By Kelly Simpson, Manager, Global Initiatives
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recently traveled to Brazil for the fifth annual Grupo Latinoamericano de Investigacao Clinica em Oncologia (GLICO) Breast Cancer congress. From August 26th through August 28th, approximately 300 Latin American oncology professionals heard from Dr. David S. Ettinger, Dr. John H. Ward, and Dr. William T. McGivney, of The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, and NCCN, respectively. This program, Cancer de Mama, Ano 5 (Breast Cancer, Year Five), was held in Gramado, Brazil.
Both NCCN and GLICO recognize the valuable role of expert teamwork and consensus in improving and standardizing cancer treatment recommendations. The initial collaboration was inherently positive and signifies a successful beginning to what will become a more comprehensive partnership. In his presentation, Dr. McGivney educated the attendees about the work and mission of NCCN and the importance of international collaborations for the betterment of patient care.
As the congress was officially focused on clinical developments in breast cancer, Dr. Ward illustrated the science and decisions behind key NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines™) recommendations for that tumor type.
Dr. Ettinger, an expert in lung cancer, spoke on the challenges of taking Guidelines across borders, emphasizing that NCCN experts in the United States often contend with many of the same clinical dilemmas that confront physicians all around the world. The question and answer component of the NCCN session raised issues relating to comparative effectiveness, clinical care, and standardization of treatment approaches.
The program was intimate, yet wide in its reach. In addition to Brazilians, the presented information reached oncology professionals in attendance from the following countries: Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
In conjunction with the congress, NCCN faculty and disease-specific experts from across Latin America participated in closed-panel discussions to consider potential modifications to the NCCN Guidelines™ for Breast and Lung Cancers for adapted local implementation. These productive and informative meetings will result in Latin American Editions of the NCCN Guidelines for use by practitioners in that region.
After returning from the trip, Dr. Ettinger said that he is "looking forward to having more participants contribute and to enhancing the working relationship between the NCCN physicians and Latin American physicians." Furthering the relationships is important, as local presenters conveyed a burdensome need for an evidence-based system that serves to minimize the vast disparities in care provided to Latin American patients. NCCN enthusiastically aims to meet that need through implementation of adapted Guidelines. The local editions of the NCCN Guidelines, once finalized, will be made available in Portuguese and Spanish.