Background: Pretherapeutic discussion in the head and neck tumor board (HNT) has been mandatory at the University Medical Center Freiburg since 01/2015, and it is intended to contribute to a survival benefit through interdisciplinary decision making. Prior to 2015, an optional HNT existed
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Background: Pretherapeutic discussion in the head and neck tumor board (HNT) has been mandatory at the University Medical Center Freiburg since 01/2015, and it is intended to contribute to a survival benefit through interdisciplinary decision making. Prior to 2015, an optional HNT existed in which mainly advanced tumor stages were discussed. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of a pretherapeutic HNT on treatment and survival in laryngeal cancer. Methods: A retrospective data analysis of 412 laryngeal carcinoma patients treated at the Head and Neck Cancer Center of the University Medical Center Freiburg between 01/2010 and 12/2020 was conducted. Differences regarding TNM status, UICC classification, tumor localization, gender and age at initial diagnosis, recurrence, secondary tumors, therapy, 5-year survival, and 5-year recurrence-free survival (5YSR/5Y-RFS) were assessed for therapy initiation with or without a pretherapeutic HNT. Results: In total, 314 patients underwent a pretherapeutic HNT, and 98 received therapy initiation without an HNT. The HNT group showed significantly more advanced T stages and UICC classifications (p
< 0.001; p
= 0.003) and more frequent primary chemo/radiotherapy (p
< 0.001). There was no significant difference regarding 5YSR (43 vs. 47 months, p
= 0.96) or 5Y-RFS (48 vs. 52 months, p
= 0.16). The time between initial diagnosis and therapy initiation was significantly longer when an HNT was performed (38 vs. 20 days, p
= 0.008). Conclusions: The HNT group showed significantly more advanced tumor stages, suggesting that even before it became mandatory, it was frequently used for interdisciplinary case discussion in more complex cases. Due to the small number of T3/4 patients in the non-HNT group, a survival advantage of an HNT cannot be validly demonstrated in our study. However, the HNT led to broader patient counselling regarding their therapy options. At the same time, a significant delay in therapy initiation could be seen, suggesting that workflows between diagnosis, HNT presentation, and therapy initiation should be optimized.