Two Specialists, Two Recommendations: Discordance Between Urologists’ & Radiation Oncologists’ Prostate Cancer Treatment Recommendations



      To examine the treatment recommendation patterns among urologists and radiation oncologists, the level of concordance or discordance between physician recommendations, and the association between physician recommendations and the treatment that patients received.


      The study was a secondary analysis of data from a randomized clinical trial conducted November 2010 to April 2014 (NCT02053389). Eligible participants were patients from the trial who saw both specialists. The primary outcome was physician recommendations that were scored using an adapted version of the validated PhyReCS coding system. Secondary outcomes included concordance between physician recommendations and the treatment patients received.


      Participants were 108 patients (Mean age 61.9 years; range 43-82; 87% non-Hispanic White). Urologists were more likely to recommend surgery (79% of recommendations) and radiation oncologists were more likely to recommend radiation (68% of recommendations). Recommendations from the urologists and radiation oncologists were concordant for only 33 patients (30.6%). Most patients received a treatment that both physicians recommended (59%); however, 35% received a treatment that only one of their physicians recommended. When discordant, urologists more often recommended surgery and radiation oncologists recommended radiation and surgery as equally appropriate options.


      Urologists and radiation oncologists are more likely to differ than agree in their treatment recommendations for the same patients with clinically localized prostate cancer and more likely to favor treatment aligned with their specialty. Additional studies are needed to better understand how patients make decisions after meeting with two different specialists to inform the development of best practices within oncology clinics.
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