News and Publications

Newly released: ASTRO guideline on brain mets, ROI Publication Awards

May 11, 2022

Newly released: ASTRO guideline on radiation therapy for brain metastases
Last week, ASTRO released Radiation Therapy for Brain Metastases: An ASTRO Clinical Practice Guideline, which updates the original 2012 guideline. Evidence-based recommendations guide the multidisciplinary planning and delivery of advanced radiation therapy techniques to manage intact and resected brain metastases from non-hematologic solid tumors. The publication in Practical Radiation Oncology also includes treatment algorithms for limited brain metastases and extensive brain metastases. This update is a complement to the joint ASCO/SNO/ASTRO guideline for multidisciplinary management of brain metastases that was published in late 2021.

Reminder: ASTRO seeks public comments
ASTRO requests feedback by Sunday, May 22, on the draft Quality and Safety Considerations in Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy: An ASTRO Safety White Paper Update, originally published in 2011. The scope of the IMRT white paper focuses on quality assurance activities and human processes that can identify and correct potential sources of error, particularly those that impact patient care. Feedback on the draft Radiation Therapy for Endometrial Cancer: An ASTRO Clinical Practice Guideline is due Tuesday, May 31. This scope focuses on the adjuvant management of endometrial cancer and emphasizes the evolving impact that uterine risk factors, disease stage, surgical staging procedures and molecular tumor profiling have on adjuvant therapy. You can access both documents and webforms at www.astro.org/PublicComment.

Updates from 2021 Survivor Circle Grants awardees

Read the latest blog on last year’s Survivor Circle Grant awardees to learn how they have multiplied their impact with the Survivor Circle grant. Reminder: It’s not too late to apply for this year’s Survivor Circle Grants. If you know any Texas-based cancer support organizations that might benefit from this grant, please have them apply by this Friday, May 13.

ASTRO requests more research funding from NCI
ASTRO recently wrote to Douglas Lowy, MD, acting director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), asking that he exercise discretion to adjust the extramural research funding for radiation oncology to a more balanced level this year. The letter notes that in spite of the opportunities to improve understanding of basic cancer biology, NIH's RePORTER currently forecasts only a $390 million investment in radiation oncology research in FY 2022, accounting for less than 5.7% of NCI’s $6.9 billion approved budget. See What’s Happening in Washington for more details.

New SA-CME courses on ASTRO Academy
Two new courses are available, both based on sessions that were originally recorded at ASTRO’s virtual Annual Refresher Course in March. Lung - Refresher 2022 addresses the increasing use of immunotherapy with non-metastatic lung cancer and the principles of when radiation therapy is appropriate (and when it is not) in advanced lung cancer, and explores the evolving treatment options for locally advanced, resectable lung cancer. Central Nervous System – Refresher 2022 reviews the current clinical management of the most common malignant and benign adult CNS tumors, followed by an overview of the current clinical practice in the treatment of brain metastases. See these and many other courses on the ASTRO Academy.

Quality measure testing opportunity
The American College of Surgeons (ACS)/Commission on Cancer (CoC) recently approved the first quality metric for head and neck oncology: time to initiation of postoperative radiation therapy (PORT) < 6 weeks for patients with surgically managed head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). ASTRO, in collaboration with the American Head and Neck Society Value and Quality of Care Service, supports this new measure to decrease delays starting adjuvant radiation therapy for patients with HNSCC. Email Randi Kudner for details on how to participate in this initiative and visit the ACS/CoC website for additional details.

United Healthcare launches electronic prior auth and clinical decision notification program
As of May 6, United Healthcare will no longer mail prior authorization (PA) and clinical decision letters. Providers in the Central, Southeast and Northeast regions will have to access these documents through the UHC Provider Portal or an API system-to-system data feed. Providers will be able to check PA determination status and take additional actions on pending requests through the TrackIt tool. For more information, see What’s Happening in Washington.

ROI now accepting Publication Award nominations
The Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI) will recognize an early career researcher with the 2022 Publication Award. Nominees must be the lead author of an exceptional manuscript published in the past year that has the potential to impact the practice of radiation oncology. The ROI Publication Award winner will be featured at the ASTRO Annual Meeting and receive a $5,000 grant to advance their research trajectory consistent with the mission of the ROI. The deadline to submit nominations is July 7 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time; self-nominations are accepted. See the 2022 Call for Nominations to learn more.

Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center network earns APEx re-accreditation
Congratulations to Sutter Health Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, California, for earning re-accreditation with ASTRO’s APEx - Accreditation Program for Excellence®. The APEx process provides a transparent, measurable, evidence- and consensus-based review of compliance with standards that emphasize a radiation oncology practice’s commitment to safety and quality. View a list of accredited facilities and contact ASTRO staff to learn about the new options available for accreditation and why APEx is The Right Choice to accredit your practice.