Breast cancer specialists’ views on and use of risk prediction models in clinical practice: A mixed methods approach

Purpose. Risk prediction models (RPM) in breast cancer quantify survival benefit from adjuvant systemic treatment. These models [e.g. Adjuvant! Online (AO)] are increasingly used during consultations, despite their not being designed for such use. As still little is known about oncologists’ views on and use of RPM to communicate prognosis to patients, we investigated if, why, and how they use RPM.

Methods. We disseminated an online questionnaire that was based on the literature and individual and group interviews with oncologists.

Results. Fifty-one oncologists (partially) completed the questionnaire. AO is the best known (95%) and most frequently used RPM (96%). It is used to help oncologists decide whether or not to recommend chemotherapy (> 85%), to inform (86%) and help patients decide about treatment (> 80%), or to persuade them to follow the proposed course of treatment (74%). Most oncologists (74%) believe that using AO helps patients understand their prognosis.

Conclusion. RPM have found a place in daily practice, especially AO. Oncologists think that using AO helps patients understand their prognosis, yet studies suggest that this is not always the case. Our findings highlight the importance of exploring whether patients understand the information that RPM provide.