Trends in Female Representation on NCCN Guideline Panels

Authors: Pranammya Dey1, Angela K. Green MD, MSc2,3, Michael Haddadin MD3, Peter B. Bach MD, MAPP2, and Aaron P. Mitchell MD, MPH2,3
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  • 1 Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut; and
  • | 2 Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and
  • | 3 Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York.
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Background: NCCN produces highly influential disease-specific oncology clinical practice guidelines. Because the number of women in academic oncology has increased, we assessed whether the composition of NCCN Guidelines Panels reflected this trend. Methods: Using historical guidelines requested from NCCN, we investigated time trends for female representation on 21 NCCN Guidelines Panels and analyzed the trends for female-predominant cancers (breast, ovarian, uterine, and cervical) compared with all cancers. Results: From 2013 to 2019, there was an increase from 123 women of 541 total panelists (22.7%) to 175 women of 542 panelists (32.3%). Within the 4 female-predominant cancers, the increase was more rapid: from 30 of 101 total panelists (29.7%) to 66 of 118 panelists (56.4%). Excluding female-predominant cancers, increases were minimal. Conclusions: There could be multiple explanations for these differing trends, including the possibility of more rapid increases in the underlying pool of female physician-scientists in female-predominant specialties or more efforts to increase the representation of women in decisions about the standard of care in cancers predominantly affecting women.

Submitted December 11, 2019; accepted for publication April 1, 2020.

Author contributions: Study conception and design: All authors. Data extraction: Dey, Haddadin. Data analysis: Dey. Interpretation and presentation of results: Dey, Green, Bach, Mitchell. Approval of final manuscript: All authors.

Disclosures: Dr. Bach has disclosed that he receives grant/research support from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation; honoraria from the American Society for Health-System Pharmacists, Gilead Pharmaceuticals, WebMD, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Defined Health, Vizient, Anthem, Excellus Health Plan, Hematology Oncology Pharmacy Association, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Third Rock Ventures, JMP Securities, Genentech, Mercer, United Rheumatology, Oppenheimer & Co., Inc., Cello Health, Magellan Health, EQRx, America’s Health Insurance Plans, and Oncology Analytics; and consulting fees from Foundation Medicine and Grail. Dr. Mitchell has disclosed that he receives grant/research support from the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which was funded in part by Merck. The remaining authors have disclosed that they have not received any financial consideration from any person or organization to support the preparation, analysis, results, or discussion of this article.

Correspondence: Aaron P. Mitchell, MD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 485 Lexington Avenue, Second Floor, New York, NY 10017. Email: mitchea2@mskcc.org
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