Respiratory physicians play a pivotal role in lung cancer multidisciplinary teams, say Australian and UK clinicians, although there’s no evidence to prove it.
Writing in an invited review series on lung cancer practice, implementing evidence around the world, the authors led by David Barnes from the Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney said multidisciplinary teams (MDT) were thought to improve patient outcomes but evidence on their effectiveness was limited and often contradictory.
They believed respiratory physicians played a pivotal role in these teams, although there was also a lack of evidence to support this.
For example, most patients with suspected lung cancer are initially referred to a respiratory physician for confirmation or exclusion of a diagnosis, as well as staging of confirmed lung cancer, and assessment of fitness for any potential therapy.
“In many instances, it is the respiratory physician who is the chair of the MDT and provides leadership and strategic direction for the team,” they wrote in Respirology.
“One could argue for randomized trials into both the role of MDT in lung cancer management and the role of respiratory physicians in these MDTs.”
“However, both the logistic difficulties and potential ethical concerns associated with randomized trials into these issues mean that these trials may never be undertaken,” they said.