The Lynx Group

March 2016, Vol 7, No 2

There is an urgent unmet need for more effective therapies in pancreatic cancer. The American Cancer Society estimated that approximately 49,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer will be diagnosed in the United States in 2015, and more than 40,500 people will die from this cancer.1 Pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of cancer deaths in the United States.
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Patients with multiple myeloma are making significant lifestyle trade-offs to manage the cost of healthcare, according to findings from the Cancer Experience Registry presented at ASH 2015. Joanne S. Buzaglo, PhD, Senior Vice President, Research and Training, Cancer Support Community, Philadelphia, PA, discussed survey results of patients with multiple myeloma who are assuming more costs, including direct costs (ie, copays and prescriptions) and indirect costs (ie, transportation costs and loss of income), which is leading to financial distress.
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A new paradigm of survivorship care is needed that attempts to balance the patient’s total well-being against the often toxic treatment of the disease, suggests Deborah Korenstein, MD, Director of Clinical Effectiveness, Memorial Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, NY. At the 2016 Cancer Survivorship Symposium, Dr Korenstein outlined a more personal approach to care: assessing the individual patient’s priorities and goals to balance long-term benefits and harms.
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The regular use of aspirin reduces the incidence of and risk for death from lethal prostate cancer, according to the results of a large observational study reported at the 2016 ASCO Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. For the purposes of this study, lethal prostate cancer was defined as metastatic disease or prostate cancer–specific death.
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Increased levels of physical activity after a diagnosis of prostate cancer are associated with significantly better survival, according to the results of a new, large prospective cohort study (Friedenreich CM, et al. Eur Urol. 2016 Jan 7. Epub ahead of print).
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Traditional myeloablative conditioning remains the standard of care for preparing patients with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or acute myeloid leukemia (AML) for transplant, according to a randomized trial from the Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN). The study, presented as a late-breaker at ASH 2015, was halted after a reduced-­intensity conditioning (RIC) regimen proved less effective.
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In patients with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL), the addition of rituximab (Rituxan) to chemotherapy significantly improved event-free survival in a large European study.
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Monoclonal antibodies targeting PD-1 may be effective in multiple myeloma, according to early data from 2 clinical trials on pembrolizumab (Keytruda) presented at ASH 2015.
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As one part of an ongoing macrotheme regarding big data, understanding the benefits and limitations of using drug claims in employer-based population health is an important topic for employers in their health plan coverage strategies. Pharmacy claims are a common source of data used to describe the uses of cancer medications by employees and by their covered family members. Despite the availability of these data and a plethora of analyses, however, several limitations must be considered when interpreting drug use data.
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Oral targeted therapies, such as ibrutinib (Imbruvica) and idelalisib (Zydelig), represent a major advance for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and have undoubtedly changed the treatment paradigm for this disease and the clinical outcomes.
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