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ASCO Requests CMS to Recognize NCCN Compendium

Recommends NCCN’s Drugs and Biologics Compendium to CMS as Resource for Off-Label Anti-Cancer Therapy

JENKINTOWN, Pa., July 18, 2006 — The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians of all oncology subspecialties who care for people with cancer, has asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to recognize the NCCN Drugs and Biologics Compendium™ as one of the publications used for Medicare coverage of drugs used off-label in anti-cancer therapy. The letter of request written by ASCO is consistent with similar support from six other major national medical organizations.

CMS is required to cover off-label drug uses that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as long as those are included in specified compendia. CMS is also empowered to select compendia through the Department of Health and Human Services. In their formal request, ASCO asked CMS to add the NCCN Compendium to the existing list of mandated compendium publications.

By doing so, CMS would have a reference that reflects the standard of care for oncology in both office-based and hospital-based practice. The NCCN Compendium is based entirely upon recommendations from the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™—treatment algorithms created and updated continuously.

ASCO cited several supporting reasons for their request, including the Compendium’s close association with the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, the Compendium’s clear and specific recommendations, and the Compendium’s structure enabling timely recommendations based on expert review.

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