PNA Spotlight: Dr. Andrew Lin
This month the PNA Spotlight focuses on Dr. Andrew Lin, a neuro-oncologist and neurologist with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He earned his MD from Weill Cornell Medical College, and did residencies in internal medicine and neurology at Barnes Jewish Hospital. He also completed a fellowship in neuro-oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Lin was kind enough to answer some questions from the PNA. His answers are below.
Can you tell us a bit about your practice?
I am a board-certified neurologist with subspecialty board certification in neuro-oncology. I see a wide range of patients with neoplasms of the nervous system, both primary and secondary. As the neuro-oncologist for the Multidisciplinary Pituitary and Skull Base Tumor Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, I see aggressive pituitary adenomas that progress on standard treatment—namely, surgery and radiotherapy. These aggressive, life-threatening malignancies are locally invasive, causing devastating neurologic complications and metastases. I leverage my experience treating primary brain tumors as co-investigator on multiple clinical trials and my research background investigating the molecular pathogenesis of gliomas to develop novel treatments for pituitary tumors.
What inspired you to choose your career path?
I was inspired to treat patients with pituitary tumors after I witnessed first-hand how effective and life-changing medical treatments can be in the management of these tumors. Pituitary tumors can be exquisitely sensitive to chemotherapy, which I manage as a neuro-oncologist.
What is the primary focus of your work/research?
The primary focus of my research is the treatment of aggressive pituitary tumors with chemotherapy. Recently, my colleagues and I encountered a young woman with an aggressive ACTH-secreting tumor who has had a dramatic response to immunotherapy. This is the basis of an investigator-initiated trial looking at the activity of two immunotherapies, ipilimumab and nivolumab, in the treatment of pituitary adenomas.
What do you consider to be the future of your field?
I think that the field of neuro-oncology will be increasingly important in the management treatment of these tumors. Neuro-oncologists are uniquely trained to recognize when pituitary tumors require additional treatment and we have the training and experience to dictate the best tumor-directed treatment.
What should patients know about your field/what deserves more recognition/awareness?
I think it is under-recognized that medical treatments like temozolomide may have a role in helping patients with aggressive pituitary tumors.
What would you like to convey about yourself to your patients?
Aggressive pituitary tumors are an orphan tumor; as such there is limited awareness of the treatments available for these tumors. At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, we have the expertise and we have clinical trials to offer.
Why did you get involved with the PNA and what is the extent of your involvement?
I think patient advocacy organizations are extremely important for advancing research and the development of new treatments.