Cancer Centers in the News

The following links highlight some of the most up-to-date news from the 27 NCCN Member Institutions. The media coverage below includes major national news outlets, industry magazines, medical journals, and press releases.

The news is listed in reverse chronological order for ease of use.

03/17/2017
Dealing with Distress (CancerConnect.com)
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03/16/2017
Cancer & Distress: A Guide to Coping (The Huffington Post)
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03/16/2017
Racial Disparities in Genetic Testing of Women with Breast Cancer (MedicalResearch.com)
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03/16/2017
New Supportive Care Resources from NCCN Help Patients with Cancer Confront Distress

New NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Distress available on NCCN.org/patients

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA – March 16, 2017] — All patients with cancer experience some level of distress associated with their cancer diagnosis and the effects of the disease and its treatment—regardless of the stage of disease. Not only does distress effect a patient’s mental and psychosocial well-being, but because distress is a risk factor for non-adherence, uncontrolled distress can have a significant impact on a patient’s overall survival.

And yet – many patients don’t feel comfortable talking about their anxiety, family problems, or other issues with their oncologist. 

Empowering Patients through Education

To empower patients confronting distress after a cancer diagnosis, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has published the NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and NCCN Quick Guide™ for Distress through funding from the NCCN Foundation® and Good Days, a patient advocacy organization providing financial assistance to patients so that they do not have to choose between access to medicine they need and affording everyday living. These resources are available free of charge at NCCN.org/patients and on the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer mobile app.

“NCCN was a pioneer in understanding the central role of distress in overall patient management in oncology,” said Jimmie C. Holland, MD, the Wayne E. Chapman Chair in Psychiatric Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Founding Chair of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) Panel for Distress Management. “We are proud to continue that tradition through the publication of these patient tools that will further assist patients in identifying the symptoms of distress and empower them to seek help to manage them.”

In addition to her role with NCCN, Dr. Holland, a pioneer in psycho-oncology, is the Founding President of the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS), which brings together professionals from all disciplines working in psychosocial oncology so that patients affected by cancer have access to quality psychosocial care to optimize health outcomes. APOS has endorsed the NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Distress.

Meeting National Requirements

In 2015, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) began to require cancer centers to have in place a process for distress screening in all patients diagnosed with cancer. Many had already been relying on the widely-used NCCN Distress Thermometer, which was first created in 1997 as part of the NCCN Guidelines for Distress Management. Similar to the pain scale used in various areas of medicine, the distress thermometer allows patients to self-identify their stress level from zero to 10, with 10 being an extreme level of distress. Under the guidelines, patients reporting above a “4” should be referred to supportive care that will best serve their needs.  

As described in the NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Distress, the NCCN Distress Thermometer,  which meets the ACS Commission on Cancer’s requirements, is presented with a “problem list” where patients can identify sources of distress from the following categories:

  • Practical Problems
  • Family Problems
  • Emotional Problems
  • Spiritual/Religious Concerns
  • Physical Problems

“In patients with cancer, distress encompasses far more than anxiety about treatment and prognosis,” says Dr. Holland. “Encouraging patients to identify and express the sources of distress in their lives will ultimately improve their psychosocial and physical well-being. My hope is that one day, all oncologists will post the NCCN Distress Thermometer in their examination rooms just as ophthalmologists have the eye chart.  Discussion of distress should be a routine part of the patient visit.”   

Today, the NCCN Distress Thermometer is accessible in the NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Distress

“The moment a patient is diagnosed with cancer, distress is likely to begin to surface,” says Clorinda Walley, Executive Director of Good Days. “As an advocacy organization that works directly with patients, Good Days regularly supports individuals who not only need financial resources, but require the right information that will aid their specific health care situation. The NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Distress empowers cancer patients so that they may construct a holistic path to wellness.”

A Full Library of Patient Resources

NCCN Guidelines for Patients, patient-friendly adaptations of the NCCN Guidelines, are easy-to-understand resources based on the same clinical practice guidelines used by health care professionals around the world to determine the best way to treat a person with cancer. Each resource features unbiased expert guidance from the nation’s leading cancer centers designed to help people living with cancer understand and discuss their treatment options with their providers.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheets—one-page summaries of key points in the patient guidelines—are written in plain language and include patient-friendly tools, such as questions to ask your doctor, a glossary of terms, and medical illustrations of anatomy, tests, and treatment.  NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheets DO NOT replace the expertise and clinical judgment of the clinician.

NCCN currently offers NCCN Guidelines for Patients for the following: Brain, Breast, Colon Distress, Esophageal, Kidney, Non-Small Cell Lung, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, and Stomach Cancers; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer; Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia; Hodgkin Lymphoma; Lung Cancer Screening; Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma; Melanoma; Multiple Myeloma; Myelodysplastic Syndromes; Nausea and Vomiting; Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas; Soft Tissue Sarcoma; and Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Distress are available to download for free from NCCN.org/patients and on the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer mobile app.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients®: Distress will be available at the following Conferences this month:

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About NCCN Foundation

NCCN Foundation® was founded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) to empower people with cancer and advance oncology innovation. NCCN Foundation supports people with cancer and their caregivers at every step of their treatment journey by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research, initiating momentum in their careers and furthering the betterment of patients through their groundbreaking innovations. For more information about NCCN Foundation, visit http://www.nccnfoundation.org.

 

About Good Days       

Good Days is a national, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that provides financial assistance to patients so that they do not have to choose between access to medicine they need and affording everyday living. Since 2003, Good Days has provided more than 800,000 grants and helped more than 500,000 people with access to healthcare resources. For more information about Good Days, visit http://www.mygooddays.org

 

About American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS)

APOS is the only multidisciplinary organization in the United States dedicated to researching and treating the psychosocial aspects of cancer. For more information go to www.apos-society.org.

 

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 of the world’s leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. 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 NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit NCCN.org. Patients and caregivers, visit NCCN.org/patients. Media, visit NCCN.org/news

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03/15/2017
Yale Study Published in JNCCN Uncovers Racial Disparities in Treatment of Women with Breast Cancer

Researchers at Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital found that black and Hispanic women in Connecticut are significantly less likely to undergo gene expression profiling than white women.

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA — March 15, 2017] In a simple definition, cancer is a disease of the cells, which is caused by gene mutations. For a proportion of patients, including women with hormone receptor positive (HR+) breast cancer, gene expression profiling has a substantial impact on treatment decision-making by determining which patients might—or might not—respond to particular treatment options.

Gene expression profiling tests are readily available, yet researchers recently found that white women with breast cancer are far more likely to receive a particular test—Oncotype Dx™ (ODx)—than black or Hispanic women with the same diagnosis. The study, Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Oncotype Dx™ Test Receipt in a State-Wide Population-Based Study,” led by Cary P. Gross, MD, Yale University School of Medicine and a member of Yale Cancer Center, is published in the March issue of JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

“Observed racial and ethnic disparities in Oncotype DX testing are particularly concerning given its potential to guide treatment decisions for women with early stage breast cancer. Unequal access to genetic testing has the potential to further exacerbate disparities in treatment quality, survival, and quality of life,” said Dr. Gross.

Testing Within vs. Outside of the Guidelines

According to lead author Brigette Davis, MPH, the study built on existing research in two ways: identifying racial disparities in a state-wide, population-based analysis; and identifying the use of ODx among women for whom the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) recommend it, as well as among women for whom NCCN Guidelines® did not recommend testing.  This distinction is important, Ms. Davis says, “because evidence-based guidelines are intended to remove subjectivity from clinical decision-making; utilization outside of these guidelines further highlights how nonclinical factors may impact outcomes and costs for patients and payers.”

The team looked at a cohort of more than 8,000 women across the state of Connecticut who were diagnosed with HR+ breast cancer between 2011 and 2013. Among those women, Dr. Gross and colleagues performed a retrospective analysis of race, ethnicity, and ODx receipt, dividing the population among those who did and did not qualify for ODx testing according to the NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer.

Among the population, more than 80% of the patients were white, 6.3% were black, and 7.4% were Hispanic. Researchers found that for the NCCN Guidelines-recommended group, white patients were more likely to receive ODx testing than black and Hispanic women: 51.4% vs. 44.6% and 47.7%. Even after further adjusting for tumor and clinical characteristics, researchers observed significantly lower ODx use among black and Hispanic women compared with white women in the recommended group. Significant testing variation between the white, black, and Hispanic patients were also noted in the non-Guidelines-recommended group: 21.2% vs. 9.0% and 9.7%, respectively.

“Understanding and mitigating racial barriers to gene expression testing in women with breast cancer is imperative to narrowing disparities in breast cancer outcomes,” said Dr. Gross. “Our study reinforces the notion that at the same time the scientific community is discovering exciting new ways to help prevent or treat breast cancer, our broader community of clinicians and policy makers must ensure that these breakthroughs are accessible for all patients who need them, regardless of the color of their skin, their nation of origin, or the size of their bank account.” 

Overuse of Oncotype DX Testing

In addition to racial disparities, the study uncovered significant use of ODx outside NCCN Guidelines recommendations—confirming earlier concern about overuse of genetic profiling in patients with breast cancer. As outlined in the study, between 2011 and 2013, the NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer did not recommend ODx for patients with higher-risk disease, yet more than 18%—or 1,100 women—received ODx testing.

Amy E. Cyr, MD, of Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine and a member of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer noted, “Papers like this are important to make us aware of our practice patterns; I expect that most physicians do not perceive that they use these tests differently when caring for minority women. Stricter adherence to treatment guidelines should reduce such racial disparity. We cannot address disparity in outcomes without addressing disparity in treatment patterns.”

“Reports such as this Yale study of racial and ethnic disparities regarding Oncotype testing are important for the medical community to receive and digest,” said Benjamin O. Anderson, MD, of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Vice-Chair of the NCCN Guidelines Panel for Breast Cancer. “Patients who have a complete understanding—without fear—of their treatment options, are more likely to seek and receive the care they need. As clinicians who educate each patient about their care, the solution is very much in our hands.”

This study was funded by the American Cancer Society.

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About JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
More than 24,000 oncologists and other cancer care professionals across the United States read JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. This peer-reviewed, indexed medical journal provides the latest information about best clinical practices, health services research, and translational medicine. JNCCN features updates on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), review articles elaborating on guidelines recommendations, health services research, and case reports highlighting molecular insights in patient care. JNCCN is published by Harborside Press. Visit JNCCN.org. To inquire if you are eligible for a FREE subscription to JNCCN, visit http://www.nccn.org/jnccn/subscribe.asp

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03/15/2017
Antibody Fights Pediatric Brain Tumors in Preclinical Testing (Stanford Medicine)
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03/15/2017
New Driver, Target in Advanced Mucosal Melanoma (University of Colorado Cancer Center)
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03/15/2017
As Drug Costs Soar, People Delay or Skip Cancer Treatments (NPR Shots Blog)
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03/14/2017
Finding Positive in the Negative (Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center)
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03/07/2017
NCCN “Just Bag It!” Campaign Shoots for 100 Adopters by End of Annual Conference

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA - March 7, 2017] – By the time its annual conference concludes on March 25, 2017, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) is aiming to have 100 reported medical centers and practices that deliver chemotherapy committed to Just Bag It: The NCCN Campaign for Safe Vincristine HandlingNCCN will register new  adopters prior to and during the NCCN 22nd Annual Conference: Improving the Quality, Effectiveness, and Efficiency of Cancer Care™ March 23-25  in Orlando, FL, and report progress toward the goal on Twitter: #NCCNac17 and #NCCNJustBagIt.

As part of its mission to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives, NCCN launched the Just Bag It! campaign November 10, 2016 to encourage health care providers across the United States and the world, to adopt a policy to always dilute and administer vincristine in a mini IV-drip bag to prevent a deadly medical error.

Prior to the launch in November, all 27 NCCN Member Institutions had adopted policies in line with these Guidelines, which are also recommended by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices, the Joint Commission, the World Health Organization, and the Oncology Nursing Society.

By the end of February, more than 30 additional centers had confirmed with NCCN their adherence to the campaign, which NCCN is waging through social media and its 27 Member Institutions. 

Vincristine is a chemotherapy agent, widely used in patients with Leukemia or Lymphoma, which should be administered intravenously—directly into the patient’s vein. When it enters the blood, it is highly effective at blocking the growth of cancer by preventing cells from separating. However, vincristine is a neurotoxin that causes peripheral neuropathy when given intravenously and profound neurotoxicity if given into the spinal fluid, which flows around the spinal cord and brain.

Many patients who receive vincristine have a treatment regimen that includes other chemotherapy drugs that are administered intrathecally, or injected into the spinal fluid with a syringe. If vincristine is administered mistakenly into the spinal fluid, it is uniformly fatal, causing ascending paralysis, neurological defects, and eventually death.

In 2005, NCCN Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Carlson, MD, a medical oncologist, witnessed such a tragedy with a 21-year-old patient with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma named Christopher Wibeto. Wibeto was transferred to Dr. Carlson’s care after receiving incorrectly administered vincristine at another hospital. Dr. Carlson watched the young man go from having a treatable condition to deteriorating and dying over the course of four days. Motivated by this tragic experience, Dr. Carlson spearheaded a national effort to address this deadly error when he arrived at NCCN, enlisting the help of its Best Practices Committee, which is dedicated to improving cancer treatment protocols.

To ensure that vincristine is always administered properly, NCCN has issued guidelines and updated NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates (NCCN Templates®) advising health care providers to always dilute and administer vincristine in a mini IV-drip bag and never use a syringe to administer the medication. This precaution renders it impossible to accidentally administer the medication into the spinal fluid and greatly decreases the chances of improper dosage.

“Every medical center, hospital, and oncology practice that makes the commitment to ‘Just Bag It’ takes an important step toward patient safety and ensures that this error will never happen again,” Dr. Carlson said. “Christopher’s memory inspires us to never give up telling his story and remaining vigilant for this cause.”  

Surveys issued by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) show that over time, more hospitals have adopted a policy to always bag vincristine. According to ISMP data, the number of hospitals that have fully implemented the policy across their practice nearly doubled between February 2014 and February 2016. Earlier surveys indicated a similar increase between 2005 and 2012. Still, only about half of all respondents indicated that they have implemented the policy in all treatment settings, indicating that there is a long way to go.

With 125 known cases of accidental death in the United States and abroad since the inception of vincristine use in the 1960s, this error is relatively rare. Still, it is unique in its level of mortality. Improvements in practice over the years, including manufacturer- and pharmacist-issued warning labels, have reduced the number of deaths, but the error continues to occur.

For more information about Just Bag It: The NCCN Campaign for Safe Vincristine Handling, or to report that a medical facility has adopted a vincristine policy, visit www.NCCN.org/JustBagIt.

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03/06/2017
Major Pharmaceutical Companies Collaborate in Groundbreaking NCCN Project

The NCCN Oncology Research Program has awarded grants for its first-ever multi-industry collaborative project, soliciting investigator-initiated proposals to research the effectiveness of Boehringer-Ingelheim’s afatinib in combination with other drugs to treat lung and head and neck cancers.

[FORT WASHINGTON, PA – March 6, 2017] The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) has funded three studies in its first multi-industry collaborative research project in which Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) are collaborating with NCCN to study combination therapeutic agents in lung cancer and head and neck cancers.

The following studies were awarded funding through NCCN ORP:

Boehringer Ingelheim awarded NCCN ORP a $2-million research grant to support NCCN investigator-initiated pre-clinical, clinical, and correlative studies of combination therapies containing afatinib1 in the treatment of lung and head and neck cancers. NCCN and Boehringer Ingelheim collaborated with Lilly for access to necitumumab2.

Proposals of other afatinib combination therapies were also accepted. Submissions were peer reviewed by the NCCN Afatinib Combination Scientific Review Committee. The funded concepts were selected based on several criteria, including scientific merit, existing data, and the types of studies necessary to further evaluate the efficacy of afatinib.

“In facilitating this innovative research initiative, NCCN ORP indeed leads the way in laying the groundwork for future collaborative clinical research endeavors,” said Susan Most, RN, MBA, Director, Clinical Operations, NCCN ORP. “The study of the effectiveness of combination therapies in oncology requires collaboration among various stakeholders, and NCCN applauds Boehringer Ingelheim and Lilly in their combined efforts to advance cutting edge research to improve the lives of people with lung and head and neck cancers.”

For more information about NCCN ORP, visit NCCN.org/ORP.

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About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 of the nation’s leading cancer centers devoted to patient care, research, and education, is dedicated to improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. 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 NCCN Member Institutions are: Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, NE; Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH; City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, CA; Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center | Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA; Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, NC; Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA; Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA; The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD; Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Chicago, IL; Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ, Jacksonville, FL, and Rochester, MN; Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY; Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL; The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Columbus, OH; Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO; St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN; Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford, CA; University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center, Birmingham, AL; UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA; UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA; University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, CO; University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor, MI; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX; University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, Madison, WI; Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN; and Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Clinicians, visit NCCN.org. Patients and caregivers, visit NCCN.org/patients. Media, visit NCCN.org/news.

About Boehringer Ingelheim
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation. Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, the company operates globally with 145 affiliates and about 50,000 employees. Since its founding in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel treatments for human and veterinary medicine.

Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to improving lives and providing valuable services and support to patients and families. Our employees create and engage in programs that strengthen our communities. To learn more about how we make more health for more people, visit our Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

For more information please visit www.us.boehringer-ingelheim.com, or follow us on Twitter @BoehringerUS.

About Lilly Oncology
For more than 50 years, Lilly has been dedicated to delivering life-changing medicines and support to people living with cancer and those who care for them. Lilly is determined to build on this heritage and continue making life better for all those affected by cancer around the world. To learn more about Lilly's commitment to people with cancer, please visit www.LillyOncology.com.

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and www.lilly.com/newsroom/social-channels.


1Afatinib is FDA approved under the brand name Gilotrif for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic NSCLC whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 19 deletions or exon 21 (L858R) substitution mutations as detected by an FDA-approved test.

2 Necitumumab is FDA approved under the brand name Portrazza. Portrazza, in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin, is approved for the first-line treatment of people with metastatic squamous NSCLC. Portrazza is not indicated for treatment of nonsquamous NSCLC.

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02/15/2017
Payers Weigh the Implications of Multigene Testing Coverage in New UCSF Study

A recent study from the UCSF Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine and the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center identified opportunities to address the barriers to coverage of hereditary cancer panels, as published in JNCCN.

(FORT WASHINGTON, PA – February 15, 2017) Innovation in precision medicine has introduced an amalgam of testing options, of which hereditary cancer panels—multigene tests—are a major component. Additionally, the importance of inherited cancer genomics was further bolstered by Former President Barack Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative in 2015. Controversy lay, however, in the lack of formal insurance coverage policy for such tests. To expose the major roadblocks to coverage, researchers from the UCSF Center for Translational and Policy Research on Personalized Medicine (TRANSPERS) and the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, interviewed 11 major U.S. payers covering 160 million lives.

The results of their study, “Payer Coverage for Hereditary Cancer Panels: Barriers, Opportunities, and Implications for the Precision Medicine Initiative,” are available in the February issue of JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

“We believe that understanding payers’ coverage decision-making is imperative to ensuring future patient access to potentially transformative modalities and informing genetic research,” said lead author Julia R. Trosman, PhD, Adjunct Assistant Professor, TRANSPERS, UCSF Department of Clinical Pharmacy; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine; and Director at the Center for Business Models in Healthcare, an independent research organization. “We focused on private payers, as they collectively cover two-thirds of the insured U.S. population, and their coverage decisions affect public payer policy. The 11 major payers involved in our study collectively cover over 160 million enrollees in the U.S.”

Researchers also believe that payers’ hereditary cancer panel coverage considerations have implications on the Precision Medicine Initiative and its efforts to assemble more than one million volunteers to contribute genomic, clinical, and lifestyle data to advance genetic science. Based on the findings from the study, the paper discusses how the Precision Medicine Initiative design can incorporate payer feedback to ensure patient access.

A majority of payers noted that novel hereditary cancer panel features present a unique appeal to patients and clinicians, but 100 percent of those interviewed cited that the panels do not fit within current coverage frameworks and lack necessary evidence, while more than 90 percent noted that the hereditary cancer panels represented departed from pedigree/family-history–based testing toward genetic screening.

Payers shared not only barriers to hereditary cancer panel coverage, but also opportunities to address them. For instance, participants shared insight into how evidentiary requirements for the plans can be met, noting that, in many cases, randomized controlled trials may not be required. Rather, observational and pooled studies and registry data may be acceptable to confirm statistical significance.  Some also suggested that coverage and evidence evaluation frameworks could potentially be modified to align with panel features and benefits.

In addition to clinical and evidentiary concerns, more than 80 percent of those interviewed expressed concern about patient engagement and understanding of the ramifications of such panels. Despite completion of the informed consent form, it remains a challenge to ensure that patients understand the emergent state of evidence for many genes in panels and express their wishes regarding being re-contacted in the future when new evidence becomes available.

“We hope that our findings bring attention to the topic of insurance coverage for cancer panels and contribute to a productive dialogue among various stakeholders on framing an approach to address payers’ concerns,” stated Dr. Trosman. “Many previous studies on reimbursement for genomic technologies, including our own, were focused on barriers to coverage. We are encouraged that the present study also identified opportunities that could be pursued to mitigate barriers.”

Identified within the article are three target areas where the Precision Medicine Initiative design can incorporate payer feedback, and, therefore, strengthen its impact on patients and genetic science: address insurance coverage barriers to secure access to future Precision Medicine Initiative discoveries; incorporate payers’ evidentiary requirements to the Precision Medicine Initiative research agenda to increase relevance of research to future coverage decisions; and leverage payer recommendations and experience to keep patients informed and engaged.

"This study represents another step forward in understanding the discordant needs between health care providers and payers with regard to coverage of hereditary cancer panels. Many of the barriers to coverage cited by the payers interviewed in this study, including gaps in evidence on gene penetrance and questionable actionability are shared by the genetics community. The concern of the payers that availability of hereditary cancer panels will lead to 'indiscriminant genetic screening,' however, is likely unfounded. Instead, considerable effort on the part of the genetics community has been, and continues to be, devoted to evolving counseling models and encouraging patient participation in testing decisions to deal with the inherent uncertainties involved with genetic risk. On the other hand, it is promising that the payers support the need for pre- and post-test counseling, and they are open to the development of novel models to address the current barriers to coverage," said Mary B. Daly, MD, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Genetic/Familial High-Risk Assessment: Breast and Ovarian.

Complimentary access to the study, “Payer Coverage for Hereditary Cancer Panels: Barriers, Opportunities, and Implications for the Precision Medicine Initiative,” is available until May 31, 2017 at JNCCN.org.

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About JNCCN – Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network
More than 24,000 oncologists and other cancer care professionals across the United States read JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. This peer-reviewed, indexed medical journal provides the latest information about best clinical practices, health services research, and translational medicine. JNCCN features updates on the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), review articles elaborating on guidelines recommendations, health services research, and case reports highlighting molecular insights in patient care. JNCCN is published by Harborside Press. Visit JNCCN.org. To inquire if you are eligible for a FREE subscription to JNCCN, visit http://www.nccn.org/jnccn/subscribe.asp

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02/10/2017
Deep-Learning Algorithm Matches Dermatologists’ Ability to Identify Skin Cancer (Stanford Cancer Institute)
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02/09/2017
Scientists Identify Aggressive Pancreatic Cancer Cells and Their Vulnerability (The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center)
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02/09/2017
Memorial Sloan Kettering Researchers Publish Roadmap to Precision Medicine (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center)
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02/08/2017
Roswell Park Study Sheds Light on Recurrent Prostate Cancer (Roswell Park Cancer Institute)
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02/06/2017
New Technique Slashes Diagnosis Time during Brain Surgery (University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center)
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02/03/2017
New Treatment Guides from NCCN Help Patients with Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia Make Informed Care Decisions

NCCN has published the NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia—a rare, but manageable type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

(FORT WASHINGTON, PA – February 3, 2017) — A very rare sub-type of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia affects approximately 1,500 – 2,000 people in the United States each year. While it is not curable, Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia is slow growing, and in many patients, manageable as a chronic disease. To that end, it is important that patients diagnosed with Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia have access to up-to-date disease management information in order to work alongside their treatment teams to make informed care decisions.

To give patients access to the same treatment information their doctors use, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has published the NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia/Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma. Provided through support from the NCCN Foundation®, these education resources inform patients and caregivers about available treatment options.

“The treatment approach to patients with Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia has significantly changed in the recent years with better understanding of the disease biology and its natural history and availability of new drugs, allowing for a more individualized approach. The revised guidelines reflect these changes and will be a valuable guide for patients in shared decision-making with their oncologists,” said Shaji Kumar, MD, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Chair, NCCN Guidelines Panel for Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia.  

These resources are accessible free of charge on NCCN.org/patients, as well as on the free NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer mobile app, available for Android and iOS devices.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients, patient-friendly adaptations of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), are easy-to-understand resources based on the same clinical practice guidelines used by health care professionals around the world to determine the best way to treat a patient with cancer. Each resource features unbiased expert guidance from the nation’s leading cancer centers designed to help people living with cancer talk to their physicians about the best treatment options for their disease.

NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheets—one-page summaries of key points in the patient guidelines—are written in plain language and include patient-friendly elements, such as questions to ask your doctor, a glossary of terms, and medical illustrations of anatomy, tests, and treatment. NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheets DO NOT replace the expertise and clinical judgment of the clinician.

NCCN currently offers NCCN Guidelines for Patients for the following: Brain, Breast, Colon Esophageal, Kidney, Non-Small Cell Lung, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Prostate, and Stomach Cancers; Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia; Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer; Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia; Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia; Hodgkin Lymphoma; Lung Cancer Screening; Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma; Melanoma; Multiple Myeloma; Nausea and Vomiting; Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas; Soft Tissue Sarcoma; and Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia.

The NCCN Guidelines for Patients and NCCN Quick Guide™ sheet for Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia/Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma are available to download for free from NCCN.org/patients and on the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer mobile app.

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About NCCN Foundation
NCCN Foundation® was founded by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) to empower people with cancer and advance oncology innovation. NCCN Foundation supports people with cancer and their caregivers at every step of their treatment journey by delivering unbiased expert guidance from the world’s leading cancer experts through the library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients® and other patient education resources. NCCN Foundation is also committed to advancing cancer treatment by funding the nation’s promising young investigators at the forefront of cancer research, initiating momentum in their careers and furthering the betterment of patients through their groundbreaking innovations. For more information about NCCN Foundation, visit NCCNFoundation.org

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02/02/2017
Precision-Medicine Approach Could Revive Prostate Cancer Test (UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center)
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01/05/2017
Lung Cancer Patients May Benefit from Delayed Chemotherapy after Surgery (Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital)
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