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Oncology Newsfeed

NCCN Adds Nine New Disease Sites to Radiation Therapy Compendium

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) added nine more NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®) to its NCCN Radiation Therapy Compendium™. The new disease sites added to the published radiation therapy (RT) recommendations include:

  • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Version 2.2016
  • Basal Cell Skin Cancer, Version 1.2017
  • Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans, Version 1.2017
  • Gastric Cancer, Version 1.2017
  • Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 1.2017
  • Merkel Cell Carcinoma, Version 1.2017
  • Ovarian Cancer, Version 1.2017
  • Squamous Cell Skin Cancer, Version 1.2017
  • Thymomas and Thymic Carcinomas, Version 1.2017.
Additional cancer types will be published on a rolling basis over the coming months.

Posted 4/20/17

FDA Grants Accelerated Approval for Tecentriq to Treat mUC

On April 17, 2017, Genentech announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to Tecentriq® (atezolizumab) for the treatment of people with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma (mUC) who are not eligible for cisplatin chemotherapy.

Tecentriq was previously approved for people with locally advanced or mUC who have disease progression during or following any platinum-containing chemotherapy, or within 12 months of receiving chemotherapy before surgery (neoadjuvant) or after surgery (adjuvant).

Read the corporate press release here.

Posted 4/19/17

Two New Reports Released on Costs of Cancer Care

On April 11, 2017, Milliman released a research report, "A Multi-Year Look at the Cost Burden of Cancer Care." The report characterized costs to breast, lung, and colorectal cancer patients and their health plans from 2011-2014. One major finding from the report: patients often incur large out-of-pocket costs in the first year of diagnosis as well as in following years. "For patients who survived and maintained their insurance coverage, the growth of cumulative total healthcare spending slowed after the second year, but spending and cost sharing never returned to their pre-diagnosis levels." Download the full report here.

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN) also released a report examining the out-of-pocket cost burden on cancer patients. The report found that U.S. cancer patients paid nearly $4 billion in out-of-pocket costs in 2014 and the disease cost the country $87.8 billion in cancer-related healthcare spending. Read the full report here.

Posted 4/12/17

USPSTF Seeks Comments on Draft Recommendation Statement on Screening for Prostate Cancer

On April 11, 2017, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) posted for public comment a draft recommendation statement and three draft evidence reviews on screening for prostate cancer. The Task Force's draft recommendation statement and draft evidence reviews have been posted for public comment on the Task Force website from April 11 to May 8.

Through its systematic review of the evidence, the Task Force determined that the potential benefits and harms of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-based screening are closely balanced in men ages 55 to 69, and that the decision about whether to be screened should be an individual one. The draft recommendation applies to adult men who have not been previously diagnosed with prostate cancer and have no signs or symptoms of the disease.

Posted 4/12/17

FDA Approves Tagrisso for NSCLC Patients

On March 30, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted regular approval to osimertinib (Tagrisso, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP) for the treatment of patients with metastatic epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) T790M mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as detected by an FDA-approved test, whose disease has progressed on or after EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy. 

Read the FDA announcement here.

Posted 4/3/17

OncLive CANCERSCAPE coverage

Read the latest OncLive coverage of the ACCC 43rd Annual meeting, CANCERSCAPE.

Posted 3/30/17

FDA Approves Niraparib for Recurrent Epithelial Ovarian, Fallopian Tube, or Primary Peritoneal Cancers

On March 27, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved niraparib (ZEJULA, Tesaro, Inc.), a poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with recurrent epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer who are in complete or partial response to platinum-based chemotherapy.

Read the FDA announcement here.

Posted 3/27/17

FDA Approves Avelumab for Rare Skin Cancer

On March 23, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to avelumab (BAVENCIO, EMD Serono, Inc.) for the treatment of patients 12 years and older with metastatic Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Avelumab is a programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) blocking human IgG1 lambda monoclonal antibody. This is the first FDA-approved product to treat this type of cancer.

Read the FDA announcement here.

Posted 3/23/17

FDA Approves Keytruda® For Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Keytruda® (pembrolizumab, Merck), an anti-PD-1 (programmed death receptor-1) therapy, for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), or who have relapsed after three or more prior lines of therapy.

Read the corporate press release here.

Posted 3/15/17

FDA Approves Kisqali® For Metastatic Breast Cancer

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Kisqali® (ribociclib, formerly known as LEE011, Novartis) in combination with an aromatase inhibitor as initial endocrine-based therapy for treatment of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 negative (HR+/HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer.

Read the corporate press release here.

Posted 3/15/17

Republicans Reveal Plans for Repeal and Replace of ACA

On Feb. 6, 2017, both the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee released legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The budget resolution passed by the House in January outlined specific instructions for the Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees—the primary Committees with jurisdiction over healthcare—to draft legislative recommendations that the Budget Committee could compile into one reconciliation package, the American Health Care Act.

To read the entire bill, including legislative recommendations from the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, click here.

Posted 3/7/17

Walgreens Designates Specialty Pharmacies as Cancer-Specialized Locations

Walgreens announced that the company has designated more than 50 of its local specialty pharmacies as cancer-specialized locations. These cancer-specialized locations are to be led by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians who have advanced cancer training to assist patients.

The pharmacy staff at these locations have completed a cancer-focused curriculum of advanced education courses, focused on colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer, as well as various blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, myeloproliferative neoplasms, and myelodysplatic syndrome.

Read the press release here.

Posted 3/6/17

FDA Approves Lenalidomide for Multiple Myeloma Following Autologous Stem Cell Transplant

On Feb. 22, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene Corp.) as maintenance therapy for patients with multiple myeloma following autologous stem cell transplant.

In 2006, lenalidomide, an orally administered thalidomide analogue, received FDA approval for use with dexamethasone in patients with multiple myeloma who received at least one prior therapy. In 2015, the indication was expanded for use in combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma, to include newly diagnosed multiple myeloma patients who are not eligible for autologous stem cell transplant. Lenalidomide is also approved in myelodysplastic syndromes and mantle cell lymphoma. 

Read the FDA announcement here.

Posted 2/24/17

CMS Awards Approximately $100 Million to Small Practices in Quality Payment Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded approximately $20 million to 11 organizations for the first year of a five-year program to provide training and education about the Quality Payment Program for clinicians in individual or small group practices of 15 clinicians or fewer.

Over the remaining four years, CMS intends to invest up to an additional $80 million. These community-based organizations will provide hands-on training to help small practices, especially those in historically under-resourced areas. The training and education resources will be available immediately, nationwide, and provided at no cost to eligible clinicians and practices.

Posted 2/21/17

FDA Approval for Opdivo in Previously Treated Urothelial Carcinomas

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted accelerated approval to nivolumab (Opdivo, Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) for treatment of patients with locally advanced or metastatic urothelial carcinoma who have disease progression during or following platinum-containing chemotherapy or have disease progression within 12 months of neoadjuvant or adjuvant treatment with a platinum-containing chemotherapy.

Read the FDA announcement here.

Posted 2/6/17

HHS Withdraws 340B "Mega-Guidance”

On Jan. 30, 2017, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) marked the final 340B guidance document as withdrawn and sent it back to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The proposed guidance defined who is considered a patient for purposes of the 340B drug program and also covers drug company responsibilities, such as procedures for issuing credits and refunds. The 340B program helps safety-net providers such as hospitals obtain discounted drugs. In order to advance, the guidance would now need to be resubmitted to the OMB.

However, it could be more difficult to implement the guidance due to the recent Executive Order declaring that for every new regulation or guidance introduced, two must be eliminated.

Source: BNA Healthcare

Posted 2/1/17

FDA Approves Imbruvica for Marginal Zone Lymphoma Patients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Imbruvica® (ibrutinib) for the treatment of patients with marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) who require systemic therapy and have received at least one prior anti-CD20-based therapy. Accelerated approval was granted for this indication based on overall response rate (ORR). Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in a confirmatory trial.

Read the full press release here.

Posted 1/19/17

ACCC Advocates for Community Oncology at the White House and on Capitol Hill

On Jan. 11, 2017, the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) joined with leading cancer organizations in discussions at the White House and on Capitol Hill that focused on issues and challenges facing community oncology and to advocate for access to care for patients in the communities where they live.

At the White House Making Health Care Better: Community Oncology event on Wednesday morning, ACCC President Jennie R. Crews, MD, MMM, FACP, and ACCC Governmental Affairs Committee member William Holden, MBA, RT(T)(R), FACHE, participated in a panel on Addressing Disparities. On behalf of the Cancer Moonshot initiative, the event explored critical aspects of community oncology including cancer disparities, survivorship and support services, advancing clinical trials, and innovative models of care delivery in the community setting.

On Capitol Hill, ACCC co-sponsored an afternoon briefing on Innovation and Access in Quality Cancer Care. Advocates heard a panel discussion and comments from patients, providers, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the Cancer Moonshot Task Force. Co-sponsoring the briefing along with ACCC were the Cancer Support Community, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the Community Oncology Alliance, McKesson Specialty Health, Sarah Cannon, and The US Oncology Network.

Posted 1/12/17

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