Impact of multidisciplinary tumor board discussion on palliation of patients with esophageal or gastro-esophageal junction cancer: a population-based study

Bram D. Vermeulen*, Lukas Bruggeman, Dirk J. Bac, Ruud W. M. Schrauwen, Ludger S. M. Epping, Robert C. H. Scheffer, Adriaan C. I. T. L. Tan, Marcel J. M. Groenen, Rob H. A. Verhoeven, Peter D. Siersema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The Dutch guidelines for esophageal and gastro-esophageal junction (GEJ) cancer recommend discussion of patients by a multidisciplinary tumor board (MDT). Despite this recommendation, one previous study in the Netherlands suggested that therapeutic guidance was missing for palliative care of patients with esophageal cancer. The aim of the current study was therefore to assess the impact of an MDT discussion on initial palliative treatment and outcome of patients with esophageal or GEJ cancer. Material and methods: The population-based Netherlands Cancer Registry was used to identify patients treated for esophageal or GEJ cancer with palliative intent between 2010 and 2017 in 7 hospitals. We compared patients discussed by the MDT with patients not discussed by the MDT in a multivariate analysis. Primary outcome was type of initial palliative treatment. Secondary outcome was overall survival. Results: A total of 389/948 (41%) patients with esophageal or GEJ cancer were discussed by the MDT before initial palliative treatment. MDT discussion compared to non-MDT discussion was associated with more patients treated with palliative intent external beam radiotherapy (38% vs. 21%, OR 2.7 [95% CI 1.8–3.9]) and systemic therapy (30% vs. 23%, OR 1.6 [95% CI 1.0–2.5]), and fewer patients treated with stent placement (4% vs. 12%, OR 0.3 [95% CI 0.1–0.6]) and best supportive care alone (12% vs. 33%, OR 0.2 [95% CI 0.1–0.3]). MDT discussion was also associated with improved survival (169 days vs. 107 days, HR 1.3 [95% CI 1.1–1.6]). Conclusion: Our study shows that MDT discussion of patients with esophageal or GEJ cancer resulted in more patients treated with initial palliative radiotherapy and chemotherapy compared with patients not discussed by the MDT. Moreover, MDT discussion may have a positive effect on survival, highlighting the importance of MDT meetings at all stages of treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-416
JournalActa Oncologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2020

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