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Nathan R. Handley, Justin E. Bekelman and Adam F. Binder

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Dawn Provenzale, Reid M. Ness, Xavier Llor, Jennifer M. Weiss, Benjamin Abbadessa, Gregory Cooper, Dayna S. Early, Mark Friedman, Francis M. Giardiello, Kathryn Glaser, Suryakanth Gurudu, Amy L. Halverson, Rachel Issaka, Rishi Jain, Priyanka Kanth, Trilokesh Kidambi, Audrey J. Lazenby, Lillias Maguire, Arnold J. Markowitz, Folasade P. May, Robert J. Mayer, Shivan Mehta, Swati Patel, Shajan Peter, Peter P. Stanich, Jonathan Terdiman, Jennifer Keller, Mary A. Dwyer and Ndiya Ogba

The NCCN Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer (CRC) Screening describe various colorectal screening modalities as well as recommended screening schedules for patients at average or increased risk of developing sporadic CRC. They are intended to aid physicians with clinical decision-making regarding CRC screening for patients without defined genetic syndromes. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on select recent updates to the NCCN Guidelines, including a section on primary and secondary CRC prevention, and provide context for the panel’s recommendations regarding the age to initiate screening in average risk individuals and follow-up for low-risk adenomas.

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Joseph Abi Jaoude, Ramez Kouzy, Walker Mainwaring, Timothy A. Lin, Austin B. Miller, Amit Jethanandani, Andres F. Espinoza, Dario Pasalic, Vivek Verma, Noam A. VanderWalde, Benjamin D. Smith, Grace L. Smith, C. David Fuller, Prajnan Das, Bruce D. Minsky, Claus Rödel, Emmanouil Fokas, Reshma Jagsi, Charles R. Thomas Jr, Ishwaria M. Subbiah, Cullen M. Taniguchi and Ethan B. Ludmir

Background: Patients with good performance status (PS) tend to be favored in randomized clinical trials (RCTs), possibly limiting the generalizability of trial findings. We aimed to characterize trial-related factors associated with the use of PS eligibility criteria and analyze patient accrual breakdown by PS. Methods: Adult, therapeutic, multiarm phase III cancer-specific RCTs were identified through ClinicalTrials.gov. PS data were extracted from articles. Trials with a PS restriction ECOG score ≤1 were identified. Factors associated with PS restriction were determined, and the use of PS restrictions was analyzed over time. Results: In total, 600 trials were included and 238,213 patients had PS data. Of those trials, 527 studies (87.8%) specified a PS restriction cutoff, with 237 (39.5%) having a strict inclusion criterion (ECOG PS ≤1). Enrollment criteria restrictions based on PS (ECOG PS ≤1) were more common among industry-supported trials (P<.001) and lung cancer trials (P<.001). Nearly half of trials that led to FDA approval included strict PS restrictions. Most patients enrolled across all trials had an ECOG PS of 0 to 1 (96.3%). Even among trials that allowed patients with ECOG PS ≥2, only 8.1% of those enrolled had a poor PS. Trials of lung, breast, gastrointestinal, and genitourinary cancers all included <5% of patients with poor PS. Finally, only 4.7% of patients enrolled in trials that led to subsequent FDA approval had poor PS. Conclusions: Use of PS restrictions in oncologic RCTs is pervasive, and exceedingly few patients with poor PS are enrolled. The selective accrual of healthier patients has the potential to severely limit and bias trial results. Future trials should consider a wider cancer population with close toxicity monitoring to ensure the generalizability of results while maintaining patient safety.

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Kate Watabayashi, Jordan Steelquist, Karen A. Overstreet, Anthony Leahy, Erin Bradshaw, Kathleen D. Gallagher, Alan J. Balch, Rebecca Lobb, Laura Lavell, Hannah Linden, Scott D. Ramsey and Veena Shankaran

Background: Few studies have engaged patients and caregivers in interventions to alleviate financial hardship. We collaborated with Consumer Education and Training Services (CENTS), Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), and Family Reach (FR) to assess the feasibility of enrolling patient–caregiver dyads in a program that provides financial counseling, insurance navigation, and assistance with medical and cost of living expenses. Methods: Patients with solid tumors aged ≥18 years and their primary caregiver received a financial education video, monthly contact with a CENTS counselor and PAF case manager for 6 months, and referral to FR for help with unpaid cost of living bills (eg, transportation or housing). Patient financial hardship and caregiver burden were measured using the Comprehensive Score for Financial Toxicity–Patient-Reported Outcomes (COST-PRO) and Caregiver Strain Index (CSI) measures, respectively, at baseline and follow-up. Results: Thirty patients (median age, 59.5 years; 40% commercially insured) and 18 caregivers (67% spouses) consented (78% dyad participation rate). Many participants faced cancer-related financial hardships prior to enrollment, such as work change or loss (45% of patients; 39% of caregivers) and debt (64% of patients); 39% of caregivers reported high levels of financial burden at enrollment. Subjects received $11,000 in assistance (mean, $772 per household); 66% of subjects with income ≤$50,000 received cost-of-living assistance. COST-PRO and CSI scores did not change significantly. Conclusions: Patient–caregiver dyads were willing to participate in a financial navigation program that addresses various financial issues, particularly cost of living expenses in lower income participants. Future work should address financial concerns at diagnosis and determine whether doing so improves patient and caregiver outcomes.

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Tara M. Mackay, Anouk E.J. Latenstein, Mirjam A.G. Sprangers, Lydia G. van der Geest, Geert-Jan Creemers, Susan van Dieren, Jan-Willem B. de Groot, Bas Groot Koerkamp, Ignace H. de Hingh, Marjolein Y.V. Homs, Evelien J.M. de Jong, I. Quintus Molenaar, Gijs A. Patijn, Lonneke V. van de Poll-Franse, Hjalmar C. van Santvoort, Judith de Vos-Geelen, Johanna W. Wilmink, Casper H. van Eijck, Marc G. Besselink, Hanneke W.M. van Laarhoven and for the Dutch Pancreatic Cancer Group

Background: A relationship between quality of life (QoL) and survival has been shown for several types of cancer, mostly in clinical trials with highly selected patient groups. The relationship between QoL and survival for patients with pancreatic or periampullary cancer is unclear. Methods: This study analyzed QoL data from a prospective multicenter patient-reported outcome registry in patients with pancreatic or periampullary carcinoma registered in the nationwide Netherlands Cancer Registry (2015–2018). Baseline and delta QoL, between baseline and 3-month follow-up, were assessed with the Happiness, EORTC Quality of Life Questionnaire-Core 30 (QLQ-C30), and QLQ-PAN26 questionnaires. The relationship between QoL and survival was assessed using Cox regression models, and additional prognostic value of separate items was assessed using Nagelkerke R2 (explained variance). Results: For the baseline and delta analyses, 233 and 148 patients were available, respectively. Most were diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma (n=194; 83.3%) and had stage III disease (n=77; 33.0%), with a median overall survival of 13.6 months. Multivariate analysis using baseline scores indicated several scales to be of prognostic value for the total cohort (ie, happiness today, role functioning, diarrhea, pancreatic pain, and body image; hazard ratios all P<.05) and for patients without resection (ie, overall satisfaction with life, physical and cognitive functioning, QLQ-C30 summary score, fatigue, pain, constipation, diarrhea, and body image; hazard ratios all P<.05). Except for diarrhea, all QoL items accounted for >5% of the additional explained variance and were of added prognostic value. Multivariate analysis using delta QoL revealed that only constipation was of prognostic value for the total cohort, whereas no association with survival was found for subgroups with or without resection. Conclusions: In a multicenter cohort of patients with pancreatic or periampullary carcinoma, QoL scores predicted survival regardless of patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics. QoL scores may thus be used for shared decision-making regarding disease management and treatment choice.

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Angela Pecoraro, Giuseppe Rosiello, Stefano Luzzago, Marina Deuker, Franciska Stolzenbach, Zhe Tian, Shahrokh F. Shariat, Fred Saad, Alberto Briganti, Anil Kapoor, Cristian Fiori, Francesco Porpiglia and Pierre I. Karakiewicz

Background: The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Kidney Cancer recommend active surveillance as an option for initial management of T1a 0- to 2-cm renal lesions, in addition to partial nephrectomy, radical nephrectomy, and focal ablation. However, contemporary data regarding the distribution of patient and renal cell carcinoma characteristics within this special patient group are scarce. Methods: Within the SEER database (2002–2016), 13,364 patients with T1aNanyMany 0- to 2-cm renal lesions treated with nephrectomy were identified. Data were tabulated according to histologic subtype, Fuhrman grade (FG1–2 vs FG3–4), age category, and sex. In addition, rates of synchronous metastases were quantified. Results: Overall, clear-cell (69.3%), papillary (21.4%), chromophobe (6.9%), multilocular cystic (2.0%), sarcomatoid dedifferentiation (0.2%), and collecting-duct histologic subtypes (0.2%) were identified. Advanced age was associated with a lower rate of FG1–2 clear cell histologic subtype (70.8%–50.3%) but higher rates of FG1–2 papillary (11.1%–23.9%) and chromophobe histologic subtypes (6.2%–8.5%). Overall, 14.5% individuals harbored FG3–4 clear cell (9.8%) or FG3–4 papillary histologic subtypes (4.8%), and both were more prevalent in men. FG3–4 clear-cell and FG3–4 papillary histologic subtypes increased with age, more so in women than in men. The overall rate of synchronous metastases was 0.4% and ranged from 0 in the multilocular cystic subtype to 0.9% in the FG3–4 papillary histologic subtype, respectively, except for 13.8% in the sarcomatoid dedifferentiation histologic subtype. Conclusions: Most T1a 0- to 2-cm renal cell carcinoma represents the low-grade clear-cell or low-grade papillary histologic subtype, with an FG3–4 minority. Even in patients with the FG3–4 histologic subtype, rates of synchronous metastases are virtually zero.

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Piet Dirix, Lynda Wyld, Shani Paluch-Shimon and Philip Poortmans

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Alejandro Garcia-Horton and Jeffrey H. Lipton

With the success of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) in achieving next-to-normal overall survival in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), treatment-free remission (TFR) has become a significant goal in the management of this disease. Discontinuation of therapy is attractive to both patients and physicians because maintaining a stable BCR-ABL transcript level without therapy would imply true operational CML cure. With TFR, patients are not exposed to unknown long-term adverse effects of TKIs and common adverse effects that may affect quality of life. Several factors need to be considered before attempting TFR, because this goal is not appropriate for a significant proportion of patients with CML. Patient-related factors, CML response to therapy and its duration, monitoring capacity, patient preferences and compliance with monitoring, and economic factors influence the decision to attempt to discontinue TKIs. Unfortunately, only 50% of patients are appropriate candidates for discontinuation of treatment. Of those, another 50% maintain stable disease while off TKIs. This means that merely 25% of patients achieve TFR. Further optimization and research are required to be able to extend this treatment goal to a larger population of patients. Although TFR is attractive and desirable, this goal is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and we should continue to focus on patients with CML having a normal OS with the best quality of life possible.

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Sheetal M. Kircher, Mary Mulcahy, Aparna Kalyan, Christine B. Weldon, Julia R. Trosman and Al B. Benson III

The first confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States was reported on January 20, 2020. As of September 17, 2020, there were more than 6.6 million confirmed cases and 196,277 deaths. Limited data are available on outcomes of immunocompromised patients, but early published reports from China indicate that those with cancer have a 3.5 times higher risk of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, or death than those without cancer. Because of the uncertain behavior of COVID-19, it has become imperative for practices to limit exposure to vulnerable patients. Telemedicine has been one of the cornerstones of caring for patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. This review provides an overview of reimbursement policy by public and private payers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, describes implications in cancer care, and offers considerations for future reimbursement policy.