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Neuro-Oncology ; 24:i165, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956579


INTRODUCTION: A multidisciplinary team (MDT) approach is essential for quality cancer care. Since 2019, we have conducted regular MDT meetings to discuss pediatric patients with central nervous system (CNS) tumors at the Philippine General Hospital. Because of COVID-19, an abrupt transition from in-person to virtual meetings became necessary. METHODS: We reviewed the proceedings of MDT meetings for pediatric CNS tumors from March 2020-December 2021. We identified the strategies and adaptations of our pediatric neuro-oncology group, and outlined recommendations for other institutions in low- and middle-income countries. RESULTS: Our pediatric neuro-oncology group conducted 18 virtual MDT meetings during the study period. Meetings were scheduled every last Tuesday of the month, with pediatric oncologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, and neuropathologists regularly attending. We invited other specialists as needed. In total, we had 135 case discussions for 79 unique patients, or about 8 patients per meeting. These included both inpatients (74%) and outpatients (26%). Ten patients received prior treatment elsewhere. At the time of the meeting, 86% were postoperative, 8% were preoperative, and 6% did not require surgery. Most (60%) had malignant CNS tumors and 15% had disseminated/leptomeningeal disease. Histopathologic diagnosis was obtained for 62 patients (79%). Concerns addressed were: formulating a treatment plan (88%), surveillance strategy (10%), and diagnostic workup (5%). DISCUSSION: Several factors contributed to the ease of online transition: (1) motivated care providers including a patient navigator, (2) fixed schedule, (3) institutional Zoom account for securing data privacy, and (4) availability of picture archiving and communication system (PACS) for neuroimaging. Challenges included: (1) delays due to internet connectivity, (2) Zoom fatigue and online distractions, and (3) risk for miscommunication or misunderstanding. Commitment of the entire neuro-oncology team is essential to ensure the delivery of best possible care for pediatric patients with CNS tumors.