Background: Early referral of cancer patients for palliative care significantly improves the quality of life. It is not clear which patients can benefit from an early referral, and when the referral should occur. A Delphi Panel study proposed 11 major criteria for an outpatient palliative care referral.
Objective: To operationalize major Delphi criteria in a cohort of lung cancer patients, using a prospective approach, by linking health administrative data.
Design: Population-based observational cohort study.
Setting/Subjects: The study population comprised 38,851 cases of lung cancer in the Ontario Cancer Registry, diagnosed from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2016.
Measurements: We operationalized 6 of the 11 major criteria (4 diagnosis or prognosis based and 2 symptom based). Patients were considered eligible (index event) for palliative care if they qualified for any criterion. Among eligible patients, we identified those who received palliative care.
Results: Twenty-eight thousand one hundred sixty-four patients were eligible for palliative care by qualifying for either the diagnosis- or prognosis-based criteria (n = 21,036, 76.5%), or for symptom-based criteria (n = 7128, 23.5%). A total of 23,199 (82.4%) patients received palliative care. The median time from palliative care eligibility to the receipt of first palliative care or death or maximum study follow-up was 56 days (range = 17–348).
Conclusions: We operationalized six major criteria that identified the majority of lung cancer patients who were eligible for palliative care. Most eligible patients received the palliative care before death. Future research is warranted to test these criteria in other cancer populations.
Aims of the study: Blood coagulation parameters are colossally important for clinical evaluation of palliative chemotherapy; however, this niche was not explored earlier for advanced-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Study focuses to explore the clinical relevancy of Coagulation parameters; prothrombin time (PT), activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT), thrombin time (TT), fibrinogen (FIB), D-dimer and international normalised ratio (INR) and their response to palliative chemotherapy in advanced-stage NSCLC.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted between 2013 and 2019 in Jiangsu Cancer hospital, Nanjing, PR. China. Medical records of 5445 patients were succinctly reviewed and classified accordingly to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A total of 216 advanced NSCLC patients who used a first-line chemotherapy and antiangiogenic therapy regimen were enrolled in this study under ethical approval (JSCH-2020C-009). Blood samples were collected from these patients to measure the response levels of these coagulation parameters at time of admission to hospital and at the beginning of 4 cycles of Palliative therapy. We find the clinical value of all these coagulation parameters by using SPSS 24. Univariate Cox regression and Multivariate Cox regression models were used to identify the factors that were associated with progression-free survival (PFS) and the response to palliative chemotherapy.
Results: In the Kaplan-Meier survival analysis for overall median (95% CI) survival of high pre-treatment coagulation parameters showed shorter PFS compared with normal pre-treatment except TT and their overall median (95% CI) follow-up was 3.3 (3.12-3.47). Coagulation parameters have showed clinical relevance as a potential independent prognostic factor of PFS in the Univariate Cox regression. In multivariable model, Age (=60 years vs < 60 years), cancer differentiation (Unknown vs Poor), PT (High vs Normal) range, FIB (High vs Normal) range and D-dimer (High vs Normal) range, (P = .025, P = .045, P = .029, P = .049 and P = .011, respectively) were associated as a prognostic factor of PFS in NSCLC. Patients on 3-drugs regimen found to have better PFS compared with the ones taking the 2-drugs treatment regimen (P = .043).
Conclusion: The high range of PT, FIB and D-dimers was associated with poor prognosis of advanced-stage NSCLC. Our findings also confirmed that patients on 3-drugs regimen showed longer PFS compared with 2-drugs regimen.
Lung cancer is one of the main causes of cancer-related mortality worldwide. Over the years, different therapeutic modalities have been adopted depending on tumor stage and patient characteristics, such as surgery, radiotherapy (RT), and chemotherapy. Recently, with the development of immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICI), the treatment of metastatic and locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has experienced a revolution that has resulted in a significant improvement in overall survival with an enhanced toxicity profile. Despite this paradigm shift, most patients present some kind of resistance to ICI. In this setting, current research is shifting towards the integration of multiple therapies, with RT and ICI being one of the most promising based on the potential immunostimulatory synergy of this combination. This review gives an overview of the evolution and current state of the combination of RT and ICI and provides evidence-based data that can improve patient selection. The combination in lung cancer is a safe therapeutic approach that improves local control and progression-free survival, and it has the potential to unleash abscopal responses. Additionally, this treatment strategy seems to be able to re-sensitize select patients that have reached a state of resistance to ICI, further enabling the continuation of systemic therapy.
BACKGROUND: Results of previous studies demonstrated that high-intensity end-of-life (EOL) care improves neither cancer patients' survival nor quality of life. Our objective was to assess the incidence of and factors associated with aggressiveness of care during the last 30 days of life (DOL) of lung cancer (LC) patients and the impacts of aggressiveness of care in EOL-care costs.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using French national hospital database, all patients with LC who died between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011, or between January 1, 2015, and January 31, 2016, were included. EOL-care aggressiveness was assessed using the following criteria: chemotherapy administered within the last 14 DOL; more than one hospitalization within the last 30 DOL; admission to the intensive care unit within the last 30 DOL; and palliative care initiated < 3 days before death. Expenditures were limited to direct costs, from a health care payer's perspective.
RESULTS: Among 79,746 adult LC patients identified; 57% had at least one indicator of EOL-care aggressiveness (49% repeated hospitalizations, 12% intensive care unit admissions, 9% chemotherapy, 5% palliative care). It increased significantly between the 2 periods (56% vs. 58%, P < .001). Young age, male sex, shorter time since diagnosis, comorbidities, no malnutrition, type of care facility other than general hospital, social deprivation, and low-density population were independently associated with having one or more indicator of aggressive EOL care. The mean EOL cost was €8152 ± 5117 per patient, but the cost was significantly higher for patients with at least one EOL-care aggressiveness criterion (€9480 vs. €6376, P < .001).
CONCLUSION: In France, a majority of LC patients had at least one criterion of aggressive EOL care that had a major economic impact on the health care system.
Aims: choosing the optimal palliative lung radiotherapy regimen is challenging. Guidance from The Royal College of Radiologists recommends treatment stratification based on performance status, but evidence suggests that higher radiotherapy doss may be associated with survival benefits. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of fractionation regimen and additional factors on the survival of palliative lung cancer radiotherapy patients.
Materials and methods: A retrospective univariable (n = 925) and multivariable (n = 422) survival analysis of the prognostic significance of baseline patient characteristics and treatment prescription was carried out on patients with non-small cell and small cell lung cancer treated with palliative lung radiotherapy. The covariates investigated included: gender, age, performance status, histology, comorbidities, stage, tumour location, tumour side, smoking status, pack year history, primary radiotherapy technique and fractionation scheme. The overall mortality rate at 30 and 90 days of treatment was calculated.
Results: univariable analysis revealed that performance status (P < 0.001), fractionation scheme (P < 0.001), comorbidities (P = 0.02), small cell histology (P = 0.02), ‘lifelong never’ smoking status (P = 0.01) and gender (P = 0.06) were associated with survival. Upon multivariable analysis, only better performance status (P = 0.01) and increased dose/fractionation regimens of up to 30 Gy/10 fractions (P < 0.001) were associated with increased survival. Eighty-five (9.2%) and 316 patients (34%) died within 30 and 90 days of treatment, respectively.
Conclusion: In this retrospective single-centre analysis of palliative lung radiotherapy, increased total dose (up to and including 30 Gy/10 fractions) was associated with better survival regardless of performance status.
Purpose: The USA has observed a significant increase in the use of palliative care for patients diagnosed with advanced cancer. However, it is unknown how geographic variation affects patients’ use of palliative care services. We examined temporal and demographic trends in receipt of and timing of palliative care by state and region.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database. Study sample included community-dwelling patients aged = 65 years with metastatic lung cancer who were diagnosed between 2001 and 2015. Cochran-Armitage trend test was used to evaluate temporal trends in receipt of and timing of palliative care by states and census region.
Results: The proportion of metastatic lung cancer patients who received palliative care ranged from 16.4% in Washington and 16.3% in Connecticut to 6.4% in Louisiana. From 2001 to 2015, use of palliative care increased from 3.2 to 29.8% in the West region, from 3.3 to 31.9% in the Northeast region, from 3.8 to 36.2% in the Midwest region, and from 0.9 to 23.3% in the South region (all P < 0.001). The median time from the date of cancer diagnosis to the date of first palliative care visit varied geographically, from 44 days in Utah to 66 days in California. Hospital-based palliative care was most common in these states.
Conclusion: The substantial geographic variation in the use of palliative care suggesting a need for additional research on geographic disparities in palliative care and strategies that might improve state-level palliative care delivery.
Background: Palliative care has been widely implemented in clinical practice for patients with cancer but is not routinely provided to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Aim: The study aims were to compare palliative care services, medications, life-sustaining interventions, place of death, symptom burden and health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer populations.
Design: Systematic review with meta-analysis (PROSPERO: CRD42019139425).
Data sources: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PubMed, CINAHL and PsycINFO were searched for studies comparing palliative care, symptom burden or health-related quality of life among chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or populations with both conditions. Quality scores were assigned using the QualSyst tool.
Results: Nineteen studies were included. There was significant heterogeneity in study design and sample size. A random effects meta-analysis ( n = 3–7) determined that people with lung cancer had higher odds of receiving hospital (odds ratio: 9.95, 95% confidence interval: 6.37–15.55, p < 0.001) or home-based palliative care (8.79, 6.76–11.43, p < 0.001), opioids (4.76, 1.87–12.11, p = 0.001), sedatives (2.03, 1.78–2.32, p < 0.001) and dying at home (1.47, 1.14–1.89, p = 0.003) compared to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. People with lung cancer had lower odds of receiving invasive ventilation (0.26, 0.22–0.32, p < 0.001), non-invasive ventilation (0.63, 0.44–0.89, p = 0.009), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (0.29, 0.18–0.47, p < 0.001) or dying at a nursing home/long-term care facility (0.32, 0.16–0.64, p < 0.001) than people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Symptom burden and health-related quality of life were relatively similar between the two populations.
Conclusion: People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receive less palliative measures at the end of life compared to people with lung cancer, despite a relatively similar symptom profile.
Background: Lung cancer has a high impact on both patients and relatives due to the high disease burden and short life expectancy. Previous studies looked into treatment goals patients have before starting a systemic treatment. However, studies on relatives’ perceptions of treatment at the end of life are scarce. Therefore, we studied the perspectives of relatives in hindsight on the achievement of treatment goals and the choice to start treatment for metastatic lung cancer of their loved one.
Methods: we conducted a structured telephone interview study in six hospitals across the Netherlands, one academic and five non-academic hospitals, between February 2017 and November 2019. We included 118 relatives of deceased patients diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer who started a systemic treatment as part of usual care (chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapy with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and who completed a questionnaire on their treatment goals before the start of treatment and when treatment was finished. We asked the relatives about the achievement of patients’ treatment goals and relatives’ satisfaction with the choice to start treatment. This study is part of a larger study in which 266 patients with metastatic lung cancer participated who started a systemic treatment and reported their treatment goals before start of the treatment and the achievement of these goals after the treatment.
Results: Relatives reported the goals ‘quality of life’, ‘decrease tumour size’ and ‘life prolongation’ as achieved in 21, 37 and 41% respectively. The majority of the relatives (78%) were satisfied with the choice to start a treatment and even when none of the goals were achieved, 70% of the relatives were satisfied. About 50% of relatives who were satisfied with the patients’ choice mentioned negative aspects of the treatment choice, such as the treatment did not work, there were side effects or it would not have been the relatives’ choice. Whereas, 80% of relatives who were not satisfied mentioned negative aspects of the treatment choice. The most mentioned positive aspects were that they tried everything and that it was the patient’s choice.
Conclusion: The majority of relatives reported patients’ treatment goals as not achieved. However, relatives were predominantly satisfied about the treatment choice. Satisfaction does not provide a full picture of the experience with the treatment decision considering that the majority of relatives mentioned (also) negative aspects of this decision. At the time of making the treatment decision it is important to manage expectations about the chance of success and the possible side effects of the treatment.
Background: Palliative care is associated with improved survival and quality of life among patients with lung cancer; however, its influence on healthcare utilization and quality of care is unclear.
Research Question: Is palliative care, and the setting in which it occurs, associated with healthcare resource utilization and quality of care among patients with advanced lung cancer?
Study Design and Methods: Retrospective cohort study of 23,142 patients with Stage IIIB/IV lung cancer in the VA HealthCare System between 2007-2013. Exposures included the receipt of specialist-delivered palliative care, and setting of the initial palliative care encounter (inpatient or outpatient) received after cancer diagnosis. Primary outcomes included rates of emergency department (ED) visits, along with rates of hospitalization and odds of ICU admission within the last 30 days of life. Secondary outcomes included any healthcare utilization (ED, hospital, or ICU) related to chemotherapy toxicity. We used propensity score methods to perform Poisson and logistic regression modeling.
Results: Among 23,142 patients, 57% received palliative care, and 36% of initial palliative care encounters were outpatient. Compared to no palliative care, initial palliative care encounter in the outpatient setting was associated with reduced rates of ED visits (aIRR=0.86, 95% CI:0.77-0.96) and hospitalizations in the last 30 days of life (aIRR=0.64, 95% CI:0.59-0.70). Initial palliative care encounters in both inpatient (aOR=0.63, 95% CI 0.53-0.75) and outpatient (aOR=0.42, 95% CI 0.35-0.52) settings were associated with reduced odds of ICU admission in the last 30 days of life. Palliative care was also associated with reduced healthcare utilization related to chemotherapy toxicity (aOR=0.88, 95% CI:0.82-0.95).
Interpretation: Palliative care (particularly in outpatient settings) is associated with reduced healthcare utilization at the end of life and may improve the quality of care among patients with advanced lung cancer. These findings support the role of palliative care as an important component of comprehensive cancer care and highlight the potential benefits of outpatient palliative care services.
Aim: This study aims to analyze the prognostic value of seven tumor makers and also investigate the response of palliative chemotherapy in advanced NSCLC patients with advanced disease.
Methods: Medical records of 278 advanced NSCLC Chinese patients who received six cycles of palliative chemotherapy were retrospectively reviewed under ethical approval (JSCH2019K-011). Univariate and multivariate Cox regression analyses were performed using SPSS 24 to find the clinical value of these tumor markers and to identify the factors that were associated with progression-free survival (PFS), as well as the response to palliative chemotherapy.
Results: In baseline characteristic, the high levels of CEA, CA-125, CA-199, AFP, NSE, CYFRA21-1, and CA15-3 were detected in 209 (75.18%), 139 (50.0%), 62 (22.30%), 18 (6.47%), 155 (55.75%), 176 (63.30%), and 180 (64.74%) patients, respectively. Univariate analysis revealed that patients with high vs. normal levels of all tumor markers had an increased risk of poor prognosis. In the multivariable Cox regression model, the patient with (high vs. normal) CYFRA21-1 levels (HR = 1.454, P = 0.009) demonstrated an increased poor PFS. However, patients with (high vs. normal) CA19-9 levels (HR = 0.524, P < 0.0001) and NSE levels (HR = 0.584, P < 0.0001) presented a decreased risk of PFS. Also, patients receiving 3-drugs regimen had better PFS compared to those on 2-drugs regimen (P = 0.043).
Conclusions: The high levels of CYFRA21-1 was correlated with a poor prognostic factor of PFS for Advanced NSCLC patients. However, the high levels of CA19-9 and NSE were associated with a better prognostic factor of PFS. Additionally, smoking habits and tumor status had a poor prognostic factor of PFS. Moreover, we found that antiangiogenic therapy has high efficacy with first-line chemotherapy and longer PFS of NSCLC patients.
Context: Older adults with advanced lung cancer experience high symptom burden at end of life (EOL), yet hospice enrollment often happens late or not at all. Receipt of medications to manage symptoms in the outpatient setting, outside the Medicare hospice benefit, has not been described.
Objectives: We examined patterns of symptom management medication receipt at EOL for older adults who died of lung cancer.
Methods: This retrospective cohort used the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results—Medicare database to identify decedents diagnosed with lung cancer at age 67 years and older between January 2008 and December 2013 who survived six months and greater after diagnosis. Using Medicare Part B and D claims, we identified monthly receipt of outpatient medications for symptomatic management of pain, emotional distress, fatigue, dyspnea, anorexia, and nausea/vomiting. Multivariable logistic regression estimated associations between medication receipt and patient demographic characteristics, comorbidity, and concurrent therapy.
Results: Of the 16,246 included patients, large proportions received medications for dyspnea (70.7%), pain (62.5%), and emotional distress (49.4%), with lower prevalence for other symptoms. Medication receipt increased from six months to one month before death. Women and dual Medicaid enrolled were more likely to receive medications for pain, emotional distress, dyspnea, and nausea/vomiting. Receipt of symptom management medications decreased with increasing age and racial/ethnical minorities.
Conclusion: Symptom management medication receipt was common and increasing toward EOL. Lower use by males, older adults, and nonwhites may reflect poor access or poor patient-provider communication. Further research is needed to understand these patterns and assess adequacy of symptom management in the outpatient setting.
There is growing evidence that palliative care supports the needs of patients with advanced lung cancer. Early palliative care referral has been shown to improve quality of life, decrease symptom burden, and help patients better understand their illness. However, access to palliative care specialists is limited. All providers caring for patients with lung cancer should be able to manage basic symptoms and engage in routine discussions about goals of care, prognosis, and suffering. By developing primary palliative care skills, more patients, even those with earlier stages of lung cancer, benefit from better symptom management, communication, support, and quality of life.
Introduction: Esophagitis influences quality of life and might cause treatment interruption and hospitalization. Previous studies of risk factors focused on curative treatment for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which often involves concomitant chemoradiation (CRT). Given the uncertainty around extrapolation of dose constraints, we analyzed risk factors in patients treated with hypofractionated palliative regimens.
Patients and methods: A retrospective review of 106 patients treated with palliative radiotherapy or CRT between 2009 and 2017 was performed. Inclusion criteria: prescribed total dose 30–54 Gy, dose per fraction 2.5–4 Gy, esophageal dose > 1 Gy. Uni- and multivariate analyses were performed in 97 eligible patients to identify predictive factors for acute esophagitis grade = 1 (CTCAE 5.0).
Results: Forty percent of patients were treated with 15 fractions of 2.8 Gy (42 Gy) and 28% also received chemotherapy according to the CONRAD study regimen (induction and concomitant Carboplatin/Vinorelbine) published by the Norwegian Lung Cancer Group. Thirty-four percent were treated with 10 fractions of 3 Gy. Stage IV NSCLC was present in 47%. Esophagus Dmax was 39 Gy (population median) and Dmean 15 Gy. Overall 31% of patients developed esophagitis (26% grade 2–3, no grade 4–5). Several dosimetric parameters correlated with the risk of esophagitis (Dmax, Dmean, D5cc, V20, V30, V35, V40). Dmax outperformed other dosimetric variables in multivariate analysis. Furthermore, concomitant chemotherapy significantly increased the risk of esophagitis, while oral steroid medication reduced it. In patients with Dmax =40 Gy a reduced Dmean (=20 Gy) was beneficial.
Conclusion: In order to reduce esophagitis after hypofractionated palliative treatment lower doses than those recommended in curative NSCLC settings are preferable. Besides esophageal dose, CRT is the main risk factor for esophagitis. Additional work is needed to confirm that steroids are able to modify the risk (or to rule out confounding effects of baseline variables not included in our database).
Background: early involvement of palliative care and advance care planning improves quality of life outcomes and survival for patients with advanced lung cancer, however there are barriers to implementation.
Aims and Methods: A single-centre prospective audit reviewing “Goals of Care” (GOC) form completion and palliative care referrals in an oncology clinic was undertaken with the aim of increasing GOC completion and palliative care referrals for patients with advanced lung cancer. Involved physicians attended a communication skills course and then received a communication-priming interventions. Clinicopathological factors associated with GOC completion and palliative care referral were explored.
Results: 84 patients receiving palliative treatment for advanced lung cancer were enrolled. Clinicopathological factors, such as poorer performance status were associated with higher likelihood of GOC completion (p = 0.018) prior to the intervention. Male sex (p = 0.023), absence of a sensitising EGFR mutation or ALK rearrangement (p = 0.017), type of systemic therapy (p = 0.031) and poorer performance status (p < 0.001) were associated with higher likelihood of palliative care referral. The intervention improved GOC completion (RR 1.29 p = 0.004), however this was not sustained in a follow-up audit (RR 0.98 p = 0.92) and there was no change in palliative care referral rate (RR 2.5, p = 0.16). Predictors of palliative referral following clinical review included age (RR 1.16, p = 0.001), male sex (RR 14.2, p = 0.02) and poorer performance status (RR 1.76, p < 0.001).
Conclusion: communication-priming interventions can improve GOC completion for patients with advanced lung cancer. Further investigation is needed to pursue sustainable options for managing this complex patient group and improve guideline-adherence and patient care.
Objective: To investigate the clinical implications of sleep quality, anxiety and depression in patients with advanced lung cancer (LC) and their family caregivers (FCs).
Methods: A total of 98 patients with advanced LC and their FCs (n=98) were recruited from the Oncology Department in Nanfang Hospital. The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), consisting of seven components that evaluate subjective sleep quality, sleep latency, duration of sleep, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, sleep medication usage and daytime dysfunction, was used to assess sleep quality. Using the tool of Zung Self-rating Anxiety Scale (SAS) and Zung Self-rating Depression Scale (SDS), we tested the patients’ status of anxiety and depression, respectively.
Results: The prevalences of poor sleep quality, anxiety and depression in patients were 56.1%, 48.9% and 56.1%, respectively, while those in FCs were 16.3%, 32.6% and 25.5%, respectively. Patients had higher PSQI, SAS and SDS scores than did FCs (p<0.05). Significant correlations were found between the patients’ and FCs’ scores of PSQI/SAS/SDS (p<0.05). Multivariate Cox regression analyses indicated that sleep disturbances in patients (HR 0.413, 95% CI 0.21 to 0.80, p=0.01) and the global PSQI score of FCs (HR 0.31, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.71, p=0.00) were independent risk factors for patients’ first-line progression-free survival (PFS). Moreover, patients’ sleep latency (HR 2.329, 95% CI 1.36 to 3.96, p=0.00) and epidermal growth factor receptor mutations (HR 1.953, 95% CI 1.12 to 3.38, p=0.01) were significant prognostic factors for their overall survival (OS).
Conclusions: We demonstrated that presence of sleep disturbances in patients with advanced LC and the global PSQI Score of their FCs may be risk predictors for patients’ poor first-line PFS. Patients’ sleep latency was a potential risk factor for their OS.
Background: Lymphopenia during radiotherapy (RT) may have an adverse effect on treatment outcome. The aim of this study is to investigate associations between lymphopenia and RT parameters in patients with advanced lung cancer. Moreover, to investigate the prognostic role of lymphopenia, blood protein levels, and treatment and patient-related factors.
Material and Methods: Sixty-two advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients were retrospectively analyzed. Blood counts were available prior to, during, and after RT (3Gyx10). For each patient, a thoracic volume of interest (VOI) -including thoracic soft tissue and trabecular bone- was obtained by applying a CT window of -500 to 1200 HU in the planning CT. Dose parameters from thoracic VOI and other regions including lungs and vertebrae were calculated. Association between risk of lymphopenia = G3 (lymphocytes at nadir according to CTCAE v4.0) and therapeutic parameters was investigated using Logistic regression. Relationships between overall survival (OS) and RT dose parameters, baseline blood counts and protein levels, and clinical factors were evaluated using Log-rank and Cox models.
Result: Mean thoracic RT dose (odds ratio [OR] 1.67; p = 0.04), baseline lymphocytes (OR 0.65; p = 0.01), and corticosteroids use (OR 6.07; p = 0.02) were significantly associated with increased risk of lymphopenia = G3 in multivariable analysis. Worse OS was associated with high mean thoracic RT dose, high CRP/Albumin, large tumor volume and corticosteroids use (p < 0.05, univariate analysis), but not with lymphopenia = G3. CRP/Albumin ratio > 0.12 (hazard ratio [HR] 2.28, p = 0.03) and corticosteroid use (HR 2.52, p = 0.01) were independently associated with worse OS.
Conclusion: High thoracic RT dose gave a higher risk of lymphopenia = G3; hence limiting dose volume to the thorax may be valuable in preventing severe lymphopenia for patients receiving palliative fractionated RT. Still, lymphopenia = G3 was not associated with worse OS. however, high baseline CRP/Albumin was associated with poorer OS and may carry important information as a prognostic factor of OS in advanced NSCLC receiving palliative RT.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the regional variation in hospital care utilization in the last 6 months of life of Dutch patients with lung cancer and to test whether higher degrees of hospital utilization coincide with less general practitioner (GP) and long-term care use.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional claims data study.
SETTING: The Netherlands.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients deceased in 2013-2015 with lung cancer (N = 25 553).
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: We calculated regional medical practice variation scores, adjusted for age, gender and socioeconomic status, for radiotherapy, chemotherapy, CT-scans, emergency room contacts and hospital admission days during the last 6 months of life; Spearman Rank correlation coefficients measured the association between the adjusted regional medical practice variation scores for hospital admissions and ER contacts and GP and long-term care utilization.
RESULTS: The utilization of hospital services in high-using regions is 2.3-3.6 times higher than in low-using regions. The variation was highest in 2015 and lowest in 2013. For all 3 years, hospital care was not significantly correlated with out-of-hospital care at a regional level.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospital care utilization during the last 6 months of life of patients with lung cancer shows regional medical practice variation over the course of multiple years and seems to increase. Higher healthcare utilization in hospitals does not seem to be associated with less intensive GP and long-term care. In-depth research is needed to explore the causes of the variation and its relation to quality of care provided at the level of daily practice.
OBJECTIVES: To estimate differences in spending and utilization between hospice users and non-users with lung cancer by length of hospice enrollment.
STUDY DESIGN: Retrospective analysis using 2009-2013 Medicare claims.
METHODS: The study sample was a 10% random sample of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with lung cancer who died between 2010 and 2013. We identified different categories of hospice users (hospice enrollment for 1-7 days, 8-14 days, 15-30 days, 31-60 days, 61 days - 6 months) and non-users. We used propensity score matching to match users in each enrollment category with non-users. The outcomes were: a) total Medicare spending, b) number of hospitalizations, c) number of emergency department (ED) visits, d) number of physician-administered chemotherapy claims, and e) number of radiation therapy sessions. Regression analysis was used to compare outcomes between users and non-users by enrollment period.
RESULTS: Hospice users had significantly lower spending, fewer hospitalizations, and fewer ED visits than non-users across all categories of hospice enrollment. Large savings occurred when patients stayed in hospice for at least one month (US$16,566 for those enrolled 61 days - 6 months; US$16,409 for those enrolled 31-60 days). Significant reduction in use of outpatient services including chemotherapy and radiation therapy was observed among patients using hospice for at least 1 month.
CONCLUSIONS: Hospice led to cost savings by reducing utilization of aggressive care towards end-of-life among lung cancer patients. While cost savings were realized even when hospice is utilized for a short duration, large savings occurred when hospice is used for at least 1 month.
Background: Aggressive care at the end of life (EOL) is a persistent issue for patients with stage IV nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC). We evaluated the use of concurrent care (CC) with hospice care and cancer-directed treatment simultaneously within the Veteran's Health Administration (VHA) and aggressive care at the EOL.
Objective: To determine whether VHA facility-level CC is associated with changes in aggressive care at the EOL.
Design/Setting: Veterans with stage IV NSCLC who died between 2006 and 2012 and received lung cancer care within the VHA.
Measurements: The primary outcome was aggressive care at EOL (i.e., hospital admissions, chemotherapy, and intensive care unit) within the last month of life. To compare aggressive care across VHA facilities, we used a random intercept multilevel logistic regression model to examine the association between facility-level CC within each study year (<10%, 10% to 19%, and =20%) and aggressive care at the EOL among the decedents as a binary outcome.
Results: In total, 18,371 veterans with NSCLC at 154 VHA facilities were identified. Facilities delivering CC for =20% of veterans (high CC) increased from 20.0% in 2006 to 43.2% in 2012 (p < 0.001). Overall, hospice care significantly increased and aggressive care at EOL decreased over the study period. However, facility-level CC adoption was not associated with any difference in aggressive care at EOL (adjusted odds ratio high CC vs. low CC: 0.91 [95% CI, 0.79 to 1.05], p = 0.21).
Conclusions: Although the VHA adoption of CC increased hospice use among patients with NSCLC, additional measures may be needed to decrease aggressive care at the EOL.
Background: Adults with impaired performance status (PS) often receive immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) for advanced non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) despite limited efficacy data and unknown effects on end-of-life care.
Methods: This was a retrospective, single-site study of 237 patients with advanced NSCLC who initiated ICI treatment from 2015 to 2017. Cox regression was used to compare the overall survival (OS) of patients who had impaired PS (=2) at the start of ICI treatment with those who had PS 0 or 1 using Cox regression. Logistic regression was conducted to analyze the association between ICI use in the last 30 days of life and the use of end-of-life health care.
Results: The patient mean age at ICI initiation was 67 years (range, 37-91 years), and 35.4% of patients had PS =2. Most patients (80.8%) received ICI as second-line or later therapy. The median OS was 4.5 months in patients with PS =2 and 14.3 months in those with PS 0 or 1 (hazard ratio, 2.5; P < .0001). Among the patients who died (n = 184), 28.8% who had PS =2 received ICIs in their last 30 days of life compared with 10.8% of those who had PS 0 or 1 (P = .002). Receipt of ICI in the last 30 days of life was associated with decreased hospice referral (odds ratio, 0.29; P = .008) and increased in-hospital deaths (odds ratio, 6.8; P = .001), independent of PS.
Conclusions: Adults with advanced NSCLC and impaired PS experience significantly shorter survival after ICI treatment and receive ICIs near death more often than those with better PS. Receipt of an ICI near death was associated with lower hospice use and an increased risk of death in the hospital. These results underscore the need for high-quality communication about potential tradeoffs of ICIs, particularly among adults receiving ICIs as second-line or later therapy.