According to a new study published in the journal Annals of Oncology, researchers in New Zealand have found that multidisciplinary cancer team meetings need to systematically consider treatment of patients with comorbidity in order to improve outcomes of patients with cancer with comorbidities.
For the study, researchers sought to investigate how comorbidity of patients with cancer is considered in multidisciplinary cancer team meetings, and how information on comorbidity impacts decision-making. Researchers conducted a systematic literature review to evaluate previous research on consideration and impact of comorbidity in multidisciplinary cancer team decision-making of their patients' treatments. They identified 21 studies for the review.
Results showed that lack of information on patients' comorbidity in team meetings affect the ability of team members to make therapy recommendations and decreases the likelihood that those recommendations are implemented in patients with comorbidity.
In addition, researchers found that when treatment for those with comorbidity is different than from what is recommended, it is more conservative even though the recommended treatment may be effective and tolerated. Researchers also found that team members are likely unaware that they are ignoring comborbidity issues.
The authors conclude that multidisciplinary team members should systematically consider treatment options for patients with cancer and comorbidity in order to enhance decision-making.
Comorbidity is very common among patients with cancer. Multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTs) are increasingly the context within which cancer treatment decisions are made internationally. Little is known about how comorbidity is considered, or impacts decisions, in MDTs. MDTs should systematically consider treatment of patients with comorbidity.