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5 Things to Look for at the Annual ASCO 2016 Meeting

Surabhi Dangi-Garimella, PhD
The patient will be the focus during the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Collective Wisdom: The Future of Patient-Centered Care and Research.
The patient will be the focus during the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Collective Wisdom: The Future of Patient-Centered Care and Research. The meeting, being held June 3-7, 2016, at the McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, has nearly 30 tracks for attendees to choose from. Registrants can attend clinical sessions that delve into specific tumor types or choose to attend presentations or posters that evaluate care delivery and practice management, ethics in clinical practice, or value of care.

The American Journal of Managed Care will be covering the annual meeting of ASCO. You can sign up to receive daily updates from the meeting at: or visit the conference page here:

The following is a glimpse into some of the exciting sessions and research that will be presented this year:

1.      Clinical pathways in oncology. Clinical pathways are viewed by health systems and by health plans as a means to standardize oncology care while controlling costs. On the first day of the meeting, the session “Practicing in the Age of Value-Based Clinical Pathways” will provide an overview of the existing landscape of pathway use in the clinic, assess the value that they present, and how they could be integrated into payment reform.

Presenters at the session include oncologists and payers, including Robin Zon, MD, FACP, FASCO, who provided the oncologist’s perspective on pathways in the April issue of Evidence-Based Oncology (EBO).

2.      Combination immunotherapies. Several trials are evaluating combination treatments with multiple checkpoint inhibitors, in solid as well as liquid tumors. There’s also a lot of excitement around CAR-T cell therapy in cancer. Presentations during “The View Beyond Single-Agent Checkpoint Blockade” will provide the latest results from clinical trials that are assessing:
  • Nivolumab and ipilimumab in small cell lung cancer (CheckMate 032)
  • Atezolizumab and MOXRO916 in solid tumors
  • CAR-T cells in blood disorders
3.      Facing the burden of paying for care. Health policy researchers, who are also practicing oncologists, will detail the range of financial toxicities that patients being treated for cancer, and their families, face. During the session “Financial Toxicity: Risks, Outcomes, and Solutions,” experts from Columbia University and Duke University will also discuss the impact it has on the lives of patients, while exploring potential solutions. The session will be led by Veena Shankaran, MD, MS, who authored an article on the topic in the December 2015 issue of EBO.

4.      Quest for biomarkers with immunotherapy. Although the checkpoint inhibitors have been hailed as revolutionary with respect to outcomes in patients who do respond, identifying a biomarker to choose positive responders has eluded researchers. Progress in the field will be discussed during the clinical session “Immunotherapy: Now We're Getting Personal—Using Genomics and Biomarkers to Predict Response.”

5.      Ensuring quality and value in the clinic. As ASCO fine tunes its Value Framework to make it ready for use in the clinic, a panel at the annual meeting, “Quality and Value: Measuring and Utilizing Both in Your Practice” will discuss ways in which providers can adjust the framework and make it operational in the clinic, work with all stakeholders to implement the framework across systems, and also understand how feedback reporting and pay-for-performance initiatives can improve the quality of care.

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