April 2020, Vol 10, No 4

Every cloud has a silver lining. The chaos and uncertainty that the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) brought to the US healthcare system this spring has had a cataclysmic effect on the mainstream adoption of telemedicine and virtual health visits that will probably never be undone. These advances in technology will benefit medical practices and their patients in much needed ways, such as lowering costs, improving patient access, increasing the timeliness of care, and reducing the risk for unnecessary exposure to various elements for patients and staff alike.

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Combining cabozantinib (Cabometyx) with atezolizumab (Tecentriq) induced responses in 32% of patients with metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) who had soft-tissue progression after previous novel hormonal therapy. In an interim analysis of the expansion phase of the COSMIC-021 phase 1b study, the objective response rate (ORR) in 44 patients who received the combination was 32%, including 2 complete responses and 12 partial responses, said Neeraj Agarwal, MD, MBBS, Director, Genitourinary Oncology Program, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, who presented the data at the 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

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Mr Slotnik opened the session with an inside look at Washington, addressing some of the changes to oncology care policies and operations from the COVID-19 pandemic. He outlined a quick overview of the initiatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), including new guidelines and the easing of some restrictions on physicians’ options for telemedicine. Read Article ›

Dr Peskin, Dr Breidbart, and Mr Eyles gave an overview of the changes the novel coronavirus has prompted for managed care payers. They agreed that the unprecedented set of circumstances surrounding the pandemic has led to an opening of the floodgates to questions without immediate answers, leaving providers and payers in unfamiliar territory in a rapidly changing environment with few guideposts. Read Article ›

According to the NCCN, an alliance of 30 leading academic cancer centers in the United States, the data suggest that although patients with cancer are not more susceptible to infection from the new coronavirus than other people, they do have much worse outcomes. “Prevention is thus the key for oncology patients,” Dr Carlson said. Read Article ›

Less than a month after California issued a stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 crisis, oncology practices are seeing declines in their revenue cycles. Mr Gockerman and Mr Shah analyzed the strategies needed to mitigate the downturn. Read Article ›

Delivering the keynote address at the 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, David F. Penson, MD, MPH, MMHC, Hamilton and Howd Chair in Urologic Oncology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, highlighted the need to move toward patient-centered decisions beyond survival, focusing on patient-centered outcomes by integrating quality of life (QOL) and financial toxicity into the shared, treatment-related, decision-making process.

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Platinum-based therapy represents a new standard of care in patients with pancreatic cancer and germline BRCA or PALB2 mutation, based on data reported at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. The findings were published simultaneously in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (O’Reilly EM, et al. J Clin Oncol. 2020 Jan 24. Epub ahead of print).

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De-escalating chemotherapy based on a negative positron-emission tomography (PET) scan after 2 cycles of treatment is safe and feasible in most patients with low-volume metastatic seminoma, the most common type of testicular cancer, according to results presented at the 2020 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium.

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The combination of encorafenib (Braftovi) plus cetuximab (Erbitux), with or without binimetinib (Mektovi), improved the quality of life based on patient-reported assessments better than current standard of care in the treatment of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) and BRAF V600E mutation, according to the BEACON CRC study, which was presented at the 2020 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.

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