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Andrew S. Epstein and Eileen M. O'Reilly

Exocrine pancreas cancer continues to represent a significant therapeutic challenge, with high rates of mortality and morbidity, including from thromboembolic events, which have long been described as a frequent complication of the disease. This article provides a systematic and comprehensive review of the literature to address the clinical and pathologic features recognized in pancreas cancer pertaining to thrombosis, and to discuss ongoing investigations of prophylactic anticoagulation in the hopes of improving disease-related outcomes.

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Paul Glare, Kathy Plakovic, Anna Schloms, Barbara Egan, Andrew S. Epstein, David Kelsen, and Leonard Saltz

The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Palliative Care recommend screening all patients for palliative care (PC) needs and to call a PC consult when referral criteria are met. The goal of this pilot project was to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the screening and referral components of the NCCN Guidelines for Palliative Care in patients admitted to the Gastrointestinal Oncology Service (GIOS) at a comprehensive cancer center (CCC). Floor nurses performed the initial screening of all patients admitted to the 2 teams—Team A and Team B—of the GIOS on one floor of Memorial Hospital for 3 months. In addition, only the patients admitted to Team A were evaluated according to the referral criteria, triggering a PC consult if results were positive. Nurses were surveyed regarding satisfaction with and the acceptability of screening. During the study period, 229 (90%) total admissions were screened, with 169 (73%) having positive results. Of the Team A admissions, 72 (64%) met the referral criteria. More consults occurred for patients in Team A (47 vs 15; P=.001). In 30% of the referral criteria-triggered consults, the PC needs were manageable by the primary team. Nurses reported screening to be easy and quick (<5 minutes per patient) but only somewhat helpful. Being unfamiliar with many patients and families, floor nurses often felt unable to screen them accurately for some issues. In conclusion, screening was feasible, increasing access to PC, but accuracy and usefulness are concerns. With a consult indicated in 64% patients, yet with 30% being manageable by the primary team, the current criteria may be too sensitive for the inpatient environment of a CCC. More evaluation is needed before widespread implementation can be recommended.

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NCCN Guidelines® Insights: Palliative Care, Version 2.2021

Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines

Maria Dans, Jean S. Kutner, Rajiv Agarwal, Justin N. Baker, Jessica R. Bauman, Anna C. Beck, Toby C. Campbell, Elise C. Carey, Amy A. Case, Shalini Dalal, Danielle J. Doberman, Andrew S. Epstein, Leslie Fecher, Joshua Jones, Jennifer Kapo, Richard T. Lee, Elizabeth T. Loggers, Susan McCammon, William Mitchell, Adeboye B. Ogunseitan, Diane G. Portman, Kavitha Ramchandran, Linda Sutton, Jennifer Temel, Melissa L. Teply, Stephanie Y. Terauchi, Jane Thomas, Anne M. Walling, Finly Zachariah, Mary Anne Bergman, Ndiya Ogba, and Mallory Campbell

Palliative care has evolved to be an integral part of comprehensive cancer care with the goal of early intervention to improve quality of life and patient outcomes. The NCCN Guidelines for Palliative Care provide recommendations to help the primary oncology team promote the best quality of life possible throughout the illness trajectory for each patient with cancer. The NCCN Palliative Care Panel meets annually to evaluate and update recommendations based on panel members’ clinical expertise and emerging scientific data. These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize the panel’s recent discussions and highlights updates on the importance of fostering adaptive coping strategies for patients and families, and on the role of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions to optimize symptom management.