Multidisciplinary Cancer Conferences for Gastrointestinal Malignancies Result in Measureable Treatment Changes: A Prospective Study of 149 Consecutive Patients
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BACKGROUND: In most jurisdictions, a minority of patients are discussed at multidisciplinary cancer conference (MCC) despite recommendations for such reviews. We assessed the impact of MCC review of gastrointestinal (GI) cancers at a stand-alone cancer center. METHODS: Patient data were prospectively collected on consecutive cases presented at a GI MCC during a 6-month period. Original treatment plans were collected confidentially before presentation and compared to post-MCC treatment plans. We defined changes in management plans as major (change in treatment modality) or minor (testing prior to original plan). RESULTS: A total of 149 cases were evaluated: 115 upper GI (gastric/small bowel-10 %, liver-32 %, pancreaticobiliary-36 %), and 34 lower GI (23 %). Reasons for presentation were: questions regarding progression/metastases (44 %), management (26 %), diagnosis (21 %), pathology (15 %), and resectability (7 %). Physicians were certain of their original plans being the final recommendations in 84 % (n = 125). Change in management was recommended in 36 %; 72 % were major and 28 % were minor. Patients underwent all recommended treatments at our institution in 77 % of cases, a portion in 5 %, and no recommended treatments in 18 %. On multivariate analysis, physician degree of certainty for original management plan was not predictive of a change in management plan (p = 0.61). CONCLUSIONS: Although certainty of prediscussion treatment plan is high, changes in treatment recommendations occurred in more than one-third of patients after GI MCC. This prospective study demonstrates the value of MCC in GI cancer sites, even at a stand-alone cancer center.
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