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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.

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Courtney P. Williams, Andres Azuero, Kelly M. Kenzik, Maria Pisu, Ryan D. Nipp, Smita Bhatia and Gabrielle B. Rocque

Background: Treatment for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that is not concordant with the NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer has been associated with higher healthcare utilization and payer costs. However, a significant knowledge gap exists regarding the impact of guideline-discordant care on patient cost responsibility. This study examined this question among patients with MBC in the year postdiagnosis. Methods: This retrospective cohort study used data from the SEER-Medicare linked database from 2000 through 2013. Guideline discordance, defined by year-specific NCCN Guidelines, was assessed for first-line antineoplastic treatment and grouped into discrete categories. Patient cost responsibility (deductibles, coinsurance, copayments) in women with MBC were summed for all medical care received in the year postdiagnosis. The difference in patient cost responsibility by guideline discordance status was estimated using linear mixed-effect models. Results: Of 3,709 patients with MBC surviving at least 1 year postdiagnosis, 17.6% (n=651) received guideline-discordant treatment. Median cost responsibility in the year postdiagnosis for patients receiving guideline-discordant treatment was $7,421 (interquartile range [IQR], $4,359–$12,983) versus $5,171 (IQR, $3,006–$8,483) for those receiving guideline-concordant care. In adjusted models, guideline-discordant treatment was significantly associated with $1,841 higher patient costs in the first year from index diagnosis date (95% CI, $1,280–$2,401) compared with guideline-concordant care. Patient cost responsibility differed by category of guideline discordance, with those receiving nonapproved bevacizumab having the highest cost responsibility (β=$3,330; 95% CI, $1,711–$4,948). Conclusions: Deviations from current treatment guidelines may have implications on patient healthcare cost responsibility. Additional research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms underlying how guideline deviation leads to greater costs for patients with MBC.

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Richard Li, Ashwin Shinde, Marwan Fakih, Stephen Sentovich, Kurt Melstrom, Rebecca Nelson, Scott Glaser, Yi-Jen Chen, Karyn Goodman and Arya Amini

Background: Anal adenocarcinoma is a rare malignancy with a poor prognosis, and no randomized data are available to guide management. Prior retrospective analyses offer differing conclusions on the benefit of surgical resection after chemoradiotherapy (CRT) in these patients. We used the National Cancer Database (NCDB) to analyze survival outcomes in patients undergoing CRT with and without subsequent surgical resection. Methods: Patients with adenocarcinoma of the anus diagnosed in 2004 through 2015 were identified using the NCDB. Patients with metastatic disease and survival <90 days were excluded. We analyzed patients receiving CRT and stratified by receipt of surgical resection. Logistic regression was used to evaluate predictors of use of surgery and to form a propensity score–matched cohort. Overall survival (OS) was compared between treatment strategies using Cox proportional hazards regression. Results: We identified 1,747 patients with anal adenocarcinoma receiving CRT, of whom 1,005 (58%) received surgery. Predictors of increased receipt of surgery included age <65 years, private insurance, overlapping involvement of the anus and rectum, N0 disease, and external-beam radiation dose ≥4,000 cGy. With a median follow-up of 3.5 years, 5-year OS was 61.1% in patients receiving CRT plus surgery compared with 39.8% in patients receiving CRT alone (log-rank P<.001). In multivariate analysis, surgery was associated with significantly improved OS (hazard ratio, −0.59; 95% CI, 0.50–0.68; P<.001). This survival benefit persisted in a propensity score–matched cohort (log-rank P<.001). Conclusions: In the largest series of anal adenocarcinoma cases to date, treatment with CRT followed by surgery was associated with a significant survival benefit compared with CRT alone in propensity score–matching analysis. Our findings support national guideline recommendations of neoadjuvant CRT followed by resection for patients with anal adenocarcinoma.

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Matthew P. Banegas, Donna R. Rivera, Maureen C. O’Keeffe-Rosetti, Nikki M. Carroll, Pamala A. Pawloski, David C. Tabano, Mara M. Epstein, Kai Yeung, Mark C. Hornbrook, Christine Lu and Debra P. Ritzwoller

Background: Oral tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been the standard of care for chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) since 2001. However, few studies have evaluated changes in the treatment landscape of CML over time. This study assessed the long-term treatment patterns of oral anticancer therapies among patients with CML. Methods: This retrospective cohort study included patients newly diagnosed with CML between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2016, from 10 integrated healthcare systems. The proportion of patients treated with 5 FDA-approved oral TKI agents—bosutinib, dasatinib, imatinib, nilotinib, and ponatinib—in the 12 months after diagnosis were measured, overall and by year, between 2000 and 2017. We assessed the use of each oral agent through the fourth-line setting. Multivariable logistic regression estimated the odds of receiving any oral agent, adjusting for sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. Results: Among 853 patients with CML, 81% received an oral agent between 2000 and 2017. Use of non-oral therapies decreased from 100% in 2000 to 5% in 2005, coinciding with imatinib uptake from 65% in 2001 to 98% in 2005. Approximately 28% of patients switched to a second-line agent, 9% switched to a third-line agent, and 2% switched to a fourth-line agent. Adjusted analysis showed that age at diagnosis, year of diagnosis, and comorbidity burden were statistically significantly associated with odds of receiving an oral agent. Conclusions: A dramatic shift was seen in CML treatments away from traditional, nonoral chemotherapy toward use of novel oral TKIs between 2000 and 2017. As the costs of oral anticancer agents reach new highs, studies assessing the long-term health and financial outcomes among patients with CML are warranted.

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Margaret Tempero

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NCCN Guidelines Insights: Multiple Myeloma, Version 1.2020

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Shaji K. Kumar, Natalie S. Callander, Jens Hillengass, Michaela Liedtke, Muhamed Baljevic, Erica Campagnaro, Jorge J. Castillo, Jason C. Chandler, Robert F. Cornell, Caitlin Costello, Yvonne Efebera, Matthew Faiman, Alfred Garfall, Kelly Godby, Leona Holmberg, Myo Htut, Carol Ann Huff, Yubin Kang, Ola Landgren, Ehsan Malek, Thomas Martin, James Omel, Noopur Raje, Douglas Sborov, Seema Singhal, Keith Stockerl-Goldstein, Carlyn Tan, Donna Weber, Alyse Johnson-Chilla, Jennifer Keller and Rashmi Kumar

The NCCN Guidelines for Multiple Myeloma provide recommendations for diagnosis, workup, treatment, follow-up, and supportive care for patients with monoclonal gammopathy of renal significance, solitary plasmacytoma, smoldering myeloma, and multiple myeloma. These NCCN Guidelines Insights highlight some of the important updates and changes in the 1.2020 version of the NCCN Guidelines for Multiple Myeloma.

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Scott F. Huntington, Jessica R. Hoag, Rong Wang, Amer M. Zeidan, Smith Giri, Steven D. Gore, Xiaomei Ma, Cary P. Gross and Amy J. Davidoff

Background: Provider experience, or clinical volume, is associated with improved outcomes in many complex healthcare settings. Despite increased complexity of anticancer therapies, studies evaluating physician-level experience and cancer treatment outcomes are lacking. Methods: A population-based study was conducted of older adults (aged ≥66 years) diagnosed with B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2004 through 2011 using SEER-Medicare data. Analysis focused on outcomes in patients receiving rituximab, the first approved monoclonal anticancer immunotherapy. We hypothesized that lower physician experience using rituximab and managing its infusion-related reactions would be associated with early treatment discontinuation. A 12-month look-back from each initiation of rituximab was used to categorize physician volume (0, 1–2, or ≥3 initiations per year). Modified Poisson regression was used to account for provider-level correlation and estimated relative risk (RR) of early rituximab discontinuation (<3 cycles within 180 days of rituximab initiation). Cox proportional hazards were used to measure the impact of rituximab discontinuation on survival. Results: Among 15,110 patients who initiated rituximab with 2,684 physicians, 7.6% experienced early rituximab discontinuation. Approximately one-fourth of patients (26.1%) initiated rituximab with a physician who had no rituximab initiations during the preceding 12 months. Compared with patients treated by physicians who had ≥3 rituximab initiations in the prior year, those treated by physicians without initiations were 57% more likely to experience early discontinuation (adjusted RR [aRR], 1.57; 95% CI, 1.35–1.82; P<.001 for 0 vs ≥3, and aRR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.03–1.37; P=.02 for 1–2 vs ≥3). Additionally, rituximab discontinuation was associated with higher risk of death (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.28–1.52; P<.001). Conclusions: Lower oncologist experience with rituximab was associated with increased risk of early rituximab discontinuation in Medicare beneficiaries with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Physician-level volume may be an important factor in providing high-quality cancer care in the modern era.