NCCN Annual Conference Focuses on Cancer Patient Journey; With Cutting-Edge Research and Latest Evidence-Based Care Recommendations
The NCCN 2022 Annual Conference brings together more than a thousand oncology professionals from around the world to learn about the latest evidence-based treatment recommendations and evaluate new research. The online conference was held from March 31 through April 2, 2022, and included more than 30 educational sessions focusing on state-of-the-art practice algorithms for care across multiple cancer types; updates to NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines); new and emerging therapies; controversies in treatment and areas where further studies are needed; and best practices in the delivery of oncology care.
“The NCCN Annual Conference provides an opportunity for cancer care professionals to have direct access to world-renowned oncology subject matter specialists,” said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “We know working in healthcare can be challenging, especially recently, with the rapid addition of many new treatment options. With this conference—and all of the free resources NCCN shares—we want to support providers and make it easier to ensure people with cancer everywhere are getting the best possible care.”
The conference included concurrent sessions on topics such as genetic risk assessment, the future of telemedicine, and preventive health in cancer survivors. Leading experts presented the latest treatment recommendations for more than a dozen different types of cancer, including breast, colorectal, lung, pancreatic, and prostate.
This year, NCCN included 3 plenary sessions on the patient journey, dealing with access to care, equity of care, and survivorship. The moderated panel discussion on access examined how academic cancer centers are expanding treatment services to the community (including home-based care) while exploring the challenges posed by each different setting. The equity panel included a review of programs that are helping to close care gaps and highlights how the policy landscape is evolving. The survivor care session focused on managing unmet psychosocial needs, including anxiety, depression, trauma, and distress.
“NCCN’s core mission is to help people with cancer live better lives,” said Dr. Carlson. “This means recognizing and addressing the anxiety and distress that is prevalent in up to 80% of cancer survivors. It also means having frank discussions about implicit and explicit biases in care, and taking on social determinants of health. Of course, all of these conversations are happening in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed systemic problems and radically changed care delivery.”
The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on cancer care was also the subject of numerous electronic posters. These are among the more than 200 new studies in clinical oncology, epidemiology, bioinformatics, quality improvement, best practices, and outcomes and health services, including equity and disparities. Top-rated abstracts included topics such as:
• Are We ‘Choosing Wisely’? A Case of Unnecessary Staging Imaging in Older Patients With Prostate Cancer
• Humoral Immune Response Following COVID-19 Vaccination in Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Other Indolent Lymphomas: A Large, Single-Center Observational Study
• Independent Validation of the PREDICT Prognostication Tool in US Breast Cancer Patients Using the National Cancer Database (NCDB)
• Phase I Trial of Concurrent Nab-Paclitaxel and Cisplatin With Radiotherapy for Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer
• Phase II Trial of Trifluridine/Tipiracil in Combination With Irinotecan in Advanced Biliary Tract Cancers
• Real-World Data and Independent Predictors of Clinical Outcomes With CDK Inhibitors in Metastatic ER+ Breast Cancer Patients
• Reuterin in the Healthy Gut Microbiome Suppresses Colorectal Cancer Growth Through Altering Redox Balance
All abstracts are also available online at JNCCN.org, the online home of JNCCN–Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
The online conference platform also included an interactive exhibition hall featuring more than 50 exhibits from industry, patient advocacy, and health information technology.
The virtual event platform will allow attendees to continue accessing all conference sessions and exhibits for 60 days after the live conference concludes. After that time, the sessions will be made available as recorded webcasts via the NCCN Continuing Education portal at education.nccn.org, with a clinical synopsis publishing in JNCCN in May.
Coming soon: NCCN is planning to return to Washington, DC for the Oncology Policy Summit on June 17, 2022. A virtual attendance option will also be available. The focus will be how to build a modern workplace that meets the needs of cancer patients, survivors, and caretakers. Learn more at NCCN.org/summits and visit NCCN.org/events for information on all upcoming NCCN events and webinars.
Free Guide to Colorectal Cancer Screening From NCCN Now Available in More Than a Dozen Languages
NCCN has announced new translations of the recently published NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Colorectal Cancer Screening. This free resource—made possible through funding from the NCCN Foundation—is now accessible to patients and caregivers in Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Hmong, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
“The NCCN Foundation is committed to advancing cancer care so all patients can live better lives, through funding for evidence-based, trustworthy sources of medical information,” said Patrick Delaney, Executive Director, NCCN Foundation. “By translating this book into multiple languages, we are making sure patients and caregivers everywhere can make shared decisions about the right screening fit for them.”
Experts are now recommending that colorectal cancer screening begin at age 45 years for people at average risk, and even younger for some in higher risk groups. Access to accurate information on cancer screening is particularly needed right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in timely cancer screening and diagnoses—and is projected to result in more later-stage cases. Learn more about how “Cancer Won’t Wait and Neither Should You” at NCCN.org/resume-screening.
“Colorectal cancer screening is an incredibly effective tool for improving outcomes and even preventing this commonly occurring cancer,” said Anjee Davis, MPPA, President of Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC). “Screening can reduce the rate of death by detecting CRC at an earlier, more treatable stage, and can reduce overall cancer incidences by finding and removing precancerous polyps. We’re happy that this essential information is now accessible for even more people around the world.”
Free digital versions of the NCCN Guidelines for Patients: Colorectal Cancer Screening are available at NCCN.org/patientguidelines and via the NCCN Patient Guides for Cancer App. The growing library of NCCN Guidelines for Patients includes more than 60 frequently updated books for patients and caregivers covering most major types of cancer, including colon and rectal cancers, as well as supportive care and survivorship recommendations.
The evidence-based, expert-vetted NCCN Guidelines for Patients contain the same information as the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines)—the recognized standard for clinical direction and policy in cancer care and the most thorough and frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine. The patient versions are presented in an easy-to-read format—with charts, images, and a glossary of medical terms. There are now more than 50 translated versions of NCCN Guidelines for Patients available.
Learn more and help support these and other resources for people with cancer and their caregivers at NCCN.org/patients.
NCCN Pharmacy Directors Forum Publishes Recommendations for Safely Dispensing Investigational Medications for Clinical Trials
NCCN has announced the publication of new expert consensus recommendations to address routine problems that can occur during prescribing, receiving, storing, preparing, and delivering investigational drugs. These new recommendations come from an Investigational Drug Services (IDS) work group that arose out of the NCCN Pharmacy Directors Forum. They are intended to build on existing resources to help improve the safety and efficiency of research studies.
“Clinical trials provide vital treatment options for many of our cancer patients,” said Stephen Polley, PharmD, Assistant Director - Cancer Pharmacy Services, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, Co-Lead for the NCCN Work Group. “Promoting standardization and establishing robust IDS policies and procedures will help improve the feasibility of opening and successfully operating clinical trials. We hope these recommendations will be a helpful resource for IDS pharmacy leaders and pharmacists when creating or updating their policies and procedures.”
“Clinical trials are increasing in complexity and logistics,” agreed NCCN Work Group Co-Lead Sapna Amin, PharmD, Manager, Investigational Pharmacy Services, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “Understanding pharmacy workflows and collaboration with sponsors is key to ensure their success. IDS plays a critical and intricate role in the clinical trial. Having a standardized approach across institutions benefits the patients, institutions, and the trial sponsors.”
The IDS recommendations were published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. They focus on 7 areas of need identified by the work group:
Investigational product (IP) labeling from supplier
Building and validating research-specific treatment plans in the medical record
Restrictions on retained IP materials
IDS technician roles and training
Hazardous drug handling, and use of closed-system transfer devices
IDS participation in IRT
Temperature monitoring while IP is stored in institutional assets
The work group also suggests involving IDS pharmacists earlier in the development of research to capitalize on their unique expertise in order to improve study design and planning and mitigate many potential issues that arise during study treatment.
“If these recommendations can help improve how quickly and safely we can set up a clinical trial at our local institutions, then everyone wins,” said Polley.