Mohd Yusran Othman

and 8 more

Background Pediatric solid tumors require coordinated multidisciplinary specialist care. However, expertise and resources to conduct multidisciplinary tumor board (MDTB) meetings are lacking in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). We aimed to profile practices and perceptions on MDTBs among pediatric solid tumor units (PSTUs) in Southeast Asian LMIC countries. Methods Using online survey forms, availability of specialty manpower and MDTBs among PSTUs was first determined. From the subset of PSTUs with MDTBs, 1 pediatric surgeon and 1 pediatric oncologist from each center were queried using 5-point Likert scale questions adapted from published questionnaires. Results In 37/46 (80.4%) identified PSTUs, pediatric-trained oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians and nurses were available in 94.6%, 91.9%, 54.1%, 40.5%, 29.7%, 13.5% and 81.1% of PSTUs, respectively. Availability of pediatric-trained surgeons, radiologists and pathologists were significantly associated with existence of MDTBs (p=0.037, 0.005, 0.022 respectively). Among 43/48 (89.6%) respondents from 24 PSTUs with MDTBs, 90.5% of oncologists reported >50% oncology-dedicated workload versus 22.7% of surgeons. Views on benefits and barriers did not significantly differ between both groups. Majority agreed MDTBs helped improve accuracy of treatment recommendations and team competence. Complex cases, insufficient radiology and pathology preparation, and need for supplementary investigations, were the top barriers. Conclusions Availability of pediatric-trained subspecialists was a significant prerequisite for pediatric MDTBs. Most PSTUs lacked pediatric-trained pathologists and radiologists. Correspondingly, gaps in radiographic and pathological diagnoses were the commonest limitations. Greater emphasis on holistic multidisciplinary subspecialty development is needed to advance pediatric solid tumor care in Southeast Asia.