The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) has laid out a game plan to set the stage for incorporating new therapies and approaches into clinical guidelines as quickly and accurately as possible. In addition, a goal is to develop ASCO’s guidelines into more of a digital resource and for ASCO’s new web-based rapid-learning system, CancerLinQ, to move into practice.1

These moves are especially important as oncology becomes increasingly focused on providing a personalized, precision medicine approach to treatment, explained Gary Lyman, MD, MPH, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center researcher, breast cancer oncologist, and co-director of the Hutchinson Institute for Cancer Outcomes Research (HICOR), Seattle, Washington, and senior author of the report. ASCO’s first clinical practice guidelines were created more than 20 years ago.

“We’re in an era of such rapid changes in cancer care and the understanding of the disease, with new therapies and new diagnostics, that we cannot afford not to have the most up-to-date evidence-based guidance for shared decision-making in cancer treatment,” Lyman said. “CancerLinQ will allow point-of-care clinical decision support utilizing the latest evidence-based recommendations to provide patients with the best care. Clinicians can access CancerLinQ from wherever they have access to the Internet.”

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This report explains that ASCO is now integrating multiple chronic conditions into its guidelines since many cancer patients suffer from other chronic conditions, such as heart disease, that could impact their cancer treatment, recovery, and survival. The report also lays out new ways to keep guidelines current and sets standards for endorsing or adapting guidelines from other professional organizations.

“There are new drugs coming out every week, if not every day. There’s an overwhelming amount of information for oncologists to keep track of. It’s one thing for those of us in academic settings who see one type of cancer, but in a practice where you’re treating all kinds of cancer, it’s a daunting, overwhelming process. Clinical oncologists must keep up with the latest advances diagnostically and therapeutically in every cancer they might possibly encounter, and every stage of those cancers from early to advanced, and also deal with things like end-of-life care, survivorship, and comorbidities, or other medical problems,” Lyman said.


1. Somerfield MR, Bohlke K, Browman GP, et al. Innovations in American Society of Clinical Oncology practice guideline development. J Clin Oncol. 2016 Jul 5. doi:10.1200/JCO.2016.68.3524. [Epub ahead of print]