Do Tumor Board Recommendations Influence the Decisions of Clinicians in Planning the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancers?

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The Turkish Journal of Ear Nose and Throat, vol.31, no.2, pp.39-44, 2021 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier


Objective: The aim of this study is to compare the decisions made at established tumor board meetings for planning the treatment of head and neck cancer patients with the individual treatment decisions of clinicians who attended the meetings. Material and Methods: A total of 188 patients with head and neck tumors were included in this study, all of whom had been evaluated at weekly tumor board meetings at our clinic. The tumor board consisted of otolaryngologists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, and radiologists. Before the board meetings, all data belonging to the patients were given to the otolaryngology surgeons and radiation oncologists who were to attend. Their treatment preferences were asked of them individually. The treatment options that clinicians recommended individually prior to board meetings were compared with the decisions made by the tumor board. Results: It was observed that 34% (64 cases out of 188) of the individual decisions made by ENT surgeons and 34.6% (65 cases out of 188) of those made by radiation oncologists changed following tumor board meetings. There was a statistically significant difference between the treatment options offered individually by both ENT surgeons and radiation oncologists and the treatment recommendations made by the tumor board. Conclusion: According to the data we obtained, the recommendations for treating patients with head and neck cancers made by the tumor boards may differ from the personal decisions of attending clinicians. Therefore, to make decisions that ensure the highest quality patient care, we believe it is necessary to evaluate all patients with head and neck tumors at multidisciplinary tumor board meetings regardless of cancer stage.