The impact of a multidisciplinary breast cancer center on recommendations for patient management: the University of Pennsylvania experience

Cancer. 2001 Apr 1;91(7):1231-7. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(20010401)91:7<1231::aid-cncr1123>;2-k.


Background: Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast carcinoma have led to a multidisciplinary approach to management for patients with breast carcinoma. To assess the effect of this approach, the authors performed an evaluation for a cohort of patients examined in a multidisciplinary breast cancer center.

Methods: An analysis was performed for the records of 75 consecutive women with 77 breast lesions examined in consultation in a multidisciplinary breast cancer center between January and June 1998. Each patient's case was evaluated by a panel consisting of a medical oncologist, surgical oncologist, radiation oncologist, pathologist, diagnostic radiologist, and, when indicated, plastic surgeon. A comprehensive history and physical examination was performed, and the relevant mammograms, pathology slides, and medical records were reviewed. Treatment recommendations made before this evaluation were compared with the consensus recommendations made by the panel.

Results: For the 75 patients, the multidisciplinary panel disagreed with the treatment recommendations from the outside physicians in 32 cases (43%), and agreed in 41 cases (55%). Two patients (3%) had no treatment recommendation before consultation. For the 32 patients with a disagreement, the treatment recommendations were breast-conservation treatment instead of mastectomy (n = 13; 41%) or reexcision (n = 2; 6%); further workup instead of immediate definitive treatment (n = 10; 31%); treatment based on major change in diagnosis on pathology review (n = 3; 9%); addition of postmastectomy radiation treatment (n = 3; 9%); or addition of hormonal therapy (n = 1; 3%).

Conclusions: The multidisciplinary breast cancer evaluation program provided an integrated program in which individual patients were evaluated by a team of physicians and led to a change in treatment recommendation for 43% (32 of 75) of the patients examined. This multidisciplinary program provided important second opinions for many patients with breast carcinoma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Cancer Care Facilities*
  • Comprehensive Health Care*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Referral and Consultation