Contact us to get started

Hope begins here.

If you're an HR or benefits professional seeking cancer resources for your employees, or a consultant looking to provide best-in-class cancer support for your clients, share a few details below. We’ll reach out to help your company get started.

If you’re an employee looking for your AccessHope benefit, call 800.423.3232 and select Option 1.

October 23, 2023

New study affirms impact of subspecialist review for pancreatic cancer cases

In Pancreatic Cancer, AccessHope Studies

See All Blog Posts >


A new study, published by the Journal of Personalized Medicine, highlights AccessHope’s clinical impact on 94 cases of pancreatic adenocarcinoma (reviewed between August 2019–December 2022). The findings show that in 94% of cases, the subspecialist provided recommendations anticipated to improve outcomes. Gaps in care were more pronounced in patients with non-metastatic pancreatic cancer. 

Study Population

Of these 94 pancreatic cancer cases:

  • 34% of were being treated at an academic center and 66% at a local setting
  • 55% of the cases were men
  • Median patient age was 58 
  • 63% of patients had cancer that had metastasized
  • 37% of patients had localized and locally advanced disease

Study results

AccessHope National Cancer Institute (NCI) subspecialists agreed completely with the treating oncologist's plan, in only 6% of the cases,  offering no additional recommendations. In 94% of the cases, cancer subspecialists offered enhancements to the treating oncologists’ plan. The three most common recommendations across these cases were for germline testing, somatic testing , and for the integration of supportive care services. The study revealed:

  1. Disagreed with current care approaches in 19% of cases, which included reasons like a lack of multidisciplinary evaluation prior to initiating treatment
  2. Offered enhancements to existing care plans in 75% of cases, most frequently recommending germline testing, somatic testing, or the integration of supportive care services
  3. Suggested care delivery improvements  to cancer-directed therapy (75%), member well-being (32%), and downstream benefit to the family due to germline testing (37%)

 Major gaps in care 

We evaluated the care received by patients treated at academic centers vs. those treated at local practices by looking at access to comprehensive care, including germline and somatic testing, as well as supportive and palliative care services.

  • 59% of the cases had completed or initiated germline genetic testing, with no difference in the completion of this test between academic and community physicians

Germline testing is a type of DNA testing that looks for inherited mutations that are present in every cell of the body and have been present since birth. This is also called genetic testing. Germline genetic testing can be done via cheek swab, spit sample or a blood draw.

  • 20% of the cases had documentation for referral or use of palliative and supportive care services. There was no significant difference between academic practices and private practices for delivery of palliative care. 

Palliative care is an interdisciplinary medical caregiving approach aimed at optimizing quality of life and mitigating suffering among people with serious, complex, and often terminal illnesses.


While many of the patients with pancreatic cancer were receiving aggressive therapy (as evidenced by choice of chemotherapy), they lacked a patient-centered care approach or support for the aggressive nature of their disease. This could translate to lower quality of life and higher chances of experiencing toxicities. Lastly, patients with non-metastatic disease who need multidisciplinary care had larger gaps in care compared to those with metastatic disease.


The study was led by Dr. Afsaneh Barzi with contributions from additional AccessHope colleagues and experts from City of Hope and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.



Interested in the full study? Please provide your email and we will send you a copy.




UT Southwestern Medical Center Partners with AccessHope to extend nationwide access to cancer expertise 

Read the Press Release