The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has received feedback from a number of stakeholders about the challenges of preparing to implement the Radiation Oncology (RO) Model by January 1, 2021. Based on this feedback, it intends to delay the RO Model start date to July 1, 2021, and is pursuing rulemaking to make this change.
Read the CMS announcement.
On October 16, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted regular approval to Venclexta® (venetoclax) in combination with azacitidine, decitabine, or low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) for the treatment of newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in adults 75 years or older, or who have comorbidities precluding intensive induction chemotherapy.
Venetoclax was initially granted accelerated approval for this indication in November 2018.
Read Roche's announcement and the FDA announcement.
On October 2, 2020 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the combination of Opdivo® (nivolumab) and Yervoy® (ipilimumab) as a first-line treatment for adult patients with unresectable malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Read the FDA Announcement.
Read the Bristol Myers Squibb Announcement.
The Community Oncology Alliance (COA) has released a position statement on the continued use of telehealth in cancer care beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency. COA board of directors support telehealth visits "as a valuable supplement to in-person visits during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic and continued usage when appropriate after the pandemic has subsided."
Though telehealth has been widely adopted by oncology providers and patients, COA states that as an effective substitute for some patients, it cannot be applied to all. It further states that in-person visits for cancer care should continue beyond the COVID-19 public health emergency.
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth regulations were extremely cumbersome and limiting at the state and federal levels, with poor reimbursement," COA Medical Director Mark Thompson, MD, said in a statement. "The rapid response of Federal policymakers to loosen telehealth restrictions and raise reimbursement rates were a true lifesaver for patients and practices. Community oncology practices are resilient and quickly integrated telehealth into their workflow thanks to these changes."
COA states that telehealth should not replace in-person care. It supports the "continued use of telehealth as a care tool" and will act as a voice when "the time comes to integrate telehealth into the normal regulation structure."
Read COA's news release and position statement.
On August 7, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved FoundationOne® Liquid CDx and Guardant360® CDx as next generation sequencing based liquid biopsy companion diagnostics for osimertinib (Tagrisso®) for the first-line treatment of patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 19 deletions or exon 21 L858R mutations, as detected by an FDA-approved test; and for patients with metastatic EGFR T790M mutation-positive NSCLC, as detected by an FDA-approved test, whose disease has progressed on or after EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy.
See full prescribing information.
About FoundationOne® Liquid CDx.
About Guardant360® CDx.
On Friday, September 18, 2020 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the Radiation Oncology (RO) Model. The RO Model seeks to improve the quality of care for cancer patients receiving radiotherapy (RT) and move toward a simplified and predictable payment system. The RO Model tests whether bundled, prospective, site neutral, modality agnostic, episode-based payments to physician group practices, hospital outpatient departments, and freestanding radiation therapy centers for RT episodes of care reduces Medicare expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries. The RO Model has a five-year Model performance period that begins on January 1, 2021 and runs through December 31, 2025.
For additional information on the final rule and the model, please visit the radiation oncology website. The following resource documents about RO may also be helpful: Press Release, Fact Sheet, and Final Rule. For questions regarding the RO Model, please reach out to the RO Model Helpdesk by phone: 1.844.711.2664, option 5; or email: RadiationTherapy@cms.hhs.gov.
Lilly announces their Thyroid Cancer Testing Program designed to provide access to molecular testing for appropriate advanced or metastatic medullary thyroid cancer (“MTC”) patients 12 years of age and older who require systemic therapy; and advanced or metastatic non-medullary thyroid cancer (“non-MTC”) patients 12 years of age and older who are radioactive iodine-refractory (if radioactive iodine is appropriate).
Appropriate patients are eligible for one molecular test at no cost for the purpose of determining whether the patient has any actionable genetic alterations that may inform therapeutic decisions, without regard to purchase of any prescribed drug or any other product.*
No patient, healthcare program, payer, or beneficiary shall be billed for any test ordered pursuant to the Thyroid Cancer Testing Program.
To request a test for your patient <and understand further requirements>, you may download the Thyroid Cancer Testing Program Test Request Form.
The Thyroid Cancer Testing Program is NOT available to New York State patients and facilities as the aforementioned NGS tests have not been approved by the New York State Department of Health.
On September 4, 2020 Genentech announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gavreto™ (pralsetinib) for the treatment of adults with metastatic rearranged during transfection (RET) fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as detected by an FDA approved test.
Read the Genentech announcement.