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Robert A. Smith

Although broad consensus exists that mammography is beneficial, there has been persistent and evolving debate over the extent of the benefit, as well as concerns about cost-effectiveness. Ongoing evaluation of the world's randomized clinical trials as well as new evaluations of population service screening (ie, organized, community-based screening) clearly show that mammography is beneficial and that the benefit of modern mammography among women who attend screening exceeds what has conventionally been estimated from the trials. Limitations of mammography include human and financial costs associated with missed cancers and false-positive results. However, it is important to distinguish those limitations of mammography that are inherent limitations of the technology from those that can be reduced through greater attention to quality assurance.

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Constance D. Lehman and Robert A. Smith

The 2009 NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology for Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis include significant updates for the role of MRI in screening women at increased risk for breast cancer. The NCCN now recommends considering breast MRI as an adjunct to annual mammography and clinical breast examination for women who have a BRCA1 or -2 mutation or who have a first-degree relative who has a BRCA1 or -2 mutation but who have not undergone genetic testing themselves; those who are determined to have a lifetime risk greater than 20% based on models that are highly dependent on family history; and those with a history of lobular carcinoma in situ. MRI is also recommended for patients who underwent radiation treatment to the chest between 10 and 30 years of age, and in those who carry or have a first-degree relative who carries a genetic mutation in the TP53 or PTEN genes (Li-Fraumeni, Cowden, and Bannahyan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndromes). MRI is specifically not recommended for screening women at average risk for breast cancer. This article describes the peer-reviewed, published clinical research trials evaluating breast MRI in high-risk patients, on which the NCCN guidelines were based, and provides suggestions for future research.

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Jarred Burkart, Dwight Owen, Manisha H. Shah, Sherif R. Z. Abdel-Misih, Sameek Roychowdhury, Robert Wesolowski, Sigurdis Haraldsdottir, Julie W. Reeser, Eric Samorodnitsky, Amy Smith, and Bhavana Konda

Mutations in the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK pathway leading to constitutive activation and uncontrolled cellular growth have been identified in various human malignancies, making this pathway a target for potential therapeutics. The activating BRAF V600E mutation is one well-characterized oncogenic mutation that has been described and targeted with clinical success in various malignancies, including melanoma and hairy cell leukemia. Although BRAF-directed treatments have yielded clinical benefit in a subset of tumor types, such as melanoma, thyroid cancer, and lung cancer, BRAF inhibition fails to confer a clinical benefit in colon cancer. Identification of patients for whom BRAF inhibition may produce clinically meaningful outcomes is imperative. The incidence of BRAF mutations in neuroendocrine carcinoma (NEC) is estimated to be 5% to 10%. A recent case series demonstrated benefit in targeting the BRAF V600E mutation in metastatic high-grade rectal NECs. Combination BRAF and MEK inhibition is known to yield improved outcomes compared with BRAF inhibition alone in melanoma. This report presents 2 patients with high-grade colorectal NECs who had different responses to treatment with combined BRAF/MEK inhibition after experiencing disease progression through first-line platinum-based chemotherapy. One patient experienced an excellent initial response to therapy before ultimately experiencing progression, and in the other patient initially had stable disease before eventually experiencing progression. These cases highlight the complicated role BRAF mutations play in gastrointestinal NECs, and the need for further research to identify not only patients who may benefit from BRAF-directed therapies but also strategies to avoid development of resistance.

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Elizabeth A. Nardi, James McCanney, Katy Winckworth-Prejsnar, Alyssa A. Schatz, Kerin Adelson, Marcus Neubauer, Mary Lou Smith, Ronald Walters, and Robert W. Carlson

Quality measurement in oncology is increasing in significance as payment schemes shift from volume to value. As demand for quality measures increases, challenges in the development of quality measures, standardization across measures, and the limitations of health information technology have become apparent. Moreover, the time and financial burden associated with developing, tracking, and reporting quality measures are substantial. Despite these challenges, best practices and leaders in the field of quality measurement in oncology have emerged. To understand the current challenges and promising practices in quality measurement and to explore future considerations for measure development and measure reporting in oncology, NCCN convened the NCCN Policy Summit: Redefining Quality Measurement in Oncology. The summit included discussion of the current quality landscape and efforts to develop quality measures, use of quality measures in various programs, patient perspective of quality, and challenges and best practices for quality reporting.

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Grace L. Smith, Maria A. Lopez-Olivo, Pragati G. Advani, Matthew S. Ning, Yimin Geng, Sharon H. Giordano, and Robert J. Volk

Background: Patients with cancer experience financial toxicity from the costs of treatment, as well as material and psychologic stress related to this burden. A synthesized understanding of predictors and outcomes of the financial burdens associated with cancer care is needed to underpin strategic responses in oncology care. This study systematically reviewed risk factors and outcomes associated with financial burdens related to cancer treatment. Methods: MEDLINE, Embase, PubMed, PsychINFO, and the Cochrane Library were searched from study inception through June 2018, and reference lists were scanned from studies of patient-level predictors and outcomes of financial burdens in US patients with cancer (aged ≥18 years). Two reviewers conducted screening, abstraction, and quality assessment. Variables associated with financial burdens were synthesized. When possible, pooled estimates of associations were calculated using random-effects models. Results: A total of 74 observational studies of financial burdens in 598,751 patients with cancer were identified, among which 49% of patients reported material or psychologic financial burdens (95% CI, 41%–56%). Socioeconomic predictors of worse financial burdens with treatment were lack of health insurance, lower income, unemployment, and younger age at cancer diagnosis. Compared with patients with health insurance, those who were uninsured demonstrated twice the odds of financial burdens (pooled odds ratio [OR], 2.09; 95% CI, 1.33–3.30). Financial burdens were most severe early in cancer treatment, did not differ by disease site, and were associated with worse health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and nearly twice the odds of cancer medication nonadherence (pooled OR, 1.70; 95% CI, 1.13–2.56). Only a single study demonstrated an association with increased mortality. Studies assessing the comparative effectiveness of interventions to mitigate financial burdens in patients with cancer were lacking. Conclusions: Evidence showed that financial burdens are common, disproportionately impacting younger and socioeconomically disadvantaged patients with cancer, across disease sites, and are associated with worse treatment adherence and HRQoL. Available evidence helped identify vulnerable patients needing oncology provider engagement and response, but evidence is critically needed on the effectiveness of interventions designed to mitigate financial burden and impact.

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James Mohler, Robert R. Bahnson, Barry Boston, J. Erik Busby, Anthony D'Amico, James A. Eastham, Charles A. Enke, Daniel George, Eric Mark Horwitz, Robert P. Huben, Philip Kantoff, Mark Kawachi, Michael Kuettel, Paul H. Lange, Gary MacVicar, Elizabeth R. Plimack, Julio M. Pow-Sang, Mack Roach III, Eric Rohren, Bruce J. Roth, Dennis C. Shrieve, Matthew R. Smith, Sandy Srinivas, Przemyslaw Twardowski, and Patrick C. Walsh

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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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Robert W. Carlson, D. Craig Allred, Benjamin O. Anderson, Harold J. Burstein, W. Bradford Carter, Stephen B. Edge, John K. Erban, William B. Farrar, Andres Forero, Sharon Hermes Giordano, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Daniel F. Hayes, Clifford A. Hudis, Britt-Marie Ljung, David A. Mankoff, P. Kelly Marcom, Ingrid A. Mayer, Beryl McCormick, Lori J. Pierce, Elizabeth C. Reed, Jasgit Sachdev, Mary Lou Smith, George Somlo, John H. Ward, Antonio C. Wolff, and Richard Zellars

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Robert W. Carlson, D. Craig Allred, Benjamin O. Anderson, Harold J. Burstein, W. Bradford Carter, Stephen B. Edge, John K. Erban, William B. Farrar, Andres Forero, Sharon Hermes Giordano, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Daniel F. Hayes, Clifford A. Hudis, Britt-Marie Ljung, P. Kelly Marcom, Ingrid A. Mayer, Beryl McCormick, Lori J. Pierce, Elizabeth C. Reed, Mary Lou Smith, George Somlo, Neal S. Topham, John H. Ward, Eric P. Winer, and Antonio C. Wolff

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Robert W. Carlson, D. Craig Allred, Benjamin O. Anderson, Harold J. Burstein, W. Bradford Carter, Stephen B. Edge, John K. Erban, William B. Farrar, Lori J. Goldstein, William J. Gradishar, Daniel F. Hayes, Clifford A. Hudis, Mohammad Jahanzeb, Krystyna Kiel, Britt-Marie Ljung, P. Kelly Marcom, Ingrid A. Mayer, Beryl McCormick, Lisle M. Nabell, Lori J. Pierce, Elizabeth C. Reed, Mary Lou Smith, George Somlo, Richard L. Theriault, Neal S. Topham, John H. Ward, Eric P. Winer, and Antonio C. Wolff