8th Annual Puerto Rico Oncology Symposium Highlights

General Session

The eighth consecutive annual FLASCO-AHOMPR Puerto Rico oncology conference took place on February 2-3, 2018, in San Juan PR. The conference was a great success thanks to the efforts of Julie Newberry and Dorothy Green Phillips, the excellent participation of speakers and moderators, and the support of Takeda Oncology, Celgene, Incyte, Janssen, Walgreens and multiple exhibitors.

We honored our past FLASCO President, our beloved late Dr Gerald Robbins, whose vision initiated this collaboration between Florida and PR oncology societies eight years ago. Multiple initiatives resulting from this conference over the years for the benefit of cancer patients were highlighted including the incorporation of the Puerto Rico oncology society (AHOMPR) into ASCO State Affiliates, the participation of PR oncologists in COA through the ongoing support of Ted Okon and FLASCO past president Dr. Mike Diaz, the increased awareness of the reasons for lower reimbursements for Medicare services in PR through the efforts of Dr Juan Schaening, the participation of fellows from PR in the conferences under the mentorship of Drs Maribel Tirado and William Caceres, and the prompt collaboration of FLASCO, COA, AHOMPR, ASCO and ACS in relief efforts immediately after Hurricane María.

The first day of the conference focused on brain tumors. Faculty of Neurosurgery, Neuro-oncology and pediatric Neuro-oncology from the University of Puerto Rico and from Florida academic institutions presented their research work and covered all areas of Neuro-oncology. Fellows from the 2 Hematology/Oncology training programs in PR presented difficult cases for discussion by the faculty. Second day presentations included an update on oncology issues been discussed by US congress by Ted Okon from COA. The Secretary of Health of PR, Dr. Rafael Rodriguez Mercado, a Professor of Neurosurgery at the UPR, presented an excellent detailed analysis of the health issues in PR. Dr. Mike Diaz presented an overview of Florida Cancer Specialists  practice model. Dr José Davila gave an overview of oncology practices in PR. The conference was well attended and interactive and we all learned from each other for the benefit of our patients.

We all left with great hope for the eventual full recovery of PR. We were left with great admiration for the amazing work and dedication of our colleagues in PR for their cancer patients. We all should also feel proud of FLASCO leadership, Dr. Richard McDonough, Dorothy Green Phillips, Julie Newberry, Drs. Mike Diaz  and Lucio Gordan as well as Ted Okon from COA, for their unwavering and prompt support of our colleagues in PR and their cancer patients following Hurricane María.

Brain Tumors – Management and Ongoing Research


Experience and Management of Craniopharyngiomas in PR

Jaime Inserni, MD – University of Puerto Rico, Department

Management of Atypical and Malignant Meningiomas in PR

Orlando De Jesus MD – University of Puerto Rico, Department of Neurosurgery


Eric Carro, MD – University of Puerto Rico, Department of Neurosurgery

Open Discussion Neuro-oncology in Puerto Rico

Ricardo Brau, MD – University of Puerto Rico, Department of Neurosurgery

Epidemiology of Glioblastoma in Puerto Rico

David Blas Borias, MD – University of Puerto Rico, Department of Neurosurgery

Management of Vertebral Bone Metastatic Tumors

Fanor Manuel Saavedra, MD – University of Puerto Rico, Department of Neurosurgery

Endovascular Management of Brain Tumors

Rodolfo Alcedo, MD – University of Puerto Rico, Department of Neurosurgery

Management of Pediatric Brain Stem Tumors

George Jallo, MD – Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital

Genomics: Changing the landscape of Pediatric Brain Tumors

Eric Sandler, MD – Nemours Children Specialty Care

Review of Mission: Brain and Planning for Mission: Brain PR

Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, MD – Mayo Clinic Florida

Case Presentation by Medical Oncology Fellows from UPR and San Juan VA Hospital


Animal Models of Brain Tumors

Rachel Sarabia-Estrada, PhD – Mayo Clinic Florida

Neurosurgical Management of Primary Brain Tumors and Metastatic Tumors

Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, MD – Mayo Clinic Florida

Management of Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis

Gerardo Colon-Otero, MD – Mayo Clinic Florida

Reflections, Closing Remarks and Future Plans


Practice Issues of Oncology in Puerto Rico


Status of Healthcare in Puerto Rico
Rafael Rodriguez Mercado, MD, FAANS, FACS – Secretary of Health Puerto Rico

Status of Cancer Care in Puerto Rico

Jose Davila, MD – AHOMPR Past President

Update on Cancer Care Issues in the USA

Ted Okon, MBA – Community Oncology Alliance Executive Director

Panel Discussion

Dr. Fernando Cabanillas, Dr. Juan Schaening, Dr. Mike Diaz,
Dr. Rafael Rodriguez Mercado, Dr. Jose Davila, Dr. Norman Maldonado and Ted Okon

Update in Primary and Metastatic Brain Tumor Management


Systemic Treatment Options for the Management of Brain Metastasis

Jose Lutzky, MD – Mount Sinai

An Update on Radiation Therapy Management of Brain Metastasis

Ana Botero, MD – Memorial Cancer Institute

Question and Answer Session – Discussion

Physician Driven Novel Model of Oncology Practice


Florida Cancer Specialists: A Physician Driven Model of Oncology Practice

Michael Diaz, MD – Director of Patient Advocacy – Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute

Panel Discussion: Cancer Practice Models in PR and USA

Dr. Fernando Cabanillas, Dr. Rafael Rodriguez Mercado, Dr. Juan Schaening and Dr. Norman Maldonado

Surgical Management of Primary and Metastatic Brain Tumors and Systemic Management of Primary Brain Tumors


Minimally Invasive Subcortical Surgery

Kaisorn Chaichana , MD – Mayo Clinic Florida

Systemic Management of Primary Brain Tumors

Maria E Echevarria, MD – University of Puerto Rico Department of Pediatric Hematology Oncology

Question and Answer Session – Discussion

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