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Ling-Long Tang, Yu-Pei Chen, Yan-Ping Mao, Zi-Xian Wang, Rui Guo, Lei Chen, Li Tian, Ai-Hua Lin, Li Li, Ying Sun and Jun Ma

Background: In this study, we evaluated the 8th edition of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC)/AJCC staging system for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in an endemic area, with the aim of validating its applicability and providing further information for future refinements. Methods: A total of 1,790 patients with newly diagnosed, non–distant metastatic, histologically proven NPC treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) were retrospectively reviewed. The performance of various staging systems was compared using the Akaike information criterion (AIC) and Harrell's concordance index (c-index). Results: For N (node) category, the survival curves of different groups according to the 8th edition were well-separated, and the prognostic model predicted outcomes fairly well. The 8th edition had higher AIC and c-index values for all end points than the 7th edition. However, probably due to the improved locoregional control provided by IMRT, the survival curves for T2 and T3 almost overlapped, without significant differences in locoregional failure-free survival (P=.606) and disease-free survival (P=.735). Due to the difficultly of differentiating T2 and T3, the AIC and c-index values were similar for the T categories of the 7th and 8th editions. Similarly, the overall survival and disease-free survival curves for stage II and III disease were not clearly separated for either the 8th or 7th editions. Conclusions: The 8th edition of the UICC/AJCC staging system for NPC enables more accurate prediction of treatment outcomes. However, several limitations need to be addressed in future editions, and it would be reasonable to further optimize the T category classification.

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Yu-Pei Chen, Ya-Qin Wang, Wen-Fei Li, Lei Chen, Cheng Xu, Tai-Xiang Lu, Ai-Hua Lin, Ji-Jin Yao, Yang-Chan Li, Ying Sun, Yan-Ping Mao and Jun Ma

Background: Given the distinct biological characteristics and regional distribution of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) compared with other head and neck cancers, and uncertainties regarding therapeutic strategies, physicians require high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) to provide transparent recommendations for NPC treatment. This study aimed to critically appraise the quality of NPC CPGs and assess the consistency of their recommendations. Methods: We identified CPGs that provided recommendations on the diagnosis and management of NPC published up to December 2015. Four investigators independently appraised CPG quality using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument. Key recommendations by CPGs were also evaluated. Results: A total of 7 CPGs were eligible for this study: 5 produced by professional organizations or governmental agencies and 2 were developed based on expert consensus. Of the 6 AGREE II domains, the applicability domain scored consistently low across CPGs (range, 13.5%–30.2%); no CPG achieved a score of >50% in all 6 domains. The scope and purpose domain (≥73.6% for 4 CPGs) and editorial independence domain (≥75.0% for 6 CPGs) scored highest. Of the 23 AGREE II items, 9 scored less than half of the points available in all 7 CPGs. The recommendations by CPGs were consistent in general; heterogeneity mainly existed among recommended therapeutic strategies. Conclusions: Variation exists in NPC CPG development processes and recommendations. Increased efforts are required to make comprehensive resources available to guide healthcare providers and enhance delivery of high-quality, evidence-based care for NPC. International collaboration is necessary to enable the development of high-quality and regionally relevant CPGs for NPC.

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David D. Stenehjem, Frederick Albright, Kuan-Ling Kuo, Karina Raimundo, Hillevi Bauer, Paul J. Shami, Michael W. Deininger, Lei Chen and Diana I. Brixner

Retrospective review of imatinib monitoring through electronic health records (EHR) can provide valuable insight into the current management of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This study retrospectively reviewed EHRs from 2001 to 2010 of patients with chronic phase CML (CP-CML) treated with first-line imatinib. Chart evaluations included a review of cytogenetic and molecular testing, overall survival, adverse drug events (ADEs), and therapy modifications. A total of 54 patients with CP-CML were treated with first-line imatinib and had either cytogenetic or molecular testing within 18 months of imatinib initiation. Within the first 18 months of treatment, 33 of 45 patients (73%) undergoing cytogenetic testing experienced a complete cytogenetic response (median, 241 days; range, 110-542 days) and 24 of 48 patients (50%) receiving molecular testing achieved at least a major molecular response (median, 253 days; range, 99-546 days). The average number of cytogenetic and molecular tests conducted within the first 18 months was 2.5 and 3.8, respectively. Nineteen of 54 (35%) had a dose increase of imatinib (>400 mg; median, 329 days; range, 21-1968 days). The 5-year estimated overall survival rate was 88.5%. Between 2006 and 2010 (n=30; 56%), 7 patients (23%) transitioned to dasatinib or nilotinib (median, 399 days from diagnosis; range, 180-1046 days) because of suboptimal response or treatment failure (n=5) and imatinib ADEs (n=2). Forty-six imatinib-associated ADEs occurred in 31 patients (57%), of which 10 (32%) received dose reductions (median, 52 days) and 6 (19%) had discontinuations (median, 139 days). Closely monitored patients with CML treated with imatinib at an NCCN Member Institution experienced outcomes comparable to those reported in key clinical trials.