Immuno-Oncology Resource Center

Immuno-Oncology Resource Center

Source:

Schrag J, et al. Abstract 490. Presented at: Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting (virtual); Nov. 9-14, 2020.

Disclosures: Bristol Myers Squibb and Merck supported this study.
November 13, 2020
2 min read
Save

Clinicians need more education on emerging cancer immunotherapies, survey shows

Source:

Schrag J, et al. Abstract 490. Presented at: Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer Annual Meeting (virtual); Nov. 9-14, 2020.

Disclosures: Bristol Myers Squibb and Merck supported this study.
You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

Nearly half of oncology clinicians reported being unfamiliar with emerging immunotherapies, according to survey results presented at the virtual Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s Annual Meeting.

Conversely, more than three-quarters of clinicians indicated they were at least “very familiar” with the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Far fewer respondents reported familiarity with emerging immunotherapies, including bispecific antibodies, vaccines and CAR T cells.
Far fewer respondents reported familiarity with emerging immunotherapies, including bispecific antibodies, vaccines and CAR T cells.

“There was generally less familiarity with more emerging immunotherapy agents, such as bispecific antibody agents, cancer vaccines and [chimeric antigen receptor] T-cell therapies,” Janelle Schrag, MPH, senior program manager for provider education with Association of Community Cancer Centers, said during a presentation.

The data came from the association’s immuno-oncology census, conducted four of the past five years to “better understand the landscape of immuno-oncology,” Schrag said.

“It’s an important benchmark for us in tracking the educational needs related to immuno-oncology among community cancer programs and practices,” she said. “Our results indicate that clinicians are very familiar with the use of established immunotherapy agents but are in need of additional education related to emerging therapies.”

Association of Community Cancer Centers conducted an online survey from June to September to evaluate immuno-oncology-related challenges and educational needs of its members.

Thirty-nine members across a range of roles and practice settings responded to the survey. Seventy percent were from community oncology practices and 30% were from academic centers.

The majority of respondents were advanced practice nurses (21%), followed by nurse managers (18%), medical oncologists (18%) and pharmacists (13%). Seventy percent of respondents indicated their practices manage at least 20 patients per week receiving some form of immunotherapy for cancer.

Survey results showed most clinicians (54%) were “very familiar” with immune checkpoint inhibitors. Only 3% said they were not at all familiar with this treatment option and another 3% indicated they were “slightly familiar” with this modality.

Far fewer respondents reported familiarity with emerging immunotherapies, including bispecific antibodies, vaccines and CAR T cells.

Ten percent of respondents indicated they were “extremely familiar” with CAR T cells, and 15% indicated they were “very familiar.” However, 41% indicated they were “slightly familiar” with the treatment modality and 5% indicated they were “not at all familiar” with the treatment.

The results appeared similar for bispecific antibodies, as 15% of respondents indicated they were “not at all familiar” with this treatment and 41% indicated they were “slightly familiar.”

Additionally, 23% said they were “very familiar” with diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic biomarkers associated with immunotherapies.

The survey asked respondents to identify the challenges they experience related to immunotherapies.

Financial toxicity was the most common challenge, with 57% of respondents characterizing it as either “very challenging” or “somewhat challenging.” Nearly half (49%) of respondents indicated it is “very challenging” or “somewhat challenging” to coordinate or communicate with subspecialists.

The other top challenges included coverage and reimbursement issues, education and training of practice staff, survivorship care and expansion of indications for immuno-oncology agents.

The survey results showed “clear trends” that clinicians require more clinical and operational support related to the use of immunotherapies, associated molecular testing, easing financial strain and coordinating care across subspecialties, Schrag said.

“We recommend additional education to address these knowledge gaps as immuno-oncology continues to evolve,” she said. “In particular, this learning must be translated into community programs and practices.”