Charles Levenback

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States

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Publications (214)1014.33 Total impact

  • Pedro T. Ramirez · Charles Levenback

    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Gynecologic Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Shared medical appointments offer a novel approach to improve efficiency and quality of care consistent with the goals of the Institute of Medicine. Our objective was to develop and implement a shared medical appointment for gynecologic cancer patients initiating chemotherapy. Methods: We first assessed the level of interest in shared medical appointments among our patients and providers through qualitative interviews. Both patients and providers identified pre-chemotherapy as an optimal area to pilot shared medical appointments. We subsequently created a multidisciplinary team comprised of physicians, advanced practice providers, nurses, pharmacists, administrators, health education specialists and members of the Quality Improvement Department to establish a Shared Medical Appointment and Readiness Teaching (SMART) program for all gynecologic oncology patients initiating chemotherapy with platinum- and/or taxane-based regimens. We developed a standardized chemotherapy education presentation and provided patients with a tool kit that consisted of chemotherapy drug education, a guide to managing side effects, advance directives, and center contact information. Results: From May 9, 2014 to June 26, 2015, 144 patients participated in 51 SMART visits. The majority of patients had ovarian cancer and were treated with carboplatin/paclitaxel. Surveyed patients reported being highly satisfied with the group visit and would recommend shared medical appointments to other patients. Conclusions: This model of care provides patient education within a framework of social support that empowers patients. Shared medical appointments for oncology patients initiating chemotherapy are both feasible and well accepted.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Gynecologic Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: A 2006 randomized trial demonstrated a 16-month survival benefit with intraperitoneal and intravenous (IP/IV) chemotherapy administered to patients who had ovarian cancer, compared with IV chemotherapy alone, but more treatment-related toxicities. The objective of this study was to examine the use and effectiveness of IP/IV chemotherapy in clinical practice. Prospective cohort study of 823 women with stage III, optimally cytoreduced ovarian cancer diagnosed at six National Comprehensive Cancer Network institutions. We examined IP/IV chemotherapy use in all patients diagnosed between 2003 and 2012 (N = 823), and overall survival and treatment-related toxicities with Cox regression and logistic regression, respectively, in a propensity score-matched sample (n = 402) of patients diagnosed from 2006 to 2012, excluding trial participants, to minimize selection bias. Use of IP/IV chemotherapy increased from 0% to 33% between 2003 and 2006, increased to 50% from 2007 to 2008, and plateaued thereafter. Between 2006 and 2012, adoption of IP/IV chemotherapy varied by institution from 4% to 67% (P < .001) and 43% of patients received modified IP/IV regimens at treatment initiation. In the propensity score-matched sample, IP/IV chemotherapy was associated with significantly improved overall survival (3-year overall survival, 81% v 71%; hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.47 to 0.99), compared with IV chemotherapy, but also more frequent alterations in chemotherapy delivery route (adjusted rates discontinuation or change, 20.4% v 10.0%; adjusted odds ratio, 2.83; 95% CI, 1.47 to 5.47). Although the use of IP/IV chemotherapy increased significantly at National Comprehensive Cancer Network centers between 2003 and 2012, fewer than 50% of eligible patients received it. Increasing IP/IV chemotherapy use in clinical practice may be an important and underused strategy to improve ovarian cancer outcomes. © 2015 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Journal of Clinical Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Recurrent, metastatic mesenchymal myxoid tumors of the gynecologic tract present a management challenge as there is minimal evidence to guide systemic therapy. Such tumors also present a diagnostic dilemma, as myxoid features are observed in leiomyosarcomas, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors (IMT), and mesenchymal myxoid tumors. Comprehensive genomic profiling was performed in the course of clinical care on a case of a recurrent, metastatic myxoid uterine malignancy (initially diagnosed as smooth muscle tumor of uncertain malignant potential (STUMP)), to guide identify targeted therapeutic options. To our knowledge, this case represents the first report of clinical response to targeted therapy in a tumor harboring a DCTN1-ALK fusion protein. Hybridization capture of 315 cancer-related genes plus introns from 28 genes often rearranged or altered in cancer was applied to >50 ng of DNA extracted from this sample and sequenced to high, uniform coverage. Therapy was given in the context of a phase I clinical trial Identifier: ( NCT01548144 ). Immunostains showed diffuse positivity for ALK1 expression and comprehensive genomic profiling identified an in frame DCTN1-ALK gene fusion. The diagnosis of STUMP was revised to that of an IMT with myxoid features. The patient was enrolled in a clinical trial and treated with an anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor (crizotinib/Xalkori®) and a multikinase VEGF inhibitor (pazopanib/Votrient®). The patient experienced an ongoing partial response (6+ months) by response evaluation criteria in solid tumors (RECIST) 1.1 criteria. For myxoid tumors of the gynecologic tract, comprehensive genomic profiling can identify clinical relevant genomic alterations that both direct treatment targeted therapy and help discriminate between similar diagnostic entities.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Journal of Hematology & Oncology
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    L. Prescott · T. Aloia · A. Brown · J. Taylor · C. Sun · C. Levenback · K. Schmeler · D. Bodurka

    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Gynecologic Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Two prospective, multicenter clinical trials have demonstrated the feasibility and reproducibility of sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy as part of the standard management of early-stage vulvar carcinoma. On the basis of the results of these trials, many gynecologic oncologists have incorporated SLN biopsy for vulvar cancer into their practice. Studies have further shown that SLN biopsy is associated with better quality of life than full lymphadenectomy, is more cost-effective than full lymphadenectomy, and pathologic evaluation. A large observational study is currently evaluating the outcomes of patients with early-stage vulvar cancer according to the results of their SLN biopsy and the approach to their care; this study may confirm that full inguinofemoral lymphadenectomy is no longer necessary in most patients with this disease. Here, we review the published data supporting SLN biopsy as part of the standard of care for women with early-stage vulvar cancer and discuss future considerations for the management of this disease. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Gynecologic Oncology

  • No preview · Article · May 2015 · Gynecologic Oncology

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Gynecologic Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: The phosphoinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) pathway is frequently dysregulated in endometrial cancer (EC). Hormonal manipulation leads to response in some patients with EC, but resistance derived from PI3K pathway activation has been documented. Targeting mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) may overcome endocrine resistance. We conducted a two-institution phase II trial of everolimus and letrozole in women with recurrent EC. Patients were considered incurable, had measurable disease, and were treated with up to two prior cytotoxic regimens. Everolimus was administered orally at 10 mg daily and letrozole was administered orally at 2.5 mg daily. Each cycle consisted of 4 weeks of therapy. Patients were treated until progression, toxicity, or complete response (CR). The primary end point was the clinical benefit rate (CBR), which was defined as CR, partial response, or stable disease (≥ 16 weeks) by RECIST 1.0 criteria. Translational studies were performed to correlate biomarkers with response. Thirty-eight patients were enrolled (median age, 62 years; range, 24 to 82 years). Thirty-five patients were evaluable for response. The CBR was 40% (14 of 35 patients); the median number of cycles among responders was 15 (range, seven to 29 cycles). The confirmed objective response rate (RR) was 32% (11 of 35 patients; nine CRs and two partial responses; median, 15 cycles; range, eight to 29 cycles). Twenty percent of patients (seven of 35 patients) were taken off treatment after a prolonged CR and at the discretion of the treating clinician. None of the patients discontinued treatment as a result of toxicity. Serous histology was the best predictor of lack of response. Patients with endometrioid histology and CTNNB1 mutations responded well to everolimus and letrozole. Everolimus plus letrozole results in a high CBR and RR in patients with recurrent EC. Further development of this combination in recurrent endometrioid EC is under way. © 2015 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Journal of Clinical Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate if an individual's level of meaning/peace (M/P) predicts various quality of life (QOL) and mental well-being measures. To identify targets that might enhance the overall spiritual well-being and QOL of ovarian cancer patients. Multi-site analysis of women with newly diagnosed stages II-IV ovarian, primary peritoneal, or fallopian tube cancer. Patients completed the following surveys: Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Ovarian (FACT-O), Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Spiritual (FACIT-Sp), Edmonton Symptom Assessment System (ESAS), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Templer's Death Anxiety Scale (DAS), Herth Hope Index (HHI), and Brief Multidimensional Measure of Religiousness/Spirituality (BMMRS). Linear regression models were created to examine the effect of M/P (FACIT-Sp) upon QOL, symptoms, and other measures of mental well-being. These models adjusted for the effect of site, race, age, stage, anaphylaxis to chemotherapy, and partner status as potential confounders. This study enrolled 104 patients from three separate sites. After adjusting for potential confounders, it was found that higher M/P predicted better QOL (FACT-O) (p < 0.0001). Higher M/P also predicted decreased death anxiety, depression, and anxiety (p ≤ 0.005). Finally, higher M/P predicted increased hope and coping scores (p ≤ 0.0005). Level of M/P is associated with several important mental and physical health states. This information may allow providers to identify patients at increased risk for mental/physical distress and may facilitate early referral to targeted psychotherapy interventions focused on improving patient QOL and decreasing anxiety and depression.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2014 · Supportive Care Cancer
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To use a large-scale multi-institutional dataset to quantify the prevalence of packed red blood cell transfusions and examine the associations between transfusion and perioperative outcomes in gynecologic cancer surgery. Methods: The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) participant use file was queried for all gynecologic cancer cases between 2010 and 2012. Demographic, preoperative and intraoperative variables were compared between transfusion and non-transfusion groups using chi-squared, Fisher's exact and Wilcoxon rank-sum tests. The primary endpoint was 30-day composite morbidity. Secondary endpoints included composite surgical site infections, mortality and length of stay. Results: A total of 8519 patients were analyzed, and 13.8% received a packed red blood cell transfusion. In the multivariate analysis, after adjusting for key clinical and perioperative factors, including preoperative anemia and case magnitude, transfusion was associated with higher composite morbidity (OR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.5-2.24), surgical site infections (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.39-2.35), mortality (OR 3.38, 95% CI 1.80-6.36) and length of hospital stay (3.02 days v. 7.17 days, P < 0.001). Conclusions: Blood transfusions are associated with increased surgical wound infections, composite morbidity and mortality. Based on our analysis of the NSQIP database, transfusion practices in gynecologic cancer should be scrutinized. Examination of institutional practices and creation of transfusion guidelines for gynecologic malignancies could potentially result in better utilization of blood bank resources and clinical outcomes among patients.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Gynecologic Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: National guidelines recommend prophylactic anticoagulation for all hospitalized patients with cancer to prevent hospital-acquired venous thromboembolism (VTE). However, adherence to these evidence-based recommended practice patterns remains low. We performed a quality improvement (QI) project to increase VTE pharmacologic prophylaxis rates among patients with gynecologic malignancies hospitalized for nonsurgical indications and evaluated the resulting effect on rates of development of VTE. Materials and methods: In June 2011, departmental VTE practice guidelines were implemented for patients with gynecologic malignancies who were hospitalized for nonsurgical indications. A standardized VTE prophylaxis module was added to the admission electronic order sets. Outcome measures included number of admissions receiving VTE pharmacologic prophylaxis within 24 hours of admission; and number of potentially preventable hospital-acquired VTEs diagnosed within 30 and 90 days of discharge. Outcomes were compared between a preguideline implementation cohort (n = 99), a postguideline implementation cohort (n = 127), and a sustainability cohort assessed 2 years after implementation (n = 109). Patients were excluded if upon admission they had a VTE, were considered low risk for VTE, or had a documented contraindication to pharmacologic prophylaxis. Results: Administration of pharmacologic prophylaxis within 24 hours of admission increased from 20.8% to 88.2% immediately following the implementation of guidelines, but declined to 71.8% in our sustainability cohort (P < 0.001). There was no difference in VTE incidence among the 3 cohorts [n = 2 (4.2%) vs n = 3 (3.9%) vs n = 3 (4.2%), respectively; P = 1.00]. Conclusions: Our QI project improved pharmacologic VTE prophylaxis rates. A small decrease in prophylaxis during the subsequent 2 years suggests a need for continued surveillance to optimize QI initiatives. Despite increased adherence to guidelines, VTE rates did not decline in this high-risk population.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2014 · International Journal of Gynecological Cancer

  • No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Gynecologic Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Bevacizumab and temsirolimus are active agents in gynecologic tumors. Temsirolimus attenuates upregulation of HIF-1α levels, a resistance mechanism for antiangiogenics, and targets the PI3-kinase/AKT/mTOR axis, commonly aberrant in these tumors Patients and Methods: We analyzed safety and responses in 41 patients with gynecologic cancers treated as part of a Phase I study of bevacizumab and temsirolimus. Results: Median age of the 41 women was 60 years (range, 33-80 years); median number of prior systemic therapies was 4 (1-11). Grade 3 or 4 treatment-related toxicities included: thrombocytopenia (10%), mucositis (2%), hypertension (2%), hypercholesterolemia (2%), fatigue (7%), elevated aspartate aminotransferase (2%), and neutropenia (2%). Twenty-nine patients (71%) experienced no treatment-related toxicity greater than grade 2. Full FDA-approved doses of both drugs (bevacizumab 15mg/kg IV Q3weeks and temsirolimus 25mg IV weekly) were administered without dose-limiting toxicity. Eight patients (20%) achieved stable disease (SD) ≥ 6 months and 7 patients (17%), a partial response (PR) [total = 15/41 patients (37%)]. Eight of 13 patients (62%) with high-grade serous histology (ovarian or primary peritoneal) achieved SD ≥ 6 months/PR. Conclusion: Bevacizumab and temsirolimus was well tolerated. Thirty-seven percent of heavily-pretreated patients achieved SD ≥ 6 months/PR, suggesting that this combination warrants further study.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Oncotarget
  • Laura L Holman · Charles F Levenback · Michael Frumovitz
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    ABSTRACT: Lymph node status is the most important prognosticator of survival among women with early stage cervical cancer. This means that many cervical cancer patients will undergo pelvic lymphadenectomy as part of their treatment. Unfortunately, this procedure is associated with significant morbidity. Utilizing the sentinel lymph node technique for women with cervical cancer has the potential to decrease this morbidity. Multiple studies have suggested that sentinel lymph node mapping in these patients is feasible with excellent detection rates and sensitivity. This review examines the current body of literature regarding sentinel lymph node biopsy among women with cervical cancer.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology
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    ABSTRACT: •There are 2 routes of lymphatic drainage for the uterine fundus—parametrial and ovarian.•The true false-negative rate for sentinel node biopsy in women with endometrial cancer is unknown.•Adherence to a surgical and pathologic algorithm seems to provide an acceptable low false negative rate.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Gynecologic Oncology
  • E.J. Koay · A. Jhingran · A.H. Klopp · C.F. Levenback · P.J. Eifel

    No preview · Article · Oct 2013 · International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
  • Patricia J. Eifel · Charles Levenback
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    ABSTRACT: Since its inception in 1948, MD Anderson Cancer Center has been at the forefront of innovative cervical cancer treatment. In the 1940s, cervical cancer was still a very important public health problem in the United States. Although cytologic screening and treatment of preinvasive disease subsequently led to a dramatic reduction in the incidence of invasive cervical cancer in the United States, this disease continues to affect about 11,000 women per year. In 2009, an estimated 4,070 women died of cervical cancer in the United States. Cervical cancer disproportionately affects medically underserved women in the United States and is still a leading cause of cancer death for women in many underdeveloped countries. During the past 60 years, innovations in treatment have substantially improved outcome and quality of life for many patients with this disease.
    No preview · Chapter · Aug 2013
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: The Affordable Care Act mandates the Prospective Payment System (PPS)-Exempt Cancer Hospitals Quality Reporting program. These 11 hospitals (which are paid fee-for-service rather than on a DRG system) began reporting measures (2 general safety, 2 breast, 1 colon) in 2013. Given this reporting mandate, we set out to determine whether the PPS-exempt gynecologic oncology programs could identify quality measures specific to the care of our patients. Methods: A list of 12 quality measures specific to gynecologic oncology was created (from sources including the National Quality Forum and the SGO). Measures already in use were not included. The list was ranked by the gynecologic oncology program directors at the PPS-exempt hospitals. Descriptive statistics (including mean and SD for rankings) were utilized. Results: Despite mandatory reporting of quality measures for PPS-exempt cancer hospitals, little consensus exists regarding specific gynecologic cancer measures. Documentation of debulking status, cancer survival, and offering minimally invasive surgery (for endometrial cancer) and intraperitoneal chemotherapy (for ovarian cancer) are important, but with widely variable responses (when ranked 1-12, standard deviations are 2-3). General issues regarding adherence to guidelines for the use of GCSF, documentation of functional status, and tracking of patient satisfaction scores were ranked the lowest. Three of the directors reported that their compensation is partially linked to quality outcomes. Conclusions: There is wide variability in ranking of quality measures, and may relate to provider or institutional factors. Despite the mandatory reporting in PPS-exempt cancer hospitals, work remains to define gynecologic cancer quality measures.
    Preview · Article · May 2013 · Gynecologic Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Current information about the anatomic distribution of lymph node (LN) metastases from cervical cancer is not precise enough for optimal treatment planning for highly conformal radiation therapy. To accurately define the anatomic distribution of these LN metastases, we mapped [(18)F] fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET)-positive LNs from 50 women with cervical cancer. Records of patients with cervical cancer treated from 2006 to 2010 who had pretreatment PET/computed tomography (CT) scans available were retrospectively reviewed. Forty-one consecutive patients (group 1) with FDG-avid LNs were identified; because there were few positive paraortic LNs in group 1, 9 additional patients (group 2) with positive paraortic LNs were added. Involved LNs were contoured on individual PET/CT images, mapped to a template CT scan by deformable image registration, and edited as necessary by a diagnostic radiologist and radiation oncologists to most accurately represent the location on the original PET/CT scan. We identified 190 FDG-avid LNs, 122 in group 1 and 68 in group 2. The highest concentrations of FDG-avid nodes were in the external iliac, common iliac, and paraortic regions. The anatomic distribution of the 122 positive LNs in group 1 was as follows: external iliac, 78 (63.9%); common iliac, 21 (17.2%); paraortic, 9 (7.4%); internal iliac, 8 (6.6%); presacral, 2 (1.6%); perirectal, 2 (1.6%); and medial inguinal, 2 (1.6%). Twelve pelvic LNs were not fully covered when the clinical target volume was defined according to Radiation Therapy Oncology Group guidelines for intensity modulated radiation therapy for cervical cancer. Our findings clarify nodal volumes at risk and can be used to improve target definition in conformal radiation therapy for cervical cancer. Our findings suggest several areas that may not be adequately covered by contours described in available atlases.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2013 · Practical Radiation Oncology

Publication Stats

9k Citations
1,014.33 Total Impact Points


  • 1994-2016
    • University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
      • • Department of Gynecologic Oncology
      • • Division of Radiation Oncology
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 2011
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 1995-2009
    • University of Houston
      Houston, Texas, United States
    • Loyola University Medical Center
      مايوود، إلينوي, Illinois, United States
  • 2000-2006
    • Gynecologic Oncology Group
      Buffalo, New York, United States
  • 1992
    • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
      • Gynecology Service
      New York, New York, United States