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Kah Poh Loh, Vivian Lam, Katey Webber, Simran Padam, Mina S. Sedrak, Vivek Musinipally, Madison Grogan, Carolyn J. Presley, Janice Grandi, Chandrika Sanapala, Daniel A. Castillo, Grace DiGiovanni, Supriya G. Mohile, Louise C. Walter and Melisa L. Wong

Background: Maintaining functional status is important to older adults with cancer, but data are limited on how systemic treatments affect functional status. We systematically reviewed changes in functional status during systemic cancer treatments and identified characteristics associated with functional decline and improvement. Methods: We searched PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials for articles examining characteristics associated with functional changes in older adults during systemic cancer treatment published in English between database inception and January 11, 2019 (PROSPERO CRD42019123125). Findings were summarized with descriptive statistics. Study characteristics between older adult–specific and non–older adult–specific studies were compared using the Fisher exact test. Results: We screened 15,244 titles/abstracts and 519 full texts. The final analysis included 44 studies, which enrolled >8,400 patients; 39% of studies focused on older adults (1 study enrolled adults aged ≥60 years, 10 enrolled adults aged ≥65 years, and 6 enrolled adults aged ≥70 years). Almost all studies (98%) used patient-reported outcomes to measure functional status; only 20% used physical performance tests. Reporting of functional change was heterogeneous, with 48% reporting change scores. Older adult–specific studies were more likely to analyze functional change dichotomously (29% vs 4%; P=.008). Functional decline ranged widely, from 6% to 90%. The most common patient characteristics associated with functional decline were older age (n=7 studies), worse performance status (n=4), progressive disease status (n=4), pain (n=4), anemia (n=4), and worse nutritional status (n=4). Twelve studies examined functional improvement and identified 11 unique associated characteristics. Conclusions: Functional decline is increasingly recognized as an important outcome in older adults with cancer, but definitions and analyses are heterogeneous, leading to a wide range of prevalence. To identify patients at highest risk of functional decline during systemic cancer treatments, trials need to routinely analyze functional outcomes and measure characteristics associated with decline (eg, nutrition).

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Leigh Gallo, Ronald S. Walters, Jeff Allen, Jenny Ahlstrom, Clay Alspach, Yelak Biru, Alyssa Schatz, Kara Martin and Robert W. Carlson

The 21st Century Cures Act (Cures Act), signed into law in 2016, was designed to advance new therapies by modernizing clinical trials, funding research initiatives, and accelerating the development and use of health information technology. To analyze the current issues in cancer care related to the implementation and impact of the Cures Act, NCCN convened a multistakeholder working group. Participants discussed the legislation’s impact on the oncology community since enactment and identified the remaining gaps and challenges as experienced by stakeholders. In June 2020, the policy recommendations of the working group were presented at the virtual NCCN Policy Summit: Accelerating Advances in Cancer Care Research: A Lookback at the 21st Century Cures Act in 2020. The summit consisted of informative discussions and a multistakeholder panel to explore the recommendations and the future of the Cures Act. This article explores identified policy recommendations from the NCCN Working Group and the NCCN Policy Summit, and analyzes opportunities to advance innovative cancer care and patient access to data.

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Margaret Tempero

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Talia Golan and Pascal Hammel

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) has a dismal prognosis, with a 5-year survival rate of ≤7% across all stages. Most patients are diagnosed with advanced disease and median overall survival is limited. The limited success of conventional therapies for PDAC is at least partially attributable to its genetic heterogeneity. Extensive genomic efforts have been made to subtype PDAC. The DNA damage repair (DDR) deficiency subtype, also known as unstable genome/DSBR (DNA double-strand break repair) subtype, is one of the most clinically relevant biologic abnormalities in PDAC. Increased PDAC risk was found to be associated with inherited syndromes, which are present in approximately 10% of patients with PDAC. Recent updates to the ASCO and NCCN guidelines recommend risk assessment for all individuals with PDAC, irrespective of personal or family history or ethnicity. Germline BRCA mutations associated with DNA repair dysfunction is one of the best illustrations of actionable biologic subtypes in PDAC. This genetic alteration can indeed be targeted by PARP inhibitors (PARPi). Treatment implications for germline BRCA carriers with PDAC include the use of platinum-based therapy and the validation of PARPi administration as a maintenance strategy in platinum-sensitive patients. In the era of precision medicine, this is the first convincing example of targeting identified germline hereditary mutations in PDAC.

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NCCN Guidelines® Insights: Melanoma: Cutaneous, Version 2.2021

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Susan M. Swetter, John A. Thompson, Mark R. Albertini, Christopher A. Barker, Joel Baumgartner, Genevieve Boland, Bartosz Chmielowski, Dominick DiMaio, Alison Durham, Ryan C. Fields, Martin D. Fleming, Anjela Galan, Brian Gastman, Kenneth Grossmann, Samantha Guild, Ashley Holder, Douglas Johnson, Richard W. Joseph, Giorgos Karakousis, Kari Kendra, Julie R. Lange, Ryan Lanning, Kim Margolin, Anthony J. Olszanski, Patrick A. Ott, Merrick I. Ross, April K. Salama, Rohit Sharma, Joseph Skitzki, Jeffrey Sosman, Evan Wuthrick, Nicole R. McMillian and Anita M. Engh

Over the past few years, the NCCN Guidelines for Melanoma: Cutaneous have been expanded to include pathways for treatment of microscopic satellitosis (added in v2.2020), and the following Principles sections: Molecular Testing (added in v2.2019), Systemic Therapy Considerations (added in v2.2020), and Brain Metastases Management (added in v3.2020). The v1.2021 update included additional modifications of these sections and notable revisions to Principles of: Pathology, Surgical Margins for Wide Excision of Primary Melanoma, Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy, Completion/Therapeutic Lymph Node Dissection, and Radiation Therapy. These NCCN Guidelines Insights discuss the important changes to pathology and surgery recommendations, as well as additions to systemic therapy options for patients with advanced disease.

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