Jessica Schuster, MD

Jessica Schuster, MD

Clinical Associate Professor

Department of Human Oncology

I am a clinical associate professor in the Department of Human Oncology and serve as the primary radiation oncologist at UW Cancer Center Johnson Creek, where I treat all adult cancer sites. I have a particular interest in using radiation to treat breast, prostate and lung cancers and benign diseases such as Dupuytren’s contracture. I also focus on palliative care and symptom management. I have a strong interest in working in a community setting. The technologies at UW Cancer Center Johnson Creek enable me to treat almost any kind of cancer and perform most of the same procedures as at the UW main campus. This enables me to provide continuity of care and develop strong relationships with my patients. Managing patients’ care is one of the best parts of my job. We’re working together to get rid of their cancer using a therapy that challenges them mentally and physically. Helping them get through that is very rewarding. In addition to my clinical role, I have the opportunity to teach UW radiation oncology residents.


Resident, Virginia Commonwealth University, Radiation Oncology (2015)

Intern, Virginia Commonwealth University, Internal Medicine (2011)

MD, Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, (2010)

BS, Clemson University, Biophysics (2006)

Academic Appointments

Clinical Associate Professor, Human Oncology (2021)

Clinical Assistant Professor, Human Oncology (2015)

Selected Honors and Awards

ABS Research Travel Grant (2014)

ABS Outstanding Radiation Oncology Resident (2013)

Outstanding student in Radiation Oncology (2010)

L.D. Huff Outstanding Junior Award in Physics (2005)

Boards, Advisory Committees and Professional Organizations

American Society of Therapeutic Radiation Oncology (ASTRO)

American Board of Radiology (ABR)

American Brachytherapy Society (ABS)

American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)

American Medical Association (AMA)

American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM)

ASTRO Workforce Subcommittee Member (2014-pres.)

ARRO Education Subcommittee Member (2014-2015)

Virginia Commonwealth University, Chief Resident (2014-2015)

Virginia Commonwealth University, Education Committee Member (2013-2015)

Educational Speaker, Virginia Cancer Community Outreach (2010-2015)

Medical Campus Outreach Medical Mission, Medical College of Georgia, Cambodia (2010), Bulgaria (2008)

Dr. Jessica Schuster serves as the primary radiation oncologist at UW Cancer Center–Johnson Creek, where she treats all adult cancer sites. She has a particular interest in using radiation to treat breast, prostate and lung cancers as well as benign diseases. She also focuses on palliative care and symptom management.

  • Empowering the Radiation Oncology Triage Nurse Role: A Single-Center Analysis Clinical journal of oncology nursing
    Weber BW, Blitzer GC, Harari CM, Ruesga SL, Huenerberg KJ, Anderson B, Schuster JM
    2023 Nov 16;27(6):637-643. doi: 10.1188/23.CJON.637-643.
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      BACKGROUND: Triage nurses play a crucial role in addressing patient telephone calls. However, topics that radiation oncology (RO) triage nurses encounter have not been thoroughly investigated.

      OBJECTIVES: This project established baseline patient issues addressed via telephone by RO triage nurses in a clinically busy academic RO department; identified themes and potential areas for workflow improvement; and evaluated interprofessional perceptions of RO triage from nurses, physicians, and radiation therapists.

      METHODS: This two-part study was conducted from September through November 2021 using a retrospective chart review that analyzed patient communications to the RO nurse triage line. Physicians, nurses, and radiation therapists completed an online survey about their experiences with nurse triage.

      FINDINGS: Analysis revealed 13 message themes, with scheduling questions being the most common theme. Survey results indicated that average provider satisfaction with the effectiveness of triage was 3 of 5, perceived triage nurse preparedness to resolve encounters was 3 of 5, and perception of the triage program by physicians was 2.4 of 5.

      PMID:38009877 | DOI:10.1188/23.CJON.637-643

      View details for PubMedID 38009877
  • Toxicity and Patient-Reported Quality-of-Life Outcomes After Prostate Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy With Focal Boost to Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Identified Prostate Cancer Lesions: Results of a Phase 2 Trial International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
    Morris BA, Holmes EE, Anger NJ, Cooley G, Schuster JM, Hurst N, Baschnagel AM, Bassetti MF, Blitzer GC, Chappell RJ, Bayliss RA, Morris ZS, Ritter MA, Floberg JM
    2023 Nov 1;117(3):613-623. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.05.004. Epub 2023 May 12.
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      PURPOSE: In this prospective phase 2 trial, we investigated the toxicity and patient-reported quality-of-life outcomes in patients treated with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) to the prostate gland and a simultaneous focal boost to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-identified intraprostatic lesions while also de-escalating dose to the adjacent organs at risk.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: Eligible patients included low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer (Gleason score ≤7, prostate specific antigen ≤20, T stage ≤2b). SBRT was prescribed to 40 Gy in 5 fractions delivered every other day to the prostate, with any areas of high disease burden (MRI-identified prostate imaging reporting and data system 4 or 5 lesions) simultaneously escalated to 42.5 to 45 Gy and areas overlapping organs at risk (within 2 mm of urethra, rectum, and bladder) constrained to 36.25 Gy (n = 100). Patients without a pretreatment MRI or without MRI-identified lesions were treated to dose of 37.5 Gy with no focal boost (n = 14).

      RESULTS: From 2015 to 2022, a total of 114 patients were enrolled with a median follow-up of 42 months. No acute or late grade 3+ gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity was observed. One patient developed late grade 3 genitourinary (GU) toxicity at 16 months. In patients treated with focal boost (n = 100), acute grade 2 GU and GI toxicity was seen in 38% and 4% of patients, respectively. Cumulative late grade 2+ GU and GI toxicities at 24 months were 13% and 5% respectively. Patient-reported outcomes showed no significant long-term change from baseline in urinary, bowel, hormonal, or sexual quality-of-life scores after treatment.

      CONCLUSIONS: SBRT to a dose of 40 Gy to the prostate gland with a simultaneous focal boost up to 45 Gy is well tolerated with similar rates of acute and late grade 2+ GI and GU toxicity as seen in other SBRT regimens without intraprostatic boost. Moreover, no significant long-term changes were seen in patient-reported urinary, bowel, or sexual outcomes from pretreatment baseline.

      PMID:37179035 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2023.05.004

      View details for PubMedID 37179035
  • NCCN Guidelines® Insights: Distress Management, Version 2.2023 Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network : JNCCN
    Riba MB, Donovan KA, Ahmed K, Andersen B, Braun I, Breitbart WS, Brewer BW, Corbett C, Fann J, Fleishman S, Garcia S, Greenberg DB, Handzo GF, Hoofring LH, Huang C, Hutchinson S, Johns S, Keller J, Kumar P, Lahijani S, Martin S, Niazi SK, Pailler M, Parnes F, Rao V, Salman J, Scher E, Schuster J, Teply M, Usher A, Valentine AD, Vanderlan J, Lyons MS, McMillian NR, Darlow SD
    2023 May;21(5):450-457. doi: 10.6004/jnccn.2023.0026.
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      These NCCN Guidelines for Distress Management discuss the identification and treatment of psychosocial problems in patients with cancer. All patients experience some level of distress associated with a cancer diagnosis and the effects of the disease and its treatment regardless of the stage of disease. Clinically significant levels of distress occur in a subset of patients, and identification and treatment of distress are of utmost importance. The NCCN Distress Management Panel meets at least annually to review comments from reviewers within their institutions, examine relevant new data from publications and abstracts, and reevaluate and update their recommendations. These NCCN Guidelines Insights describe updates to the NCCN Distress Thermometer (DT) and Problem List, and to the treatment algorithms for patients with trauma- and stressor-related disorders.

      PMID:37156476 | DOI:10.6004/jnccn.2023.0026

      View details for PubMedID 37156476
  • Gender Equity in Radiation Oncology: Culture Change Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint Advances in radiation oncology
    Schuster JM, Saeed H, Puckett LL, Moran JM, Howell K, Thomas C, Offerman S, Suneja G, Jagsi R
    2022 Mar 9;7(4):100937. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2022.100937. eCollection 2022 Jul-Aug.
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      The specialty of radiation oncology's gender diversity is lagging other medical specialties. The lack of gender diversity in radiation oncology has been demonstrated at all stages of career, from medical schools to department chairs. Multiple articles have demonstrated literature-based benefits of inclusion of a diverse group of female colleagues. This editorial is intended to note areas of progress and highlight resources available to support gender equity in the field of radiation oncology.

      PMID:35592465 | PMC:PMC9110895 | DOI:10.1016/j.adro.2022.100937

      View details for PubMedID 35592465
  • RTAnswers Online Patient Education Materials Deviate From Recommended Reading Levels Applied radiation oncology
    Rosenberg SA, Denu RA, Francis D, Hullett CR, Fisher M, Schuster JM, Bassetti MF, Kimple RJ
    2018;7(2):26-30. Epub 2018 Jun 19.
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      OBJECTIVE: Patients are turning to the Internet more often for cancer-related information. Oncology organizations need to ensure that appropriately written information is available for patients online. The aim of this study was to determine whether the readability of radiation oncology online patient information (OPI) provided by RTAnswers (, created by the American Society for Radiation Oncology) is written at a sixth-grade level as recommended by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the American Medical Association (AMA).

      METHODS: was accessed and online patient-oriented brochures for 13 specific disease sites were analyzed. Readability of OPI from RTAnswers was assessed using 10 common readability tests: New Dale-Chall Test, Flesch Reading Ease Score, Coleman-Liau Index, Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level, FORCAST test, Fry Score, Simple Measure of Gobbledygook, Gunning Frequency of Gobbledygook, New Fog Count, and Raygor Readability Estimate.

      RESULTS: A composite grade level of readability was constructed using the 8 readability measures that provide a single grade-level output. The grade levels computed by each of these 8 tests were highly correlated (SI alpha = 0.98). The composite grade level for these disease site-specific brochures was 11.6 ± 0.83, corresponding to a senior in high school, significantly higher than the target sixth-grade level (p < 0.05) recommended by the NIH, HHS, and AMA.

      CONCLUSION: Patient educational material provided by is written significantly above the target reading level. Simplifying and rewording this information could improve patients' understanding of radiation therapy and improve treatment adherence and outcomes.

      PMID:34169120 | PMC:PMC8221236

      View details for PubMedID 34169120
  • Cross-Sectional Gender Analysis of US Radiation Oncology Residency Programs in 2019: More Than a Pipeline Issue? Advances in radiation oncology
    Thomas TV, Kuruvilla TP, Holliday E, Bhanat E, Parr A, Albert AA, Page B, Schuster J, Chapman C, Vijayakumar S
    2020 Jul 30;5(6):1099-1103. doi: 10.1016/j.adro.2020.07.008. eCollection 2020 Nov-Dec.
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      PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to assess the current status of gender disparities in academic radiation oncology departments in the United States and the associated factors.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: The data were collected from publicly available resources, including websites of individual radiation oncology programs, the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. We collected data on the gender information of residents in each year (postgraduate years 2-5) and of the faculty (attendings, program director, and chair) during the academic year 2018 to 2019. Spearman's rho test, Pearson's chi-squared test, and Fisher exact tests were used for evaluating the correlation among variables using SPSS version 24.

      RESULTS: Women constituted 30.8% of radiation oncology residents in the United States in 2019. Eight programs (12.5%) did not have any female residents in their programs, whereas 6 programs (9%) had women constituting more than half of their resident class. The fraction of female medical students applying to radiation oncology over the last 7 years varied between 27% and 33%. Female attending physicians accounted for 30.5% of all the attending physicians in the academic programs. In the leadership positions of the department, the gender gap was wider where only 19 (20%) and 11 (12%) of programs had female program director or chair, respectively. There was a positive correlation between the number of attending physicians and the number of female residents in programs (P = .01).

      CONCLUSIONS: A significant gender disparity continues to exist among the residents and physicians in the academic radiation oncology departments in the US. This disparity is pronounced in the leadership positions. The results of this study could be used as a benchmark to evaluate the progress that has been made by the efforts to improve gender disparities in radiation oncology.

      PMID:33305070 | PMC:PMC7718546 | DOI:10.1016/j.adro.2020.07.008

      View details for PubMedID 33305070
  • Targeted Needs Assessment of Treatment Planning Education for United States Radiation Oncology Residents International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
    Wu SY, Sath C, Schuster JM, Dominello MM, Burmeister JW, Golden DW, Braunstein SE
    2020 Mar 15;106(4):677-682. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.11.023. Epub 2019 Nov 28.
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      PURPOSE: Prior surveys suggest almost one-third of chief residents report insufficient exposure to treatment planning. We evaluated the state of treatment planning education among United States residents.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: A web-based survey was sent to current residents identified using the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology directory.

      RESULTS: The response rate was 33%. Twenty-six percent of residents reported a mandatory treatment planning rotation. Seventy-one percent of residents reported reviewing ≤50% of plans with an attending. Twenty-three percent of respondents were not at all or only slightly comfortable (1 or 2 on a 1-5 scale) evaluating treatment plans. Residents with mandatory treatment planning rotations were more comfortable evaluating plans compared with those without mandatory rotations (P = .045). Overall, 60% reported insufficient exposure to treatment planning. Among postgraduate year 5 residents, this rate was 52%. Ninety-two percent of residents expressed interest in free supplemental treatment planning resources.

      CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of residents surveyed report insufficient exposure to treatment planning. Development of a practical treatment planning curriculum would offer the opportunity to improve resident education, and ultimately quality of care, at the national level.

      PMID:31786277 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.11.023

      View details for PubMedID 31786277
  • Priming anti-tumor immunity by radiotherapy: Dying tumor cell-derived DAMPs trigger endothelial cell activation and recruitment of myeloid cells Oncoimmunology
    Krombach J, Hennel R, Brix N, Orth M, Schoetz U, Ernst A, Schuster J, Zuchtriegel G, Reichel CA, Bierschenk S, Sperandio M, Vogl T, Unkel S, Belka C, Lauber K
    2018 Nov 2;8(1):e1523097. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2018.1523097. eCollection 2019.
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      The major goal of radiotherapy is the induction of tumor cell death. Additionally, radiotherapy can function as in situ cancer vaccination by exposing tumor antigens and providing adjuvants for anti-tumor immune priming. In this regard, the mode of tumor cell death and the repertoire of released damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are crucial. However, optimal dosing and fractionation of radiotherapy remain controversial. Here, we examined the initial steps of anti-tumor immune priming by different radiation regimens (20 Gy, 4 × 2 Gy, 2 Gy, 0 Gy) with cell lines of triple-negative breast cancer in vitro and in vivo. Previously, we have shown that especially high single doses (20 Gy) induce a delayed type of primary necrosis with characteristics of mitotic catastrophe and plasma membrane disintegration. Now, we provide evidence that protein DAMPs released by these dying cells stimulate sequential recruitment of neutrophils and monocytes in vivo. Key players in this regard appear to be endothelial cells revealing a distinct state of activation upon exposure to supernatants of irradiated tumor cells as characterized by high surface expression of adhesion molecules and production of a discrete cytokine/chemokine pattern. Furthermore, irradiated tumor cell-derived protein DAMPs enforced differentiation and maturation of dendritic cells as hallmarked by upregulation of co-stimulatory molecules and improved T cell-priming. Consistently, a recurring pattern was observed: The strongest effects were detected with 20 Gy-irradiated cells. Obviously, the initial steps of radiotherapy-induced anti-tumor immune priming are preferentially triggered by high single doses - at least in models of triple-negative breast cancer.

      PMID:30546963 | PMC:PMC6287777 | DOI:10.1080/2162402X.2018.1523097

      View details for PubMedID 30546963
  • The American Society for Radiation Oncology 2017 Radiation Oncologist Workforce Study International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
    Fung CY, Chen E, Vapiwala N, Pohar S, Trifiletti D, Truong M, Uschold G, Schuster J, Patel A, Jani A, Mohindra P, Sanders T, Gardner L, Arnone A, Royce T
    2019 Mar 1;103(3):547-556. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2018.10.020. Epub 2018 Oct 24.
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      PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to report the American Society for Radiation Oncology 2017 radiation oncologist (RO) workforce survey results; identify demographic, technology utilization, and employment trends; and assess the profession's ability to meet patients' needs, offer job satisfaction, and attract high-caliber trainees.

      METHODS: In spring 2017, the American Society for Radiation Oncology distributed an online survey to 3856 US RO members. The questionnaire was patterned after the 2012 workforce survey for trend analysis. The 31% response rate yielded 1174 individual responses (726 practices) for analysis.

      RESULTS: ROs' mean age was 50.9 years. Compared to 2012, female representation (28.9%) increased and white representation (69.8%) dropped. The proportion in rural practice (12.6%) decreased, whereas the number of suburban ROs (40.6%) increased and urban ROs (46.8%) remained high. Most ROs worked full-time, averaging 51.4 h/wk. Stereotactic body radiation therapy, cone beam computed tomography, and magnetic resonance/positron emission tomography-computed tomography fusion utilization increased, whereas low-dose-rate brachytherapy decreased by >15 percentage points. Hypofractionation utilization was 95.3% and was highest in academic/university systems and lowest in private solo practices (P < .001). More respondents were concerned about an RO oversupply rather than shortage. ROs reported 250 consults (median) and 20 on-treatment patients (median) in 2016 and greater time allocation to electronic health record management compared with 3 years earlier. Approximately 15% of ROs reported job vacancies, which were more prevalent in urban practices and academic/university systems. ROs were employed by academic/university systems, private practices, and nonacademic hospitals in a respective ratio of 2:2:1. Comparison with 2012 survey findings showed a shift from private practice toward academic/university systems and nonacademic hospitals. Compensation was predominantly productivity-based at private practices and a fixed salary or a base salary at academic/university systems and nonacademic hospitals. Practice merger/buyout was the lead reason for ROs to change employers.

      CONCLUSIONS: Since 2012, race and gender gaps narrowed, but geographic disparities persisted, with ROs gravitating toward resource-rich suburban and urban locations over rural practices. The workforce has shifted from predominantly private practice to more equal balance with academic/university systems. These findings reflect the current US RO landscape and serve to underscore the need for collective action to ensure equitable RO care for all patients.

      PMID:30367907 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2018.10.020

      View details for PubMedID 30367907
  • Variabilities of Magnetic Resonance Imaging-, Computed Tomography-, and Positron Emission Tomography-Computed Tomography-Based Tumor and Lymph Node Delineations for Lung Cancer Radiation Therapy Planning International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
    Karki K, Saraiya S, Hugo GD, Mukhopadhyay N, Jan N, Schuster J, Schutzer M, Fahrner L, Groves R, Olsen KM, Ford JC, Weiss E
    2017 Sep 1;99(1):80-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.05.002. Epub 2017 May 6.
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      PURPOSE: To investigate interobserver delineation variability for gross tumor volumes of primary lung tumors and associated pathologic lymph nodes using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and to compare the results with computed tomography (CT) alone- and positron emission tomography (PET)-CT-based delineations.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: Seven physicians delineated the tumor volumes of 10 patients for the following scenarios: (1) CT only, (2) PET-CT fusion images registered to CT ("clinical standard"), and (3) postcontrast T1-weighted MRI registered with diffusion-weighted MRI. To compute interobserver variability, the median surface was generated from all observers' contours and used as the reference surface. A physician labeled the interface types (tumor to lung, atelectasis (collapsed lung), hilum, mediastinum, or chest wall) on the median surface. Contoured volumes and bidirectional local distances between individual observers' contours and the reference contour were analyzed.

      RESULTS: Computed tomography- and MRI-based tumor volumes normalized relative to PET-CT-based volumes were 1.62 ± 0.76 (mean ± standard deviation) and 1.38 ± 0.44, respectively. Volume differences between the imaging modalities were not significant. Between observers, the mean normalized volumes per patient averaged over all patients varied significantly by a factor of 1.6 (MRI) and 2.0 (CT and PET-CT) (P=4.10 × 10-5 to 3.82 × 10-9). The tumor-atelectasis interface had a significantly higher variability than other interfaces for all modalities combined (P=.0006). The interfaces with the smallest uncertainties were tumor-lung (on CT) and tumor-mediastinum (on PET-CT and MRI).

      CONCLUSIONS: Although MRI-based contouring showed overall larger variability than PET-CT, contouring variability depended on the interface type and was not significantly different between modalities, despite the limited observer experience with MRI. Multimodality imaging and combining different imaging characteristics might be the best approach to define the tumor volume most accurately.

      PMID:28816167 | PMC:PMC5607632 | DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.05.002

      View details for PubMedID 28816167
  • Contrast-Enhanced Ultrasound with VEGFR2-Targeted Microbubbles for Monitoring Regorafenib Therapy Effects in Experimental Colorectal Adenocarcinomas in Rats with DCE-MRI and Immunohistochemical Validation PloS one
    Eschbach RS, Clevert D, Hirner-Eppeneder H, Ingrisch M, Moser M, Schuster J, Tadros D, Schneider M, Kazmierczak PM, Reiser M, Cyran CC
    2017 Jan 6;12(1):e0169323. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0169323. eCollection 2017.
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      OBJECTIVES: To investigate contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) with VEGFR2-targeted microbubbles for monitoring therapy effects of regorafenib on experimental colon carcinomas in rats with correlation to dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) and immunohistochemistry.

      MATERIALS AND METHODS: Human colorectal adenocarcinoma xenografts (HT-29) were implanted subcutaneously in n = 21 (n = 11 therapy group; n = 10 control group) female athymic nude rats (Hsd: RH-Foxn1rnu). Animals were imaged at baseline and after a one-week daily treatment with regorafenib or a placebo (10 mg/kg bodyweight), using CEUS with VEGFR2-targeted microbubbles and DCE-MRI. In CEUS tumor perfusion was assessed during an early vascular phase (wash-in area under the curve = WiAUC) and VEGFR2-specific binding during a late molecular phase (signal intensity after 8 (SI8min) and 10 minutes (SI10min)), using a conventional 15L8 linear transducer (transmit frequency 7 MHz, dynamic range 80 dB, depth 25 mm). In DCE-MRI functional parameters plasma flow (PF) and plasma volume (PV) were quantified. For validation purposes, CEUS parameters were correlated with DCE-MRI parameters and immunohistochemical VEGFR2, CD31, Ki-67 and TUNEL stainings.

      RESULTS: CEUS perfusion parameter WiAUC decreased significantly (116,989 ± 77,048 a.u. to 30,076 ± 27,095a.u.; p = 0.005) under therapy with no significant changes (133,932 ± 65,960 a.u. to 84,316 ± 74,144 a.u.; p = 0.093) in the control group. In the therapy group, the amount of bound microbubbles in the late phase was significantly lower in the therapy than in the control group on day 7 (SI8min: 283 ± 191 vs. 802 ± 460 a.u.; p = 0.006); SI10min: 226 ± 149 vs. 645 ± 461 a.u.; p = 0.009). PF and PV decreased significantly (PF: 147 ± 58 mL/100 mL/min to 71 ± 15 mL/100 mL/min; p = 0.003; PV: 13 ± 3% to 9 ± 4%; p = 0.040) in the therapy group. Immunohistochemistry revealed significantly fewer VEGFR2 (7.2 ± 1.8 vs. 17.8 ± 4.6; p < 0.001), CD31 (8.1 ± 3.0 vs. 20.8 ± 5.7; p < 0.001) and Ki-67 (318.7 ± 94.0 vs. 468.0 ± 133.8; p = 0.004) and significantly more TUNEL (672.7 ± 194.0 vs. 357.6 ± 192.0; p = 0.003) positive cells in the therapy group. CEUS parameters showed significant (p < 0.05) correlations to DCE-MRI parameters and immunohistochemistry.

      CONCLUSIONS: CEUS with VEGFR2-targeted microbubbles allowed for monitoring regorafenib functional and molecular therapy effects on experimental colorectal adenocarcinomas with a significant decline of CEUS and DCE-MRI perfusion parameters as well as a significant reduction of specifically bound microbubbles under therapy, consistent with a reduced expression of VEGFR2.

      PMID:28060884 | PMC:PMC5217974 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0169323

      View details for PubMedID 28060884
  • Updated feasibility and reproducibility results of multi-institutional study of noninvasive breast tumor bed boost Brachytherapy
    Schuster J, Chipko C, Kasper M, Sha S, Ciuba D, Petrikas J, Kuruvilla A, Sandrapaty R, Quiet C, Anderson C, Benda R, Wazer D, Hepel J, Arthur D
    2016 Nov-Dec;15(6):804-811. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2016.09.003. Epub 2016 Oct 6.
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      PURPOSE: To report updated feasibility and reproducibility results for high-dose-rate noninvasive breast brachytherapy (NIBB) for tumor bed boost with whole breast radiation therapy (WBRT) in the setting of expanded patient and treatment facility number.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: Fifteen independent community-based and academic centers reported 518 early-stage breast cancer patients from July 2007 to February 2015 on a privacy-encrypted online data registry. All patients' treatment included lumpectomy followed by combination of WBRT and NIBB. NIBB was completed with commercially available (AccuBoost, Billerica, MA) mammography-based system using high-dose-rate 192Ir emissions along orthogonal axes. Harvard scale was used to grade cosmesis.

      RESULTS: Total patient cohort had median followup of 12 months (1-75 months) with subset of 268 having available cosmesis. Greater than 2- and 3-year followup was 29% and 14%, respectively. Entire cohort had 97.4% excellent/good (E/G) breast cosmesis and freedom from recurrence of 97.6% at the final followup. WBRT timing with respect to NIBB delivery demonstrated no statistically significant difference in E/G cosmesis. Achieved E/G cosmesis rate was also not statistically significant (χ2p-value = 0.86) between academic and community institutions with 97.8% vs. 96.6%.

      CONCLUSIONS: NIBB represents an alternative method for delivery of breast tumor cavity boost that has shown feasibility in a diverse group of both academic and community-based practices with reproducible early cosmesis and tumor control results. Recommendations are updated noting ideal timing of boost delivery likely to be before or early during WBRT given equal cosmesis and less documented treatment discomfort.

      PMID:27720585 | DOI:10.1016/j.brachy.2016.09.003

      View details for PubMedID 27720585
  • Merkel Cell Carcinoma With Gastric Metastasis and Review of Literature Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery
    Hu ZI, Schuster JA, Kudelka AP, Huston TL
    2016 May;20(3):255-8. doi: 10.1177/1203475415623509. Epub 2015 Dec 16.
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      BACKGROUND: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare, highly aggressive cutaneous neoplasm, with a propensity for recurrence and metastasis. Very few cases of metastases to the gastrointestinal tract have been reported in the medical literature.

      OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to report a case of MCC metastasizing to the stomach, its clinical presentation, and its management.

      METHODS: A PubMed search was made using the following search terms: "Merkel cell carcinoma," "gastric," and "metastasis."

      RESULTS: The investigators report a case of MCC metastatic to the stomach presenting with melena, syncope, early satiety, increasing fatigue, and unintentional weight loss. The other known cases of gastrointestinal metastasis of MCC are summarized and critically reviewed.

      CONCLUSIONS: Although MCC spreading to the stomach is exceedingly rare, because of MCC's high recurrence rate and metastatic potential, it should be considered in patients with histories of MCC presenting with recent weight loss, early satiety, and gastrointestinal bleeding.

      PMID:26676953 | DOI:10.1177/1203475415623509

      View details for PubMedID 26676953
    Schuster J, Benincá G, Vitorazzi R, Bosco MD
    2015 Nov 1;32(5):2111-6. doi: 10.3305/nh.2015.32.5.9590.
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      INTRODUCTION: cardiovascular diseases are the main cause of morbidity worldwide. Such prevalence justifies the importance of functional foods that promote cardiovascular health, like -glucan present in oats, with potential hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycemic effects.

      OBJECTIVE: to evaluate the effects of an intervention with oats in blood glucose levels, HOMA-IR index, lipid profile, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) of adult users of a health service in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.

      METHODS: longitudinal study, case-control type with before and after experiment, conducted with individuals that are 22-60 years old, users of a health service. The individuals were distributed in Control (usual diet) and Case (usual diet + 40 g oats/day) groups. There was performed, at the beginning of the study and after eight weeks of monitoring, measuring of height and weight, calculation of BMI (kg/m²), blood collection for measurement of fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL cholesterol; and there were calculated the LDL cholesterol and HOMA-IR index. The data was expressed as mean ± standard deviation and percentages. The Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, Student t test, Mann-Whitney and Wilcoxon tests were applied. A significance level of 5% was adopted (p < 0.05).

      RESULTS: the sample consisted of 82 subjects, divided into cases (n = 38) and controls (n = 44), mean age 40.07 ± 10.49 years old, 58.5% were women. Comparing the results of all measured parameters at baseline and after eight weeks of monitoring, the Control group did not achieve a significant reduction in any parameter, showing a significant increase in blood glucose and HOMA- IR (p < 0.05). The Intervention group had a significant reduction of all anthropometric and biochemical parameters analyzed (p < 0.001).

      CONCLUSION: the findings demonstrate the beneficial effects of oats to cardiovascular health through significantly improving of the lipid and glycemic profiles, being a potential adjuvant in the prevention and treatment of metabolic disorders.

      PMID:26545667 | DOI:10.3305/nh.2015.32.5.9590

      View details for PubMedID 26545667
  • Patient-reported outcomes after electron radiation treatment for early-stage palmar and plantar fibromatosis Practical radiation oncology
    Schuster J, Saraiya S, Tennyson N, Nedelka M, Mukhopadhyay N, Weiss E
    2015 Nov-Dec;5(6):e651-8. doi: 10.1016/j.prro.2015.06.010. Epub 2015 Jul 2.
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      PURPOSE: Palmar and plantar fibromatosis (PPF) is a progressive connective tissue disorder of the hand/foot that often leads to debilitating functional impairment. In Europe, orthovoltage radiation therapy (RT) has been demonstrated to prevent local disease progression for up to 80% of patients with early-stage PPF. There are limited data reporting outcomes for populations outside of Europe or using electron RT.

      METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between 2008 and 2013, 44 early-stage PPF cases received RT. RT fields involved clinically defined targets encompassing involved areas (skin changes, cords, nodules) with at least 1.5-cm margins. En face electrons (6-12 MeV) and bolus (0.5-1 cm) were selected individually. Outcomes are reported for patients who participated in an institutional review board-approved standardized questionnaire and chart review.

      RESULTS: Thirty-three patients received 66 treatments (45 hands/15 feet and 6 reirradiations). Most frequent dose schemes were 21 Gy (3 Gy in 7 fractions) and 30 Gy (3 Gy in 10 fractions with 6- to 8-week breaks after 15 Gy). Median time to follow-up survey was 31 months. Disease progression at any location within or outside the RT treatment field occurred in 20 of 33 patients (61%). Fourteen of 60 sites (23%) developed in-field progression, but 4 sites were successfully reirradiated with final local control in 50 of 60 sites (83%). RT improved pretreatment symptoms of pain with strain at 30 of 37 sites (81%) and itch/burn sensations at 17 of 21 sites (81%). There were no reported grade ≥2 late toxicities even with reirradiation. Patient reported overall success with treatment was 31 of 33 patients (94%).

      CONCLUSION: PPF is a progressive disease. En face electron RT is an effective therapy that stabilizes or improves symptoms in the majority of patients. Reirradiation can be considered as a treatment option for in-field progression. Patients report minimal toxicity and a high rate of satisfaction with treatment.

      PMID:26421835 | DOI:10.1016/j.prro.2015.06.010

      View details for PubMedID 26421835
  • Correlation of perfusion MRI and 18F-FDG PET imaging biomarkers for monitoring regorafenib therapy in experimental colon carcinomas with immunohistochemical validation PloS one
    Eschbach RS, Fendler WP, Kazmierczak PM, Hacker M, Rominger A, Carlsen J, Hirner-Eppeneder H, Schuster J, Moser M, Havla L, Schneider MJ, Ingrisch M, Spaeth L, Reiser MF, Nikolaou K, Cyran CC
    2015 Feb 10;10(2):e0115543. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0115543. eCollection 2015.
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      OBJECTIVES: To investigate a multimodal, multiparametric perfusion MRI / 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose-(18F-FDG)-PET imaging protocol for monitoring regorafenib therapy effects on experimental colorectal adenocarcinomas in rats with immunohistochemical validation.

      MATERIALS AND METHODS: Human colorectal adenocarcinoma xenografts (HT-29) were implanted subcutaneously in n = 17 (n = 10 therapy group; n = 7 control group) female athymic nude rats (Hsd:RH-Foxn1rnu). Animals were imaged at baseline and after a one-week daily treatment protocol with regorafenib (10 mg/kg bodyweight) using a multimodal, multiparametric perfusion MRI/18F-FDG-PET imaging protocol. In perfusion MRI, quantitative parameters of plasma flow (PF, mL/100 mL/min), plasma volume (PV, %) and endothelial permeability-surface area product (PS, mL/100 mL/min) were calculated. In 18F-FDG-PET, tumor-to-background-ratio (TTB) was calculated. Perfusion MRI parameters were correlated with TTB and immunohistochemical assessments of tumor microvascular density (CD-31) and cell proliferation (Ki-67).

      RESULTS: Regorafenib significantly (p<0.01) suppressed PF (81.1±7.5 to 50.6±16.0 mL/100mL/min), PV (12.1±3.6 to 7.5±1.6%) and PS (13.6±3.2 to 7.9±2.3 mL/100mL/min) as well as TTB (3.4±0.6 to 1.9±1.1) between baseline and day 7. Immunohistochemistry revealed significantly (p<0.03) lower tumor microvascular density (CD-31, 7.0±2.4 vs. 16.1±5.9) and tumor cell proliferation (Ki-67, 434.0 ± 62.9 vs. 663.0 ± 98.3) in the therapy group. Perfusion MRI parameters ΔPF, ΔPV and ΔPS showed strong and significant (r = 0.67-0.78; p<0.01) correlations to the PET parameter ΔTTB and significant correlations (r = 0.57-0.67; p<0.03) to immunohistochemical Ki-67 as well as to CD-31-stainings (r = 0.49-0.55; p<0.05).

      CONCLUSIONS: A multimodal, multiparametric perfusion MRI/PET imaging protocol allowed for non-invasive monitoring of regorafenib therapy effects on experimental colorectal adenocarcinomas in vivo with significant correlations between perfusion MRI parameters and 18F-FDG-PET validated by immunohistochemistry.

      PMID:25668193 | PMC:PMC4323201 | DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0115543

      View details for PubMedID 25668193
  • Clinic offering affordable radiation therapy to increase access to care for patients enrolled in hospice Journal of oncology practice
    Schuster JM, Smith TJ, Coyne PJ, Lutz S, Anscher MS, Moghanaki D
    2014 Nov;10(6):e390-5. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2014.001505. Epub 2014 Sep 30.
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      PURPOSE: A majority of patients enrolled in hospice have advanced cancer. Most of them are burdened by symptoms related to uncontrolled tumor growth. Although palliative radiation therapy (RT) is highly effective, only 1% of hospice patients are ever referred. Commonly cited concerns include high treatment cost, burden of travel for multiple visits, and a perceived reluctance of radiation oncologists to deliver single-fraction RT.

      METHODS: A clinic offering affordable RT to patients in hospice was developed to simplify the intake, reduce cost, and minimize travel to a single visit. The goal was to evaluate, simulate and plan treatment, and treat patients with a single fraction of palliative RT within a 4-hour period.

      RESULTS: The initial 18-month experience is reported in this Health Information Portability and Accountability Act-compliant report that was approved by the Virginia Commonwealth University Institutional Review Board. Eight referrals were received from local hospice agencies that had not referred any patients in previous years. A telephone screening process avoided unnecessary travel for two patients who were not candidates for RT. Two additional patients who were evaluated with a same-day computed tomography simulation were not good candidates for RT. Ultimately, four patients were successfully treated with single-fraction palliative RT of 8 Gy. None had to disenroll from hospice.

      CONCLUSION: This novel program increased access to palliative RT for patients in hospice who would otherwise not have been referred. The main challenge identified was a need for ongoing educational activities at hospice agencies where staff turnover may be high and understanding about palliative RT can be limited.

      PMID:25271245 | DOI:10.1200/JOP.2014.001505

      View details for PubMedID 25271245

Contact Information

Jessica Schuster, MD

600 Highland Avenue,
Madison, WI 53792