NCCN Goes Global With Guidelines Tailored for Treatment Capabilities Abroad

Natalie Pompilio
Published: Monday, May 20, 2019
Wui-Jin Koh, MD

Wui-Jin Koh, MD

Limited financial and medical resources available to cancer treatment centers in developing nations often make it difficult for physicians there to follow best practices widely adopted in the United States and other highly affluent countries. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) is working to change that by developing modified guidelines for specific regions that offer less-costly and less–technologically intensive alternatives.

In developing these sets of Harmonized Guidelines, the NCCN has recognized the growing international use of its core set of guidelines on treating multiple cancer types. These were downloaded globally more than 10 million times in 2018, although not as frequently in less-developed countries. Overall usage is rising—downloads in 2018 were up 26% from 2017. Modified guidelines from the NCCN have already been developed for sub-Saharan countries and the Caribbean (Figure).

“We recognize that just having the guidelines on the web isn’t sufficient. They were initially developed for those with high resources at US comprehensive cancer centers. They need to meet the needs of patients and care providers at different locations where medical resources vary,” said Wui-Jin Koh, MD, the NCCN’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.

“We’re working on translations and with experts from around the world to adapt and harmonize the guidelines for [physicians’] specific regions, to give them novel ways of implementing guidelines-concordant care tailored to resource availability and to provide a platform for advocacy of improving care delivery systems with their governments,” he said.

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