Multidisciplinary management of cancer patients: chasing a shadow or real value? An overview of the literature

J. M. Croke, S. El-Sayed



Multidisciplinary cancer conferences (MCCS) are designed to optimize patient outcomes. It appears intuitive that MCCS are essential to clinical decision-making and patient management; however, it is unclear whether that belief is supported by evidence. Our objectives were to assess the currently published literature addressing the impact of MCCS on clinical decision-making and patient outcomes.


Ovid MEDLINE was searched from 1950 to June 2010 using these keywords: “multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary/ clinical meeting$/conference$/round$/ team$,” “decision making,” “neoplasms$/cancer$/ oncology/tumo(u)r conference$/board$/meeting$,” “multidisciplinary/interdisciplinary cancer conference$/ meeting$.” All trials, guidelines, metaanalyses, reviews, and prospective and retrospective studies were included.


The keywords retrieved 595 abstracts, and 30 manuscripts were obtained. Most of the studies assessed the impact of MCCS on clinical decision-making rather than on patient outcomes.


Available evidence supports the belief that MCCS significantly influence clinical decision-making and treatment recommendations. In contrast, scant evidence suggests that MCCS improve patient outcomes. Unfortunately, the current literature is substantially heterogeneous and therefore does not allow for firm conclusions.

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ISSN: 1198-0052 (Print) ISSN: 1718-7729 (Online)