Clinical Study

Optimising head and neck cancer patient management: the crucial contributions of multidisciplinary tumour board decision-making

4 Jun 2024
Bushra Ayub, Fizza Asif Qureshi, Nabeel Humayun Hassan, Fatima Shaukat, Talha Ahmed Qureshi

Introduction: Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the head and neck is a great burden globally, which is being tackled through treatment options of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these, to avoid disease-related mortality. Multidisciplinary tumour boards play a pivotal role in customising and deciding management plan based on clinical aspects. The objective of the study is to determine the concordance of opinion between the treatment plan of a primary physician and board members.

Material and methods: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study that includes 137 head and neck carcinoma cases. They were discussed in the multidisciplinary tumour board meeting and were reviewed; all demographics were analysed including the tumour staging and the decisions of the primary physician was compared with those of the board. To check the concordance between primary surgeon plans or after board discussion Kappa agreement test was used.

Results: Total of 137 patients were included in the study out of which 63 cases were pre-treatment and 74 cases were post-treatment, i.e., surgically treated cases, with the distribution being 46% and 54%, respectively. Most cases, totaling 120, were SCC, accounting for 80% of the total cases. Among the pre-treatment cases, T4a and N0 were the most common categories, with 29 and 40 cases, respectively. Similarly, in post-treatment cases, the majority fell into the T4a and N1 categories, with 29 and 38 cases, respectively. When comparing the primary surgeon's plan with the tumour board meeting decision, the agreement showed a value of 0.273, indicating a slight level of agreement between the two entities.

Conclusion: Our data indicates that the multidisciplinary head and neck tumour board may have influenced the treatment plans of the primary surgeon, in approximately one in two patients (43.06%).

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