Effect of an artificial intelligence clinical decision support system on treatment decisions for complex breast cancer

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PURPOSE To examine the impact of a clinical decision support system (CDSS) on breast cancer treatment decisions and adherence to National Comprehensive Cancer Center (NCCN) guidelines. PATIENTS AND METHODS A cross-sectional observational study was conducted involving 1,977 patients at high risk for recurrent or metastatic breast cancer from the Chinese Society of Clinical Oncology. Ten oncologists provided blinded treatment recommendations for an average of 198 patients before and after viewing therapeutic options offered by the CDSS. Univariable and bivariable analyses of treatment changes were performed, and multivariable logistic regressions were estimated to examine the effects of physician experience (years), patient age, and receptor subtype/TNM stage. RESULTS Treatment decisions changed in 105 (5%) of 1,977 patients and were concentrated in those with hormone receptor (HR)–positive disease or stage IV disease in the first-line therapy setting (73% and 58%, respectively). Logistic regressions showed that decision changes were more likely in those with HR-positive cancer (odds ratio [OR], 1.58; P, .05) and less likely in those with stage IIA (OR, 0.29; P, .05) or IIIA cancer (OR, 0.08; P, .01). Reasons cited for changes included consideration of the CDSS therapeutic options (63% of patients), patient factors highlighted by the tool (23%), and the decision logic of the tool (13%). Patient age and oncologist experience were not associated with decision changes. Adherence to NCCN treatment guidelines increased slightly after using the CDSS (0.5%; P = .003). CONCLUSION Use of an artificial intelligence–based CDSS had a significant impact on treatment decisions and NCCN guideline adherence in HR-positive breast cancers. Although cases of stage IV disease in the first-line therapy setting were also more likely to be changed, the effect was not statistically significant (P = .22). Additional research on decision impact, patient-physician communication, learning, and clinical outcomes is needed to establish the overall value of the technology.