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Current Landscape

Precision Medicine: Integration of Pathology with the Cancer Care Team

In an era of precision medicine and rapidly advancing cancer therapeutics, the role of pathology in the diagnosis and management of cancer is evolving. Pathologists are uniquely positioned at the intersection of multiple points along the cancer care continuum. Starting at the point of cancer diagnosis, pathologists provide expert interpretation and may recommend biomarker testing to guide treatment decisions. As clinicians monitor treatment response, repeat biopsies or biomarker testing may inform how the tumor is evolving. Pathologists may also play a role in determining clinical trial eligibility, especially for patients who do not respond to the standard of care. Recent advances in targeted therapies, molecular biology, and immuno-oncology necessitate a closer integration and coordination of pathology with the multidisciplinary cancer care team. There are currently no formally established criteria to classify the levels of integration between pathology and the multidisciplinary cancer care team.

Pathology Survey Results InfographicTo develop a comprehensive view of how pathology is currently integrated with the multidisciplinary oncology team, ACCC  – together with partner organizations Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and the College of American Pathologists (CAP) – developed and disseminated a survey.

The 37-question survey was conducted from May to June 2018. Respondents included lab scientists (36%), physicians (22%), lab technicians (16%), and administrators (6%). Responses from the survey participants (N = 659) helped to inform an environmental scan. View survey key findings in the infographic (on left). Download your copy below.
Pathology Survey Results Infographic


Integration of Pathology in Oncology Care Leadership Summit

These materials, along with a paper highlighting key policy issues, comprised pre-reading for participants attending the Integration of Pathology in Oncology Care Leadership Summit held on July 31, 2018, in Washington, D.C. 

This invitation-only forum convened a select group of thought leaders from a diverse group of stakeholders including providers, payers, patient advocacy groups, labs, diagnostic and tech companies, and pharmaceutical manufacturers to discuss critical issues facing the oncology community with regards to biomarker testing, precision medicine, and the current ways in which pathologists interface with the cancer care team.
Download the Environmental ScanLearn About the Summit Participants

Leadership Summit participants prioritized future opportunities, identifying the following as the most immediately actionable:

  • Empowering pathologists & the oncology team for culture change
  • Standardizing the testing order process
  • Improving specimen management
  • Optimizing virtual molecular tumor boards
  • Strengthening the alliance between pathology & genetic counseling
  • Generating "One Standardized Pathology Report"
  • Educating & empowering patients

Summit Executive Summary Summit Proceedings

Through panel discussions, breakout group conversations, and interactive presentations, Summit participants shared perspectives on how pathology is currently integrated with the multidisciplinary cancer care team and what opportunities exist to improve on the status quo. Through a consensus-driven process, Summit participants identified seven opportunities as the most feasible and impactful for achieving closer integration of pathology with the cancer team.

Policy and regulatory issues are impacting the future of precision medicine and clinical diagnostics in oncology. This white paper, prepared as pre-reading for summit participants, explores some current concerns, including CMS's 14-Day rule.
Read Our White Paper

For more information or to participate in these efforts, email Senior Program Manager Elana Plotkin, CMP-HC.  

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