Objective: This study evaluates the influence of a weekly tumor conference on the management of patient care in a gynecologic oncology service.
Methods: The study utilizes all patients discussed in the gyncologic oncology tumor conference at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) from January 1, 1998, to January 1, 2001. Patient's information (age, race, cancer site, stage, new cancer versus recurrent) was abstracted from the minutes and attendant log of the tumor board. We compared the pathology and diagnosis for each patient as stated both before and after presentation at the tumor board. A discrepancy is defined as a change in tumor site, stage, or treatment, resulting from findings discussed at tumor board meetings. Major discrepancy is defined as changes that affect patient care. Minor discrepancy is defined as changes that do not affect patient care.
Results: During the study period, a total of 459 cases were discussed (391 new cancer, 68 recurrent cancer). At each tumor conference, we discussed a mean of 3.7 cases (range 1–9, standard deviation 1.68). Thirty-two cases (6.9%) showed discrepancies with 23 major discrepancies and nine minor discrepancies. As a result of the tumor board, the two most common therapeutic changes were the addition of chemotherapy and surgery.
Conclusions: In this study, a gynecologic oncology tumor board added clinical information available to pathologists, thereby alters final diagnosis and affects patient medical care.