Oncologists Face Obstacles Adopting Precision Medicine


Advancements in precision medicine are bringing cancer care closer to better targeted therapies for patients. But while these new, innovative treatments hold the promise of enhanced care and improved outcomes, many oncologists find obstacles to the adoption of such therapies.

Published in Oncology Insights, the findings of a research-based report from Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions summarizes the views of more than 160 US oncologists on the potential of precision medicine to transform cancer treatment.

Although 4 in 10 oncologists see promise in the emergence of precision medicine, more than half (57%) indicate that it is still too soon to predict the long-term impact, according to the report. The oncologists included in the findings represent a variety of community and hospital-based practices.

More than one-third of the respondents said that precision medicine will have a significant impact on oncology care within 2 to 3 years, whereas 57% said they believe it will have a moderate impact.

Oncologists cited the cost of drugs (51%), cost of genomic testing (25%), and lack of decision to support tools (14%) as barriers to adoption. Additionally, more than 76% said more financial aid and reimbursement support is needed for patients.

In the report, approximately two-thirds of participating oncologists noted that they use genomic testing to identify the best treatment options for patients with cancer, with another 25% stating that they are likely to begin using it within the next year. However, the availability of genomic testing and turnaround times varied greatly in the responses, with 58% of oncologists reporting that testing is not available at their local institution and 36% saying that they wait 15 days or longer for results. Moreover, 6 in 10 oncologists reported challenges in interpreting the results of genomic tests.

“This report is timely in a year when the oncology community is buzzing about how precision medicines may dramatically advance care,” Joe DePinto, president of Cardinal Health Specialty Solutions, said in a press release. “The potential for these innovative therapies to improve outcomes is exciting, but there are many factors that will affect their commercial success.”

The targeted approach to treatment is making strides in other therapeutic areas as well, such as in rheumatoid arthritis and cystic fibrosis. As the development of these innovative therapies advance, precision medicine will continue to be a growing trend that will affect specialty health care.


Oncologists See Opportunities, Challenges with Emergence of Precision Medicine [news release]. Cardinal Health’s website. http://cardinalhealth.mediaroom.com/2018-05-31-Oncologists-See-Opportunities-Challenges-with-Emergence-of-Precision-Medicine. Accessed May 31, 2018.

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