The role of multi-disciplinary teams in decision-making for patients with recurrent malignant disease

Sean Strong, Natalie Blencowe, Colette Reid, Tom Crosby, Hugo E R Ford, Jane Blazeby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)



It is mandatory in many countries for decisions for all new patients with cancer to be made within multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs). Whether patients with disease recurrence should also routinely be discussed by the MDT is unknown.

This study investigated the role of an upper gastro intestinal (UGI) MDT in decision-making for patients with disease recurrence.

A retrospective review of prospectively kept MDT records (2010 to 2011) was performed identifying patients discussed with recurrence of oesophagogastric cancer. Information was recorded about: i) why an MDT referral was made, ii) who made the referral and iii) the final MDT recommendation. Implementation of the MDT recommendation was also examined.

All patients discussed with recurrence of cancer at a central UGI cancer MDT were included.

During the study 54 MDT meetings included discussions regarding 304 new patients and 29 with disease recurrence. Referrals to the MDT for patients with recurrence came from outpatient clinics (n=19, 65.5%) or following emergency admission (n=10). Most referrals were made by the surgical team (n=25, 86.2%). MDT recommendations were best supportive care (n=11, 37.9%), palliative chemotherapy (n=9, 31.0%), stent (n=5, 17.2%), palliative radiotherapy (n=3, 10.3%) and further surgery (n=1, 3.4%), with 25 (86.2%) of these implemented.

UGI MDTs focus on new referrals and only a small proportion of patients with recurrent disease are re-discussed. Many patients go on to receive further treatments. Whether such patients are optimally managed within the standard MDT is uncertain, however, and warrants further consideration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPalliative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2012

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


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