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Lindsey A.M. Bandini, Leigh Gallo, Terrell Johnson, Kara Martin, Alyssa A. Schatz, Kerin Adelson, Bryan A. Loy, Ronald S. Walters, Tracy Wong and Robert W. Carlson

Quality measurement is a critical component of advancing a health system that pays for performance over volume. Although there has been significant attention paid to quality measurement within health systems in recent years, significant challenges to meaningful measurement of quality care outcomes remain. Defining cost can be challenging, but is arguably not as elusive as quality, which lacks standard measurement methods and units. To identify industry standards and recommendations for the future, NCCN recently hosted the NCCN Oncology Policy Summit: Defining, Measuring, and Applying Quality in an Evolving Health Policy Landscape and the Implications for Cancer Care. Key stakeholders including physicians, payers, policymakers, patient advocates, and technology partners reviewed current quality measurement programs to identify success and challenges, including the Oncology Care Model. Speakers and panelists identified gaps in quality measurement and provided insights and suggestions for further advancing quality measurement in oncology. This article provides insights and recommendations; however, the goal of this program was to highlight key issues and not to obtain consensus.

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Rahel Demisse, Neha Damle, Edward Kim, Jun Gong, Marwan Fakih, Cathy Eng, Leslie Oesterich, Madison McKenny, Jingran Ji, James Liu, Ryan Louie, Kit Tam, Sepideh Gholami, Wissam Halabi, Arta Monjazeb, Farshid Dayyani and May Cho

Treatment options for locally advanced rectal cancer have continued to consist largely of chemotherapy, chemoradiation, and/or surgical resection. For patients who are unable to undergo these therapeutic modalities or who do not to experience a response to them, treatment options are limited. We report 3 cases of mismatch repair–deficient (dMMR) locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the rectum that showed significant response with neoadjuvant immunotherapy–based systemic treatment. The first patient was not eligible for standard therapy because of a history of radiotherapy to the prostate with concurrent comorbidities and therefore received single-agent pembrolizumab. The second patient did not respond to total neoadjuvant chemoradiation and subsequently received combined nivolumab and ipilimumab. The third patient had a known family history of Lynch syndrome and presented with locally advanced rectal cancer and a baseline carcinoembryonic antigen level of 1,566 ng/mL. She was treated using neoadjuvant pembrolizumab and FOLFOX (folinic acid, fluorouracil, oxaliplatin). In this small series, we suggest that single-agent and combined-modality neoadjuvant immunotherapy/chemotherapy appear to be safe and effective treatment options for patients with (dMMR) locally advanced rectal cancer. Our findings encourage further studies to investigate the role of neoadjuvant immunotherapy as a viable treatment strategy in this population.

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Sarguni Singh, Megan Eguchi, Sung-Joon Min and Stacy Fischer

Background: After discharge from an acute care hospitalization, patients with cancer may choose to pursue rehabilitative care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). The objective of this study was to examine receipt of anticancer therapy, death, readmission, and hospice use among patients with cancer who discharge to an SNF compared with those who are functionally able to discharge to home or home with home healthcare in the 6 months after an acute care hospitalization. Methods: A population-based cohort study was conducted using the SEER-Medicare database of patients with stage II–IV colorectal, pancreatic, bladder, or lung cancer who had an acute care hospitalization between 2010 and 2013. A total of 58,770 cases were identified and patient groups of interest were compared descriptively using means and standard deviations for continuous variables and frequencies and percentages for categorical variables. Logistic regression was used to compare patient groups, adjusting for covariates. Results: Of patients discharged to an SNF, 21%, 17%, and 2% went on to receive chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and targeted chemotherapy, respectively, compared with 54%, 28%, and 6%, respectively, among patients discharged home. Fifty-six percent of patients discharged to an SNF died within 6 months of their hospitalization compared with 36% discharged home. Thirty-day readmission rates were 29% and 28% for patients discharged to an SNF and home, respectively, and 12% of patients in hospice received <3 days of hospice care before death regardless of their discharge location. Conclusions: Patients with cancer who discharge to an SNF are significantly less likely to receive subsequent oncologic treatment of any kind and have higher mortality compared with patients who discharge to home after an acute care hospitalization. Further research is needed to understand and address patient goals of care before discharge to an SNF.

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Michael P. Douglas, Stacy W. Gray and Kathryn A. Phillips

Background: Clinical adoption of the sequencing of circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) for cancer has rapidly increased in recent years. This sequencing is used to select targeted therapy and monitor nonresponding or progressive tumors to identify mechanisms of therapeutic resistance. Our study objective was to review available coverage policies for cancer ctDNA–based testing panels to examine trends from 2015 to 2019. Methods: We analyzed publicly available private payer policies and Medicare national coverage determinations and local coverage determinations (LCDs) for ctDNA-based panel tests for cancer. We coded variables for each year representing policy existence, covered clinical scenario, and specific ctDNA test covered. Descriptive analyses were performed. Results: We found that 38% of private payer coverage policies provided coverage of ctDNA-based panel testing as of July 2019. Most private payer policy coverage was highly specific: 87% for non–small cell lung cancer, 47% for EGFR gene testing, and 79% for specific brand-name tests. There were 8 final, 2 draft, and 2 future effective final LCDs (February 3 and March 15, 2020) that covered non–FDA-approved ctDNA-based tests. The draft and future effective LCDs were the first policies to cover pan-cancer use. Conclusions: Coverage of ctDNA-based panel testing for cancer indications increased from 2015 to 2019. The trend in private payer and Medicare coverage is an increasing number of coverage policies, number of positive policies, and scope of coverage. We found that Medicare coverage policies are evolving to pan-cancer uses, signifying a significant shift in coverage frameworks. Given that genomic medicine is rapidly changing, payers and policymakers (eg, guideline developers) will need to continue to evolve policies to keep pace with emerging science and standards in clinical care.

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Areej El-Jawahri, Deborah Forst, Alyssa Fenech, Keri O. Brenner, Amanda L. Jankowski, Lauren Waldman, Isabella Sereno, Ryan Nipp, Joseph A. Greer, Lara Traeger, Vicki Jackson and Jennifer Temel

Background: Studies have shown gaps in prognostic understanding among patients with cancer. However, few studies have explored patients’ perceptions of their treatment goals versus how they perceive their oncologist’s goals, and the association of these views with their psychological distress. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 559 patients with incurable lung, gastrointestinal, breast, and brain cancers. The Prognosis and Treatment Perception Questionnaire was used to assess patients’ reports of their treatment goal and their oncologist’s treatment goal, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to assess patients’ psychological symptoms. Results: We found that 61.7% of patients reported that both their treatment goal and their oncologist’s treatment goal were noncurative, whereas 19.3% reported that both their goal and their oncologist’s goal were to cure their cancer, 13.9% reported that their goal was to cure their cancer whereas their oncologist’s goal was noncurative, and 5% reported that their goal was noncurative whereas their oncologist’s goal was curative. Patients who reported both their goal and their oncologist’s goal as noncurative had higher levels of depression (B=0.99; P=.021) and anxiety symptoms (B=1.01; P=.015) compared with those who reported that both their goal and their oncologist’s goal was curative. Patients with discordant perceptions of their goal and their oncologist’s goal reported higher anxiety symptoms (B=1.47; P=.004) compared with those who reported that both their goal and their oncologist’s goal were curative. Conclusions: One-fifth of patients with incurable cancer reported that both their treatment goal and their oncologist’s goal were to cure their cancer. Patients who acknowledged the noncurative intent of their treatment and those who perceived that their treatment goal was discordant from that of their oncologist reported greater psychological distress.

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Deborah Cragun, Anne Weidner, Ann Tezak, Brenda Zuniga, Georgia L. Wiesner and Tuya Pal

Background: Increasing demand for genetic testing for inherited cancer risk coupled with a shortage of providers trained in genetics highlight the potential for automated tools embedded in the clinic process to meet this demand. We developed and tested a scalable, easy-to-use, 12-minute web-based educational tool that included standard pretest genetic counseling elements related to panel-based testing for multiple genes associated with cancer risk. Methods: The tool was viewed by new patients at the Vanderbilt Hereditary Cancer Clinic before meeting with a board-certified genetics professional. Pre- and post-tool surveys measured knowledge, feeling informed/empowered to decide about testing, attitudinal values about genetic testing, and health literacy. Of the initial 100 participants, 50 were randomized to only have knowledge measured on the post-tool survey to assess for a priming effect. Results: Of 360 patients approached, 305 consented and completed both the pre- and post-tool surveys, with a mean age of 47 years, including 80% female patients and 48% patients with cancer. Survey results showed an increase in knowledge and feeling informed/empowered after viewing the tool (P<.001), but no significant change in attitude (P=.64). Post-tool survey data indicated no difference in median knowledge between low and high health literacy groups (P=.30). No priming effect was present among the initial 100 participants (P=.675). Conclusions: Viewing the educational tool resulted in significant gains in knowledge across health literacy levels, and most individuals felt informed and empowered to decide about genetic testing. These findings indicate that the use of an automated pretest genetic counseling tool may help streamline the delivery of genetic services.

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Javaughn Corey R. Gray, Jongho Kim, Michael Digianvittorio, Nancy K. Feeley, Paul J. Scheel, Stanley S. Siegelman, Elliot K. Fishman and Steven P. Rowe

Erdheim-Chester disease (ECD) is an extremely rare and aggressive non-Langerhans histiocytic disorder. ECD typically presents with bone pain in middle-aged adults, although some patients present with multisystem disease involving the skeleton, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, lungs, and other disease sites. The etiology of ECD is currently unknown, but it is thought to be a reactive or neoplastic disorder. Recently, mutation of the BRAF gene has been found in >50% of ECD cases, and this gene has become a therapeutic target for patients with ECD. Vemurafenib, a BRAF inhibitor, has been approved by the FDA for treatment of ECD. This report presents an elderly male patient with an aggressive phenotype of ECD and highlights the utility of multimodality imaging in monitoring the clinical course and disease response to treatment with vemurafenib.

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Fei Gao, Nan Li, YongMei Xu and GuoWang Yang

Background: The role of postoperative radiotherapy (PORT) in patients with resected stage IIIA non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of PORT on survival of these patients. Methods: Patients aged ≥18 years with stage IIIA NSCLC were identified in the SEER database from 2010 through 2015. Cox regression analysis was used to identify independant prognostic factors in patients with stage IIIA NSCLC. Subgroup analysis of patients stratified by N stage was also performed. Overall survival and lung cancer–related death were compared among the different groups by using Kaplan-Meier analysis and competitive risk analysis. Results: A total of 5,168 patients (1,711 of whom received PORT) were included in the study. In multivariable analysis, PORT was an independent prognostic risk factor for patients with N1 stage (hazard ratio [HR], 1.416, 95% CI, 1.144–1.753; P=.001). PORT was a favorable prognostic factor for patients with stage IIIA, N2 disease with ≥6 positive lymph nodes (HR, 0.742; 95% CI, 0.587–0.938; P=.012). Median survival time of patients with stage IIIA, N2 disease with ≥6 positive lymph nodes who received postoperative chemotherapy combined with PORT was significantly longer compared with those who received postoperative chemotherapy alone (32 vs 25 months, respectively; P=.009). The competitive risk model revealed that 3- and 5-year lung cancer–related mortality rates increased by 8.99% and 16.92%, respectively, in patients with N1 disease who were treated with PORT, whereas the 3-year mortality rate decreased by 4.67% and the 5-year mortality rate by 10.08% in patients with N2 disease and ≥6 positive lymph nodes who were treated using PORT. Conclusions: Our results revealed that PORT significantly improved overall survival and decreased lung cancer–related mortality in patients with stage IIIA, N2 disease with ≥6 positive lymph node metastases. PORT was not recommended for patients with N0 and N1 disease.