COMPPARE Consortium Spotlight: The MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

Dr. Nancy Mendenhall at he MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
Dr. Nancy Mendenhall discusses COMPPARE with the MUSC radiation oncology team.

The Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston (MUSC), founded in 1824, is South Carolina’s sole integrated academic health sciences center.

Similarly, MUSC’s Hollings Cancer Center, one of 71 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers in the nation, has the added distinction of being the only such center in the state. More than 120 physicians and scientists and 60 sub-specialists at Hollings include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, psychologists, and other specialists.

Dave Marshall, MD, Hollings Chairman of Radiation Oncology and COMPPARE’s Principal Investigator, hopes that COMPPARE will determine whether the benefits of proton radiotherapy will justify the increase in complexity and cost of that treatment.

“A definitive data set that compares proton and photon treatment modalities will help patients, providers, and all stakeholders to measure the potential benefits of one or the other, so that treatment decisions can be based on fact and reliable data,” he explained.

Dr. Marshall and his team have been highly successful in COMPPARE enrollment; he credits a process developed by the team that reminds physicians and staff to talk over the study with a patient before entering the room, and again after the consult, as the patient is leaving the clinic.

When discussing COMPPARE with prostate cancer patients, Dr. Marshall presents participation in the study as an opportunity to learn more about the disease process and to help future patients. “Patients can easily understand that they have an opportunity to help a future patient that will be sitting in the same room, chair, or situation they currently find themselves in,” he said. “Most patients choose to participate in a clinical trial if provided with this information, especially a trial like COMPPARE that does not change how they are treated.”

Our COMPPARE Consortium Spotlight provides insight into the successes of our partner proton and photon centers across the U.S. We are grateful to Dr. Marshall and his team for their input and dedicated participation in COMPPARE, and we appreciate all partner sites working so diligently to improve prostate cancer outcomes for men.