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Robert W. Carlson, Jonathan K. Larsen, Joan McClure, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, Alan P. Venook, Al B. Benson III, and Benjamin O. Anderson

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) are evidence- and consensus-based clinical practice guidelines addressing malignancies that affect more than 97% of all patients with cancer in the United States. The NCCN Guidelines are used extensively in the United States and globally. Use of the guidelines outside the United States has driven the need to adapt the guidelines based on local, regional, or national resources. The NCCN Guidelines Panels created, vetted, and continually update the NCCN Guidelines based on published scientific data on cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment efficacy. The guidelines are developed within the context of commonly available resources, methods of payment, societal and cultural expectations, and governmental regulations as they exist in the United States. Although many of the cancer management recommendations contained in the NCCN Guidelines apply broadly from a global perspective, not all do. Disparities in availability and access to health care exist among countries, within countries, and among different social groups in the same country, especially regarding resources for cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment. In addition, different drug approval and payment processes result in regional variation in availability of and access to cancer treatment, especially highly expensive agents and radiation therapy. Differences in cancer risk, predictive biomarker expression, and pharmacogenetics exist across ethnic and racial groups, and therefore across geographic locations. Cultural and societal expectations and requirements may also require modification of NCCN Guidelines for use outside the United States. This article describes the adaptation process, using the recent Latin American adaptation of the 2013 NCCN Guidelines for Colorectal Cancer as an example.

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Sheetal M. Kircher, Mary Mulcahy, Aparna Kalyan, Christine B. Weldon, Julia R. Trosman, and Al B. Benson III

The first confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United States was reported on January 20, 2020. As of September 17, 2020, there were more than 6.6 million confirmed cases and 196,277 deaths. Limited data are available on outcomes of immunocompromised patients, but early published reports from China indicate that those with cancer have a 3.5 times higher risk of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, or death than those without cancer. Because of the uncertain behavior of COVID-19, it has become imperative for practices to limit exposure to vulnerable patients. Telemedicine has been one of the cornerstones of caring for patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic. This review provides an overview of reimbursement policy by public and private payers before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, describes implications in cancer care, and offers considerations for future reimbursement policy.

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Mohamedtaki A. Tejani, Anna ter Veer, Dana Milne, Rebecca Ottesen, Tanios Bekaii-Saab, Al B. Benson III, Deborah Schrag, Stephen Shibata, John Skibber, Martin Weiser, Neal Wilkinson, and Steven J. Cohen

Appendiceal malignancies are rare and represent 1% of intestinal tumors in the United States. The role and efficacy of modern systemic therapy in advanced appendiceal adenocarcinoma has not been established. This study analyzed patients with recurrent or metastatic appendiceal adenocarcinoma in the database for Colorectal Cancer (CRC; 2005-2012). This database tracks longitudinal care for patients treated at 8 specialty centers across the Unites States. Study objectives were to describe and evaluate the efficacy of systemic therapy and investigate relationships with clinicopathologic features. Cox regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). Of 248 patients with advanced appendiceal carcinoma, 112 (45%) received systemic therapy for measurable disease and are the focus of this report. The most common chemotherapy regimens included FOLFOX with or without bevacizumab (n=39 and n=37, respectively), FOLFIRI (n=15), and single-agent fluoro-pyrimidine (n=10). Among 99 patients evaluable for best response, 39 experienced a response (response rate [RR], 39%) and 36 (36%) had stable disease. The median PFS was 1.2 years (95% CI, 1.0-1.8) and median OS was 2.1 years (95% CI, 1.6-2.3). Patients with non-mucinous histology or high-grade tumors and those who underwent nondebulking surgery had worse PFS and OS. Treatment of advanced appendiceal adenocarcinoma at NCCN Member Institutions commonly incorporates agents used for CRC. RR, PFS, and OS are comparable to those achieved in the treatment of metastatic CRC. Poor prognostic factors include nonmucinous histology or high-grade tumors and history of nondebulking surgery.

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Sherif R. Z. Abdel-Misih, Lai Wei, Al B. Benson III, Steven Cohen, Lily Lai, John Skibber, Neal Wilkinson, Martin Weiser, Deborah Schrag, and Tanios Bekaii-Saab

Background: Nodal status has long been considered pivotal to oncologic care, staging, and management. This has resulted in the establishment of rudimentary metrics regarding adequate lymph node yield in colon and rectal cancers for accurate cancer staging. In the era of neoadjuvant treatment, the implications of lymph node yield and status on patient outcomes remains unclear. Patient and Methods: This study included 1,680 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer from the NCCN prospective oncology database stratified into 3 groups based on preoperative therapy received: no neoadjuvant therapy, neoadjuvant chemoradiation, and neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Clinicopathologic characteristics and survival were compared between the groups, with univariate and multivariate analyses undertaken. Results: The clinicopathologic characteristics demonstrated statistically significant differences and heterogeneity among the 3 groups. The neoadjuvant chemoradiation group demonstrated the statistically lowest median lymph node yield (n=15) compared with 17 and 18 for no-neoadjuvant and neoadjuvant chemotherapy, respectively (P<.0001). Neoadjuvant treatment did impact survival, with chemoradiation demonstrating increased median overall survival of 42.7 compared with 37.3 and 26.6 months for neoadjuvant chemotherapy and no-neoadjuvant therapy, respectively (P<.0001). Patients with a yield of fewer than 12 lymph nodes had improved median overall survival of 43.3 months compared with 36.6 months in patients with 12 or more lymph nodes (P=.009). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that neither node yield nor status were predictors for overall survival. Discussion: This analysis reiterates that nodal yield in rectal cancer is multifactorial, with neoadjuvant therapy being a significant factor. Node yield and status were not significant predictors of overall survival. A nodal metric may not be clinically relevant in the era of neoadjuvant therapy, and guidelines for perioperative therapy may need reconsideration.

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Dorothy Romanus, Martin R. Weiser, John M. Skibber, Anna Ter Veer, Joyce C. Niland, John L. Wilson, Ashwani Rajput, Yu-Ning Wong, Al B. Benson III, Stephen Shibata, and Deborah Schrag

Background

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Outcomes Database was created to assess concordance to evidence- and consensus-based guidelines and to measure adherence to quality measures on an ongoing basis. The Colorectal Cancer Database began in 2005 as a collaboration among 8 NCCN centers.

Methods

Newly diagnosed colon and rectal cancer patients presenting to 1 of 8 NCCN centers between September 1, 2005, and May 21, 2008, were eligible for analysis of concordance with NCCN treatment guidelines for colorectal cancer and with a set of quality metrics jointly developed by ASCO and NCCN in 2007. Adherence rates were determined for each metric. Center-specific rates were benchmarked against mean concordance rates for all participating centers.

Results

A total of 3443 patients were evaluable. Mean concordance rates with NCCN colorectal cancer guidelines and ASCO/NCCN quality measures were generally high (≥ 90%). However, relatively low mean concordance rates were noted for adjuvant chemotherapy treatment recommendations within 9 months of diagnosis of stage II to III rectal cancer (81%), and neoadjuvant chemoradiation in clinical T4 rectal primaries (83%). These low rates of concordance seemed to be consistent across centers.

Conclusions

Adherence to guidelines and quality measures is generally high at institutions participating in the NCCN colorectal cancer database. Lack of documentation, patient refusal, delayed treatment initiation, and lack of consensus about whether treatment was essential were the primary reasons for nonconcordance. Measurement of concordance and the reasons for nonconcordance enable participating centers to understand and improve their care delivery systems.

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Thomas A. D’Amico, Lindsey A.M. Bandini, Alan Balch, Al B. Benson III, Stephen B. Edge, C. Lyn Fitzgerald, Robert J. Green, Wui-Jin Koh, Michael Kolodziej, Shaji Kumar, Neal J. Meropol, James L. Mohler, David Pfister, Ronald S. Walters, and Robert W. Carlson

Although oncology care has evolved, outcome assessment remains a key challenge. Outcome measurement requires identification and adoption of a succinct list of metrics indicative of high-quality cancer care for use within and across healthcare systems. NCCN established an advisory committee, the NCCN Quality and Outcomes Committee, consisting of provider experts from NCCN Member Institutions and other stakeholders, including payers and patient advocacy, community oncology, and health information technology representatives, to review the existing quality landscape and identify contemporary, relevant cancer quality and outcomes measures by reevaluating validated measures for endorsement and proposing new measure concepts to fill crucial gaps. This manuscript reports on 22 measures and concepts; 15 that align with existing measures and 7 that are new.

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Robert A. Figlin, Elizabeth Brown, Andrew J. Armstrong, Wallace Akerley, Al B. Benson III, Harold J. Burstein, David S. Ettinger, Phillip G. Febbo, Matthew G. Fury, Gary R. Hudes, Merrill S. Kies, Eunice L. Kwak, Robert J. Morgan Jr., Joanne Mortimer, Karen Reckamp, Alan P. Venook, Frank Worden, and Yun Yen

The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) protein complex functions as an integration center for various intracellular signaling pathways involving cell cycle progression, proliferation, and angiogenesis. These pathways are frequently dysregulated in cancer, and therefore mTOR inhibition is a potentially important antitumor target. Commercially available mTOR inhibitors include rapamycin (i.e., sirolimus) and temsirolimus. Other agents under investigation include everolimus and deforolimus. mTOR inhibition has been studied in various solid tumors, including breast, gynecologic, gastrointestinal, prostate, lung, and head and neck cancers. Studies have focused on mTOR inhibition as a monotherapy or in combination with other drugs based on the principle that inhibiting as many targets as possible reduces the emergence of drug resistance. Temsirolimus is currently the only mTOR inhibitor that is specifically labeled for treatment of solid tumors. However, preclinical studies and early-phase trials are rapidly evolving. Additionally, research is further defining the complicated mTOR pathways and how they may be disordered in specific malignancies. To address these issues, NCCN convened a task force to review the underlying physiology of mTOR and related cellular pathways, and to review the current status of research of mTOR inhibition in solid tumors. (JNCCN 2008;6[Suppl 5]:S1—S20)

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Alan P. Venook, Maria E. Arcila, Al B. Benson III, Donald A. Berry, David Ross Camidge, Robert W. Carlson, Toni K. Choueiri, Valerie Guild, Gregory P. Kalemkerian, Razelle Kurzrock, Christine M. Lovly, Amy E. McKee, Robert J. Morgan, Anthony J. Olszanski, Mary W. Redman, Vered Stearns, Joan McClure, and Marian L. Birkeland

Defining treatment-susceptible or -resistant populations of patients with cancer through the use of genetically defined biomarkers has revolutionized cancer care in recent years for some disease/patient groups. Research continues to show that histologically defined diseases are diverse in their expression of unique mutations or other genetic alterations, however, which presents opportunities for the development of personalized cancer treatments, but increased difficulty in testing these therapies, because potential patient populations are divided into ever smaller numbers. To address some of the growing challenges in biomarker development and clinical trial design, NCCN assembled a group of experts across specialties and solid tumor disease types to begin to define the problems and to consider alternate ways of designing clinical trials in the era of multiple biomarkers and targeted therapies. Results from that discussion are presented, focusing on issues of clinical trial design from the perspective of statisticians, clinical researchers, regulators, pathologists, and information developers.

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Donald A. Podoloff, Douglas W. Ball, Edgar Ben-Josef, Al B. Benson III, Steven J. Cohen, R. Edward Coleman, Dominique Delbeke, Maria Ho, David H. Ilson, Gregory P. Kalemkerian, Richard J. Lee, Jay S. Loeffler, Homer A. Macapinlac, Robert J. Morgan Jr., Barry Alan Siegel, Seema Singhal, Douglas S. Tyler, and Richard J. Wong

Use of PET is widespread and increasing in the United States, mainly for oncologic applications. In November 2006, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) gathered a panel of experts to review the literature and develop clinical recommendations for using PET scans in lymphoma and non–small cell lung, breast, and colorectal cancers. However, because its use is not restricted to these diseases, and evidence is accumulating for its application in other types of cancers, NCCN convened a second meeting in December 2008 to expand on the initial report. A multidisciplinary panel met to discuss the current data on PET application for various tumor types, including genitourinary, gynecologic, pancreatic, hepatobiliary, thyroid, brain, small cell lung, gastric, and esophageal cancers, and sarcoma and myeloma. This report summarizes the proceedings of this meeting, including discussions of the background of PET, the role of PET in oncology, principles of PET use, emerging applications, and possible future developments.

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Donald A. Podoloff, Ranjana H. Advani, Craig Allred, Al B. Benson III, Elizabeth Brown, Harold J. Burstein, Robert W. Carlson, R. Edward Coleman, Myron S. Czuczman, Dominique Delbeke, Stephen B. Edge, David S. Ettinger, Frederic W. Grannis Jr., Bruce E. Hillner, John M. Hoffman, Krystyna Kiel, Ritsuko Komaki, Steven M. Larson, David A. Mankoff, Kenneth E. Rosenzweig, John M. Skibber, Joachim Yahalom, JQ Michael Yu, and Andrew D. Zelenetz

The use of positron emission tomography (PET) is increasing rapidly in the United States, with the most common use of PET scanning related to oncology. It is especially useful in the staging and management of lymphoma, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer, according to a panel of expert radiologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, medical oncologists, and general internists convened in November 2006 by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. The Task Force was charged with reviewing existing data and developing clinical recommendations for the use of PET scans in the evaluation and management of breast cancer, colon cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, and lymphoma. This report summarizes the proceedings of this meeting, including discussions of the background of PET, possible future developments, and the role of PET in oncology. (JNCCN 2007;5(Suppl 1):S1–S22)