February 2014 Vol 7, No 1, Special Issue ASH 2013 Payers' Perspectives in Oncology

New Orleans, LA—Those frustrated with low long-term remission rates in adult patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) can find hope in the superior outcomes associated with treatment for pediatric ALL. Overall survival (OS) with therapy reaches 85% in children but lags in adults at 45%. Targeting specific pathways and adding novel agents to standard therapy should improve outcomes in adult patients.
Rituximab (Rituxan) maintenance and radioimmunotherapy consolidation after front-line therapy with rituximab have favorable cost-effectiveness in the treatment of follicular lymphoma, found Qiushi Chen, PhD, of the H. Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, and colleagues.

There is currently no consensus for the management of follicular lymphoma, the most common indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but in current practice, rituximab is the most frequently used front-line therapy. Phase 3 randomized trials have demonstrated that rituximab maintenance and radioimmunotherapy consolidation after front-line rituximab improve progression-free survival (PFS).

New Orleans, LA—The efficiency of rituximab (Rituxan) and the associated cost can be improved by switching from intravenous (IV) to subcutaneous (SC) administration. Such a switch led to a substantial reduction in patient chair time and in active healthcare professional time, said Christof Wiesner, PhD, MPH, of the Market Access Department, Genentech, San Francisco, CA, at the ASH 2013 meeting.
New Orleans, LA—Excitement was palpable at the 2013 ASH meeting over a novel approach to treating subtypes of leukemia and lymphoma. Although still limited to small pilot studies in small numbers of patients, the findings for engineered T-cells—so-called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapy­—are very impressive.
New Orleans, LA—Decitabine (Dacogen) is more cost-effective than conventional induction therapy for patients aged >60 years with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), according to an economic analysis presented at ASH 2013.
The pharmaceutical arsenal for the treatment of patients with leukemias or myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) currently in the pipeline continues to grow, with some drugs showing particularly promising results. Updates on many studies for drugs that are currently in development were presented at ASH 2013.
New Orleans, LA—Most hematologists and oncologists do not follow evidence-based recommendations for managing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), or B-cell lymphomas, according to new survey results presented at ASH 2013 and compiled by inPractice Resources, LLC, Reston, VA, a company that de­velops interactive educational resources for oncologists.
A few days after the approval of the combination of the 2 melanoma drugs, the FDA approved dabrafenib (Tafinlar) as a breakthrough therapy designation for lung cancer based on interim results from an ongoing phase 2 clinical trial.
The FDA approved a new indication for ibrutinib (Imbruvica; Pharmacyclics) for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who have received at least 1 therapy before. The approval was granted under the FDA’s accelerated approval process to expedite access by patients with CLL to this promising new medication.
Transparent and comprehensive reporting of adverse events (AEs) in published results of oncology-related clinical trials is crucial for the treatment of patients with cancer.
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