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ESMO Launches Living Guidelines to Enhance the Usability of its Clinical Practice Guidelines in Routine Cancer Patient Care

The new online tool comes in an interactive, concise, and updatable visual format to support practicing oncologists in the rapidly evolving medical field
10 May 2023
Clinical Research;  Career Development

LUGANO, Switzerland – ESMO, the leading professional organisation for medical oncology, today announced the launch of a new tool designed to make the renowned ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) easier to use in oncologists’ routine clinical practice and support optimal decision-making in a rapidly evolving medical field. The ESMO Living Guidelines, now available for metastatic breast cancer and soon to be released for several other tumour types, aim to become companions for oncologists at the point of care by placing concise, up-to-date guidance directly at their fingertips.

An evolving understanding of the tumour molecular landscape, the discovery of numerous targetable mutations, and more drugs approvals for the treatment of cancer in recent years have created a need for more frequent updates to the recommendations provided to clinicians. Since 2016, ESMO had been addressing this need with the publication of eUpdates to its CPGs, through which new evidence and modified recommendations were published online as they became available, referencing specific sections of the full guidelines.

The Living Guidelines are a leap forward in the evolution of this idea as they offer a complete overview of patient management, centred around clear visual representations of the decision-making algorithms and key recommendations defined within the CPGs. Updates will be undertaken as needed to reflect relevant changes that impact ESMO’s recommendations, such as practice-changing research results or new efficacy or toxicity data, and integrated seamlessly into the relevant guideline module to give oncologists a holistic picture of the current state of the art in a given disease.

The Living Guidelines are a handy addition to the official ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines, which still remain the reference source for the optimal management of each tumour type and disease setting. They come in a more concise, less text-heavy format that can be accessed directly on the ESMO website and contains all the relevant scores of medicines on the ESMO-Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale (ESMO-MCBS) as well as those of alteration-drug matches on the ESMO Scale for Clinical Actionability of molecular Targets (ESCAT). Supporting information is provided via interactive page elements and embedded links. “These characteristics position the Living Guidelines as a unique and valuable resource for oncologists in their daily clinical practice, enabling them to find pertinent guidance quickly and easily in the course of their busy workday”, commented Prof. Giuseppe Curigliano, Chair of the ESMO Guidelines Committee.

“In a rapidly evolving landscape, oncologists are facing a wave of new drug approvals and witnessing a paradigm shift in the way various cancers are managed based on their molecular characteristics. To navigate this dynamic field, the Living Guidelines provide a comprehensive framework that combines sequential guidance, spanning from diagnosis and staging to disease progression management, with a streamlined process for swift updates under the careful oversight of the authors of the original CPG and the ESMO Guidelines Committee," emphasized Prof. Curigliano.

Going forward, selected new ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines, where there is an identified need for frequent update, will be followed by the release of corresponding Living Guidelines that oncologists can conveniently reach for in their day-to-day practice using any desktop or mobile device.

With several editions slated to be published this year, including for colorectal and gastric cancer, lung and early breast cancer, ESMO intends to build up a library of Living Guidelines that can transform the way the ESMO CPGs can be used, in line with their ultimate purpose of ensuring high-quality care for all patients with cancer.

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