Charles L. Loprinzi, M.D., is a medical oncologist whose primary research interest for more than 25 years has related to symptom control clinical trials — trials devoted to the treatment, prevention or better understanding of untoward symptoms that are related to cancer, cancer treatment or both.
Dr. Loprinzi has led a group that has conducted well over 100 symptom control trials, most of them placebo-controlled trials. This work has addressed the management of mouth sores or inflammation of the esophagus or bowels (gastrointestinal mucosal toxicity); cancer-related loss of appetite, weight or both (anorexia-cachexia); chemotherapy-induced hot flashes, skin toxicity, sexuality symptoms, numbness, tingling, pain or a combination (chemotherapy-induced neuropathy); arm swelling (lymphedema); cognitive dysfunction; bone thinning (osteoporosis); insomnia; and fatigue. His primary clinical interest is breast cancer, and thus many of the trials he has conducted relate to this area.
Arguably, Dr. Loprinzi has been at the heart of defining more treatment approaches for uncontrolled symptoms in patients with cancer than any other individual over the past three decades.
- Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Dr. Loprinzi and his team have led more clinical trials aimed at the prevention or treatment of chemotherapy-induced neuropathy than any other group in the world. Through these efforts, he has been able to delineate the risks and benefits of different treatment approaches for preventing or treating chemotherapy neuropathy. His work has also helped to define the clinical details of chemotherapy neuropathy.
- Hot flashes. Hot flashes are a major problem for many women and men who have therapy to deplete testosterone. Dr. Loprinzi's research group has conducted more trials aimed at the treatment of hot flashes in women and men than any other group in the world. He and his group have been able to delineate nonestrogenic treatments that are effective for hot flashes. This includes the use of low doses of antidepressants for treating hot flashes.
- Anorexia and cachexia. Appetite loss and weight loss are common in many patients with advanced cancer. Dr. Loprinzi and his group have conducted more clinical trials aimed at treatment of these vexing problems than any other group in the world. Through this work, they have been able to define what works and what does not work for treatment of this clinical situation.
Significance to patient care
Cancer itself causes many untoward symptoms. Cancer treatment, likewise, can cause many uncomfortable symptoms. Research aimed at prevention and treatment of these symptoms is relatively uncommon. Appropriate research attention to these symptoms can define what does and what does not work for preventing and treating these symptoms. Such research can define options that can be used in clinical practice.
- Secretary (2014-2016), executive committee member (2013-2016) and board of directors (2012-2016), Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer
- Associate editor (2004, 2008) and chief editor (2013, 2015), Self Evaluation Program, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
- Senior co-chair, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy clinical practice guidelines committee, ASCO, 2014
- Founding editor, Art of Oncology section, Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2000-2010
- Chair, Alliance Symptom Intervention Committee, 2011-present