Originally published September 2, 2021

Assuring high-quality, equitable care for every patient with cancer is a key part of ASCO’s mission. According to Devika Das, MD, MSHQS, a member of ASCO’s International Quality Task Force, the field of quality studies is in the beginning stages of a metamorphosis that will likely only accelerate over the next few years.

“Initially, when quality improvement became a recognized science it was a lot of studies that highlighted existing gaps in the current care delivery model,” Dr. Das said, associate professor at The University of Alabama at Birmingham. “The next step is more studies that implement changes.”

Some of the clearest examples of this shift in quality studies have occurred in the lung cancer arena, Dr. Das added.

Striving for Equal Access to Quality Care

“Finding quality as a theme in clinical trials is really hard, but something we are seeing more and more,” Dr. Das said.

The MYLUNG study presented at the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting examined the quality of care provided to patients (Abstract 9004). This retrospective study reviewed charts of 3,474 adult patients with metastatic non–small cell lung cancer initiating first-line therapy. The study researchers assessed testing rates for ALK, BRAF, EGFR, ROS1, and PD-L1, and the use of next-generation sequencing (NGS).

“The study showed that only about 50% of patients across the spectrum were getting appropriate testing for all five biomarkers,” Dr. Das said. “This was surprising not just to the researchers but all of us that practice oncology. This informs our practice and is a very important quality metric that so far has been ignored.”

Read more in ASCO Daily News.