Date: Tue, 19 Oct 2004 22:43:28 -0500
Subject: Correspondence re: JCO Reviews on Cell Culture Drug Resistance Testing
To: Daniel G. Haller MD, Editor in Chief, Journal of Clinical Oncology
Dear Dr. Haller,
Attached is a (certified virus free) Word (*.doc) file of a reply to
reviews appearing in the September 1, 2004 issue of the Journal of Clinical
Oncology relating to cell culture drug resistance testing, referred to more
ambiguously in the two reviews as "chemotherapy sensitivity and resistance
assays." n.b. This latter phrase is imprecise, because it encompasses not only
cell culture studies, but other assays, such as mechanistic probes, cell marker
studies, and the newer gene expression assays. I strongly advise using the
precisely descriptive term: cell culture drug resistance testing (CCDRT). The
distinction between "chemosensitivity" and "drug resistance" is purely
semantic. They both connote the same thing.
The attached paper is longer than your usual letter to the editor.
I hope that
you will not reject it solely on that basis. You did, afterall, publish two,
largely redundant papers. Additionally, in the words of one of the papers,
"little has changed since the review published by Cortazar and Johnson in 1999"
(another JCO publication). They were precisely correct in this statement, and
neither of the two present reviews is an important new contribution to the
literature, and one wonders why the Journal of Clinical Oncology afforded three
different groups of authors so many column inches to review the same data in
the same way and come to the same conclusions. As you will read in the
attached critique, these reviews are highly flawed, in my opinion. Explaining
why (and defending the past 25 years of my life's work) is a daunting
proposition, faced with a double-spaced, two page limit. These two reviews
were not just unfair and misleading, but grossly unfair and misleading. I
simply request the opportunity to make a proper argument in rebuttal.
By the way, I note that you work out of the U of Pennsylvania.
About 18 months
ago, my laboratory had the opportunity to test a NSCLC specimen from U Penn, on
a patient of Dr. James Stevenson. The patient had advanced disease; we
identified a novel drug combination, and the patient was treated with this
combination and enjoyed what he was told was "the best response [we] have ever
seen." You might ask Dr. Stevenson about this case. I doubt that this patient
would be alive today, absent our testing. Again, ask Dr. Stevenson if he
Larry Weisenthal, M.D., Ph.D
Weisenthal Cancer Group
15140 Transistor Lane
Huntington Beach, CA 92649