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Prashant Gabani, Emily Merfeld, Amar J. Srivastava, Ashley A. Weiner, Laura L. Ochoa, Dan Mullen, Maria A. Thomas, Julie A. Margenthaler, Amy E. Cyr, Lindsay L. Peterson, Michael J. Naughton, Cynthia Ma and Imran Zoberi

Background: This study evaluated factors predictive of locoregional recurrence (LRR) in women with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy who do not experience pathologic complete response (pCR). Methods: This is a single-institution retrospective review of women with TNBC treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy in 2000 through 2013. LRR was estimated between patients with and without pCR using the Kaplan-Meier method. Patient-, tumor-, and treatment-specific factors in patients without pCR were analyzed using the Cox proportional hazards method to evaluate factors predictive of LRR. Log-rank statistics were then used to compare LRR among these risk factors. Results: A total of 153 patients with a median follow-up of 48.6 months were included. The 4-year overall survival and LRR were 70% and 15%, respectively, and the 4-year LRR in patients with pCR was 0% versus 22.0% in those without (P<.001). In patients without pCR, lymphovascular space invasion (LVSI; hazard ratio, 3.92; 95% CI, 1.64–9.38; P=.002) and extranodal extension (ENE; hazard ratio, 3.32; 95% CI, 1.35–8.15; P=.009) were significant predictors of LRR in multivariable analysis. In these patients, the 4-year LRR with LVSI was 39.8% versus 15.0% without (P<.001). Similarly, the 4-year LRR was 48.1% with ENE versus 16.1% without (P=.002). In patients without pCR, the presence of both LVSI and ENE were associated with an even further increased risk of LRR compared with patients with either LVSI or ENE alone and those with neither LVSI nor ENE in the residual tumor (P<.001). Conclusions: In patients without pCR, the presence of LVSI and ENE increases the risk of LRR in TNBC. The risk of LRR is compounded when both LVSI and ENE are present in the same patient. Future clinical trials are warranted to lower the risk of LRR in these high-risk patients.

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Jay Gong, Jeffrey P. Gregg, Weijie Ma, Ken Yoneda, Elizabeth H. Moore, Megan E. Daly, Yanhong Zhang, Melissa J. Williams and Tianhong Li

Histologic transformation from adenocarcinoma to squamous cell carcinoma in lung cancer has not been reported as a mechanism of resistance to ALK inhibition. This report describes the clinical course of a female former light smoker with metastatic lung adenocarcinoma whose tumor underwent histologic transformation from a well-differentiated lung adenocarcinoma to a well-differentiated lung squamous cell carcinoma in the same location at the left mainstem bronchus while maintaining the ALK fusion oncogene without any resistance mutations. After experiencing disease progression while on crizotinib, the patient participated in clinical trials that provided early access to the novel ALK inhibitors ceritinib and alectinib before they were commercially available. Tumor recurrence occurred at the primary and metastatic central nervous system sites (ie, brain and spine). At tumor progression, liquid biopsy and tumor genomic profiling of plasma cell-free DNA next-generation sequencing (NGS) provided an accurate diagnosis with a short turnaround time compared with the tissue-based targeted capture NGS. The patient received several courses of radiation primarily to the brain and spine during her disease course. Her disease did not respond to the immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab, and she died on home hospice approximately 4 years after diagnosis. This case supports the importance of both histopathologic assessment and comprehensive genomic profiling in selecting appropriate treatment for patients with refractory, metastatic, ALK oncogene–driven non–small cell lung cancer. Use of symptom-directed radiation in tandem with ALK inhibitors contributed to the disease and symptomatic control and prolonged survival in this patient.

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Pamala A. Pawloski, Gabriel A. Brooks, Matthew E. Nielsen and Barbara A. Olson-Bullis

Background: Electronic health records are central to cancer care delivery. Electronic clinical decision support (CDS) systems can potentially improve cancer care quality and safety. However, little is known regarding the use of CDS systems in clinical oncology and their impact on patient outcomes. Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed studies was performed to evaluate clinically relevant outcomes related to the use of CDS tools for the diagnosis, treatment, and supportive care of patients with cancer. Peer-reviewed studies published from 1995 through 2016 were included if they assessed clinical outcomes, patient-reported outcomes (PROs), costs, or care delivery process measures. Results: Electronic database searches yielded 2,439 potentially eligible papers, with 24 studies included after final review. Most studies used an uncontrolled, pre-post intervention design. A total of 23 studies reported improvement in key study outcomes with use of oncology CDS systems, and 12 studies assessing the systems for computerized chemotherapy order entry demonstrated reductions in prescribing error rates, medication-related safety events, and workflow interruptions. The remaining studies examined oncology clinical pathways, guideline adherence, systems for collection and communication of PROs, and prescriber alerts. Conclusions: There is a paucity of data evaluating clinically relevant outcomes of CDS system implementation in oncology care. Currently available data suggest that these systems can have a positive impact on the quality of cancer care delivery. However, there is a critical need to rigorously evaluate CDS systems in oncology to better understand how they can be implemented to improve patient outcomes.

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Margaret Tempero

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Anuhya Kommalapati, Sri Harsha Tella, Adams Kusi Appiah, Lynette Smith and Apar Kishor Ganti

Background: There is significant heterogeneity in the treatment of stage IIIA non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study evaluated the therapeutic and survival disparities in patients with stage IIIA NSCLC based on the facility volume using the National Cancer Database. Methods: Patients with stage IIIA NSCLC diagnosed from 2004 through 2015 were included. Facilities were classified by tertiles based on mean patients treated per year, with low-volume facilities treating ≤8 patients, intermediate-volume treating 9 to 14 patients, and high-volume treating ≥15 patients. Cox multivariate analysis was used to determine the volume–outcome relationship. Results: Analysis included 83,673 patients treated at 1,319 facilities. Compared with patients treated at low-volume facilities, those treated at high-volume centers were more likely to be treated with surgical (25% vs 18%) and trimodality (12% vs 9%) therapies. In multivariate analysis, facility volume was independently associated with all-cause mortality (P<.0001). Median overall survival by facility volume was 15, 16, and 19 months for low-, intermediate-, and high-volume facilities, respectively (P<.001). Compared with patients treated at high-volume facilities, those treated at intermediate- and low-volume facilities had a significantly higher risk of death (hazard ratio, 1.09 [95% CI, 1.07–1.11] and 1.11 [95% CI, 1.09–1.13], respectively). Conclusions: Patients treated for stage IIIA NSCLC at high-volume facilities were more likely to receive surgical and trimodality therapies and had a significant improvement in survival.

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Wui-Jin Koh

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Michaela A. Dinan, Lauren E. Wilson and Shelby D. Reed

Background: This study examined whether associations between 21-gene recurrence score (RS) genomic testing and lower costs among patients with early-stage, estrogen receptor–positive breast cancer are observable in real-world data from the Medicare population. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using SEER-Medicare data for a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed from 2005 through 2011. The main outcomes were associations between RS testing and overall and chemotherapy-specific costs. The primary analysis was restricted to patients aged 66 to 75 years. Results: The primary analysis comprised 30,058 patients. Mean costs 1 year after diagnosis were $35,940 [SD, $28,894] overall, $51,127 [33,386] for clinically high-risk disease, $33,225 [$27,711] for intermediate-risk disease, and $26,695 [$19,532] for low-risk disease. Chemotherapy-specific costs followed similar trends. In multivariable analyses, RS testing was associated with significantly lower costs among high-risk patients in terms of both relative costs (cost ratio, 0.88; 99% CI, 0.82–0.94) and absolute costs ($6,606; 99% CI, $39,223–$9,290). Higher costs among low-risk and intermediate-risk patients were mainly caused by higher noncancer costs. In sensitivity analyses that included all patients aged ≥66 years (N=64,996), associations between RS testing and costs among high-risk patients were similar but less pronounced because of lower overall use of chemotherapy. Conclusions: RS testing was associated with lower overall and chemotherapy-related costs in patients with high-risk disease, consistent with lower chemotherapy use among these patients. Higher overall costs for patients with intermediate-risk and low-risk disease were driven largely by non–treatment-related costs.

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Guidelines Insights: Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma, Version 1.2019

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Margaret A. Tempero, Mokenge P. Malafa, E. Gabriela Chiorean, Brian Czito, Courtney Scaife, Amol K. Narang, Christos Fountzilas, Brian M. Wolpin, Mahmoud Al-Hawary, Horacio Asbun, Stephen W. Behrman, Al B. Benson III, Ellen Binder, Dana B. Cardin, Charles Cha, Vincent Chung, Mary Dillhoff, Efrat Dotan, Cristina R. Ferrone, George Fisher, Jeffrey Hardacre, William G. Hawkins, Andrew H. Ko, Noelle LoConte, Andrew M. Lowy, Cassadie Moravek, Eric K. Nakakura, Eileen M. O’Reilly, Jorge Obando, Sushanth Reddy, Sarah Thayer, Robert A. Wolff, Jennifer L. Burns and Griselda Zuccarino-Catania

The NCCN Guidelines for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma discuss the diagnosis and management of adenocarcinomas of the exocrine pancreas and are intended to assist with clinical decision-making. These NCCN Guidelines Insights discuss important updates to the 2019 version of the guidelines, focusing on postoperative adjuvant treatment of patients with pancreatic cancers.

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Nikolai A. Podoltsev, Mengxin Zhu, Amer M. Zeidan, Rong Wang, Xiaoyi Wang, Amy J. Davidoff, Scott F. Huntington, Smith Giri, Steven D. Gore and Xiaomei Ma


Background: Current guidelines recommend hydroxyurea (HU) as frontline therapy for patients with high-risk essential thrombocythemia (ET) to prevent thrombosis. However, little is known about the impact of HU on thrombosis or survival among these patients in the real-world setting. Patients and Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted of older adults (aged ≥66 years) diagnosed with ET from 2007 through 2013 using the linked SEER-Medicare database. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess the effect of HU on overall survival, and multivariable competing risk models were used to assess the effect of HU on the occurrence of thrombotic events. Results: Of 1,010 patients, 745 (73.8%) received HU. Treatment with HU was associated with a significantly lower risk of death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.52; 95% CI, 0.43–0.64; P<.01). Every 10% increase in HU proportion of days covered was associated with a 12% decreased risk of death (HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.86–0.91; P<.01). Compared with nonusers, HU users also had a significantly lower risk of thrombotic events (HR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.41–0.64; P<.01). Conclusions: Although underused in our study population, HU was associated with a reduced incidence of thrombotic events and improved overall survival in older patients with ET.