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Background: The complexity of the upper gastrointestinal (UGI) multidisciplinary team (MDT) is continually growing, leading to rising clinician workload, time pressures, and demands. This increases heterogeneity or ‘noise’ within decision-making for patients with oesophageal cancer (OC) and may lead to inconsistent treatment decisions. In recent decades, the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and more specifically the branch of machine learning (ML) has led to a paradigm shift in the perceived utility of statistical modelling within healthcare. Within oesophageal cancer (OC) care, ML techniques have already been applied with early success to the analyses of histological samples and radiology imaging; however, it has not yet been applied to the MDT itself where such models are likely to benefit from incorporating information-rich, diverse datasets to increase predictive model accuracy. Methods: This review discusses the current role the MDT plays in modern UGI cancer care as well as the utilisation of ML techniques to date using histological and radiological data to predict treatment response, prognostication, nodal disease evaluation, and even resectability within OC. Results: The review finds that an emerging body of evidence is growing in support of ML tools within multiple domains relevant to decision-making within OC including automated histological analysis and radiomics. However, to date, no specific application has been directed to the MDT itself which routinely assimilates this information. Conclusions: The authors feel the UGI MDT offers an information-rich, diverse array of data from which ML offers the potential to standardise, automate, and produce more consistent, data-driven MDT decisions.
Thavanesan, N., Vigneswaran, G., Bodala, I., & Underwood, T. J. (2023, April 1). The Oesophageal Cancer Multidisciplinary Team: Can Machine Learning Assist Decision-Making? Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11605-022-05575-8