Little association of multidisciplinary tumor boards with effects on cancer care
There is little association of multidisciplinary tumor boards with measures of use, quality, or survival, and measuring only the presence of tumor boards may not be adequate in determining their effects on cancer care, according to a study published Dec. 28 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Tumor board reviews offer a multidisciplinary approach to treatment planning, which encompasses doctors from many specialties reviewing and discussing the medical condition and the treatment of patients. Researchers from the Harvard Medical School (a component of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute), and colleagues gathered information about tumor boards from 138 Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers and linked cancer registry and administrative data to gauge receipt of stage-specific recommended care, survival, or use for patients with colorectal, lung, prostate, hematologic, and breast cancers diagnosed during 2001-2004 and followed through to 2005.
Among the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 67 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.