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Yanli Li, Leila Family, Su-Jau Yang, Zandra Klippel, John H. Page and Chun Chao

Background: NCCN has classified commonly used chemotherapy regimens into high (>20%), intermediate (10%–20%), or low (<10%) febrile neutropenia (FN) risk categories based primarily on clinical trial evidence. Many chemotherapy regimens, however, remain unclassified by NCCN or lack FN incidence data in real-world clinical practice. Patients and Methods: We evaluated incidence proportions of FN and grade 4 and 3/4 neutropenia during the first chemotherapy course among patients from Kaiser Permanente Southern California who received selected chemotherapy regimens without well-established FN risk. Patients given granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) prophylaxis were excluded. Sensitivity analyses were performed to account for FN misclassification and censoring. Results: From 2008 to 2013, 1,312 patients with breast cancer who received docetaxel and cyclophosphamide (TC; n=853) or docetaxel, carboplatin, and trastuzumab (TCH; n=459); 1,321 patients with colorectal cancer who received capecitabine and oxaliplatin (XELOX; n=401) or leucovorin, 5-fluorouracil, and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX6; n=920); 307 patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma who received bendamustine with or without rituximab; and 181 patients with multiple myeloma who received lenalidomide with or without dexamethasone were included. Crude FN risk was >20% for both breast cancer regimens (TC and TCH). Crude FN risks for XELOX, FOLFOX6, bendamustine, and lenalidomide were <10%; however, when potential FN misclassification and censoring were considered, FN risks were >10%. Conclusions: Our results support published literature highlighting the real-world, “high” FN risk of the TC and TCH regimens for breast cancer. There is strong suggestive evidence that FN risks for XELOX, FOLFOX6, bendamustine, and lenalidomide are >10%. Calculation of chemotherapy course-level FN incidence without controlling for differential censoring for patients who discontinued regimens early, or possible FN misclassification, might have resulted in bias toward an underestimation of the true FN risk. These findings help define FN risk of the selected regimens in the real-world setting and inform prophylactic G-CSF use.

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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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Zhong Ye, Chun Wang, Limin Guo, Juan P. Palazzo, Zhixing Han, Yinzhi Lai, Jing Jiang, James A. Posey, Atrayee Basu Mallick, Bingshan Li, Li Jiang and Hushan Yang

Background: Use of chemotherapy in stage II colorectal cancer (CRC) is controversial because it improves survival only in some patients. We aimed to develop a statistical model using routine and readily available blood tests to predict the prognosis of patients with stage II CRC and to identify which patients are likely to benefit from chemotherapy. Methods: We divided 422 patients with stage II CRC into a training and a testing set. The association of routine laboratory variables and disease-free survival (DFS) was analyzed. A prognostic model was developed incorporating clinically relevant laboratory variables with demographic and tumor characteristics. A prognostic score was derived by calculating the sum of each variable weighted by its regression coefficient in the model. Model performance was evaluated by constructing receiver operating characteristic curves and calculating the area under the curve (AUC). Results: Significant associations were seen between 5 laboratory variables and patient DFS in univariate analyses. After stepwise selection, 3 variables (carcinoembryonic antigen, hemoglobin, creatinine) were retained in the multivariate model with an AUC of 0.75. Compared with patients with a low prognostic score, those with a medium and high prognostic score had a 1.99- and 4.78-fold increased risk of recurrence, respectively. The results from the training set were validated in the testing set. Moreover, chemotherapy significantly improved DFS in high-risk patients, but not in low- and medium-risk patients. Conclusions: A routine laboratory variable–based model may help predict DFS of patients with stage II CRC and identify high-risk patients more likely to benefit from chemotherapy.

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Li-Ting Liu, Qiu-Yan Chen, Lin-Quan Tang, Shan-Shan Guo, Ling Guo, Hao-Yuan Mo, Yang Li, Qing-Nan Tang, Xue-Song Sun, Yu-Jing Liang, Chong Zhao, Xiang Guo, Chao-Nan Qian, Mu-Sheng Zeng, Jin-Xin Bei, Ming-Huang Hong, Jian-Yong Shao, Ying Sun, Jun Ma and Hai-Qiang Mai

Background: The goal of this study was to explore the value of adding neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NACT) or adjuvant chemotherapy (ACT) to concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) with different risks of treatment failure. Patients and Methods: A total of 2,263 eligible patients with stage III–IVb NPC treated with CCRT ± NACT or ACT were included in this retrospective study. Distant metastasis–free survival (DMFS), overall survival, and progression-free survival were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method and differences were compared using the log-rank test. Results: Patients in the low-risk group (stage N0–1 disease and Epstein-Barr virus [EBV] DNA <4,000 copies/mL) who received NACT followed by CCRT achieved significantly better 5-year DMFS than those treated with CCRT alone (96.2% vs 91.3%; P= .008). Multivariate analyses also demonstrated that additional NACT was the only independent prognostic factor for DMFS (hazard ratio, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.22–0.80; P=.009). In both the intermediate-risk group (stage N0–1 disease and EBV DNA ≥4,000 copies/mL and stage N2–3 disease and EBV DNA <4,000 copies/mL) and the high-risk group (stage N2–3 disease and EBV DNA ≥4,000 copies/mL), comparison of NACT or ACT + CCRT versus CCRT alone indicated no significantly better survival for all end points. Conclusions: The addition of NACT to CCRT could reduce distant failure in patients with low risk of treatment failure.