Defining the Value of Innovation in Oncology - Episode 6

Is Personalized Medicine Practical in Oncology Care?

The advent of personalized medicine has revolutionized cancer treatment. Peter Salgo, MD, and Bryan Loy, MD, discuss several challenges that affect its adoption into clinical practice.

Dr Loy comments that although some areas of personalized medicine are relatively well understood, not all areas of personalized medicine are as well understood. Also, the clinical utility of genomic information is a key issue, he adds. For example, the results of testing are useful if they help inform treatment decisions or help determine whether a patient is eligible for a clinical study.

From a payer’s perspective, Dr Loy notes that another challenge regarding testing is to make sure that test results are reported back to the appropriate parties for use in medical decision making. Dr Loy adds that the results need to be delivered in a timely manner, and that clinicians should consider the results within the context of a patient’s risk tolerance and overall chance of response.

Personalized treatment options for cancer can be expensive, and Drs Salgo and Loy also discuss financial barriers to the use of these options. Dr Loy notes that cost-sharing strategies may mean that patients pay higher premiums or deductibles due to the costs associated with personalized treatment. Cancer care may be one of the largest drivers of medical bankruptcy in the nation, he notes. However, he expresses hope that work by advocacy groups will continue to shed light on the challenges associated with the costs of care, and that dialogue among key stakeholders will lead to potential solutions.

Watch our related Peer Exchange, Oncology Stakeholder Summit 2014: Evidence-Based Decisions to Improve Quality and Regulate Costs