treatments for Cancers of Unknown Origins

03/30/21

In this episode, Dr. F. Anthony Greco, medical oncologist at Tennessee Oncology, discusses the role that precision medicine has played in improving our diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

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Dr. Greco began his career as the Director of Medical Oncology and the Vanderbilt Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he mainly saw complex cancer cases that had already been treated, and most of the cases in the community weren't being placed in research studies. He felt compelled to do more clinical trial work, which is why he joined Tennessee Oncology and co-founded the Sarah Cannon Research Institute where they perform hundreds of clinical trials every year. Today, Tennessee Oncology enrolls more patients in clinical trials than any private practice in the U.S., and it has one of the most successful phase one clinical trial programs in the world.

 

Beyond expanding the reach of clinical trials, Dr. Greco is also professionally focused on cancers of unknown primary in which a complete evaluation does not reveal the origin of the cancer because it is a syndrome of many cancers spreading throughout the body. We asked Dr. Greco what diagnostic tools are available to help inform precision medicine treatment decisions in this area. He explained that 92% of patients undergo a classifier assay and will eventually receive a definitive diagnosis, but that still leaves 8% of cancer patients without answers.

 

Today, precision medicine tools offer new hope for treating patients with unknown primary cancer. In fact, the remaining 8% of those patients who do not know their cancer type can benefit from sophisticated pathology, immunohistochemistry, and molecular tests that can identify the origin of unknown cancers in 90% of patients.

Dr. Greco says that knowing the cancer type can reduce frustration and enable oncologists to determine if there can be a targeted therapy or immunotherapy that might be appropriate, making this an exciting area of oncology in which to work.

 

We encourage you to listen to the entire episode to hear more of Dr. Greco’s insights on the use of precision medicine for demystifying unknown primary cancers as it underscores the untapped potential of genomic testing.

Download the full transcript of the episode here (pdf).

 

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About Our Guest

Dr. F. Anthony Greco

Co-Founder, Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Medical Oncologist at Tennessee Oncology and Medical Advisor for Biotheranostics

Dr. F. Anthony Greco was the Director of Medical Oncology and the Vanderbilt Cancer Center at Vanderbilt University Medical Center before becoming the Director of the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center and Co-Founder and Director of the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, Tennessee. He created and co-directed the first, large community-based clinical research program outside of an academic setting. He is a Medical Oncologist at Tennessee Oncology, PLLC.

After finishing medical school at West Virginia University, Dr. Greco completed an internship at UCLA before returning to West Virginia University Medical Center for residency and completing a fellowship in medical oncology at the National Cancer Institute. He specializes in cancers of unknown primary, lung cancers, and germ line cancers and has authored over 650 publications.