What Does the New CancerLinQ Discovery Initiative Mean for the Future of Patient Care?

By Kevin Fitzpatrick, CEO, CancerLinQ LLC

This is an exciting time in the field of oncology—a time of rapid discovery, learning and new treatments to fight this terrible disease, as we work to provide patients with greater hope. Imagine taking these daily learnings and aggregating them in one accessible place while simultaneously creating a learning platform that medical oncologists can use to help improve patient care. Moreover, imagine a learning platform accessible not only by physicians, but also by clinicians, public health agencies, nonprofits and the life sciences industry, all working in a collaborative environment to speed research and improve patient outcomes.

That’s our vision for the newly launched CancerLinQ DiscoveryTM, for which AstraZeneca is the Founding Enterprise Partner. With new information technology, we have an incredible opportunity to bring real-world evidence to bear on important questions and issues in cancer care. AstraZeneca, along with other current and subsequent nonprofit and industry enterprise partners, will be able to use CancerLinQ Discovery—custom, de-identified, real-world cancer care data sets for analyses—to build a community that learns together and shares insights to improve patient care.

These customizable data sets will be derived from the rapidly expanding CancerLinQ® database, which now includes more than 1.5 million patient records from more than 70 oncology practices across North America, and soon around the world, that participate in the core CancerLinQ quality improvement and data-sharing platform. CancerLinQ Discovery’s big data sets will be available to those in the cancer community who share the commitment of the American Society of Clinical Oncology® (ASCO) to improving patient care. The data sets are accessible in a way that protects patient privacy and enables the greatest utilization for subscribers to address clinical questions that could not be answered previously.

For example, AstraZeneca could receive a de-identified cohort of lung cancer patient records that would enable its science, development and medical teams to see what therapies these patients received at various stages of disease progression, how they responded to therapies and what types of adverse events occurred during various stages of the disease. These types of insights may generate new approaches to existing therapies and inform the design of clinical trials for potential future therapies. 

CancerLinQ is a rapid learning system that aggregates and analyzes an enormous amount of real-world cancer care data with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of cancer care. The only system of its kind created by oncologists for oncologists, it is designed to:

  • Provide real-time quality feedback to providers
  • Offer personalized insights to doctors
  • Uncover patterns that can improve care.

Research requests for CancerLinQ Discovery will only be considered if they’re expected to lead to meaningful improvements in patient care. Ultimately, insights gleaned from CancerLinQ Discovery will be made available to the broader oncology community to benefit as many people, clinicians and patients as possible.

Both CancerLinQ and CancerLinQ Discovery are operated by CancerLinQ LLC, a nonprofit subsidiary of ASCO. From its inception, ASCO has focused on professional development as a way to improve the quality of care for patients with cancer. Over the years, ASCO has remained unique as the only organization of its kind that encompasses all oncology subspecialties. The creation of a rapid learning system, CancerLinQ, by oncologists for their peers is a natural extension of the Society’s mission and values and its long history of cancer research. I am personally excited about this new phase and its potential to yield important findings. All of us at CancerLinQ value and appreciate AstraZeneca’s collaboration and leadership in helping to advance science and improve cancer care for patients.


Kevin Fitzpatrick is CEO of CancerLinQ LLC, a wholly-owned nonprofit subsidiary of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Mr. Fitzpatrick was previously the Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of the American College of Cardiology and is a recognized leader in implementing health information technology initiatives to improve patient care.