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Amy E. DeZern and Peter L. Greenberg

Several major updates have recently occurred for the NCCN Guidelines for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) based on a number of prominent articles that have particular clinical and biologic impact for the field. These changes, which have been included in the current iteration of the NCCN Guidelines (Version 1.2023), include the WHO 2022 classification of MDS as well as the ICC suggestions for same. In addition, the molecular underpinning of MDS has been greatly updated with the generation of the Molecular International Prognostic Scoring System (IPSS-M) and an improved understanding to the prognostic implications of mutated TP53 subtypes, which are additive to the revised IPSS (IPSS-R) for stratification and management of patients with MDS. This report emphasizes the major components of the relevant changes to serve as a guide for therapeutic decision-making for patients with MDS.

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Kedar S. Kirtane, Mohammad U. Zahid, Heiko Enderling, and Louis B. Harrison

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Yuqi Zhang, Marcelo Cerullo, Andrew Esposito, and Vishnukamal Golla

Background: Cancer center accreditation status is predicated on several factors that measure high-value healthcare. However, price transparency, which is critical in healthcare decisions, is not a quality measure included for accreditation. We reported the rates of price disclosure of surgical procedures for 5 cancers (breast, lung, cutaneous melanoma, colon, and prostate) among hospitals ranked by the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer (ACS-CoC). Methods: We identified nonfederal, adult, and noncritical access ACS-CoC accredited hospitals and used the commercial Turquoise Health database to perform a cross-sectional analysis of hospital price disclosures for 5 common oncologic procedures (mastectomy, lobectomy, wide local excision for cutaneous melanoma, partial colectomy, prostatectomy). Publicly available financial reporting data were used to compile facility-specific features, including bed size, teaching status, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid wage index, and patient revenues. Modified Poisson regression evaluated the association between price disclosure and ACS-CoC accreditation after adjusting for hospital financial performance. Results: Of 1,075 total ACS-CoC accredited hospitals, 544 (50.6%) did not disclose prices for any of the surgical procedures and only 313 (29.1%) hospitals reported prices for all 5 procedures. Of the 5 oncologic procedures, prostatectomy and lobectomy had the lowest price disclosure rates. Disclosing and nondisclosing hospitals significantly differed in ACS-CoC accreditation, ownership type, and teaching status. Hospitals that disclosed prices were more likely to receive Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments, have lower average charge to cost ratios (4.53 vs 5.15; P<.001), and have lower net hospital margins (−2.03 vs 0.44; P=.005). After adjustment, a 1-point increase in markup was associated with a 4.8% (95% CI, 2.2%–7.4%; P<.001) higher likelihood of nondisclosure. Conclusions: More than half of the hospitals did not disclose prices for any of the 5 most common oncologic procedures despite ACS-CoC accreditation. It remains difficult to obtain price transparency for common oncologic procedures even at centers of excellence, signaling a discordance between quality measures visible to patients.

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Julie Hallet, Bourke Tillman, Jesse Zuckerman, Matthew P. Guttman, Tyler Chesney, Alyson L. Mahar, Wing C. Chan, Natalie Coburn, Barbara Haas, and members of the Recovery after Surgical Therapy for Older adults Research–Cancer (RESTORE-Cancer) Group

Background: Although frailty is known to impact short-term postoperative outcomes, its long-term impact is unknown. This study examined the association between frailty and remaining alive and at home after cancer surgery among older adults. Methods: Adults aged ≥70 years undergoing cancer resection were included in this population-based retrospective cohort study using linked administrative datasets in Ontario, Canada. The probability of remaining alive and at home in the 5 years after cancer resection was evaluated using Kaplan-Meier methods. Extended Cox regression with time-varying effects examined the association between frailty and remaining alive and at home. Results: Of 82,037 patients, 6,443 (7.9%) had preoperative frailty. With median follow-up of 47 months (interquartile range, 23–81 months), patients with frailty had a significantly lower probability of remaining alive and at home 5 years after cancer surgery compared with those without frailty (39.1% [95% CI, 37.8%–40.4%] vs 62.5% [95% CI, 62.1%–63.9%]). After adjusting for age, sex, rural living, material deprivation, immigration status, cancer type, surgical procedure intensity, year of surgery, and receipt of perioperative therapy, frailty remained associated with increased hazards of not remaining alive and at home. This increase was highest 31 to 90 days after surgery (hazard ratio [HR], 2.00 [95% CI, 1.78–2.24]) and remained significantly elevated beyond 1 year after surgery (HR, 1.56 [95% CI, 1.48–1.64]). This pattern was observed across cancer sites, including those requiring low-intensity surgery (breast and melanoma). Conclusions: Preoperative frailty was independently associated with a decreased probability of remaining alive and at home after cancer surgery among older adults. This relationship persisted over time for all cancer types beyond short-term mortality and the initial postoperative period. Frailty assessment may be useful for all candidates for cancer surgery, and these data can be used when counseling, selecting, and preparing patients for surgery.

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Karolina Kata, Juan C. Rodriguez-Quintero, Octavio D. Arevalo, Jackie J. Zhang, Meenakshi Bidwai Bhattacharjee, Cornelius Ware, Antonio Dono, Roy Riascos-Castaneda, Nitin Tandon, Angel Blanco, Yoshua Esquenazi, Leomar Y. Ballester, Mark Amsbaugh, Arthur L. Day, and Jay-Jiguang Zhu

Recurrent and anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma (r&aPXA) is a rare primary brain tumor that is challenging to treat. Two-thirds of PXA tumors harbor a BRAF gene mutation. BRAF inhibitors have been shown to improve tumor control. However, resistance to BRAF inhibition develops in most cases. Concurrent therapy with MEK inhibitors may improve tumor control and patient survival. In this study, we identified 5 patients diagnosed with BRAF-mutated PXA who received BRAF and MEK inhibitors over a 10-year interval at our institution. Patient records were evaluated, including treatments, adverse effects (AEs), outcomes, pathology, next-generation sequencing, and MRI. The median age was 22 years (range, 14–66 years), 60% male, and 60% anaplastic PXA. Median overall survival was 72 months (range, 19–112 months); 1 patient died of tumor-related hemorrhage while off therapy, and the other 4 experienced long-term disease control (21, 72, 98, and 112 months, respectively). Dual BRAF/MEK inhibitors were well tolerated, with only grade 1–2 AEs, including rash, neutropenia, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea. No grade 3–5 AEs were detected. A literature review was also performed of patients diagnosed with BRAF-mutated PXA and treated with BRAF and/or MEK inhibitors through August 2021, with a total of 32 cases identified. The median age was 29 years (range, 8–57 years) and the median PFS and OS were 8.5 months (range, 2–35 months) and 35 months (range, 10–80 months), respectively. The most common AEs were grade 1–2 fatigue and skin rash. Results of this case series and literature review indicate that dual-drug therapy with BRAF and MEK inhibitors for r&aPXA with BRAF V600E mutation may delay tumor progression without unexpected AEs.

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Ruth Elisa Eyl-Armbruster, Melissa S.Y. Thong, Prudence R. Carr, Lina Jansen, Jenny Chang-Claude, Michael Hoffmeister, Hermann Brenner, and Volker Arndt

Background: Little is known about how changes in a constellation of lifestyle factors affect health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors. Our study aimed to investigate the association between changes in healthy lifestyle and HRQoL over time in survivors of stage I–IV CRC. Methods: We included 2,283 long-term (≥5 years postdiagnosis) survivors. A healthy lifestyle score (HLS) comprising smoking, alcohol consumption, diet, physical activity, and body fatness was derived at diagnosis and 5-year follow-up (5YFU) and categorized as low, moderate, or high. We assessed HRQoL with the EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 at 5YFU and 10-year follow-up. We used multivariable linear regression and linear mixed models to explore associations between changes in HLS and HRQoL over follow-up. Results: A low baseline HLS was associated with poorer functioning and global health/QoL and a higher symptom burden at 5YFU compared with a high baseline HLS. An improved HLS from baseline to 5YFU was associated with better functioning, higher global health/QoL, and fewer symptoms at 5YFU than a maintained-high HLS. In longitudinal analyses, improved HLS was associated with better functioning at follow-up. Survivors with a maintained-high or an improved HLS reported generally less fatigue, pain, and dyspnea at follow-ups compared with survivors with a maintained-low or decreased HLS. Conclusions: Change toward a healthier lifestyle since diagnosis was associated with better HRQoL in long-term CRC survivors. Our results support the importance of maintaining and/or promoting a healthier lifestyle among CRC survivors postdiagnosis.

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Mary Katherine Montes de Oca, Lauren E. Wilson, Rebecca A. Previs, Anjali Gupta, Ashwini Joshi, Bin Huang, Maria Pisu, Margaret Liang, Kevin C. Ward, Maria J. Schymura, Andrew Berchuck, and Tomi F. Akinyemiju

Background: Racial disparities exist in receipt of guideline-concordant treatment of ovarian cancer (OC). However, few studies have evaluated how various dimensions of healthcare access (HCA) contribute to these disparities. Methods: We analyzed data from non-Hispanic (NH)–Black, Hispanic, and NH-White patients with OC diagnosed in 2008 to 2015 from the SEER-Medicare database and defined HCA dimensions as affordability, availability, and accessibility, measured as aggregate scores created with factor analysis. Receipt of guideline-concordant OC surgery and chemotherapy was defined based on the NCCN Guidelines for Ovarian Cancer. Multivariable-adjusted modified Poisson regression models were used to assess the relative risk (RR) for guideline-concordant treatment in relation to HCA. Results: The study cohort included 5,632 patients: 6% NH-Black, 6% Hispanic, and 88% NH-White. Only 23.8% of NH-White patients received guideline-concordant surgery and the full cycles of chemotherapy versus 14.2% of NH-Black patients. Higher affordability (RR, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01–1.08) and availability (RR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02–1.10) were associated with receipt of guideline-concordant surgery, whereas higher affordability was associated with initiation of systemic therapy (hazard ratio, 1.09; 95% CI, 1.05–1.13). After adjusting for all 3 HCA scores and demographic and clinical characteristics, NH-Black patients remained less likely than NH-White patients to initiate systemic therapy (hazard ratio, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.75–0.99). Conclusions: Multiple HCA dimensions predict receipt of guideline-concordant treatment but do not fully explain racial disparities among patients with OC. Acceptability and accommodation are 2 additional HCA dimensions which may be critical to addressing these disparities.