Rana R. McKay, MD

Rana R. McKay, MD

The University of California, San Diego

La Jolla, California

Rana R. McKay, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and Co-Leader of the Genitourinary Oncology Disease Team at the Moores Cancer Center. She is a board-certified medical oncologist who specializes in treating people with urogenital cancers, including bladder, kidney, prostate, and testicular cancer. Her research interests include the design and implementation of clinical trials to advance the treatment of patients with urologic cancers. She serves as the Principal Investigator of several early phase trials in kidney and prostate cancer. As a clinical investigator, she is committed to advancements that will improve the lives of individuals with cancer. Furthermore, she is interested in understanding mechanisms of response and resistance to specific cancer therapies. Her work has appeared in peer- reviewed publications such as Nature, The Lancet, The Journal of Clinical Oncology, Clinical Cancer Research, Cancer, among others. Dr. McKay earned her medical degree at the University of Florida College of Medicine before completing her residency in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. She also completed a fellowship in Oncology/Hematology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School. She went on to serve as an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School and a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston before joining UC San Diego Health.


Articles by Rana R. McKay, MD

Overall Survival with Sipuleucel-T in Patients Treated for Advanced Prostate Cancer

Rana R. McKay, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and Co-Leader of the Genitourinary Oncology Disease Team at the Moores Cancer Center, discusses the results of a study that compared the efficacy of first-line and any-line sipuleucel-T to that of novel hormonal agents in Medicare beneficiaries with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC). The intent of the study was to see how the use of sipuleucel-T, which has been available for just over a decade and was the first autologous vaccine approved for a solid tumor, might be impacted by the introduction of so many new therapies for mCRPC in the last 10 years. Dr. McKay explains that the results show that, for the population studied, use of sipuleucel-T, both as first-line and any-line therapy, results in a statistically significant improvement in overall survival compared to patients who never received sipuleucel-T and were instead treated with other novel hormonal agents. Following her presentation, E. David Crawford, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Grand Rounds in Urology, conducts a Q&A session with Dr. McKay in which they discuss the increasing acceptance of sipuleucel-T among medical oncologists, combination therapies with sipuleucel-T, and the future of sipuleucel-T, among other subjects.

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Trials in Neoadjuvant Therapy for Patients with High-Risk Localized Prostate Cancer

Brian T. Helfand, MD, PhD, Chief of the Division of Urology at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, Illinois, discusses the growing role of genetic assessment in prostate cancer screening, emphasizing the benefits of finding patients’ single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based polygenic risk score (PRS). He acknowledges the roles of family history and testing for rare pathogenic mutations like BRCA2, ATM, and CHEK2, but observes that the former can change over time and be difficult to accurately obtain, while the latter is only relevant to a small percentage of patients. PRS, or genetic risk score, is a number calculated based on the cumulative variation across multiple SNPs, which is then used to provide an easily interpreted estimate of disease risk that is more informative than family history, improves predictive performance, and is significantly associated with both prostate cancer incidence and mortality. Dr. Helfand concludes by noting that there are currently no agreed upon guidelines for timing and frequency of PSA testing, but genetic assessment, and particularly PRS, could clarify who would benefit from early screening.

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