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Neha Mehta-Shah, Steven M. Horwitz, Stephen Ansell, Weiyun Z. Ai, Jeffrey Barnes, Stefan K. Barta, Mark W. Clemens, Ahmet Dogan, Kristopher Fisher, Aaron M. Goodman, Gaurav Goyal, Joan Guitart, Ahmad Halwani, Bradley M. Haverkos, Richard T. Hoppe, Eric Jacobsen, Deepa Jagadeesh, Matthew A. Lunning, Amitkumar Mehta, Elise A. Olsen, Barbara Pro, Saurabh A. Rajguru, Satish Shanbhag, Aaron Shaver, Andrei Shustov, Lubomir Sokol, Pallawi Torka, Carlos Torres-Cabala, Ryan Wilcox, Basem M. William, Jasmine Zain, Mary A. Dwyer, Hema Sundar and Youn H. Kim

Mycosis fungoides (MF) is the most common subtype of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL), and Sézary syndrome (SS) is a rare erythrodermic and leukemic subtype of CTCL characterized by significant blood involvement. Although early-stage disease can be effectively treated predominantly with skin-directed therapies, systemic therapy is often necessary for the treatment of advanced-stage disease. Systemic therapy options have evolved in recent years with the approval of novel agents such as romidepsin, brentuximab vedotin, and mogamulizumab. These NCCN Guidelines Insights discuss the diagnosis and management of MF and SS (with a focus on systemic therapy).

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Charles M. Balch and Catherine Harvey Sevier

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Omar Abdel-Rahman, Hatim Karachiwala and Jacob C. Easaw

Background: This study assessed the patterns of opioid use among patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancers who were included in 8 clinical trials and evaluated the impact of opioid use on survival outcomes of included patients. Methods: Deidentified datasets from 8 clinical trials evaluating first-line systemic treatment of advanced gastrointestinal cancers were accessed from the Project Data Sphere platform (ClinicalTrial.gov identifiers: NCT01124786, NCT00844649, NCT00290966, NCT00678535, NCT00699374, NCT00272051, NCT00305188, and NCT00384176). These trials evaluated patients with pancreatic carcinoma, gastric carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and colorectal carcinoma. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to evaluate factors predicting the use of opioids. Kaplan-Meier survival estimates were used to compare survival outcomes in each disease entity among patients who did or did not receive opioid treatment. Multivariable Cox regression analysis was then used to further assess the impact of opioid use on survival outcomes in each disease entity. Results: A total of 3,441 participants were included in the current analysis. The following factors predicted a higher probability of opioid use within logistic regression analysis: younger age at diagnosis (odds ratio [OR], 0.990; 95% CI, 0.984–0.997; P=.004), nonwhite race (OR for white vs nonwhite, 0.749; 95% CI, 0.600–0.933; P=.010), higher ECOG score (OR for 1 vs 0, 1.751; 95% CI, 1.490–2.058; P<.001), and pancreatic primary site (OR for colorectal vs pancreatic, 0.241; 95% CI, 0.198–0.295; P<.001). Use of opioids was consistently associated with worse overall survival (OS) in Kaplan-Meier survival estimates of each disease entity (P=.008 for pancreatic cancer; P<.001 for gastric cancer, HCC, and colorectal cancer). In multivariable Cox regression analysis, opioid use was associated with worse OS among patients with pancreatic cancer (hazard ratio [HR], 1.245; 95% CI, 1.063–1.459; P=.007), gastric cancer (HR, 1.725; 95% CI, 1.403–2.122; P<.001), HCC (HR, 1.841; 95% CI, 1.480–2.290; P<.001), and colorectal cancer (HR, 1.651; 95% CI, 1.380–1.975; P<.001). Conclusions: Study findings suggest that opioid use is consistently associated with worse OS among patients with different gastrointestinal cancers. Further studies are needed to understand the underlying mechanisms of this observation and its potential implications.

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Michael G. Milligan, Angel M. Cronin, Yolonda Colson, Kenneth Kehl, Debra N. Yeboa, Deborah Schrag and Aileen B. Chen

Background: Among patients diagnosed with stage IA non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the incidence of occult brain metastasis is low, and several professional societies recommend against brain imaging for staging purposes. The goal of this study was to characterize the use of brain imaging among Medicare patients diagnosed with stage IA NSCLC. Methods: Using data from linked SEER-Medicare claims, we identified patients diagnosed with AJCC 8th edition stage IA NSCLC in 2004 through 2013. Patients were classified as having received brain imaging if they underwent head CT or brain MRI from 1 month before to 3 months after diagnosis. We identified factors associated with receipt of brain imaging using multivariable logistic regression. Results: Among 13,809 patients with stage IA NSCLC, 3,417 (25%) underwent brain imaging at time of diagnosis. The rate of brain imaging increased over time, from 23.5% in 2004 to 28.7% in 2013 (P=.0006). There was significant variation in the use of brain imaging across hospital service areas, with rates ranging from 0% to 64.0%. Factors associated with a greater likelihood of brain imaging included older age (odds ratios [ORs] of 1.16 for 70–74 years, 1.13 for 75–79 years, 1.31 for 80–84 years, and 1.46 for ≥85 years compared with 65–69 years; all P<.05), female sex (OR, 1.09; P<.05), black race (OR 1.23; P<.05), larger tumor size (ORs of 1.23 for 11–20 mm and 1.28 for 21–30 mm tumors vs 1–10 mm tumors; all P<.05), and higher modified Charlson-Deyo comorbidity score (OR, 1.28 for score >1 vs score of 0; P<.05). Conclusions: Roughly 1 in 4 patients with stage IA NSCLC received brain imaging at the time of diagnosis despite national recommendations against the practice. Although several patient factors are associated with receipt of brain imaging, there is significant geographic variation across the United States. Closer adherence to clinical guidelines is likely to result in more cost-effective care.

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Emily J. Martin, Andrew R. Bruggeman, Vinit V. Nalawade, Reith R. Sarkar, Edmund M. Qiao, Brent S. Rose and James D. Murphy

Background: Patients with advanced esophageal cancer often experience pain and dysphagia, yet the optimal palliative management remains unclear. This retrospective study evaluated outcomes and adverse effects of palliative radiotherapy (RT) compared with esophageal stenting among a cohort of U.S. veterans with metastatic esophageal cancer. Patients and Methods: We identified 1,957 veterans in the United States with metastatic esophageal cancer who received palliative RT to the esophagus or esophageal stenting, and assessed the risks of severe adverse effects, including esophageal fistula formation, perforation, obstruction, hemorrhage, and esophagitis. We determined palliative efficacy by evaluating pain and dysphagia scores before and after intervention. Multivariable analyses were used to control for potential confounding factors. Results: In our cohort, 1,593 patients underwent RT and 364 underwent esophageal stenting. The cumulative incidence of any severe adverse effect at 6 months was higher among patients who received stents compared with those who received RT (21.7% vs 12.4%; P<.0010). In multivariable analysis, patients who received stents had an increased risk of any severe adverse effect, including fistula, perforation, and hemorrhage (all P<.0500). Multivariable analysis also showed that, compared with stenting, RT was associated with more rapid and durable pain relief (P<.0010) with no difference in relief of dysphagia over time when accounting for pretreatment dysphagia scores (P=.1029). Conclusions: Compared with esophageal stenting, RT was associated with a decreased risk of adverse effects, greater pain relief, and equivalent relief of moderate to severe dysphagia over time. Unmeasured patient- or tumor-related factors could have influenced the choice of intervention, thereby impacting our study outcomes. To our knowledge, this is the largest study to date analyzing the comparative risks and benefits of palliative RT and esophageal stenting among patients with metastatic esophageal cancer.

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Ryan D. Nipp, Brandon Temel, Charn-Xin Fuh, Paul Kay, Sophia Landay, Daniel Lage, Esteban Franco-Garcia, Erin Scott, Erin Stevens, Terrence O’Malley, Supriya Mohile, William Dale, Lara Traeger, Vicki Jackson, Joseph A. Greer, Areej El-Jawahri and Jennifer S. Temel

Background: Oncologists often struggle with managing the unique care needs of older adults with cancer. This study sought to determine the feasibility of delivering a transdisciplinary intervention targeting the geriatric-specific (physical function and comorbidity) and palliative care (symptoms and prognostic understanding) needs of older adults with advanced cancer. Methods: Patients aged ≥65 years with incurable gastrointestinal or lung cancer were randomly assigned to a transdisciplinary intervention or usual care. Those in the intervention arm received 2 visits with a geriatrician, who addressed patients’ palliative care needs and conducted a geriatric assessment. We predefined the intervention as feasible if >70% of eligible patients enrolled in the study and >75% of eligible patients completed study visits and surveys. At baseline and week 12, we assessed patients’ quality of life (QoL), symptoms, and communication confidence. We calculated mean change scores in outcomes and estimated intervention effect sizes (ES; Cohen’s d) for changes from baseline to week 12, with 0.2 indicating a small effect, 0.5 a medium effect, and 0.8 a large effect. Results: From February 2017 through June 2018, we randomized 62 patients (55.9% enrollment rate [most common reason for refusal was feeling too ill]; median age, 72.3 years; cancer types: 56.5% gastrointestinal, 43.5% lung). Among intervention patients, 82.1% attended the first visit and 79.6% attended both. Overall, 89.7% completed all study surveys. Compared with usual care, intervention patients had less QoL decrement (–0.77 vs –3.84; ES = 0.21), reduced number of moderate/severe symptoms (–0.69 vs +1.04; ES = 0.58), and improved communication confidence (+1.06 vs –0.80; ES = 0.38). Conclusions: In this pilot trial, enrollment exceeded 55%, and >75% of enrollees completed all study visits and surveys. The transdisciplinary intervention targeting older patients’ unique care needs showed encouraging ES estimates for enhancing patients’ QoL, symptom burden, and communication confidence.

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Wei Nie, Jie Qian, Mi-Die Xu, Kai Gu, Fang-Fei Qian, Jun Lu, Xue-Yan Zhang, Hui-Min Wang, Bo Yan, Bo Zhang, Shu-Yuan Wang, Fang Hu, Chang-Hui Li, Hua Zhong and Bao-Hui Han

Background: Biomarkers for chemotherapy efficacy in non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) are lacking. This retrospective study assesses the association between blood-based tumor mutational burden (bTMB) and clinical benefit of chemotherapy. Methods: Clinical and targeted next-generation sequencing data from the OAK trial (training set; n=318) and POPLAR trial (validation set; n=106) in the docetaxel arm were analyzed. The cutoff value of bTMB for outcome prediction was determined based on a time-dependent receiver operating characteristic curve in the training set, and propensity score matching (PSM) was conducted. The primary outcome was overall survival (OS). Durable clinical benefit (DCB) was defined as OS lasting >12 months. Interaction between treatment and bTMB was assessed in the combined set. Results: A lower bTMB was observed in patients with DCB compared with no durable benefit, and in those with a partial response and stable disease compared with progressive disease. The optimized cutoff value of bTMB for predicting OS was 7 single-nucleotide variants per megabase. In the training set, a low bTMB was significantly associated with longer OS and progression-free survival (PFS). The prognostic value of bTMB was confirmed in the validation set and PSM set. The interaction between bTMB and treatment was significant for PFS (interaction P=.043) in the combined set. Mutations in KEAP1 were associated with high bTMB and a lack of benefit from chemotherapy. Conclusions: Low bTMB is associated with a survival advantage in patients with NSCLC treated with docetaxel, suggesting the prognostic and predictive potential of bTMB for determining chemotherapy efficacy.

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Pelin Cinar, Timothy Kubal, Alison Freifeld, Asmita Mishra, Lawrence Shulman, James Bachman, Rafael Fonseca, Hope Uronis, Dori Klemanski, Kim Slusser, Matthew Lunning and Catherine Liu

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was first detected as a respiratory illness in December 2019 in Wuhan City, China. Since then, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted every aspect of our lives worldwide. In a time when terms such as social distancing and flattening the curve have become a part of our vernacular, it is essential that we understand what measures can be implemented to protect our patients and healthcare workers. Undoubtedly, healthcare providers have had to rapidly alter care delivery models while simultaneously acknowledging the crucial unknowns of how these changes may affect clinical outcomes. This special feature reviews strategies on how to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the disease for patients with cancer without infection, for patients with cancer with COVID-19 infection, and for the healthcare workers caring for them, while continuing to provide the best possible cancer care. [Editor’s Note: This article includes the most current information available at time of publication; however, recommendations regarding public safety and practice may change rapidly in this situation. Individuals should get the most up to date information from the CDC website.]