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NCCN Guidelines Insights: Prostate Cancer, Version 1.2021

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Edward Schaeffer, Sandy Srinivas, Emmanuel S. Antonarakis, Andrew J. Armstrong, Justin E. Bekelman, Heather Cheng, Anthony Victor D’Amico, Brian J. Davis, Neil Desai, Tanya Dorff, James A. Eastham, Thomas A. Farrington, Xin Gao, Eric Mark Horwitz, Joseph E. Ippolito, Michael R. Kuettel, Joshua M. Lang, Rana McKay, Jesse McKenney, George Netto, David F. Penson, Julio M. Pow-Sang, Robert Reiter, Sylvia Richey, Mack Roach, III, Stan Rosenfeld, Ahmad Shabsigh, Daniel E. Spratt, Benjamin A. Teply, Jonathan Tward, Dorothy A. Shead and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

The NCCN Guidelines for Prostate Cancer address staging and risk assessment after a prostate cancer diagnosis and include management options for localized, regional, and metastatic disease. Recommendations for disease monitoring and treatment of recurrent disease are also included. The NCCN Prostate Cancer Panel meets annually to reevaluate and update their recommendations based on new clinical data and input from within NCCN Member Institutions and from external entities. This article summarizes the panel’s discussions for the 2021 update of the guidelines with regard to systemic therapy for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

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Deborah K. Armstrong, Ronald D. Alvarez, Jamie N. Bakkum-Gamez, Lisa Barroilhet, Kian Behbakht, Andrew Berchuck, Lee-may Chen, Mihaela Cristea, Maria DeRosa, Eric L. Eisenhauer, David M. Gershenson, Heidi J. Gray, Rachel Grisham, Ardeshir Hakam, Angela Jain, Amer Karam, Gottfried E. Konecny, Charles A. Leath III, Joyce Liu, Haider Mahdi, Lainie Martin, Daniela Matei, Michael McHale, Karen McLean, David S. Miller, David M. O’Malley, Sanja Percac-Lima, Elena Ratner, Steven W. Remmenga, Roberto Vargas, Theresa L. Werner, Emese Zsiros, Jennifer L. Burns and Anita M. Engh

Epithelial ovarian cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancer in the United States and is the country’s fifth most common cause of cancer mortality in women. A major challenge in treating ovarian cancer is that most patients have advanced disease at initial diagnosis. These NCCN Guidelines discuss cancers originating in the ovary, fallopian tube, or peritoneum, as these are all managed in a similar manner. Most of the recommendations are based on data from patients with the most common subtypes─high-grade serous and grade 2/3 endometrioid. The NCCN Guidelines also include recommendations specifically for patients with less common ovarian cancers, which in the guidelines include the following: carcinosarcoma, clear cell carcinoma, mucinous carcinoma, low-grade serous, grade 1 endometrioid, borderline epithelial, malignant sex cord-stromal, and malignant germ cell tumors. This manuscript focuses on certain aspects of primary treatment, including primary surgery, adjuvant therapy, and maintenance therapy options (including PARP inhibitors) after completion of first-line chemotherapy.

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Randall F. Holcombe, Claire F. Verschraegen, Andrew E. Chapman, David Gaffney, Richard M. Goldberg, Ruben A. Mesa, Mohammed Milhem, Martha Mims, Edith P. Mitchell, Dan Mulkerin and Srinivasan Vijayakumar

Background: Translation of basic discoveries to clinical care for patients with cancer is a difficult process greatly enabled by physician-trained researchers. Three categories of physicians, with responsibilities spanning from laboratory and preclinical research to direct patient care, are involved in the translational research continuum: physician-scientist (PS), clinician investigator (CI), and academic clinician (AC). Methods: To define how protected time for research efforts is supported, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) conducted a survey of their member institutions, obtaining 56 responses documenting time spent in research and clinical activities across multiple cancer disciplines, and providing information about funding streams for the different categories of cancer physicians. Results: Responses showed that PSs and ACs are minimally involved in clinical research activities; the driver or clinical research in academic cancer centers is the CI. A significant concern was a lack of stable funding streams for nonbillable clinical research activities, putting the sustainability of the CI in jeopardy. Limited funding was derived from hospital sources, with most support derived from cancer center sources. Conclusions: This study highlights the importance of the CI in translational cancer medicine and represents a call to action for institutions and research funding agencies to develop new programs targeted toward CI support to ensure continued progress against cancer.

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Agata A. Bielska, Walid K. Chatila, Henry Walch, Nikolaus Schultz, Zsofia K. Stadler, Jinru Shia, Diane Reidy-Lagunes and Rona Yaeger

Lynch syndrome is a heritable cancer syndrome caused by a heterozygous germline mutation in DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes. MMR-deficient (dMMR) tumors are particularly sensitive to immune checkpoint inhibitors, an effect attributed to the higher mutation rate in these cancers. However, approximately 15% to 30% of patients with dMMR cancers do not respond to immunotherapy. This report describes 3 patients with Lynch syndrome who each had 2 primary malignancies: 1 with dMMR and a high tumor mutational burden (TMB), and 1 with dMMR but, unexpectedly, a low TMB. Two of these patients received immunotherapy for their TMB-low tumors but experienced no response. We have found that not all Lynch-associated dMMR tumors have a high TMB and propose that tumors with dMMR and TMB discordance may be resistant to immunotherapy. The possibility of dMMR/TMB discordance should be considered, particularly in less-typical Lynch cancers, in which TMB evaluation could guide the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors.

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Demetra Hypatia Hufnagel, Sumit Tushar Mehta, Chinyere Ezekwe, Alaina J. Brown, Alicia Beeghly-Fadiel and Lauren Shore Prescott

Background: NCCN recommends evaluation and treatment of all patients with cancer who have anemia. Few studies have evaluated the prevalence of anemia among patients with gynecologic cancer and compliance with the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Hematopoietic Growth Factors. Methods: We performed a single-institution retrospective cohort study of patients diagnosed with primary gynecologic cancer between 2008 and 2018. We identified tumor registry–confirmed patients using ICD-O codes from the Synthetic Derivative database, a deidentified copy of Vanderbilt’s electronic medical records. Patients were included if they were between ages 18 and 89 years, received initial care at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and had a hemoglobin measurement within the first 6 months of diagnosis. Anemia was defined as a hemoglobin level ≤11 g/dL and was graded using CTCAE version 5.0. Results: A total of 939 patients met inclusion criteria, with a median age of 60 years. The most common malignancy was uterine cancer. At the time of cancer diagnosis, 186 patients (20%) were noted to have anemia. Within 6 months of diagnosis, 625 patients (67%) had anemia, of whom 200 (32%) had grade 3 anemia and 209 (33%) underwent any evaluation of anemia, including 80 (38%) with iron studies performed. Of the patients with iron studies performed, 7 (9%) had absolute iron deficiency and 7 (9%) had possible functional iron deficiency. Among those with anemia within 6 months of diagnosis, 260 (42%) received treatment for anemia, including blood transfusion (n=205; 79%), oral iron (n=57; 22%), intravenous iron (n=8; 3%), vitamin B12 (n=37; 14%), and folate supplementation (n=7; 3%). Patients with ovarian cancer were significantly more likely to have anemia and undergo evaluation and treatment of anemia. Conclusions: Anemia is pervasive among patients with gynecologic cancer, but compliance with the NCCN Guidelines is low. Our data suggest that there are opportunities for improvement in the evaluation and management of anemia.

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Emily van Seventer, J. Peter Marquardt, Amelie S. Troschel, Till D. Best, Nora Horick, Chinenye Azoba, Richard Newcomb, Eric J. Roeland, Michael Rosenthal, Christopher P. Bridge, Joseph A. Greer, Areej El-Jawahri, Jennifer Temel, Florian J. Fintelmann and Ryan D. Nipp

Background: Low muscle mass (quantity) is common in patients with advanced cancer, but little is known about muscle radiodensity (quality). We sought to describe the associations of muscle mass and radiodensity with symptom burden, healthcare use, and survival in hospitalized patients with advanced cancer. Methods: We prospectively enrolled hospitalized patients with advanced cancer from September 2014 through May 2016. Upon admission, patients reported their physical (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System [ESAS]) and psychological (Patient Health Questionnaire-4 [PHQ-4]) symptoms. We used CT scans performed per routine care within 45 days before enrollment to evaluate muscle mass and radiodensity. We used regression models to examine associations of muscle mass and radiodensity with patients’ symptom burden, healthcare use (hospital length of stay and readmissions), and survival. Results: Of 1,121 patients enrolled, 677 had evaluable muscle data on CT (mean age, 62.86 ± 12.95 years; 51.1% female). Older age and female sex were associated with lower muscle mass (age: B, –0.16; P<.001; female: B, –6.89; P<.001) and radiodensity (age: B, –0.33; P<.001; female: B, –1.66; P=.014), and higher BMI was associated with higher muscle mass (B, 0.58; P<.001) and lower radiodensity (B, –0.61; P<.001). Higher muscle mass was significantly associated with improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.97; P<.001). Notably, higher muscle radiodensity was significantly associated with lower ESAS-Physical (B, –0.17; P=.016), ESAS-Total (B, –0.29; P=.002), PHQ-4-Depression (B, –0.03; P=.006), and PHQ-4-Anxiety (B, –0.03; P=.008) symptoms, as well as decreased hospital length of stay (B, –0.07; P=.005), risk of readmission or death in 90 days (odds ratio, 0.97; P<.001), and improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.97; P<.001). Conclusions: Although muscle mass (quantity) only correlated with survival, we found that muscle radiodensity (quality) was associated with patients’ symptoms, healthcare use, and survival. These findings underscore the added importance of assessing muscle quality when seeking to address adverse muscle changes in oncology.

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Emily van Seventer, J. Peter Marquardt, Amelie S. Troschel, Till D. Best, Nora Horick, Chinenye Azoba, Richard Newcomb, Eric J. Roeland, Michael Rosenthal, Christopher P. Bridge, Joseph A. Greer, Areej El-Jawahri, Jennifer Temel, Florian J. Fintelmann and Ryan D. Nipp

Background: Low muscle mass (quantity) is common in patients with advanced cancer, but little is known about muscle radiodensity (quality). We sought to describe the associations of muscle mass and radiodensity with symptom burden, healthcare use, and survival in hospitalized patients with advanced cancer. Methods: We prospectively enrolled hospitalized patients with advanced cancer from September 2014 through May 2016. Upon admission, patients reported their physical (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System [ESAS]) and psychological (Patient Health Questionnaire-4 [PHQ-4]) symptoms. We used CT scans performed per routine care within 45 days before enrollment to evaluate muscle mass and radiodensity. We used regression models to examine associations of muscle mass and radiodensity with patients’ symptom burden, healthcare use (hospital length of stay and readmissions), and survival. Results: Of 1,121 patients enrolled, 677 had evaluable muscle data on CT (mean age, 62.86 ± 12.95 years; 51.1% female). Older age and female sex were associated with lower muscle mass (age: B, –0.16; P<.001; female: B, –6.89; P<.001) and radiodensity (age: B, –0.33; P<.001; female: B, –1.66; P=.014), and higher BMI was associated with higher muscle mass (B, 0.58; P<.001) and lower radiodensity (B, –0.61; P<.001). Higher muscle mass was significantly associated with improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.97; P<.001). Notably, higher muscle radiodensity was significantly associated with lower ESAS-Physical (B, –0.17; P=.016), ESAS-Total (B, –0.29; P=.002), PHQ-4-Depression (B, –0.03; P=.006), and PHQ-4-Anxiety (B, –0.03; P=.008) symptoms, as well as decreased hospital length of stay (B, –0.07; P=.005), risk of readmission or death in 90 days (odds ratio, 0.97; P<.001), and improved survival (hazard ratio, 0.97; P<.001). Conclusions: Although muscle mass (quantity) only correlated with survival, we found that muscle radiodensity (quality) was associated with patients’ symptoms, healthcare use, and survival. These findings underscore the added importance of assessing muscle quality when seeking to address adverse muscle changes in oncology.

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Alimujiang Wushou, Meng Wang, Feiluore Yibulayin, Lei Feng, Meng-meng Lu, Yuan Luo, Hui Liu and Zhi-cheng Yang

Background: The incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is increasing, with an estimated 369,000 new patients each year worldwide. Surgery is the primary treatment modality for early-stage OSCC, but there is scant evidence to prove the value of elective neck dissection (END) for relatively small early-stage OSCC. This study aimed to identify factors predicting survival for patients with clinical stage T1N0M0 (cT1N0M0) OSCC and whether up-front END improved survival. Patients and Methods: Patients with cT1N0M0 OSCC who underwent tumor resection with or without END were identified and extracted from the SEER database. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to assess overall survival and disease-specific survival. Prognostic factors were determined using Cox regression analysis. Results: A total of 5,752 patients with cT1N0M0 OSCC were extracted, of whom 2,194 (38.1%) underwent tumor resection surgery with concurrent END and 3,558 (61.9%) underwent only tumor resection. In a multivariate Cox analysis, a relatively advanced age (>62 years) and relatively high pathologic grade were the significant negative predictors, but married status (hazard ratio, 0.709; P=.006) and undergoing END (hazard ratio, 0.708; P<.001) were identified as significant independent positive factors. Conclusions: Patients with cT1N0M0 OSCC gain significant overall and disease-specific survival benefit from END.

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Donglai Chen, Yiming Mao, Junmiao Wen, Jian Shu, Fei Ye, Yunlang She, Qifeng Ding, Li Shi, Tao Xue, Min Fan, Yongbing Chen and Chang Chen

Background: This study sought to determine the optimal number of examined lymph nodes (ELNs) and examined node stations (ENSs) in patients with radiologically pure-solid non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who underwent lobectomy and ipsilateral lymphadenectomy by investigating the impact of ELNs and ENSs on accurate staging and long-term survival. Materials and Methods: Data from 6 institutions in China on resected clinical stage I–II (cI–II) NSCLCs presenting as pure-solid tumors were analyzed for the impact of ELNs and ENSs on nodal upstaging, stage migration, recurrence-free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS). Correlations between different endpoints and ELNs or ENSs were fitted with a LOWESS smoother, and the structural break points were determined by Chow test. Results: Both ELNs and ENSs were identified as independent prognostic factors for OS (ENS hazard ratio [HR], 0.690; 95% CI, 0.597–0.797; P<.001; ELN HR, 0.950; 95% CI, 0.917–0.983; P=.004) and RFS (ENS HR, 0.859; 95% CI, 0.793–0.931; P<.001; ELN HR, 0.960; 95% CI, 0.942–0.962; P<.001), which were also associated with postoperative nodal upstaging (ENS odds ratio [OR], 1.057; 95% CI, 1.002–1.187; P=.004; ELN OR, 1.186; 95% CI, 1.148–1.226; P<.001). A greater number of ELNs and ENSs correlated with a higher accuracy of nodal staging and a lower probability of stage migration. Cut-point analysis revealed an optimal cutoff of 18 LNs and 6 node stations for stage cI–II pure-solid NSCLCs, which were validated in our multi-institutional cohort. Conclusions: Extensive examination of LNs and node stations seemed crucial to predicting accurate staging and survival outcomes. A threshold of 18 LNs and 6 node stations might be considered for evaluating the quality of LN examination in patients with stage cI–II radiologically pure-solid NSCLCs.