Background. Multidisciplinary team (MDT) conferences have been introduced into standard cancer care, though evidence that it benefits the patient is weak. We used the national Swedish Rectal Cancer Register to evaluate predictors for case discussion at a MDT conference and its impact on treatment.
Material and methods. Of the 6760 patients diagnosed with rectal cancer in Sweden between 2007 and 2010, 78% were evaluated at a MDT. Factors that influenced whether a patient was discussed at a preoperative MDT conference were evaluated in 4883 patients, and the impact of MDT evaluation on the implementation of preoperative radiotherapy was evaluated in 1043 patients with pT3c-pT4 M0 tumours, and in 1991 patients with pN+ M0 tumours.
Results. Hospital volume, i.e. the number of rectal cancer surgical procedures performed per year, was the major predictor for MDT evaluation. Patients treated at hospitals with < 29 procedures per year had an odds ratio (OR) for MDT evaluation of 0.15. Age and tumour stage also influenced the chance of MDT evaluation. MDT evaluation significantly predicted the likelihood of being treated with preoperative radiotherapy in patients with pT3c-pT4 M0 tumours (OR 5.06, 95% CI 3.08–8.34), and pN+ M0 (OR 3.55, 95% CI 2.60–4.85), even when corrected for co-morbidity and age.
Conclusion. Patients with rectal cancer treated at high-volume hospitals are more likely to be discussed at a MDT conference, and that is an independent predictor of the use of adjuvant radiotherapy. These results indirectly support the introduction into clinical practice of discussing all rectal cancer patients at MDT conferences, not least those being treated at low-volume hospitals.
Informa Healthcare, 2015. Vol. 54, no 4, 447-453 p.