The concurrent use of chemotherapy and thoracic radiotherapy (TRT) confers a greater survival benefit in patients with stage III non–small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) than a sequential use of these therapies, based on results from a phase 3 clinical study (Curran WJ, et al. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2011;103: 1452-1460).

This study compared standard therapy (ie, chemotherapy followed by radiation) with 2 regimens of concurrent chemoradiation in 610 patients with inoperable stage II or III NSCLC enrolled from 153 centers in the United States and Canada.

On July 29, 2011, a 3-judge panel from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit invalidated some patents held by Myriad Genetics and the University of Utah Research Foundation for methods of analyzing individuals’ gene sequences for the presence of BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations, but upheld other related patents in a reversal of a lower court ruling. The decision has left the door open to many questions.

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH) model of care has proved successful in overcoming some of the fragmentation of primary care. Dr Sprandio and his colleagues have now demonstrated the value of applying the principles of the medical home to cancer care, with particular implications for oncologists and for payers and unique reimbursement dilemmas.

Stockholm, Sweden—With recognition of common tumor mutations and a pipeline full of biologic agents that target them, personalized medicine should be all but a fait accompli. But one expert told attendees at the European Society for Medical Oncology’s 2011 European Multidisciplinary Cancer Congress, “We may be overpromising our patients.”

Stockholm, Sweden—The cost of cancer therapies is a growing concern not only for patients but also for providers and payers. Addressing the cost burden for those involved in cancer care is becoming a priority that cannot be avoided with the growing role of targeted therapies in oncology.

Cost Nearly Doubles in Metastatic Breast Cancer

A study presented by Melissa Brammer, MD, Medical Director, Genentech, San Francisco, CA, shows that complications associated with treating cancer essentially double the cost of treating metastatic breast cancer.

New York, NY—Maintenance therapy is now an option for the treatment of multiple myeloma in elderly patients and in patients who have undergone autologous stem-cell transplant (ASCT).

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has issued a report (Wonderling D, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:758-765) explaining the process and value of cost-effectiveness assessments and how these inform recommendations and decisions regarding clinical questions made by the UK National Clinical Guidelines Centre. The report dispels the following 3 myths regarding cost-effectiveness evaluations that further clarify the concept of value in medicine:

Another report in the same issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine focuses on the relevance of 3 concepts that can help in understanding the value of clinical interventions for those involved in clinical decisions (Owens DK, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:174-180). The authors define value as “an assessment of the benefit of an intervention relative to expenditures.”

Positron emission tomography (PET) is a promising approach for differentiating which patients with inoperable lung cancer will and will not benefit from additional treatment after standard chemotherapy/radiation therapy. Lead investigator Mitch Machtay, MD, Chairman of Radiation Oncology, Seidman Cancer Center, University Hospitals Case Western Medical Center, presented these results at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), based on 251 patients with stage III lung cancer at 60 cancer centers around the country.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is often criticized for delaying treatments for patients, especially those with terminal illnesses such as advanced cancer. However, a new drug-to-drug comparison (Roberts SH, et al. Health Aff [Millwood]. 2011;30:1375-1381) of the 35 new cancer drugs approved by the FDA and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) between 2003 and 2010 shows that:

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