The NCCN 23rd Annual Conference: Improving the Quality, Effectiveness, and Efficiency of Cancer Care attracted more than 1,600 registrants from across the United States and the globe, including oncologists (in both community and academic settings), oncology fellows, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care professionals involved in the care of patients with cancer. The breadth of topics presented at the conference is a reflection of the impact NCCN and the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) have on people with cancer and their families. This special issue of JNCCN—Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network presents these Highlights as a synopsis of the proceedings.
During the Conference, esteemed NCCN Guidelines panel members presented the latest best practices in the treatment of patients with cancer and NCCN Guidelines updates for various diseases, including prostate, colon & rectal, kidney, breast, non-small cell lung, and hepatocellular cancers, as well as multiple myeloma, acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and melanoma. Additionally, 3 brand new NCCN Guidelines were presented: Cancer in People Living with HIV, Management of Immunotherapy-Related Toxicity, and Uveal Melanoma.
NCCN experts also discussed cancer care in special situations and emerging treatments. For example, 2 NCCN Guidelines Panel Chairs, Maria Dans, MD and Robert A. Swarm, MD, both from Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine, presented ways to adapt the NCCN Guidelines for Pain and Palliative Care to meet varying levels of resources. The NCCN Framework aims to provide adapted guidelines for low- and middle-resource countries to improve the experience of patients with cancer. NCCN Frameworks are a few of several tools that can improve cancer care in the developing world. Dr. Dans also discussed another of these tools, the NCCN Harmonized Guidelines for Sub-Saharan Africa, a joint project with the NCCN, American Cancer Society, Clinton Health Access Initiative, and African Cancer Coalition and some of its members, which were developed to harmonize NCCN recommendations with local guidelines across Africa and to make best use of available services and resources.
Another presentation focused on cancer treatment during pregnancy. Estimates suggest that nearly 30% of patients diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) are younger than 49 years old, and approximately half are women. For many of these women, childbearing concerns are a major factor as they start treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, which are known to be teratogenic. During her presentation at the conference, Ellin Berman, MD, from Memorial Sloan Kettering, identified the challenges in helping women undergoing treatment for CML who want to have children, emphasizing the importance of an individualized and multidisciplinary approach to management.
Finally, Patrick A. Brown, MD, from The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, and Bijal Shah, MD, from Moffitt Cancer Center, discussed the novel drugs that are being investigated in patients with ALL, such as potent later-generation tyrosine kinase inhibitors, antibody-drug conjugates, bispecific monoclonal antibodies, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies.