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Kevin M. Elias, Ross S. Berkowitz and Neil S. Horowitz

Gestational trophoblastic disease refers to a series of interrelated tumors arising from the placenta, including benign molar pregnancies as well as the malignant conditions termed gestational trophoblastic neoplasia (GTN). GTN most commonly follows a molar pregnancy but may develop after any gestation. The wide availability of first trimester ultrasound and serum human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) measurement has changed the presentation of molar pregnancy in recent decades from a second trimester to a first trimester disease, such that most patients have few symptoms at diagnosis. With identification of molar pregnancy at earlier gestations, accurate diagnosis increasingly relies on expert histopathology coupled with ancillary molecular and genetic techniques. However, earlier diagnosis has not changed the risk of postmolar GTN. Although most molar pregnancies are treated with dilation and curettage, hysterectomy may be appropriate in select cases when future fertility is not desired. After treatment of molar pregnancy, close surveillance with serial hCG monitoring is essential to diagnose GTN and identify the need for chemotherapy. Physicians following hCG levels should understand the performance characteristics of the test, including common causes of false-positive and false-negative results. After a diagnosis of postmolar GTN is made, selection of single-agent or multiagent chemotherapy depends on accurate assignment of the clinical stage and risk stratification by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) prognostic scoring system. Surgical treatment of postmolar low-risk GTN, including both second uterine curettage and hysterectomy, may decrease subsequent need for or duration of chemotherapy. Cure rates for postmolar low-risk GTN approach 100%, and subsequent pregnancy outcomes for patients reflect those of the general population.

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Daniel A. Pollyea

Over the past several years, drug approvals for first-line treatment of acute myeloid leukemia have changed the landscape from a “wasteland” to an “embarrassment of riches.” In general, patients deemed “fit” for induction chemotherapy who have a core-binding factor abnormality should receive 7 + 3 in combination with gemtuzumab, 7 + 3 with midostaurin for those with an FLT3 abnormality, and liposomal cytarabine + daunorubicin for patients with secondary AML. Although other options exist, Dr. Daniel A. Pollyea recommended a venetoclax/azacitidine regimen for newly diagnosed “unfit” patients. Future research should focus on more clearly determining the definition of a “fit” patient, he said at the NCCN 2019 Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies.

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Elio Mazzone, Sophie Knipper, Francesco A. Mistretta, Carlotta Palumbo, Zhe Tian, Andrea Gallina, Derya Tilki, Shahrokh F. Shariat, Francesco Montorsi, Fred Saad, Alberto Briganti and Pierre I. Karakiewicz

Background: Use of inpatient palliative care (IPC) in the treatment of advanced cancer represents a well-established guideline recommendation. A recent analysis showed that patients with genitourinary cancer benefit from IPC at the second lowest rate among 4 examined primary cancers, namely lung, breast, colorectal, and genitourinary. Based on this observation, temporal trends and predictors of IPC use were examined in patients with metastatic urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (mUCB) receiving critical care therapies (CCTs). Patients and Methods: Patients with mUCB receiving CCTs were identified within the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database (2004–2015). IPC use rates were evaluated in estimated annual percentage change (EAPC) analyses. Multivariable logistic regression models with adjustment for clustering at the hospital level were used. Results: Of 1,944 patients with mUCB receiving CCTs, 191 (9.8%) received IPC. From 2004 through 2015, IPC use increased from 0.7% to 25.0%, respectively (EAPC, +23.9%; P<.001). In analyses stratified according to regions, the highest increase in IPC use was recorded in the Northeast (EAPC, +44.0%), followed by the West (EAPC, +26.8%), South (EAPC, +22.9%), and Midwest (EAPC, +15.5%). Moreover, the lowest rate of IPC adoption in 2015 was recorded in the Midwest (14.3%). In multivariable logistic regression models, teaching status (odds ratio [OR], 1.97; P<.001), more recent diagnosis (2010–2015; OR, 3.89; P<.001), and presence of liver metastases (OR, 1.77; P=.02) were associated with higher IPC rates. Conversely, Hispanic race (OR, 0.42; P=.03) and being hospitalized in the Northeast (OR, 0.36; P=.01) were associated with lower rate of IPC adoption. Finally, patients with a primary admission diagnosis that consisted of infection (OR, 2.05; P=.002), cardiovascular disorders (OR, 2.10; P=.03), or pulmonary disorders (OR, 2.81; P=.005) were more likely to receive IPC. Conclusions: The rate of IPC use in patients with mUCB receiving CCTs sharply increased between 2004 and 2015. The presence of liver metastases, infections, or cardiopulmonary disorders as admission diagnoses represented independent predictors of higher IPC use. Conversely, Hispanic race, nonteaching hospital status, and hospitalization in the Midwest were identified as independent predictors of lower IPC use and represent targets for efforts to improve IPC delivery in patients with mUCB receiving CCT.

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Ranjana H. Advani

Several options are available for frontline treatment of advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and treatment of relapsed HL, each with inherent advantages and disadvantages. Clinicians must balance risk with benefit for the individual patient. At the NCCN 2019 Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies, Dr. Ranjana H. Advani summarized the current frontline treatment options for advanced-stage HL and outlined novel and emerging agents that may be incorporated as therapy options for relapsed disease.

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Urshila Durani, Dennis Asante, Thorvardur Halfdanarson, Herbert C. Heien, Lindsey Sangaralingham, Carrie A. Thompson, Prema Peethambaram, Fernando J. Quevedo and Ronald S. Go

Background: Adherence to surveillance guidelines in resected colon cancer has significant implications for patient morbidity, cost of care, and healthcare utilization. This study measured the underuse and overuse of imaging for staging and surveillance in stage I–II colon cancer. Methods: The OptumLabs database was queried for administrative claims data on adult patients with stage I–II colon cancer who underwent surgery alone in 2008 through 2016. Use of PET and CT imaging was evaluated during both initial staging (n=6,921) and surveillance for patients with at least 1 year of follow-up (n=5,466). “High use” was defined as >2 CT abdominal/pelvic (CT A/P) or PET scans per year during surveillance. Results: Overall, 27% of patients with stage I–II colon cancer did not have a staging CT A/P or PET scan and 95% did not have a CT chest scan. However, rates of staging CT A/P and CT chest scans increased from 62.0% (2008) to 74.8% (2016) and from 2.3% (2008) to 7.1% (2016), respectively. Staging PET use was overall very low (5.2%). During surveillance, approximately 30% of patients received a CT A/P or PET and 5% received a CT chest scan within the first year after surgery. Of patients who had surveillance CT A/P or PET scans, the proportion receiving >2 scans within the first year (high use) declined from 32.4% (2008) to 9.6% (2016) (P = .01). Conclusions: Although PET use remains appropriately low, many patients with stage I–II colon cancer do not receive appropriate staging and surveillance CT chest scans. Among those who do receive these scans during surveillance, high use has declined significantly over time.

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Wen-Zhuo He, Wan-Ming Hu, Fang Wang, Yu-Ming Rong, Lin Yang, Qian-Kun Xie, Yuan-Zhong Yang, Chang Jiang, Hui-Juan Qiu, Jia-Bin Lu, Bei Zhang, Pei-Rong Ding, Xiao-Jun Xia, Jian-Yong Shao and Liang-Ping Xia

Background: Differences between the features of primary cancer and matched metastatic cancer have recently drawn attention in research. This study investigated the concordance in microsatellite instability (MSI) and mismatch repair (MMR) status between primary and corresponding metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Methods: Consecutive patients with metastatic CRC who had both primary and metastatic tumors diagnosed at our institution in January 2008 through December 2016 were identified. Immunohistochemistry was used to test the MMR status of both primary and matched metastatic tumors, and PCR analysis was performed to test MSI in patients with deficient MMR (dMMR) status. Results: A total of 369 patients were included. Of the 46 patients with MSI-high primary tumors, 37 (80.4%) also had MSI-high metastatic tumors, whereas 9 (19.6%) had microsatellite stable (MSS) metastatic tumors. A high concordance was found in patients with liver, lung, or distant lymph node metastases. Interestingly, the discrepancy was more likely to be limited to peritoneal (5/20) or ovarian (4/4) metastasis (chi-square test, P<.001). These organ-specific features were also found in the pooled analysis. Along with the change of MSI-high in primary cancer to MSS in metastatic cancer, lymphocyte infiltration decreased significantly (P=.008). However, the change did not influence survival; the median overall survival of MSI-high and MSS metastatic tumors was 21.3 and 21.6 months, respectively (P=.774). The discrepancy rate was 1.6% for patients with proficient MMR primary tumors. Conclusions: For patients with dMMR primary tumors, the concordance of MSI and MMR status in primary CRC and corresponding metastatic cancer is potentially organ-specific. High concordance is found in liver, lung, and distant lymph node metastases, whereas discrepancy is more likely to occur in peritoneal or ovarian metastasis. Rebiopsy to evaluate MSI-high/dMMR status might be needed during the course of anti–PD-1 therapy in cases of peritoneal or ovarian metastasis.

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Michelle B. Riba, Kristine A. Donovan, Barbara Andersen, IIana Braun, William S. Breitbart, Benjamin W. Brewer, Luke O. Buchmann, Matthew M. Clark, Molly Collins, Cheyenne Corbett, Stewart Fleishman, Sofia Garcia, Donna B. Greenberg, Rev. George F. Handzo, Laura Hoofring, Chao-Hui Huang, Robin Lally, Sara Martin, Lisa McGuffey, William Mitchell, Laura J. Morrison, Megan Pailler, Oxana Palesh, Francine Parnes, Janice P. Pazar, Laurel Ralston, Jaroslava Salman, Moreen M. Shannon-Dudley, Alan D. Valentine, Nicole R. McMillian and Susan D. Darlow

Distress is defined in the NCCN Guidelines for Distress Management as a multifactorial, unpleasant experience of a psychologic (ie, cognitive, behavioral, emotional), social, spiritual, and/or physical nature that may interfere with the ability to cope effectively with cancer, its physical symptoms, and its treatment. Early evaluation and screening for distress leads to early and timely management of psychologic distress, which in turn improves medical management. The panel for the Distress Management Guidelines recently added a new principles section including guidance on implementation of standards of psychosocial care for patients with cancer.

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George Handzo, Jill M. Bowden and Stephen King

Spiritual care and chaplaincy have been part of the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Distress Management since the first meeting of the panel in 1997, possibly the first time this degree of spiritual care and chaplaincy care integration occurred in cancer care. Since that time, the chaplaincy care section of the guidelines, especially chaplain assessment categories derived from a spiritual care assessment, have provided a major resource for healthcare chaplaincy and have served as a model for integrating chaplaincy into the overall team practice of healthcare. However, this section of the NCCN Guidelines has not been substantially updated since it was originally written. During those 20 years, the practice of healthcare chaplaincy and the research that supports it have grown substantially. In the last year, at the request of the panel, we have updated the chaplaincy care section to fully integrate recently published evidence in spiritual care in healthcare, adding more value to this important set of guidelines. Those updates appear in the 2019 version of the NCCN Guidelines. This article discusses the history of chaplaincy involvement in the NCCN Guidelines for Distress Management and the precedent it set for the integration of chaplaincy in other efforts that followed. Integration of this section of the Guidelines into the spiritual care practice at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is presented as an example of how these guidelines can be put into practice to improve patient care. Finally, a summary of the recent research by Drs. Kenneth Pargament and Julie Exline is presented as the foundation for the revised chaplain assessment categories and interventions.

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Grace L. Smith, Maria A. Lopez-Olivo, Pragati G. Advani, Matthew S. Ning, Yimin Geng, Sharon H. Giordano and Robert J. Volk

Background: Patients with cancer experience financial toxicity from the costs of treatment, as well as material and psychologic stress related to this burden. A synthesized understanding of predictors and outcomes of the financial burdens associated with cancer care is needed to underpin strategic responses in oncology care. This study systematically reviewed risk factors and outcomes associated with financial burdens related to cancer treatment. Methods: MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, PsychINFO, and the Cochrane Library were searched from study inception through June 2018, and reference lists were scanned from studies of patient-level predictors and outcomes of financial burdens in US patients with cancer (aged ≥18 years). Two reviewers conducted screening, abstraction, and quality assessment. Variables associated with financial burdens were synthesized. When possible, pooled estimates of associations were calculated using random-effects models. Results: A total of 74 observational studies of financial burdens in 598,751 patients with cancer were identified, among which 49% of patients reported material or psychologic financial burdens (95% CI, 41%–56%). Socioeconomic predictors of worse financial burdens with treatment were lack of health insurance, lower income, unemployment, and younger age at cancer diagnosis. Compared with patients with health insurance, those who were uninsured demonstrated twice the odds of financial burdens (pooled odds ratio [OR], 2.09; 95% CI, 1.33–3.30). Financial burdens were most severe early in cancer treatment, did not differ by disease site, and were associated with worse health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and nearly twice the odds of cancer medication nonadherence (pooled OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.13–2.56). Only a single study demonstrated an association with increased mortality. Studies assessing the comparative effectiveness of interventions to mitigate financial burdens in patients with cancer were lacking. Conclusions: Evidence showed that financial burdens are common, disproportionately impacting younger and socioeconomically disadvantaged patients with cancer, across disease sites, and are associated with worse treatment adherence and HRQoL. Available evidence helped identify vulnerable patients needing oncology provider engagement and response, but evidence is critically needed on the effectiveness of interventions designed to mitigate financial burden and impact.