The effect of a multidisciplinary thoracic malignancy conference on the treatment of patients with lung cancer

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2010 Jul;38(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2010.01.051. Epub 2010 Mar 4.


Introduction: There is a paucity of data evaluating whether a multidisciplinary conference coordinating surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy translates into better patient care. This article compares the experiences of patients with lung cancer before and after the formation of a prospective, multidisciplinary thoracic malignancy care conference (TMC).

Methods: The records of patients with a non-small-cell lung cancer at a tertiary care hospital were reviewed for completeness of staging, multidisciplinary evaluation prior to the initiation of therapy, time from pathologic diagnosis to treatment, multimodality therapy and adherence to national treatment guidelines. The summary data of patients treated before and after the TMC were initiated, and then compared.

Results: Between 2001 and 2007, 535 patients were treated prior to the initiation of the TMC and 687 patients within the TMC. The number of patients receiving a complete staging evaluation (79%/93%: p<0.0001), multidisciplinary evaluation prior to therapy (62%/96%: p<0.0001) and adherence to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) treatment guidelines (81%/97%: p<0.0001) all increased significantly while mean days from diagnosis to treatment significantly decreased (29/17: p<0.0001) following the initiation of a TMC.

Conclusion: A multidisciplinary thoracic malignancy conference increased the percentage of patients receiving complete staging, a multidisciplinary evaluation and adherence to nationally accepted care guidelines while decreasing the interval from diagnosis to treatment significantly. While the ultimate goal of treatment is to improve patient survival, the surrogate variables examined in this review indicate that patients with non-small-cell lung cancer benefit from being evaluated in a prospective, multidisciplinary care conference.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Consensus Development Conferences as Topic
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic