The NCCN Guidelines for Kidney Cancer have undergone a major shift in the risk categorization used for designating “preferred” and “other recommended” or “useful under certain circumstances” first-line treatments. In the most recent version of the guidelines, “favorable risk” is now its own risk category and “intermediate risk” and “poor risk” are combined into one category. The treatment recommendations for clear cell renal cell carcinoma are continually revised and more new options are anticipated based on encouraging results from pivotal trials. In his presentation at the NCCN 2019 Annual Conference, Dr. Jonasch described these promising findings.
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Thomas W. Flaig
The treatment landscape of bladder cancer has changed rapidly over the past several years. The 2019 version of the NCCN Guidelines has integrated changes to tumor staging that reflect an updated understanding of the natural history of the disease and will affect how patients are treated. Further, 5 PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are approved for the treatment of bladder cancer. The FDA has limited use of ICIs as monotherapy in the first-line treatment of metastatic and advanced disease for patients who are platinum-ineligible or are cisplatin-ineligible with high PD-L1 expression and are candidates for ICIs. Ongoing predictive biomarker development and validation are needed in bladder cancer; the development of better biomarkers will be key in patient selections for therapy going forward.
James L. Mohler and Emmanuel S. Antonarakis
Updates to the NCCN Guidelines for Prostate Cancer include further refinements in taking a family history, new recommendations for germline and somatic testing, use of androgen receptor blockers for nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer, advice regarding intermittent versus continuous androgen deprivation therapy, and consideration of whether to treat the primary tumor in men diagnosed with de novo metastatic prostate cancer.
Matthew A. Gubens and Marianne Davies
For the use of immunotherapy in metastatic non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), the NCCN Guidelines for NSCLC reflect the importance of assessing levels of PD-L1 expression to determine the best use of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors, whether alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Patients who lack a driver mutation and have tumor PD-L1 expression ≥50% are recommended to receive single-agent pembrolizumab, although combining with carboplatin/pemetrexed is also a reasonable choice, especially if there is higher burden of disease. For tumors with PD-L1 expression <50%, it is important to distinguish between nonsquamous and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). For patients with non-SCC disease, pembrolizumab + carboplatin/pemetrexed is preferred. Alternately, a 4-drug regimen of carboplatin/paclitaxel/bevacizumab/atezolizumab is reasonable, especially for patients ineligible for pemetrexed. In patients with SCC, carboplatin + paclitaxel or nab-paclitaxel with pembrolizumab is a category 1 recommendation. Tumor mutational burden is emerging as a biomarker for efficacy but is not yet ready to be used in patient selection. Optimal management of the unique toxicities associated with immunotherapy, which can be more frequent with these combinations, is also critical for good outcomes.
Margaret A. Tempero
Outcomes for pancreatic cancer are becoming less discouraging with the refinement of molecular profiling, both germline and somatic, and beneficial effects seen with adjuvant chemotherapy. The NCCN Guidelines for Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma reflect these advances, and recommend that clinicians consider germline testing for all patients with pancreatic cancer and consider a molecular analysis for those with metastatic disease. The guidelines further recommend that clinicians consider adjuvant therapy with modified FOLFIRINOX (leucovorin/5-FU/irinotecan/oxaliplatin) for patients who are able to tolerate it.
Gary H. Lyman
Biosimilars are here to stay, but whether they will enjoy widespread uptake remains to be seen. The FDA sets a high bar for approval of biosimilar products, yet many clinicians remain skeptical about the efficacy and safety of these agents. Favorable experience with >30 biosimilars in Europe provides some reassurance that these agents are safe and effective and can be substituted for the reference product.
David M. O’Malley
After 3 to 4 decades of stagnation, several new options are available for the treatment of ovarian cancer, some of which produce longer survival compared with historical controls. Additionally, 3 new PARP inhibitors (olaparib, rucaparib, niraparib) have been approved for use in ovarian cancer, with different indications as maintenance therapy or treatment of recurrence. Indications for bevacizumab have been extended, and there are now multiple combination chemotherapy regimens that include bevacizumab as part of initial treatment and as an option for maintenance therapy in select patients, both for first-line primary/adjuvant chemotherapy and for treatment of recurrent or refractory disease.
Katy Winckworth-Prejsnar, James McCanney, Alyssa A. Schatz, Warren Smedley, Leonidas C. Platanias, Cecil M. Benitez, Lee N. Newcomer, C. Lyn Fitzgerald and Robert W. Carlson
Multiple factors are forcing the healthcare delivery system to change. A movement toward value-based payment models is shifting these systems to team-based integration and coordination of care for better efficiencies and outcomes. Workforce shortages are stressing access and quality of care for patients with cancer and survivors, and their families and caregivers. Innovative therapies are expensive, forcing payers and employers to prioritize resources. Patients are advocating for care models centered on their needs rather than those of providers. In response, payment policies have recently focused on the promotion of alternative payment models that incentivize coordinated, high-quality care with consideration for value and controlling the increasing overall costs associated with cancer and its treatment. Given the multitude of factors confounding cancer care, NCCN convened a multistakeholder working group to examine the challenges and opportunities presented by changing paradigms in cancer care delivery. The group identified key challenges and developed policy recommendations to address 4 high-visibility topics in cancer care delivery. The findings and recommendations were then presented at the NCCN Policy Summit: Policy Challenges and Opportunities to Address Changing Paradigms in Cancer Care Delivery in September 2018, and multistakeholder roundtable panel discussions explored these findings and recommendations along with additional items. This article encapsulates the discussion from the NCCN Working Group meetings and the NCCN Policy Summit, including multistakeholder policy recommendations on delivery issues in cancer care designed to help inform national policies moving forward.