A review on the impact of lung cancer multidisciplinary care on patient outcomes

Monique Y. Heinke, Shalini K. Vinod


International guidelines recommend a multidisciplinary approach to the management of lung cancer due to the complexity of both patients and their disease and the multiple treatment options available. This care can be provided through patient discussion at multidisciplinary meetings where relevant medical and allied health staff formulate a consensus management plan taking all factors into consideration. This model can be extended further to include multidisciplinary clinics where the patient is present for assessment and discussion. However, conducting regular multidisciplinary meetings or clinics has significant time, resource and financial costs and therefore, it is important to assess the impact of multidisciplinary care. We aimed to review published evidence, from 2000 to 2019, to evaluate the impact of multidisciplinary care on lung cancer outcomes. There were 29 studies found, 11 evaluating multidisciplinary clinics, 14 studying multidisciplinary meetings and four where the model of care was not defined. There was only one randomised trial and three prospective studies, the remainder being retrospective studies. Despite limitations in trial design and confounding factors, overall, multidisciplinary care in lung cancer was associated with improvements in patient outcomes, in particular improved survival for all stages of lung cancer. Lung cancer patients managed in a multidisciplinary setting were more likely to receive active treatment and had improved utilisation of all treatment modalities: surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In addition, the treatment recommendations were more likely to be consistent with lung cancer management guidelines. These improved outcomes support the recommendations for a multidisciplinary approach to lung cancer care.