August 2013 Vol 6, No 6 Special Issue

Chicago, IL—Sorafenib (Nexavar) has become the first drug in years to prove effective in the treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) that has become resistant to radioactive iodine, according to phase 3 study results that were reported at the ASCO 2013 meeting.

DTC is the most common subtype of thyroid cancer, and its incidence is rising. DTC is rarely fatal, although up to 15% of patients become resistant to the current standard of care, radioactive iodine, and can die from the malignancy.

Chicago, IL—Adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to standard chemotherapy improves overall survival (OS) in women with metastatic or relapsed cervical cancer, representing the first instance in which a targeted therapy has significantly prolonged OS in this patient population.

Chicago, IL—At a plenary session of ASCO 2013, investigators of the phase 3 Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) 0825 trial reported that bevacizumab (Avastin) did not improve overall survival (OS) in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma, but it did extend progression-free survival (PFS).

The cost of cancer care is an issue of major importance to payers in 2013. There are more than 12.5 million people living with cancer in the United States today, and that number is rising.1 According to a recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and supported by the National Institutes of Health, “Based on growth and aging of the U.S.

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States among men and the most frequently diagnosed cancer in American males. Among patients with metastatic prostate cancer, up to approximately 90% have bone metastases.1 The median survival after the diagnosis of bone metastasis associated with prostate cancer is approximately 3 years.2

Crizotinib, an inhibitor of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene, has shown significant response rates in patients with advanced non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and the ALK rearrangement. A new study compared the response rates of standard chemotherapy with crizotinib in patients with ALK-positive advanced NSCLC (Shaw AT, et al. N Engl J Med. 2013;368:2385-2394).

Chicago, IL—Financial distress is prevalent among insured patients with cancer, and although most patients state a desire to talk to their physicians about costs, this discussion rarely occurs, according to a study conducted at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Of the 300 insured patients with cancer included in this study, 17% reported “high” or “overwhelming” financial distress, and only 25% of this group discussed costs with their physicians.

Chicago, IL—It may come as no surprise that financial incentives can influence the behavior of physicians and the actions of healthcare systems. Elena B. Elkin, PhD, MPH, Health Outcomes Research Group, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, discussed this topic at ASCO 2013.

Chicago, IL—“Building Bridges to Conquer Cancer” was the theme of the 2013 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting, as well as of the address of ASCO’s outgoing President Sandra M. Swain, MD.

Dr Swain’s address focused on 3 pillars of the theme: (1) ensuring global health equity, (2) the need to strengthen future generations of leaders and providers, and (3) the vision for a rapid learning system in oncology. These 3 issues “belong squarely on our personal and professional radar screens,” she said.

Chicago, IL—An examination of the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database from 1998 to 2008 revealed that a significant number of patients with cancer receive drugs that are neither indicated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the specific condition nor endorsed by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) compendia—and 18% of the spending on cancer drugs is for off-label drug use.

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  •  Association for Value-Based Cancer Care
  • Oncology Practice Management
  • Value-Based Cancer Care
  • Value-Based Care in Rheumatology
  • Rheumatology Practice Management
  • Urology Practice Management
  • Lynx CME