Multidisciplinary tumor boards (MTBs) have become commonplace. The use, attendance, and function of MTBs need continued assessment and improvement.
We prospectively recorded and assessed all cases presented at MTBs between October 2013 and December 2014. Data were collected before and during each MTB. Data were analyzed using SPSS for Windows version 23 (SPSS, Chicago, IL).
Five hundred three cases were presented: 234 cases (46%) at GI cancer MTBs, 149 cases (29.6%) at breast cancer MTBs, 69 cases (13.7%) at thoracic/head and neck cancer MTBs, and 51 cases (10.7%) at neuro-oncology MTBs. A total of 86.7% of MTB cases were presented to make plans for management. Plans for upfront management were made in 67% of the breast cancer cases, 63% of GI cases, 59% of thoracic/head and neck cases, and 49% of neuro-oncology cases. Three hundred ninety-four cases (78.3%) were presented by medical oncologists, whereas only 74 cases (14.7%) were presented by surgeons, and 10 cases (2%) were presented by radiation oncologists. The majority of MTBs, with the exception of the neurosurgery MTBs, were led by medical oncologists. Surgeons presented the least number of cases but attended the most, and their contributions to discussions and decision making were essential.
MTBs enhance the multidisciplinary management of patients with cancer. Upfront multidisciplinary decision making should be considered as an indicator of benefit from MTBs, in addition to changes in management plans made at MTBs. Increasing the contributions of surgeons to MTBs should include bringing more of their own cases for discussion.