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Heidi Ko, Yaser Baghdadi, Charito Love and Joseph A. Sparano

Background: 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose PET/CT is recommended as an optional study in the current NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Breast Cancer after CT of the chest, abdomen, and pelvis with contrast and bone scan (CTBS) in stage IIA–IIIC breast cancer. We evaluated our experience with the use of PET/CT in this setting before beginning primary systemic therapy (PST) prior to planned surgery. Methods: We performed medical record abstractions of all adult female patients with clinical stage IIA–IIIC breast cancer diagnosed at Montefiore Medical Center from January 1, 2014, through January 1, 2019, who underwent PET/CT before PST. We calculated the proportion of patients upstaged after PET/CT and examined the cost and radiation exposure associated with PET/CT compared with CTBS. Results: A total of 195 patients with 196 breast cancers (bilateral disease in 1 patient) met the study inclusion criteria and had PET/CT as the first imaging study before PST. The overall upstaging rate for regional nodal metastasis and/or distant metastasis was 37% (73/196), including 24% for stage IIA (9/38), 39% for stage IIB (31/79), 54% for stage IIIA (22/41), 27% for stage IIIB (8/30), and 37% for stage IIIC (3/8). The overall upstaging rate for distant metastasis was 14% (27/196), including 0% for stage IIA, 13% for stage IIB (10/79), 22% for stage IIIA (9/41), 17% for stage IIIB (5/30), and 37% for stage IIIC (3/8). Medicare reimbursement rates were $1,604.37 for PET/CT and $1,679.94 for CTBS. The radiation dose for PET/CT was 14 mSv versus 21 mSv for CTBS. Conclusions: Approximately 37% of patients with clinical stage IIA–IIIC breast cancer who underwent PET/CT before PST showed more extensive disease, including 23% with more extensive nodal metastasis and 14% with distant metastasis. Given its high detection rate, comparable cost, lower radiation dose, and greater convenience, PET/CT should be considered as an alternative to CTBS rather than “optional” after CTBS, especially in patients who require an efficient and expeditious workup before initiating PST.

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Alexandra O. Sokolova, Brian H. Shirts, Eric Q. Konnick, Ginger J. Tsai, Bernardo H.L. Goulart, Bruce Montgomery, Colin C. Pritchard, Evan Y. Yu and Heather H. Cheng

With the promise and potential of clinical next-generation sequencing for tumor and germline testing to impact treatment and outcomes of patients with cancer, there are also risks of oversimplification, misinterpretation, and missed opportunities. These issues risk limiting clinical benefit and, at worst, perpetuating false conclusions that could lead to inappropriate treatment selection, avoidable toxicity, and harm to patients. This report presents 5 case studies illustrating challenges and opportunities in clinical next-generation sequencing interpretation and clinical application in solid tumor oncologic care. First is a case that dissects the origin of an ATM mutation as originating from a hematopoietic clone rather than the tumor. Second is a case illustrating the potential for tumor sequencing to suggest germline variants associated with a hereditary cancer syndrome. Third are 2 cases showing the potential for variant reclassification of a germline variant of uncertain significance when considered alongside family history and tumor sequencing results. Finally, we describe a case illustrating challenges with using microsatellite instability for predicting tumor response to immune checkpoint inhibitors. The common theme of the case studies is the importance of examining clinical context alongside expert review and interpretation, which together highlight an expanding role for contextual examination and multidisciplinary expert review through molecular tumor boards.

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Seyed M. Qaderi, Paul W. Dickman, Johannes H.W. de Wilt and Rob H.A. Verhoeven

Background: The increasing number of colorectal cancer (CRC) survivors need survival estimates that account for the time already survived. The aim of this population-based study was to determine conditional survival, cure proportions, and time-to-cure (TTC) of patients with colon or rectal cancer. Materials and Methods: All patients with pathologic stage I–III CRC treated with endoscopy or surgery, diagnosed and registered in the Netherlands Cancer Registry between 1995 and 2016, and aged 18 to 99 years were included. Conditional survival was calculated for those diagnosed before and after 2007. Cure proportions were calculated using flexible parametric models. Results: A total of 175,384 patients with pathologic stage I (25%), II (38%), or III disease (37%) were included. Conditional 5-year survival of patients with stage I, II, and III colon cancer having survived 5 years was 98%, 94%, and 92%, respectively. For patients with stage I–III rectal cancer, this was 96%, 89%, and 85%, respectively. Statistical cure in patients with colon cancer was reached directly after diagnosis (stage I) to 6 years (stage III) after diagnosis depending on age, sex, and disease stage. Patients with rectal cancer reached cure 0.5 years after diagnosis (stage I) to 9 years after diagnosis (stage III). In 1995, approximately 42% to 46% of patients with stage III colon or rectal cancer, respectively, were considered cured, whereas in 2016 this percentage increased to 73% to 78%, respectively. Conclusions: The number of patients with CRC reaching cure has increased substantially over the years. This study’s results provide valuable insights into trends of CRC patient survival and are important for patients, clinicians, and policymakers.

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Elizabeth A. Griffiths, Laura M. Alwan, Kimo Bachiashvili, Anna Brown, Rita Cool, Peter Curtin, Mark B. Geyer, Ivana Gojo, Avyakta Kallam, Wajih Z. Kidwai, Dwight D. Kloth, Eric H. Kraut, Gary H. Lyman, Sudipto Mukherjee, Lia E. Perez, Rachel P. Rosovsky, Vivek Roy, Hope S. Rugo, Sumithira Vasu, Martha Wadleigh, Peter Westervelt and Pamela S. Becker

Hematopoietic growth factors, including erythrocyte stimulating agents (ESAs), granulocyte colony-stimulating factors, and thrombopoietin mimetics, can mitigate anemia, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia resulting from chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer. In the context of pandemic SARS-CoV-2 infection, patients with cancer have been identified as a group at high risk of morbidity and mortality from this infection. Our subcommittee of the NCCN Hematopoietic Growth Factors Panel convened a voluntary group to review the potential value of expanded use of such growth factors in the current high-risk environment. Although recommendations are available on the NCCN website in the COVID-19 Resources Section (https://www.nccn.org/covid-19/), these suggestions are provided without substantial context or reference. Herein we review the rationale and data underlying the suggested alterations to the use of hematopoietic growth factors for patients with cancer in the COVID-19 era.

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James I. Barnes, John K. Lin, Divya Gupta, Douglas K. Owens, Jeremy D. Goldhaber-Fiebert and Pamela L. Kunz

Background: The Controlled Study of Lanreotide Antiproliferative Response in Neuroendocrine Tumors (CLARINET) trial showed prolonged progression-free survival in patients initially treated with lanreotide versus placebo. We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of upfront lanreotide versus active surveillance with lanreotide administered after progression in patients with metastatic enteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), both of which are treatment options recommended in NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Neuroendocrine and Adrenal Tumors. Methods: We developed a Markov model calibrated to the CLARINET trial and its extension. We based the active surveillance strategy on the CLARINET placebo arm. We calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) in dollars per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). We modeled lanreotide’s cost at $7,638 per 120 mg (average sales price plus 6%), used published utilities (stable disease, 0.77; progressed disease, 0.61), adopted a healthcare sector perspective and lifetime time horizon, and discounted costs and benefits at 3% annually. We examined sensitivity to survival extrapolation and modeled octreotide long-acting release (LAR) ($6,183 per 30 mg). We conducted one-way, multiway, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Results: Upfront lanreotide led to 5.21 QALYs and a cost of $804,600. Active surveillance followed by lanreotide after progression led to 4.84 QALYs and a cost of $590,200, giving an ICER of $578,500/QALY gained. Reducing lanreotide’s price by 95% (to $370) or 85% (to $1,128) per 120 mg would allow upfront lanreotide to reach ICERs of $100,000/QALY or $150,000/QALY. Across a range of survival curve extrapolation scenarios, pricing lanreotide at $370 to $4,000 or $1,130 to $5,600 per 120 mg would reach ICERs of $100,000/QALY or $150,000/QALY, respectively. Our findings were robust to extensive sensitivity analyses. The ICER modeling octreotide LAR is $482,700/QALY gained. Conclusions: At its current price, lanreotide is not cost-effective as initial therapy for patients with metastatic enteropancreatic NETs and should be reserved for postprogression treatment. To be cost-effective as initial therapy, the price of lanreotide would need to be lowered by 48% to 95% or 27% to 86% to reach ICERs of $100,000/QALY or $150,00/QALY, respectively.

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Margaret Tempero

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Katrine Løppenthin, Christoffer Johansen, Matilde Bille Larsen, Birgitte Hysse Forchhammer, Jannick Brennum, Karin Piil, Neil Aaronson, Birthe Krogh Rasmussen and Pernille Bidstrup

Background: It is well established that patients with glioma may experience adverse general (eg, headache) or focal symptoms (eg, personality changes) and neurocognitive deficits (eg, planning), but they may also experience severe emotional distress. We investigated the prevalence of depressive symptoms in patients with newly diagnosed glioma and in matched cancer-free persons. Methods: For this study, we recruited patients with glioma diagnosed within 12 months at all 4 neurosurgical clinics in Denmark. The cancer-free comparison group was identified through the Danish Central Person Register and matched on sex and age. Participants’ depressive symptoms were evaluated using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D; score range, 0–60), with a cutoff score ≥16 indicating moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms. Results: In this study, 363 of 554 patients with glioma and 481 of 1,304 cancer-free persons participated. Mean age of all patients was 55 years and 60% of the population was male. Mean scores for depressive symptoms were statistically significantly higher among patients with glioma, with a mean CES-D score of 10.9 (95% CI, 10.1–11.8) compared with 5.3 (95% CI, 4.7–5.8) among cancer-free persons (P<.0001). Overall, 92 patients with glioma (25%) and 30 cancer-free persons (6%) had moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms. After adjustment for marital status, education level, and comorbidity, the prevalence of depressive symptoms was 5 times higher among patients with glioma compared with cancer-free persons. Conclusions: A substantially higher prevalence of moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms was identified in patients with glioma compared with cancer-free persons. This indicates the importance of programs to systematically identify and manage depressive symptoms in patients with glioma.

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Ju Dong Yang, Michael Luu, Amit G. Singal, Mazen Noureddin, Alexander Kuo, Walid S. Ayoub, Vinay Sundaram, Honore Kotler, Irene K. Kim, Tsuyoshi Todo, Georgios Voidonikolas, Todd V. Brennan, Kambiz Kosari, Andrew S. Klein, Andrew Hendifar, Shelly C. Lu, Nicholas N. Nissen and Jun Gong

Background: It remains unknown to what extent hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) are detected very early (T1 stage; ie, unifocal <2 cm) in the United States. The aim of this study was to investigate the trends and factors associated with very early detection of HCC and resultant outcomes. Methods: Patients with HCC diagnosed from 2004 through 2014 were identified from the National Cancer Database. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with T1 HCC detection, and Cox proportional hazard analyses identified factors associated with overall survival among patients with T1 HCC. Results: Of 110,182 eligible patients, the proportion with T1 HCC increased from 2.6% in 2004 to 6.8% in 2014 (P<.01). The strongest correlate of T1 HCC detection was receipt of care at an academic institution (odds ratio, 3.51; 95% CI, 2.31–5.34). Older age, lack of insurance, high Model for End-Stage Liver Disease (MELD) score, high alpha-fetoprotein, increased Charlson-Deyo comorbidity score, and nonsurgical treatment were associated with increased mortality, and care at an academic center (hazard ratio [HR], 0.27; 95% CI, 0.15–0.48) was associated with reduced mortality in patients with T1 HCC. Liver transplantation (HR, 0.27; 95% CI, 0.20–0.37) and surgical resection (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.48–0.93) were independently associated with improved survival compared with ablation. This is the first study to examine the trend of T1 HCC using the National Cancer Database, which covers approximately 70% of all cancer diagnoses in the United States, using robust statistical analyses. Limitations of the study include a retrospective study design using administrative data and some pertinent data that were not available. Conclusions: Despite increases over time, <10% of HCCs are detected at T1 stage. The strongest correlates of survival among patients with T1 HCC are receiving care at an academic institution and surgical treatment.