Influence of Physician Specialty on Treatment Recommendations in the Multidisciplinary Management of Soft Tissue Sarcoma of the Extremities

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Abstract

IMPORTANCE

Although prospective randomized data are available to guide the multidisciplinary management of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) of the extremities, controversy exists regarding adjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

OBJECTIVE

To determine if clinical specialty introduces bias in recommendations for multimodality treatment of STS.

DESIGN

Electronic survey.

SETTING

Database of active members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Society of Surgical Oncology, and the Connective Tissue Oncology Society.

PARTICIPANTS

Members of specialty oncology societies with an active interest in STS.

EXPOSURE

Physician specialty.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES

Survey responses regarding the multidisciplinary management of STS were scored on a 5-point Likert scale and analyzed using analysis of variance.

RESULTS

The questionnaire was completed by 320 of 490 potential respondents (65%), including medical (18%), radiation (8%), orthopedic (22%), and surgical oncologists (45%). Respondents concurred on the use of radiation therapy for margins positive for tumor, for high-grade tumors, for improvement in local control, for tumors larger than 10 cm, and for tumors in close proximity to a neurovascular bundle. Respondents diverged on the use of radiation therapy for tumors 5 to 10 cm in size, for low-grade tumors, for radiation-associated STS, and for survival benefit. Only radiation oncologists felt that radiation therapy was underutilized as a treatment modality (mean [SEM] Likert scale score, 2.44 [0.12]; P < .001). There was agreement on the use of chemotherapy for synovial sarcoma, for high-grade tumors, for tumors larger than 10 cm, for patients younger than 50 years of age, and for survival benefit. Medical oncologists were more likely to recommend chemotherapy for margins positive for tumor (mean [SEM] score, 3.12 [0.12]; P = .03) and for improvement in local control (mean [SEM] score, 2.91 [0.12] P = .08). Surgical oncologists placed the least emphasis on chemotherapy in the overall treatment plan (mean [SEM] score, 2.60 [0.07]; P = .001).

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE

Specialty bias exists in adjuvant treatment recommendations for STS. This highlights the importance of multidisciplinary STS tumor boards and interdisciplinary care to facilitate consensus decision making for individual patients.

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