Examining the potential relationship between multidisciplinary cancer care and patient survival: An international literature review

Authors

  • Nicole J. Look Hong MD, MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Department of Surgery, Banting Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    • c/o Frances C. Wright, Department of Surgical Oncology, Edmund Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Room T2-016, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5. Fax: 416-480-6002.
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  • Frances C. Wright MD, FRCSC, MEd,

    1. Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Department of Surgery, Banting Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    3. Department of Surgical Oncology, Edmund Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • Anna R. Gagliardi MSc, MLS, PhD,

    1. Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Department of Surgery, Banting Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • Lawrence F. Paszat MD, FRCPC, MSc

    1. Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
    2. Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Toronto, ON, Canada
    3. Department of Radiation Oncology, Edmund Odette Cancer Centre, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
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  • Frances Wright currently works for Cancer Care Ontario, the provincial cancer agency, as a consultant regarding multidisciplinary cancer conferences.

Abstract

Background and Objectives

The aim of this review is to examine the relationship between multidisciplinary cancer care and patient survival.

Methods

A literature review was undertaken between January 1950 and September 2009. Included studies described multidisciplinary cancer care and its relation to patient survival. Multidisciplinary care was defined as involvement of a team of clinical and allied specialists whose intent is individualized patient management. Studies were critically appraised for internal and external validity. All study designs were included.

Results

Twenty-one studies met eligibility criteria for this review, including two systematic reviews, one abstract, and 18 original studies. Pooling of results was not possible due to heterogeneity of patient populations, disease sites, measured outcomes, and follow-up periods. Twelve studies (one prospective and six retrospective cohort studies, five before–after series) reported statistically significant association between multidisciplinary care and patient survival.

Conclusions

Due to methodological limitations, this review is unable to assert a causal relationship between multidisciplinary care and patient survival. In order to better evaluate this relationship, the oncology community must first accept a common definition of multidisciplinary care. Future efforts can then elucidate which aspects of multidisciplinary care impact survival, with consideration of confounding patient and tumour factors. J. Surg. Oncol. 2010;102:125–134. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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