Virtual Multidisciplinary Tumor Boards: A Narrative Review Focused on Lung Cancer

Pulm Ther. 2021 Dec;7(2):295-308. doi: 10.1007/s41030-021-00163-8. Epub 2021 Jun 4.


To date, the virtual multidisciplinary tumor boards (vMTBs) are increasingly used to achieve high-quality treatment recommendations across health-care regions, which expands and develops the local MTB team to a regional or national expert network. This review describes the process of lung cancer-specific MTBs and the transition process from face-to-face tumor boards to virtual ones. The review also focuses on the project organization's description, advantages, and disadvantages. Semi-structured interviews identified five major themes for MTBs: current practice, attitudes, enablers, barriers, and benefits for the MTB. MTB teams exhibited positive responses to modeled data feedback. Virtualization reduces time spent for travel, allowing easier and timely patient discussions. This process requires a secure web platform to assure the respect of patients' privacy and presents the same unanswered problems. The implementation of vMTB also permits the implementation of networks especially in areas with geographical barriers facilitating interaction between large referral cancer centers and tertiary or community hospitals as well as easier access to clinical trial opportunities. Studies aimed to improve preparations, structure, and conduct of MTBs, research methods to monitor their performance, teamwork, and outcomes are also outlined in this article. Analysis of literature shows that MTB participants discuss 5-8 cases per meeting and that the use of a vMTB for lung cancer and in particular stage III NSCLC and complex stage IV cases is widely accepted by most health professionals. Despite still-existing gaps, overall vMTB represents a unique opportunity to optimize patient management in a patient-centered approach.

Keywords: Lung cancer; Multidisciplinary tumor boards; Oncology networks; Virtualization.

Publication types

  • Review