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Abdul Rahman Jazieh, Joan S. McClure, and Robert W. Carlson

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Abdul-Rahman Jazieh, Hamdy A. Azim, Joan McClure, and Mohammad Jahanzeb

The NCCN developed clinical practice guidelines for oncology that set the standard of cancer care in the United States. Because of wide acceptance of, need for, and interest in standardized treatment practices across the world, NCCN launched initiatives to help international groups adapt these guidelines. This article describes the initiative in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. A group of oncology experts and key opinion leaders were assembled into 7 specific committees to develop treatment guidelines for breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, hepatobiliary cancer, lymphoma, and palliative care. The committees reviewed the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) to identify any modifications required for them to be more applicable to the MENA region based on available evidence and regional experience. These modifications were discussed with NCCN experts and summarized for each specific area. The development of these guidelines generated a strong interest in the region to develop more evidence-based practice and create further networking and collaboration.

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Jill A. Foster, Maziar Abdolrasulnia, Hamidreza Doroodchi, Joan McClure, and Linda Casebeer

Background

Studies of adherence to breast cancer guidelines have often focused on primary therapies, but concordance with other guideline recommendations has not been examined as extensively. This study assesses the knowledge and practice patterns of medical oncologists in the United States to inform education and quality improvement initiatives that can improve breast cancer care.

Methods

A survey containing case vignettes and related questions was developed to examine oncologists' clinical decision-making in evaluating and treating women with early breast cancer. The instrument was distributed to a random sample of 742 oncologists in the United States and yielded 205 responses (27.6% response rate). Responses from 184 practicing medical oncologists were analyzed relative to the 2007 NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Breast Cancer.

Results

Most oncologists made guideline-consistent choices in clarifying indeterminate human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2) status (85%), initial treatment for early breast cancer (95%), and postsurgical management of locally advanced breast cancer (82%). Guideline-discordant choices were seen in the lack of clip placement before neoadjuvant chemotherapy (36%), unnecessary use of PET scanning for initial assessment (34%), inappropriate assessment of menopausal status (33%), inappropriate use of tumor markers (22%), and use of chest imaging (16%) during posttherapeutic surveillance.

Conclusions

Oncologists often make guideline-consistent choices, but discordant clinical decisions may occur in important aspects of care for early breast cancer. Broadening the diffusion and adoption of guideline recommendations is an important mechanism for addressing these gaps and may substantially improve the quality of breast cancer care.

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Edward E. Partridge, Nadeem Abu-Rustum, Anna Giuliano, Stewart Massad, Joan McClure, Mary Dwyer, and Miranda Hughes

These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on recent recommendations for cervical cancer screening and management of abnormal screening tests. When the NCCN Panel convened to update the NCCN Guidelines for Cervical Cancer Screening, they decided to adopt and endorse guidelines from other organizations to avoid duplication of effort. Therefore, in July 2013, after review and validation of consensus guidelines from the American Cancer Society, American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology, and American Society for Clinical Pathology, the NCCN Guidelines for Cervical Cancer Screening were discontinued.

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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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David S. Ettinger, Michael Kuettel, Jennifer Malin, Joan S. McClure, Mary Lou Smith, Andrew D. Zelenetz, and F. Marc Stewart

Much has changed in the treatment of cancer since the first NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) were rolled out for 8 different tumor types in November 1996. NCCN Guidelines now include involved algorithms often containing multiple treatment alternatives and detailed pathways of care that depend on more-specific patient characteristics and molecular tumor diagnostics. With 47 different individual NCCN panels, all members of the cancer care team are now better informed than ever to guide patients through the often complex decision-making required to improve the odds of successful outcomes. At the NCCN 20th Annual Conference, a distinguished panel assembled to take a closer look at these invaluable clinical practice guidelines, first glancing backward to how it all started and then forward to explore the key ingredients of trustworthy guidelines.

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Barbara Burtness, Milan Anadkat, Surendra Basti, Miranda Hughes, Mario E. Lacouture, Joan S. McClure, Patricia L. Myskowski, Jennifer Paul, Clifford S. Perlis, Leonard Saltz, and Sharon Spencer

This NCCN Task Force Report describes the management of dermatologic and ocular toxicities that occur in patients treated with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors. Task force members are from NCCN member institutions and include oncologists, dermatologists, an ophthalmologist, and a mid-level oncology provider. This report describes commonly used therapies that the task force agreed are appropriate standards of care for dermatologic and ophthalmologic toxicities associated with EGFR inhibitors, which generally are supported only by anecdotal evidence. Few recommendations are evidence based; however, some commonly used therapies have data supporting their use. Conclusions from completed clinical trials are generally limited by the small numbers of patients enrolled. The information in this report is based on available published data on treating toxicities associated with EGFR inhibitors, data from treatment of clinically similar toxicities from different etiologies, and expert opinion among the NCCN Task Force members.

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Robert W. Carlson, Jillian L. Scavone, Wui-Jin Koh, Joan S. McClure, Benjamin E. Greer, Rashmi Kumar, Nicole R. McMillian, and Benjamin O. Anderson

More than 14 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths are estimated to occur worldwide on an annual basis. Of these, 57% of new cancer cases and 65% of cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Disparities in available resources for health care are enormous and staggering. The WHO estimates that the United States and Canada have 10% of the global burden of disease, 37% of the world's health workers, and more than 50% of the world's financial resources for health; by contrast, the African region has 24% of the global burden of disease, 3% of health workers, and less than 1% of the world's financial resources for health. This disparity is even more extreme with cancer. NCCN has developed a framework for stratifying the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) to help health care systems in providing optimal care for patients with cancer with varying available resources. This framework is modified from a method developed by the Breast Health Global Initiative. The NCCN Framework for Resource Stratification (NCCN Framework) identifies 4 resource environments: basic resources, core resources, enhanced resources, and NCCN Guidelines, and presents the recommendations in a graphic format that always maintains the context of the NCCN Guidelines. This article describes the rationale for resource-stratified guidelines and the methodology for developing the NCCN Framework, using a portion of the NCCN Cervical Cancer Guideline as an example.

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Robert W. Carlson, Susan Moench, Arti Hurria, Lodovico Balducci, Harold J. Burstein, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Kevin S. Hughes, Mohammad Jahanzeb, Stuart M. Lichtman, Lawrence B. Marks, Joan S. McClure, Beryl McCormick, Lisle M. Nabell, Lori J. Pierce, Mary Lou Smith, Neal S. Topham, Tiffany A. Traina, John H. Ward, and Eric P. Winer

Breast cancer is common in older women, and the segment of the U.S. population aged 65 years and older is growing rapidly. Consequently, awareness is increasing of the need to identify breast cancer treatment recommendations to assure optimal, individualized treatment of older women with breast cancer. However, the development of these recommendations is limited by the heterogeneous nature of this population with respect to functional status, social support, life expectancy, and the presence of comorbidities, and by the underrepresentation of older patients with breast cancer in randomized clinical trials. The NCCN Breast Cancer in the Older Woman Task Force was convened to provide a forum for framing relevant questions on topics that impact older women with early-stage, locally advanced, and metastatic breast cancer. The task force is a multidisciplinary panel of 18 experts in breast cancer representing medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology, geriatric oncology, geriatrics, plastic surgery, and patient advocacy. All task force members were from NCCN institutions and were identified and invited solely by NCCN. Members were charged with identifying evidence relevant to their specific expertise. During a 2-day meeting, individual members provided didactic presentations; these presentations were followed by extensive discussions during which areas of consensus and controversy were identified on topics such as defining the “older” breast cancer patient; geriatric assessment tools in the oncology setting; attitudes of older patients with breast cancer and their physicians; tumor biology in older versus younger women with breast cancer; implementation of specific interventions in older patients with breast cancer, such as curative surgery, surgical axillary staging, radiation therapy, reconstructive surgery, endocrine therapy, chemotherapy, HER2-directed therapy, and supportive therapies; and areas requiring future studies. (JNCCN 2008;6[Suppl 4]:S1–S25)

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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.