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Prevalence and Safety of Off-Label Use of Chemotherapeutic Agents in Older Patients With Breast Cancer: Estimates From SEER-Medicare Data

Anne A. Eaton, Camelia S. Sima, and Katherine S. Panageas

Background: Prescribing drugs outside of the label indication is legal and may reflect standard practice; however, some off-label use may be inappropriate. This study measured the prevalence and safety of off-label use both in accordance with practice guidelines and inconsistent with practice guidelines in older patients with breast cancer. Patients and Methods: The SEER-Medicare data set was used to identify women diagnosed with breast cancer. Intravenous chemotherapy was identified using Medicare claims and classified as either on-label, off-label but included in the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) for Breast Cancer (“off-label/supported”), or off-label and not included in the NCCN Guidelines (“off-label/unsupported”). Hospitalization/emergency department (ED) admission rates were compared. Results: A total of 13,347 women were treated with 16,127 regimens (12% of women switched regimen); 64% of regimens were off-label/supported, 25% were on-label, and 11% were off-label/unsupported, and hospitalization/ED admission occurred in 27%, 25%, and 32% of regimens, respectively (P<.0001). Drugs never included in the NCCN Guidelines for Breast Cancer accounted for 19% of off-label/unsupported use (1% of total use). Conclusions: Off-label use without scientific support was not common, whereas 64% of use was off-label/supported, reflecting the fact that widely accepted indications are often not tested in registration trials. Off-label/supported use will likely increase as more drugs are expected to have activity across cancer sites, and therefore understanding the implications of such use is critical.

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Occult Primary, Version 3.2014

David S. Ettinger, Charles R. Handorf, Mark Agulnik, Daniel W. Bowles, Justin M. Cates, Mihaela Cristea, Efrat Dotan, Keith D. Eaton, Panagiotis M. Fidias, David Gierada, G. Weldon Gilcrease, Kelly Godby, Renuka Iyer, Renato Lenzi, John Phay, Asif Rashid, Leonard Saltz, Richard B. Schwab, Lawrence N. Shulman, Jeffrey B. Smerage, Marvaretta M. Stevenson, Gauri R. Varadhachary, Jonathan S. Zager, Weining (Ken) Zhen, Mary Anne Bergman, and Deborah A. Freedman-Cass

The NCCN Guidelines for Occult Primary tumors provide recommendations for the evaluation, workup, management, and follow-up of patients with occult primary tumors (cancers of unknown primary). These NCCN Guidelines Insights summarize major discussion points of the 2014 NCCN Occult Primary panel meeting. The panel discussed gene expression profiling (GEP) for the identification of the tissue of origin and concluded that, although GEP has a diagnostic benefit, a clinical benefit has not been demonstrated. The panel recommends against GEP as standard management, although 20% of the panel believes the diagnostic benefit of GEP warrants its routine use. In addition, the panel discussed testing for actionable mutations (eg, ALK) to help guide choice of therapy, but declined to add this recommendation.