Tumor boards linked to little association with effects on cancer care

December 28, 2012

There is little association of multidisciplinary tumor boards with measures of use, quality, or survival, and measuring only the presence of tumor boards may not be adequate in determining their effects on cancer care, according to a study published December 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Tumor board reviews offer a multidisciplinary approach to treatment planning, which encompasses doctors from many specialties reviewing and discussing the medical condition and the treatment of patients. Even though the use of tumor boards is widespread, there is little data on how it affects cancer care.

In order to determine the effects tumor boards have on cancer care, Nancy L. Keating, M.D., M.P.H., Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, and colleagues gathered information about tumor boards from 138 Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and linked cancer registry and administrative data to gauge receipt of stage-specific recommended care, survival, or use for patients with colorectal, lung, prostate, hematologic, and breast cancers diagnosed during 2001-2004 and followed through to 2005.

The researchers found only a modest association between the presence of tumor boards and the types of treatments that patients received. Most types of care for lung, prostate, hematologic, and breast cancers were unaffected by the presence or types of tumor boards. For seven measures, the rates of some types of care were higher (lung cancer and prostate cancer) whereas others were lower (lymphoma and palliative care). "This could mean that tumor boards did not, in fact, influence quality of cancer care in the VA setting," the authors write. "Additional research is needed to understand the structure and format of tumor boards that lead to the highest quality care."

In an accompanying editorial, Douglas W. Blayney, M.D., Stanford Cancer Institute, Stanford School of Medicine, notes that tumor boards may not influence quality in a large, integrated health system such as the VA as much as they might in smaller centers and writes that measures of adherence and survival are difficult to track and therefore while it is tough to determine the overall efficacy of tumor boards, they "have too long a history for them to be easily abandoned," adding that, "until there is carefully constructed public reporting of process adherence and outcome, we are left to hope that cancer doctors, their leaders, and the systems that they build will use recognized measures of structure and process and work toward superior outcomes."
-end-
Contact Info:

Article: Nancy L. Keating, M.D., M.P.H., Keating@hcp.med.harvard.edu

Editorial: James Larkin, jlarkin@stanfordmed.org

Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Related Cancer Care Articles from Brightsurf:

Black lives also matter in cancer care
It is not biology, but access to health care that is causing Black Non-Hispanic patients with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck to have lower survival rates.

Cancer vs. COVID: When a pandemic upended cancer care
A team of researchers interviewed physicians and patients at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to identify eight scenarios impacting cancer care.

Prioritizing cancer care during pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced oncology clinicians and administrators in the United States to set priorities for cancer care because of resource constraints.

Supportive care to relieve cancer-related fatigue underutilised by breast cancer survivors
Cancer-related fatigue is a prevalent and potentially persistent issue among breast cancer survivors, which can prevent them from returning to their previous life well after treatment ends and they are declared free of disease.

After cancer: The role of primary care in cancer survivorship care
Primary care physicians are treating an increasing number of cancer survivors, yet they have no clear guidance on how best to care for such patients.

Lung cancer screening in primary care
The benefits of routine lung cancer screenings have been hotly debated in the medical community.

Palliative care for patients with cancer in COVID-19 era
The considerations and challenges affecting the palliative care specialty and delivery of palliative care in the COVID-19 era, as well as potential solutions, are discussed in this Viewpoint.

Cancer care needs mass COVID-19 testing
Thousands of cancer patients in the UK have had their treatment stopped or delayed because of COVID-19, and with pressures mounting on the health service, Cancer Research UK calls for widespread testing to prevent unnecessary cancer deaths.

Cancer care in the time of COVID-19
Below please find link(s) to new coronavirus-related content published today in Annals of Internal Medicine.

JNCCN: How to manage cancer care during COVID-19 pandemic
Experts from Seattle Cancer Care Alliance share lessons learned from early experiences treating people with cancer during COVID-19 outbreak via free online article in JNCCN--Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

Read More: Cancer Care News and Cancer Care Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.