September 2014, Vol 3, No 6

PMO: Recognizing the Many Principles Governing the Personalized Medicine Movement

Dear Colleague, On behalf of our Editorial Board and staff, I’d like to thank you for your readership of Personalized Medicine in Oncology (PMO). We hope that you have become familiar with our mission and the content of PMO. When you flip through our pages and browse our website, you [ Read More ]

Al B. Benson III, MD, FACP, FASCO

Letter to Our Readers

Tissue Phenomics: Closing the Gap Between Genomic Information and Patient Outcomes

An Interview With Thomas P. Heydler, CEO of Definiens Thomas P. Heydler is Chief Executive Officer of Definiens. Mr Heydler holds a Diplom-Ingenieur degree in Electric Engineering and Computer Science from the Technical University in Munich, Germany. Perhaps the most engaging quality of personalized medicine is the astounding diversity of [ Read More ]

Thomas P. Heydler

Interview with the Innovators

FDA Approves Pembrolizumab for Advanced Melanoma

First PD-1 Blocking Drug to Receive Agency Approval The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to pembrolizumab for the treatment of patients with advanced or unresectable melanoma who are no longer responding to other drugs. Melanoma, which accounts for approximately 5% of all new cancers in the [ Read More ]

Immunotherapy

Highlights From the 6th International Symposium on Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia

Recently, more than 200 scientists, researchers, and clinicians from around the globe gathered in Rome, Italy, for the 6th International Symposium on Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL). Held every 4 years since 1997, this comprehensive congress reviewed recent scientific advances and clinical research in APL and related malignancies. Two internationally recognized [ Read More ]

Lisa Raedler, PhD, RPh

Hematological Malignancies

Navigating the Molecular Testing Landscape in Lung Cancer

Experts discuss how they use mutational testing The expansion of tumor genetic profiling into the clinic has led to effective, targeted treatments for patients but created a daily dilemma for oncologists: What to do with the results of these tests? At the 15th Annual International Lung Cancer Congress, a panel [ Read More ]

Roy Herbst, MD, PhD

Lung Cancer

What Makes a Treatment “Clinically Meaningful”?

Two presentations at ASCO struck Jennifer Malin, MD, PhD, medical director of oncology at WellPoint, Inc, as good examples of value in cancer care, while many others did not make the value-based list. Malin described these studies at an ASCO Highlights of the Day session. ASCO’s Proposed Criteria for Clinically [ Read More ]

Jennifer L Malin, MD, PhD

ASCO 2014 HIghlights

ASCO Workgroup Proposes Consolidated Payments for Oncology Care

Calling the current fee-for-service re­imbursement model “medicine’s dark secret” – one that has jeopardized value-based cancer care – a member of the ASCO Payment Reform Workgroup presented a novel proposal for consolidated cancer care at the Community Oncology Town Hall. “Working towards a better payment system for oncology care, instead [ Read More ]

Jeffery Ward, MD

ASCO 2014 HIghlights

Pharmacokinetic-Guided Dosing of 5-FU Shown Cost-Effective

Using a commercially available assay to guide dosing of 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) for the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer is cost-effective based on a survival advantage over dosing based on body surface area, according to an analysis conducted by Daniel Goldstein, MD. Currently, the standard treatment for metastatic colorectal cancer is [ Read More ]

ASCO 2014 HIghlights

Routine Imaging Costly in B-Cell Lymphoma but Rarely Picks Up Relapse After Remission

Surveillance imaging of asymptomatic patients in first remission following treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma offers little clinical benefit at substantial cost, according to Philadelphia researchers. Strategies utilizing 2 years of routine computed tomography (CT) or positron emission tomography (PET)/CT scans were associated with minimal survival benefit compared with follow-up [ Read More ]

ASCO 2014 HIghlights

Cancer Patients, By and Large, Not Pursuing Costly, Excessive Tests

Contrary to belief, there appears to be little demand on the part of cancer patients for unsuitable, high-cost, low-value cancer-related tests or therapies. Further, oncologists and nurse practitioners are not frequently ordering such services, found Keerthi Gogineni, MD. Data from a survey of oncologists and nurse practitioners revealed that “the [ Read More ]

Keerthi Gogineni, MD

ASCO 2014 HIghlights

Are Hospital Readmissions for Cancer Patients Preventable?

Hospital readmissions in cancer patients reflect the high burden of this disease, which is often refractory, and therefore are not reasonably preventable. Consequently, applying readmission penalties to this population, as is being done with noncancer index admissions, is not appropriate, says Andrew S. Epstein, MD. “The vast majority of readmissions [ Read More ]

Andrew S. Epstein, MD

ASCO 2014 HIghlights

Ramucirumab Conveys Survival Benefit in NSCLC

The investigational monoclonal antibody ramucirumab improved overall survival (OS) when added to docetaxel, versus chemotherapy alone, in patients with stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), according to a phase III trial highlighted in a press briefing at ASCO. “This is the first treatment to have shown a significant survival [ Read More ]

Maurice Pérol, MD

ASCO 2014 HIghlights

Patients Want But Aren’t Getting Up-Front Discussions About the Cost of Their Cancer Therapy

Most cancer patients want cost-of-treatment discussions. When they do take place, these discussions do not lead to negative feelings in most patients, according to a survey of cancer patients. Unfortunately, few oncologists participating in a separate survey felt comfortable when discussing cost with patients, found Ronan J. Kelly, MD, and [ Read More ]

Ronan J. Kelly, MD

Value-Based Cancer Care

Determining the Value of Cancer Therapies: A Paradigm Shift Focused on Quality, Outcomes, and Cost

Winston Wong, PharmD, is president of W-Squared Group, Longboat Key, Florida and former associate vice president of pharmacy management, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Baltimore, Maryland. According to the 2013 Annual Report on Progress Against Cancer published in 2014 by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), cancer death rates have declined [ Read More ]

Winston Wong, PharmD

Value-Based Cancer Care

The Personalized Medicine Coalition and Turning the Tide Against Cancer Through Sustained Medical Innovation

Although we no longer talk about a “war on cancer,” there is one part of the metaphor that remains useful. In a military campaign, we employ multiple weapons against the enemy. So too in our effort to combat cancer, or the over 200 identifiable forms of that disease that will [ Read More ]

Edward Abrahams, PhD

The Last Word