The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN), an alliance of 21 of the leading cancer centers in the United States, has emerged as a leader in setting the standard of care and impacting the practice of oncology in the United States.1–3 NCCN has established more than 45 multidisciplinary, disease-specific committees and panels and developed more than 100 guidelines that are updated annually and well publicized on the NCCN Web site (www.NCCN.org), in JNCCN–The Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and at various national and international events.4 The process of developing these guidelines is elaborate and well described, using the expertise of physicians from these leading institutions.
The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines) became a global phenomenon, with various groups and regions around the world expressing interest in adapting these guidelines. In response, NCCN launched outreach programs to share their extensive experience and resources with interested entities. These efforts were translated into regional guidelines in Korea, Japan, and China, and recently the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region,5 including countries extending from Morocco to India (West–East) and Turkey to Yemen (North–South). The region spans a wide geographic area, has diverse social and economic profiles, and has significant heterogeneity in health care delivery and infrastructure. This diversity is not only across countries but also among regions within the same country. Therefore, the current standard of oncology care also varies greatly within the region.
Developing uniform guidelines that will be widely accepted by practicing oncologists in the region may help close the gap in the region, or at least will help delineate these variations so that a systemic approach to remedy them can be established.
Readers should note that the guidelines referenced during this initiative and discussed throughout this document were the 2009 versions. The most recent versions of the NCCN Guidelines are available on the NCCN Web site at www.NCCN.org.
Drs. Jazieh and Azim and Ms. McClure had disclosed that they have no financial interests, arrangements, or affiliations with the manufacturers of any products discussed in the article or their competitors. Dr. Jahanzeb has disclosed that he is on the speakers' bureau for and an advisor for Genentech, Inc. and sanofi-aventis.
Jiang ZF, Wang T. An interpretation of the China edition of National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) clinical practice guideline for breast cancer. Zhonghua Wai Ke Za Zhi 2009;47:485–487 [in Chinese].
Anderson BO, Yip CH, Smith RA et al.. Guideline implementation for breast healthcare in low-income and middle-income countries: overview of the Breast Health Global Initiative Global Summit 2007. Cancer 2008;113(8 Suppl):2221–2243.