Do multidisciplinary team meetings make a difference in the management of lung cancer?

Cancer. 2011 Nov 15;117(22):5112-20. doi: 10.1002/cncr.26149. Epub 2011 Apr 26.


Background: There is limited evidence regarding the effectiveness of multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings in lung cancer. The objective of this study was to compare the patterns of care for patients with newly diagnosed lung cancer who were presented at a lung cancer MDT meeting with the patterns of care for patients who were not presented.

Methods: All patients who had lung cancer newly diagnosed in South West Sydney (SWS) between December 1, 2005, and December 31, 2008, were identified from the local Clinical Cancer Registry. Patient and tumor characteristics and treatment receipt were compared between patients who were and were not presented at MDT meetings. A logistic regression model was constructed to determine predictors for receiving treatment and survival.

Results: In total, there were 988 patients, including 504 patients who were presented at MDT meetings and 484 who were not presented at MDT meetings. The median patient age was 69 years and 73 years in the MDT group and the non-MDT group, respectively (P < .01). There was no pathologic diagnosis for 13% of non-MDT patients compared with 4% of MDT patients (P < .01). Treatment receipt for MDT patients versus non-MDT patients was 12% versus 13%, respectively, for surgery (P value nonsignificant); 66% versus 33%, respectively, for radiotherapy (P < .001); 46% versus 29%, respectively, for chemotherapy (P < .001); and 66% versus 53%, respectively, for palliative care (P < .001). In patients with good performance status, the MDT group had significantly better receipt of radiotherapy among patients with stage I through IV nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and had significantly better receipt of chemotherapy among patients with stage IV NSCLC. MDT discussion was an independent predictor of receiving radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and referral to palliative care but did not influence survival.

Conclusions: MDT discussion was associated with better treatment receipt, which potentially may improve quality of life for patients with lung cancer. However, it did not improve survival.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Australia
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Quality of Life