August 2012 Vol 5, No 5, Special Issue ASCO 2012 Payers' Perspective

Chicago, IL—“Precision medicine” is the new catch phrase in oncology, and examples of it were evident across the vast halls of McCormick Place at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting.

Chicago, IL—Canadian researchers reported a finding at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncol­ogy meeting that runs contrary to what other researchers have ob­served in the majority of studies. In this study, as oral drug costs increas­ed, so did the likelihood of patients adhering to a prescribed regimen.

Chicago, IL—The media darling at ASCO 2012 was a novel agent some called a “smart bomb,” because of its highly targeted and potent effect that spares surrounding healthy tissue.

Trastuzumab emtansine, better known as T-DM1, the antibody-drug conjugate linking trastuzumab to a cytotoxic agent, delivers its punch directly into the tumor of patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, and this agent is associated with little toxicity. T-DM1 is one of an entirely new class of agents that could have a major impact on the disease.

Chicago, IL—The surprising results of the head-to-head randomized clinical trial PISCES on patient preference for one cancer therapy over another show that patient-reported quality-of-life (QOL) differences influence treatment preference far more than physicians had imagined, suggested researchers at ASCO 2012.

Chicago, IL—“Economic evaluations of personalized medicine should incorporate the cost of testing for biomarkers,” said Natasha B. Leighl, MD, medical oncologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, Canada, during a session on the cost of treating non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) at ASCO 2012.

Chicago, IL—In a cohort of patients at risk for colorectal cancer (CRC), the majority were willing to pay some out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses for genetic testing, Fox Chase Cancer Center researchers reported in a poster  presented at ASCO 2012 and earned an ASCO Merit Award.

“These participants are fearful of a positive result and anticipate benefits afforded by genetic testing in controlling cancer risk,” said Jennifer M. Matro, MD, a medical oncology fellow at Fox Chase in Philadelphia.

Chicago, IL—The “omics” revolution produced much optimism that tumor biomarker tests based on the analysis of multiple factors, sometimes thousands, would result in truly personalized cancer care. The field encompasses biologic molecules such as DNA (“genomics”), several RNAs (“transcriptomics”), proteins (“proteomics”), and metabolites (“metabolomics”). Massive amounts of data are used to produce a profile, which is incorporated into a test that could guide patient care.

Chicago, IL—A family history of cancer is not always documented by primary care or specialty practices, even though the identification of family cancer history is an integral feature of high-risk screening guidelines, according to data from a pilot project.

Chicago, IL—Older patients with cancer and Medicare coverage often incur greater out-of-pocket (OOP) expenses compared with their counterparts without cancer. Factors contributing to the greater expenses for those patients include comorbidities and lack of supplemental insurance. As a result, older patients often hesitate to seek treatment for cancer because of financial concerns, according to a study presented by Amy J.

Chicago, IL—Improved cancer screen­ing can save lives, and despite the high cost of implementing such a measure, it was found cost-effective and therefore valuable in a recent analysis using quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), said Michael S. Broder, MD, President of Partnership for Health Analytic Research, LLC (PHAR), CA, and colleagues, at the 2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting.

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