I am a surgical oncologist who specializes in the treatment of patients with soft tissue sarcomas. Sarcoma presents the patient and physician with a unique problem, since it is a rare cancer. In fact, the term sarcoma includes more than 50 different disease subtypes. Each subtype behaves very differently. For patients to receive the best care, each subtype must be treated differently. Most surgeons see very few sarcomas over their career, and they treat each of these tumors in the same way. As a member of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Sarcoma Disease Management Team, I have been able to treat many patients with this disease. For this reason, I have developed an understanding of the challenges posed by each specific subtype of soft tissue sarcoma, and I use this information to provide an individualized recommendation for each of my patients.
I work closely with members of the pathology, radiation oncology, and medical oncology departments. Together, we design treatment plans that maximize the chance of cure while also maximizing the patient’s ability to recover normal function after surgery. This allows me to perform limb-sparing procedures for almost all extremity tumors and, when safe, to integrate laparoscopic and minimally invasive techniques into our treatment plan. I monitor many patients at increased risk of developing sarcoma, such as those with Gardner’s syndrome or neurofibromatosis, so as to detect tumors early in their formation and minimize long-term complications.
I am the author of numerous articles, chapters, and reviews on the management and biology of soft tissue sarcomas. In addition to my clinical practice, I coordinate an active research effort, examining the genetic alterations that lead to the development of these tumors. My work has been funded by the Kristen Ann Carr Foundation, Cycle for Survival, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the American College of Surgeons. Much of my research examines the DNA of soft tissue sarcoma and how we can use information on DNA changes in sarcoma to develop better therapies for cancer care. My findings have increased knowledge of the central pathways that contribute to liposarcoma initiation and to the development of aggressive disease. I have helped to identify novel biomarkers that may help predict which patients can benefit from CDK4 inhibitors, which are experimental drugs currently being studied in clinical trials at our institution.
I also have a special interest in desmoid tumors. Working with members of the French Sarcoma Group, I have defined risk factors that predict whether a patient’s desmoid is likely to come back after surgery. These findings allow us to define which patients are best managed with surgery versus drug therapy or monitoring without immediate treatment. Refining current treatment practices will help us to prevent many of the complications traditionally resulting from desmoid tumors. Along with this clinical research, I am actively examining the genomics of desmoid fibromatosis. Working with colleagues at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, I have identified changes in DNA that correlate with the formation of desmoids (and also with solitary fibrous tumors). We are hopeful that an in-depth analysis of these changes will lead to new treatments for patients with these diseases.
- Clinical Expertise: Soft Tissue Sarcoma: Leiomyosarcoma, Myxofibrosarcoma, Liposarcoma, Desmoid Tumor, Solitary Fibrous Tumor, Malignant Fibrous Histiocytoma (Undifferentiated Pleomorphic Sarcoma), Epithelioid Sarcoma, Synovial Sarcoma, Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor, Angiosarcoma, Fibrosarcoma, Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans, Rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing Sarcoma, Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor
- Languages Spoken: English
- Education: MD, Harvard Medical School; PhD, Cambridge University (UK)
- Residencies: Georgetown University Medical Center
- Fellowships: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
- Board Certifications: Surgery
Selected Book Chapters
“Gastrectomy.” Crago AM. In: Surgical Pitfalls: Prevention and Management. Evans SRT, ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2008.
“Pre-operative pitfalls.” Crago AM. In: Surgical Pitfalls: Prevention and Management. Evans SRT, ed. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2008.
“Soft tissue sarcoma.” Crago AM, Singer S. In: ACS Surgery: Principles & Practice. Ashley SW, ed. Hamilton, Ontario: BC Decker; In Press.
Research is integral to our mission at Memorial Sloan Kettering, and clinical trials help us discover better forms of patient care and treatment. For you, this could mean access to a new therapy or therapy combination. Click to see a list of the trials I’m currently leading.
Clinical Trials Co-Investigated by Aimee M. Crago
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