Value-Based Cancer Care Issues

September 2015, Vol 6, No 8

My Struggle to Understand the Many Definitions of Value

Burt Zweigenhaft, BS

From the Editor

I believe that the dialogue and thoughts being shared and expressed by all cancer care stakeholders is exactly what we need today. Frankly, the conversation has been underground far too long, but the headlines today have been focused solely on the drug cost. Anyone thinking that cancer care costs are going to go down, simply doesn’t understand healthcare economics, because the cost to society will continue to go up over time, with true innovation and value delivered. [ Read More ]

FDA News – September 2015

FDA Approvals, News & Updates

  • FDA Approved Gefitinib with a Companion Diagnostic Test for First-Line Treatment of Patients with Metastatic Lung Cancer and EGFR Mutations
  • Sonidegib Approved for Locally Advanced Basal-Cell Carcinoma
  • Brentuximab Vedotin Receives New Indication for Patients with Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Rolapitant a New Antiemetic Agent Approved for CINV Prevention
[ Read More ]

Molecular Signature for Neuroendocrine Prostate Cancer Represents Progress

Alice Goodman

Personalized Medicine

Boston, MA—Researchers have defined an 81-feature molecular signature to identify neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), an aggressive and rapidly progressing entity that is increasingly being recognized in patients with advanced disease and signals poor overall survival. The signature, derived from genomic, transcription, and methylation analysis, relies heavily on epigenetic alterations. [ Read More ]

“Designer Drug” Rociletinib Shows Encouraging Results in Patients with NSCLC and T790M Mutation

Alice Goodman

Emerging Therapies

Boston, MA—Rociletinib, a specially engineered third-generation EGFR inhibitor, is accumulating an impressive track record in early studies of non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The drug is specifically designed for use in patients with NSCLC and the T790M mutation, a heretofore patient population with unmet needs. T790M, the most common mutation associated with resistance to first-line EGFR-directed tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy, is present in 60% of patients with resistance to TKIs. [ Read More ]

Medical and Psychosocial Impact of Oral Therapy on Patients with Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

Laura Morgan

Prostate Cancer

San Diego, CA—The introduction of 2 therapies for the treatment of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC)—the orally administered abiraterone acetate (Zytiga) and enzalutamide (Xtandi)—has prompt­­ed Leslie Hazel-Fernandez, PhD, Comprehensive Health Insights, Louisville, KY, and colleagues to conduct a qualitative study to evaluate the personal and other factors that influence the use of oral drugs among patients with mCRPC, as well as to gauge caregivers’ and physicians’ experiences with patients who use these oral medications. The results of this study were presented at the 2015 Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy annual meeting. [ Read More ]

In the Literature – September 2015

In the Literature

  • Docetaxel-Based Chemotherapy Improves Relapse-Free Survival in Patients with High-Risk Localized Prostate Cancer
  • Second-Line Treatment with Ramucirumab After First-Line Sorafenib for Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma
  • Modified Tool Helps Treatment Decisions for Breast Cancer Associated with Brain Metastases
  • Everolimus Improves Outcomes When Added to Trastuzumab and Paclitaxel as First-Line Therapy in HR-Negative, HER2-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer
[ Read More ]

Patients with Cancer Eager to Discuss Costs of Care with Their Oncologists

Laura Morgan

Economics of Cancer Care

Gone are the days when patients with cancer were, for the most part, protected from healthcare costs by their medical insurance. According to a recent study sponsored by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and conducted by Ronan J. Kelly, MD, MBA, MBBCh, Assistant Professor of Oncology, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, and colleagues, with high deductibles, escalating copayments, and cost-sharing requirements becoming the status quo, patients with cancer are now, more than ever, feeling the effects of financial toxicity, particularly young patients who are especially susceptible to filing for medical bankruptcy (Kelly RJ, et al. J Oncol Pract. 2015;11:308-312). [ Read More ]

Immunotherapies Steal the Show at ASCO 2015

Chase Doyle


Chicago, IL—Oncologists looking to learn about immunotherapy did not have to go very far at the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. Many of the highest-impact presentations this year, including a plenary session, the Karnofsky Award, and the Science of Oncology Award, focused on cancer therapy’s most exciting field. [ Read More ]

SELECT: Lenvatinib Improves Outcomes as First-Line Treatment in Older Patients with Thyroid Cancer

Alice Goodman


Chicago, IL—Lenvatinib (Lenvima) was approved by the FDA in February 2015 for the treatment of patients with advanced radioactive iodine (131I)-­refractory differentiated thyroid cancer based on the SELECT trial results. Investigators looked at which patients will preferentially benefit from this oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). At the 2015 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, 2 subgroup analyses of SELECT shed light on patient selection for treatment with lenvatinib. [ Read More ]

Challenges in Treating Multiple Myeloma and the Impact of New Oral Oncolytics

Interview with the Innovators

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a difficult cancer to treat as it is heterogeneous in nature. Each line of therapy pre­sents many choices for physicians and their patients, making it challenging to know which treatment is best for that particular patient. However, having “too many” choices may ultimately be a good problem to have, and research is under way to provide answers for those in this community in need of direction. The current era in MM might be seen as the beginning of a “golden age” of sorts for those in MM research and drug development, with new options for patients on the horizon. [ Read More ]

Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation Safe in Patients with Breast Cancer

Alice Goodman

Breast Cancer

Boston, MA—Fertility preservation by controlled ovarian hyperstimulation with concurrent letrozole (Femara) is safe in women with breast cancer, according to a single-center, prospective study on the long-term safety of fertility preservation by the use of ovarian stimulation and concurrent aromatase inhibitors in women with breast cancer, presented at the 2015 Best of ASCO meeting in Boston. Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation had no impact on relapse-free survival and enabled live births in a substantial proportion of women who later chose to retrieve their frozen embryos or oocytes. [ Read More ]