National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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NCCN Revises Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines

HOLLYWOOD, FL - March 1, 2002 - Oncologists, oncology nurses, and patients now have a more comprehensive resource in their fight against breast cancer. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) presented the 2002 Breast Cancer Practice Guidelines at their 7th annual conference in Hollywood, Florida today.

The NCCN Practice Guidelines in Oncology are the recognized standard for clinical policy in the field of oncology. The guidelines are continuously monitored and updated with the most up-to-date information regarding cancer care. The Breast Cancer Treatment Guidelines have been revised twice in the past year. A full update was completed in December 2001 and then, the Guidelines were updated again in January 2002 based on the release of new data at the 2001 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

The 2002 Breast Cancer Treatment Guideline changes were based on review and discussion of recently published evidence. Major changes in 2002 include elaboration on the role of sentinel node biopsy, and updates in systemic therapies including the role of hormonal therapy with the aromatase inhibitors in postmenopausal women and LH-RH agonists in premenopausal women for metastatic disease.

Trial results that led to the January 2002 update include the ATAC (Arimidex and Tamoxifen Alone or in Combination) trial results, which demonstrate that Arimidex (anastrozole) provides superior disease-free survival and a favorable toxicity profile compared to tamoxifen as adjuvant therapy for hormone receptor-positive breast cancer in postmenopausal women. The ATAC results were compiled after a median of 33.3 months follow-up and a median duration of treatment of 30.7 months. Tamoxifen, which has been on the market for over 20 years The revised guidelines thus state that anastrozole may be considered as an option to tamoxifen after discussion of the available data between the physician and patient.

"Since new developments in cancer research are truly happening all the time, we revise our Practice Guidelines continuously," said Rodger Winn, MD Chairman of the NCCN Guidelines Steering Committee. "NCCN's new Internet version of the guidelines allows our panels to respond to treatment advances almost immediately."

In addition to offering the most authoritative and up-to-date information in cancer care, the NCCN Guidelines performance is measured and integrated into the NCCN Outcomes Database, which allows the NCCN to translate the Guidelines into a powerful resource for continuously improving the effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care.

Physicians interested in the NCCN Practice Guidelines may view them online at or request a CD-ROM by sending a letter to NCCN, 500 Old York Road, Suite 250, Jenkintown, PA 19046, or faxing a letter of request to 215-690-0280.

The NCCN is an alliance of 19 of the world's leading cancer centers, established in 1995 to provide the state-of-the-art in cancer care to the greatest number of patients in need.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital