Shrujal S. Baxi, Lara Dunn and David G. Pfister
Shoko Mori, Cristian Navarrete-Dechent, Tatyana A. Petukhova, Erica H. Lee, Anthony M. Rossi, Michael A. Postow, Lara A. Dunn, Benjamin R. Roman, Vivian T. Yin, Daniel G. Coit, Travis J. Hollmann, Klaus J. Busam, Kishwer S. Nehal and Christopher A. Barker
Background: Tumor board conferences (TBCs) are used by oncologic specialists to review patient cases, exchange knowledge, and discuss options for cancer management. These multidisciplinary meetings are often a cornerstone of treatment at leading cancer centers and are required for accreditation by certain groups, such as the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer. Little is known regarding skin cancer TBCs. The objective of this study was to characterize the structure, function, and impact of existing skin cancer TBCs in the United States. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was administered to physician leaders of skin cancer TBCs at NCI-designated Comprehensive and Clinical Cancer Centers. Results: Of the 59 centers successfully contacted, 14 (24%) reported not having a conference where skin cancer cases were discussed, and 45 (76%) identified 53 physician leaders. A total of 38 physicians (72%) completed the survey. Half of the meeting leaders were medical and/or surgical oncologists, and dermatologists led one-third of meetings. TBCs had a moderate to significant impact on patient care according to 97% of respondents. All respondents indicated that the meetings enhanced communication among physicians and provided an opportunity for involved specialists and professionals to discuss cases. The most frequently cited barrier to organizing TBCs was determining a common available date and time for attendees (62%). The most common suggestion for improvement was to increase attendance, specialists, and/or motivation. Conclusions: Results showed overall consistency in meeting structure but variability in function, which may be a reflection of institutional resources and investment in the conference. Future directions include defining metrics to evaluate changes in diagnosis or management plan after tumor board discussion, attendance, clinical trial enrollment, and cost analysis. Results of this survey may aid other institutions striving to develop and refine skin cancer TBCs.