Context: Clinicians often worry that patients' recognition of the terminal nature of their illness may impair psychological well-being.
Objectives: To determine if such recognition was associated with decrements to psychological well-being that persisted over time.
Methods: About 87 patients with advanced cancer, with an oncologist-expected life expectancy of less than six months, were assessed before and after an oncology visit to discuss cancer restaging scan results and again at follow-up (median time between assessments, approximately six weeks). Prognostic understanding (PU) was assessed at previsit and postvisit, and a change score was computed. Psychological well-being was assessed at pre, post, and follow-up, and two change scores were computed (post minus pre; follow-up minus post).
Results: Changes toward more accurate PU was associated with a corresponding initial decline in psychological well-being (r = -0.33; P < 0.01) but thereafter was associated with subsequent improvements (r = 0.40; P < 0.001). This pattern remained controlling for potential confounds. Patients showed different patterns of psychological well-being change (F = 3.07, P = 0.05; F = 6.54, P < 0.01): among patients with improved PU accuracy, well-being initially decreased but subsequently recovered; by contrast, among patients with stable PU accuracy, well-being remained relatively unchanged, and among patients with decrements in PU accuracy, well-being initially improved but subsequently declined.
Conclusion: Improved PU may be associated with initial decrements in psychological well-being, followed by patients rebounding to baseline levels. Concerns about lasting psychological harm may not need to be a deterrent to having prognostic discussions with patients.
PURPOSE: Although nutritional interventions are becoming widely used in cancer patients, purposes and results of such treatment are not always well-defined. This is because nutrition is traditionally considered a palliative treatment to be confined to the area of palliative cares, whereas the modern approach includes nutrition as an early supplemental support to improve compliance of patients with the oncologic therapies and total parenteral nutrition may be recommended in patients who would be destined to succumb prior from starvation-malnutrition than from tumour progression. Purpose of this paper if to define the potential as well as the limitations of nutritional interventions on both the survival and the quality of life of the advanced cancer patients.
RECENT FINDINGS: Some RCT on the use of oral, enteral and supplemental parenteral nutrition in patients on oncologic therapy show some benefit on compliance with therapy and in some domains of quality of life. Some malnourished (hypo)aphagic incurable cancer patients may survive longer thanks to parenteral nutrition, while few data suggest that quality of life may be maintained for a limited period of time. With a few exceptions, oncology and nutrition have till recently travelled on parallel tracks without talking each other. The oncologist who knows the natural history of the patients should understand which risk of complication and of poor tolerance to the treatment can malnourished patients carry and which is the potential of parenteral nutrition in hypophagic incurable patients.
Purpose: Our study aimed to evaluate the association between CDS and survival time using the likelihood of receiving CDS to select a matched non-CDS group through an accurate measurement of survival time based on initiation of CDS.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed using an electronic database to collect data regarding terminally ill cancer patients admitted to a specialized palliative care unit from January 2012 to December 2016. We first used a Cox proportional hazard model with receiving CDS as the outcome to identify individuals with the highest plausibility of receiving CDS among the non-CDS group (n = 663). We then performed a multiple regression analysis comparing the CDS group (n = 311) and weighted non-CDS group (n = 311), using initiation of CDS (actual for the CDS group; estimated for the non-CDS group) as the starting time-point for measuring survival time.
Results: Approximately 32% of participants received CDS. The most common indications were delirium or agitation (58.2%), intractable pain (28.9%), and dyspnea (10.6%). Final multiple regression analysis revealed that survival time was longer in the CDS group than in the non-CDS group (Exp(ß), 1.41; P < 0.001). Longer survival with CDS was more prominent in females, patients with renal dysfunction, and individuals with low C-reactive protein (CRP) or ferritin, compared with their counterpart subgroup.
Conclusions: CDS was not associated with shortened survival; instead, it was associated with longer survival in our terminally ill cancer patients. Further studies in other populations are required to confirm or refute these findings.
Background: Palliative care is a specialized approach to symptom management that focuses on supporting patients' physical and psychological quality of life throughout the disease course. In oncology, palliative care has been increasing in utilization. The evidence base for such care is also growing through the use of randomized controlled trials (RCTs). In this review, we aim to integrate the findings from 4 meta-analyses of palliative oncology care RCTs to examine the impact of palliative care on physical and psychological quality of life and survival.
Method: We considered 4 meta-analyses of palliative oncology care RCTs, which each used slightly different methodologies and analyses. Two of the meta-analyses included both outpatient and inpatient populations, whereas the remaining meta-analyses focused specifically on outpatient palliative oncology care.
Results: All 4 meta-analyses reported a robust quality of life advantage for patients randomized to receive palliative care. Two meta-analyses identified a survival advantage, whereas the other 2 detected no survival differences. In 1 meta-analysis that examined high-quality RCTs of outpatient palliative oncology care, it was found that an increased survival probability for palliative care, compared with standard of care, was confined to 6- to 18-month follow-up.
Conclusions: There is a growing evidence base for palliative oncology care, as highlighted by the 4 meta-analyses considered. Such care successfully improves both physical and psychological quality of life for patients with serious illnesses, especially cancer. Clinicians should educate patients and their caregivers about the findings of these meta-analyses. Finally, governmental policies should focus on increasing palliative care access.
Background: The probability of weaning and of long-term survival of chronically mechanically ventilated cancer patients is unknown, with incomplete information available to guide therapeutic decisions. We sought to determine the probability of weaning and overall survival of cancer patients requiring long-term mechanical ventilation in a specialized weaning unit.
Methods: A single-institution retrospective review of patients requiring mechanical ventilation outside of a critical care setting from 2008 to 2012 and from January 1 to December 31, 2018, was performed. Demographic and clinical data were recorded, including cancer specifics, comorbidities, treatments, and outcomes. Overall survival was determined using the Kaplan-Meier approach. Time to weaning was analyzed using the cumulative incidence function, with death considered a competing risk. Prognostic factors were evaluated for use in prospective evaluations of weaning protocols.
Results: between 2008 and 2012, 122 patients required mechanical ventilation outside of a critical care setting with weaning as a goal of care. The cumulative incidence of weaning after discharge from the intensive care unit was 42% at 21 days, 49% at 30 days, 58% at 60 days, 61% at 90 days, and 61% at 120 days. The median survival was 0.16 years (95% CI, 0.12 to 0.33) for those not weaned and 1.05 years (95% CI, 0.60 to 1.34) for those weaned. Overall survival at 1 year and 2 years was 52 and 32% among those weaned and 16 and 9% among those not weaned. During 2018, 36 patients at our institution required mechanical ventilation outside of a critical care setting, with weaning as a goal of care. Overall, with a median follow-up of 140 days (range, 0–425 days; average, 141 days), 25% of patients requiring long-term mechanical ventilation (9 of 36) are alive.
Conclusions: Cancer patients can be weaned from long-term mechanical ventilation, even after prolonged periods of support. Implementation of a resource-intensive weaning program did not improve rates of successful weaning. No clear time on mechanical ventilation could be identified beyond which weaning was unprecedented. Short-term overall survival for these patients is poor.
Background: It remains unclear whether the end-of-life (EOL) treatment/environment impacts on survival after anticancer treatment in terminally ill women with ovarian carcinoma (OC).
Objective: The aim of this investigation was to clarify how long those women actually survived after their last anticancer treatments and their hallmarks.
Setting, Design, and Measurements: Between 2003 and 2011, 79 terminally ill women with OC were retrospectively analyzed as a single institutional study. Postcancer treatment survival (PCS), defined as the duration between the last date of the abovementioned “cancer treatment” and that of death from any cause, was analyzed on stratification by type of supportive care or where patients spend their EOL. Inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW)—adjusted Kaplan–Meier and Cox regression analyses were employed to compare PCS between the two groups.
Results: The median PCS of patients was 10.8 weeks. In the multivariable analysis, the performance status and EOL place retained their significance as independent prognostic factors of poorer PCS (performance status [2–3/0–1]: hazard ratio [HR] = 3.279 [95% confidence interval; CI 1.967–5.586; p < 0.0001], EOL place [hospital/home hospice]: HR = 0.574 [95% CI 0.355–0.913; p = 0.0188]). In the IPTW-adjusted cohort, the median PCS rates were 15.0 and 9.7 weeks in patients of home/hospice and hospital groups, respectively (p = 0.04). Also in the IPTW cohort, the EOL place retained its significance (IPTW-adjusted: HR [95% CI]: 1.548 [1.009–2.374], p = 0.045, multivariable adjusted with IPTW: HR [95% CI]: 1.670 [1.077–2.588], p = 0.022).
Conclusion: Our current data may be hypothesis generating; it is possible that the EOL environment is a crucial prognostic factor for survival after anticancer treatment.
Aims: To examine the impact of palliative care on acute care hospitalizations, survival, symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with advanced heart failure.
Methods and results: We conducted a systematic search of publications through CENTRAL, CINAHL, EMBASE, and MEDLINE originally up to July 2017, and then updated to June 2019. The study was registered (PROSPERO ID: CRD42017069685) prior to its initiation. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were included that tested an interdisciplinary palliative care intervention (compared to usual care) primarily in a heart failure population. Main outcomes assessed were hospitalizations, mortality, QOL, and symptom burden. Ten independent RCTs were selected, representing a total of 1050 participants (921 with a diagnosis of heart failure). Compared with usual care, palliative care interventions were associated with a substantial reduction in hospitalizations [odds ratio 0.56 (0.33–0.94); four trials; I2 = 27%], modest improvement in QOL [standardized mean difference (SMD) 0.25; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.06–0.45; seven trials; I2 = 15%], and modest reduction in symptom burden (SMD -0.29; 95% CI -0.54–0.03; three trials; I2 = 15%). There was no clear adverse impact on mortality. Most studies had methodological limitations that increased the risk of biases.
Conclusion: Compared to usual care, palliative care interventions substantially reduce hospitalizations, with no clear adverse effect on survival. Effects on QOL and symptom burden appear to be modest, and indicate that further efforts to improve these patient centred outcomes are needed.
Purpose: The goal of chemotherapy for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is palliation of symptoms while minimizing treatment-related toxicities. It remains unclear whether use of granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF) to maintain relative dose intensity of chemotherapy for MBC is associated with improved clinical outcomes.
Methods: The medical records of MBC patients treated with chemotherapy in 1st–3rd-line settings between May 2010 and April 2014 were reviewed. Time to progression (TTP), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were compared between patients who received G-CSF and those who did not. Antibiotic use, total clinic visits, and pre- and post-treatment Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status were also compared between the groups.
Results: Of the 169 patients included, 55 (32.5%) received > 1 G-CSF dose and 114 (67.5%) did not receive any G-CSF. The median TTP was similar between the two groups (5.0 months (95% CI 3.4–7.1) vs. 5.2 months (95% CI 4.8–6.2) respectively; p = 0.998). The median PFS (p = 0.955; 5.0 months (95% CI 3.4–5.9) vs. 5.2 months (95% CI 4.7–6.0), respectively) and OS (14.6 (95% CI 9.0–26.6) vs. 18.5 months (95% CI 15.2–22.0) in G-CSF and non-G-CSF groups, respectively; p = 0.628) were also similar between groups. No significant between-group differences were noted in rate of decline in ECOG performance status, antibiotic use, and number of clinic visits and hospitalizations.
Conclusion: This retrospective analysis did not find any evidence that the use of G-CSF to maintain chemotherapy dose intensity for the treatment of MBC improves TTP, PFS, and OS or results in improved ECOG performance status compared with lack of G-CSF use in patients with MBC treated in 1st to 3rd-line settings.
Background: Large, nationally representative studies of the association between quality of life and survival time in cancer patients in specialized palliative care are missing.
Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate whether symptoms/problems at admission to specialized palliative care were associated with survival and if the symptoms/problems may improve prediction of death within 1 week and 1 month, respectively.
Setting/participants: All cancer patients who had filled in the EORTC QLQ-C15-PAL at admission to specialized palliative care in Denmark in 2010–2017 were included through the Danish Palliative Care Database. Cox regression was used to identify clinical variables (gender, age, type of contact (inpatient vs outpatient), and cancer site) and symptoms/problems significantly associated with survival. To test whether symptoms/problems improved survival predictions, the overall accuracy (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve) for different prediction models was compared. The validity of the prediction models was tested with data on 5,508 patients admitted to palliative care in 2018.
Results: The study included 30,969 patients with an average age of 68.9 years; 50% were women. Gender, age, type of contact, cancer site, and most symptoms/problems were significantly associated with survival time. The predictive value of symptoms/problems was trivial except for physical function, which clearly improved the overall accuracy for 1-week and 1-month predictions of death when added to models including only clinical variables.
Conclusion: Most symptoms/problems were significantly associated with survival and mainly physical function improved predictions of death. Interestingly, the predictive value of physical function was the same as all clinical variables combined (in hospice) or even higher (in palliative care teams).
BACKGROUND: Frailty and palliative performance scores are 2 markers used in the measurement of functional decline in oncology and hospice care.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the frailty and palliative performance scores of a long-term care resident community and determine whether frailty and palliative performance scores can predict hospital readmissions (HR) and survivability of the long-term care resident.
METHODS: One hundred seventy-one long-term care residents from 2 urban facilities were evaluated for functional decline using the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) and Palliative Performance Scale (PPS). Sociodemographic, HR, and survival data for 1 year from study initiation were recorded.
RESULTS: The 171 long-term care residents, of lower socioeconomic status, primarily Medicare/Medicaid or dual-eligible, evaluated for functional decline using the CFS and PPS, had mean age of 73.1 years, 52.6% female, 94.7% African American, with 18.1% having HR and 87.1% surviving more than a year. There was a negative association between age and HR (P = .384). Among functional evaluation scales, CFS was positively associated with age (P = .013) but not PPS (P = .673). The residents scored 6.0 ± 1.2 on CFS and 52.8 ± 13.2 on PPS (%) with those residents readmitted to hospital having poorer outcomes. Readmission to hospital and survivability of the long-term care resident were both strongly associated with CFS (P = .001) and PPS (P = .001).
CONCLUSION: There is a strong association between the 2 markers used in the measurement of functional decline-Frailty measured by CFS and Palliative Performance Score measured by PPS. Frailty and palliative performance scores can strongly predict HR and survivability of the long-term care resident.
Background and aims: The prevalence of malnutrition is over 70% in advanced cancer patients and impacts negatively on survival and quality of life. Artificial nutrition can be integrated into a home palliative care program. This observational study aims to describe the criteria for identifying the cancer patients that could benefit from home artificial nutrition (HAN) and to evaluate its impact on survival and performance status.
Methods: The selection criteria for patient's eligibility to HAN were: Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) =40, life expectancy =6 weeks, inadequate caloric intake ± malnutrition, suitable psycho-physical conditions and informed consent. The access route for nutritional therapy (home parenteral nutrition, HPN; home enteral nutrition, HEN) was chosen according to the ESPEN Guidelines. The parameters considered were: primary site of the tumor; oral food intake; nutritional status; stage of cachexia; fluid, energy and protein supplied by HAN; survival.
Results: From 1990 to 2019, 43,474 cancer patients were assisted at home in Bologna (Italy). HAN started in 969 patients (2.2% of total patients, 571 men and 398 women, mean age 65.7 ± 12.7 years): HPN in 629 patients (64.9%), with gastrointestinal obstruction as the main indication; HEN in 340 patients (35.1%), with dysphagia as the main indication. Considering the 890 deceased patients, the mean survival after the start of HAN was 18.3 weeks and 649 patients (72.9%) survived more than 6 weeks. The mean survival was higher in HEN (22.1 weeks) compared to HPN patients (16.1 weeks) (p < .001). After one month, KPS was unchanged in 649 (67.0%), increased in 232 (23.9%) and decreased in 88 patients (9.1%). The mean KPS increased in patients starting HAN in pre-cachexia and cachexia (p < .001). Cachexia and refractory cachexia at the entry were associated with a reduced survival [odds ratio: 1.5 and 2.3 respectively, p < .001 for both condition] respect to pre-cachexia.
Conclusions: The selection criteria allow the identification of the patient who can take advantage of HAN. HAN can be effective in avoiding death from malnutrition in 73% of patients, and in maintaining or improving the KPS at one month in 90% of cases. The benefits provided by HAN on survival and performance status depend on the cachexia degree at the entry.
Background: The prediction of short-term survival is important for noncancer patients and their families. Although a markedly reduced oral intake by cancer patients suggests a poor prognosis, the survival times of noncancer patients after its onset remain unclear. We herein investigated the time from a marked reduction in oral intake to death in noncancer patients as well as factors associated with their subsequent survival.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective medical record review of noncancer patients who died in our hospital between April 2017 and April 2018. We recorded the day when oral intake markedly decreased and the date of death. We extracted data on age, gender, the Charlson Comorbidities Index, mean daily fluid volume, laboratory test results, and vital signs converted to the Shock Index (SI). We used Cox's proportional hazards models to assess relationships between these factors and survival times after the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake.
Results: We analyzed data from 44 noncancer patients. The median time from the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake to death was 16.5 days. Based on Cox's proportional hazards models, only SI >= 1.0 at the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake correlated with survival times (hazard ratio: 5.89, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.71-20.1, P = .005).
Conclusion: Noncancer patients died a median of 16.5 days after the onset of a markedly reduced oral intake, and SI >=1.0 correlated with subsequent survival times. These results will provide novel insights into the prognosis of noncancer patients at the end of life.
The optimal first-line palliative systemic treatment strategy for metastatic esophagogastric cancer is not well defined. The aim of our study was to explore real-world use of first-line systemic treatment in esophagogastric cancer and assess the effect of treatment strategy on overall survival (OS), time to failure (TTF) of first-line treatment and toxicity. We selected synchronous metastatic esophagogastric cancer patients treated with systemic therapy (2010-2016) from the nationwide Netherlands Cancer Registry (n = 2,204). Systemic treatment strategies were divided into monotherapy, doublet and triplet chemotherapy, and trastuzumab-containing regimens. Data on OS were available for all patients, on TTF for patients diagnosed from 2010 to 2015 (n = 1,700), and on toxicity for patients diagnosed from 2010 to 2014 (n = 1,221). OS and TTF were analyzed using multivariable Cox regression, with adjustment for relevant tumor and patient characteristics. Up to 45 different systemic treatment regimens were found to be administered, with a median TTF of 4.6 and OS of 7.5 months. Most patients (45%) were treated with doublet chemotherapy; 34% received triplets, 10% monotherapy and 10% a trastuzumab-containing regimen. The highest median OS was found in patients receiving a trastuzumab-containing regimen (11.9 months). Triplet chemotherapy showed equal survival rates compared to doublets (OS: HR 0.92, 95%CI 0.83-1.02; TTF: HR 0.92, 95%CI 0.82-1.04) but significantly more grade 3-5 toxicity than doublets (33% vs. 21%, respectively). In conclusion, heterogeneity of first-line palliative systemic treatment in metastatic esophagogastric cancer patients is striking. Based on our data, doublet chemotherapy is the preferred treatment strategy because of similar survival and less toxicity compared to triplets.
Study Design: Retrospective study.
Objective: The purpose of the study was to examine survival after surgery for a metastatic spinal tumor using prognostic factors in the new Katagiri score.
Summary of Background Data: surgery for spinal metastasis can improve quality of life and facilitate treatment of the primary cancer. However, choice of therapy requires identification of prognostic factors for survival, and these may change over time due to treatment advances. The new Katagiri score for the prognosis of skeletal metastasis includes classification of the primary tumor site and the effects of chemotherapy and hormonal therapy.
Methods: The subjects were 201 patients (127 males, 74 females) who underwent surgery for spinal metastases at 6 facilities in the Nagoya Spine Group. Age at surgery, gender, follow-up, metastatic spine level, primary cancer, new Katagiri score (including primary site, visceral metastasis, laboratory data, performance status (PS), and chemotherapy) and survival were obtained from a prospectively maintained database.
Results: Posterior decompression (n = 29) and posterior decompression and fixation with instrumentation (n = 182) were performed at a mean age of 65.9 (range, 16-85) years. Metastasis was present in the cervical (n = 19, 10%), thoracic (n = 155, 77%), and lumbar (n = 26, 13%) spine, and sacrum (n = 1, 1%). In multivariate analysis, moderate growth (HR 2.95, 95% CI, 1.27–7.89, P < 0.01) and rapid growth (HR 4.71, 95% CI, 2.78–12.31, P < 0.01) at the primary site; nodular metastasis (HR 1.53, 95% CI, 1.07–3.85, P < 0.01) and disseminated metastasis (HR 2.94, 95% CI, 1.33–5.42, P < 0.01); and critical laboratory data (HR 3.15, 95% CI, 2.06–8.36, P < 0.01) and poor PS (HR 2.83, 95% CI, 1.67–4.77, p < 0.01) were significantly associated with poor survival.
Conclusion: accurate prognostic factors are important in deciding the treatment strategy in patients with spinal metastasis, and our identification of these factors may be useful for these patients.
Level of Evidence: 3
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is an orphan disease with extremely poor prognosis. In particular, unresectable stage IVC ATC is extremely difficult to treat and is associated with a survival of only a few months, even when treated with irradiation and/or chemotherapy. In 2015, lenvatinib was approved for the treatment of ATC in Japan. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the efficacy of lenvatinib for stage IVC ATC. A total of 32 patients with pathologically confirmed stage IVC ATC who were treated at the Kanagawa Cancer Center between 2011 and 2018 were included in the present study, of whom 16 patients were treated with lenvatinib (L group). The remaining 16 patients received palliative therapy (P group), of whom 7 were treated with weekly paclitaxel, 2 received external radiation for tumor reduction 5 days per week until treatment completion, and 2 underwent tracheostomy to avoid the risk of asphyxiation. The survival curves of both groups were analyzed using the log-rank test. The median overall survival time of the L and P groups was 4.2 and 2.0 months, respectively. A significant survival benefit was observed in the L group compared with that in the P group (P=0.00298). A reduction in tumor size by =30% (clinical partial response) within 1 month after treatment was observed in 5 patients (31.3%) in the L group and in no patients in the P group. Therefore, lenvatinib treatment yielded a median survival benefit of ~2 months compared with palliative therapy in stage IVC ATC. However, although a reduction in tumor size by =30% was confirmed in 5 patients who received lenvatinib treatment, 2 of those patients succumbed to massive necrosis and bleeding. These results suggest that an appropriate lenvatinib dose reduction is necessary.
INTRODUCTION: In patients with advanced cancer, prolongation of life with treatment often incurs substantial emotional and financial expense. Among hospitalized patients with cancer since acute kidney injury (AKI) is known to be associated with much higher odds for hospital mortality, we investigated whether renal replacement therapy (RRT) use in the intensive care unit (ICU) was a significant independent predictor of worse outcomes.
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed patients admitted in 2005 to 2014 who were diagnosed with stage IV solid tumors, had AKI, and a nephrology consult. The main outcomes were survival times from the landmark time points, inpatient mortality, and longer term survival after hospital discharge. Logistic regression and Cox proportional regression were used to compare inpatient mortality and longer term survival between RRT and non-RRT groups. Propensity score-matched landmark survival analyses were performed with 2 landmark time points chosen at day 2 and at day 7 from ICU admission.
RESULTS: Of the 465 patients with stage IV cancer admitted to the ICU with AKI, 176 needed RRT. In the multivariate logistic regression model after adjusting for baseline serum albumin and baseline maximum Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA), the patients who received RRT were not significantly different from non-RRT patients in inpatient mortality (odds ratio: 1.004 [95% confidence interval: 0.598-1.684], P = .9892). In total, 189 patients were evaluated for the impact of RRT on long-term survival and concluded that RRT was not significantly associated with long-term survival after discharge for patients who discharged alive. Landmark analyses at day 2 and day 7 confirmed the same findings.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study found that receiving RRT in the ICU was not significantly associated with inpatient mortality, survival times from the landmark time points, and long-term survival after discharge for patients with stage IV cancer with AKI.
In the present study, the influence of purely palliative radiotherapy (pRT) on the outcomes of patients with advanced cancer undergoing immune checkpoint blockade was evaluated. Patients were stratified into three groups: Patients who had received pRT within 6 months prior to the initiation of immunotherapy (previous pRT); patients who received pRT during immunotherapy (concurrent pRT); and patients who did not receive RT prior to or during immunotherapy (no RT group), and these groups were compared. The median overall survival (mOS), median progression free survival (mPFS) and median time-to-treatment failure (mTTF) for the previous pRT group were significantly shorter compared with the no RT group (mOS, 3.6 vs. 12.1 months, respectively, P=0.0095; mPFS 1.8 vs. 5.4 months, respectively, P=0.0016; mTTF 1.8 vs. 5.7 months, respectively, P=0.0035). The concurrent pRT group had a longer mTTF compared with the previous pRT group and similar outcomes to the no RT group. In the previous pRT group, 26.9% of the patients experienced immune-related adverse events compared with 40.1% of patients in the no RT group. Despite the use of pRT during immunotherapy being considered safe, the results of the present study suggest that pRT has a negative effect on immune balance.
Background: The role of oxygen therapy in end-of-life care for patients with advanced cancer is incompletely understood. We aimed to evaluate the association between oxygen use and survival in patients with advanced cancer and low oxygen saturation in home care.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study at a primary care practice in suburban Tokyo. Adult patients in home care with advanced cancer demonstrating first low oxygen saturation (less than 90%) detected in home visits were consecutively included in the study. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to investigate the effect of oxygen use on overall survival and survival at home, adjusted for systolic blood pressure, decreased level of consciousness, dyspnea, oral intake, performance status, and cardiopulmonary comorbidity.
Results: Of 433 identified patients with advanced cancer, we enrolled 137 patients (oxygen use, n = 35; no oxygen use, n = 102) who developed low oxygen saturation. In multivariable analysis, the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of oxygen use was 0.68 (95% confidence interval 0.39–1.17) for death and 0.70 (0.38–1.27) for death at home. In patients with dyspnea, the HR was 0.35 (0.13–0.89) for death and 0.33 (0.11–0.96) for death at home; without dyspnea, it was 1.03 (0.49–2.17) for death and 0.84 (0.36–1.96) for death at home.
Conclusions: Oxygen use was not significantly associated with survival in patients with advanced cancer and low oxygen saturation, after adjusting for potential confounders. It may not be necessary to use oxygen for prolongation of survival in such patients, particularly in those without dyspnea.
Purpose: Opioids reduce cancer-related pain but an association with shorter survival is variably reported.
im: To investigate the relationship between pain, analgesics, cancer and survival within the European Palliative Care Cancer Symptom (EPCCS) study to help inform clinical decision making.
Methods: Secondary analysis of the international prospective, longitudinal EPCCS study which included 1739 adults with advanced, incurable cancer receiving palliative care. In this secondary analysis, for all participants with date of death or last follow up, a multilevel Weibull survival analysis examined whether pain, analgesics, and other relevant variables are associated with time to death.
Results: Date of death or last follow-up was available for 1404 patients (mean age 65.7 [SD:12.3];men 50%). Secondary analysis of this group showed the mean survival from baseline was 46.5 (SD:1.5) weeks (95% CI:43.6–49.3). Pain was reported by 76%; 60% were taking opioids, 51% non-opioid analgesics and 24% co-analgesics. Opioid-use was associated with decreased survival in the multivariable model (HR = 1.59 (95% CI:1.38–1.84), p < 0.001). An exploratory subgroup analysis of those with C-reactive protein (CRP) measures (n = 219) indicated higher CRP was associated with poorer survival (p = 0.001). In this model, the strength of relationship between survival and opioid-use weakened (p = 0.029).
Conclusion: Opioid-use and survival were associated; this relationship weakened in a small sensitivity-testing subgroup analysis adjusting for CRP. Thus, the observed relationship between survival and opioid-use may partly be due to tumour-related inflammation. Larger studies, measuring disease activity, are needed to confirm this finding to more accurately judge the benefits and risks of opioids in advanced progressive disease.
CONTEXT: Patients with advanced breast cancer have low rates of survival that can be associated with symptom burden.
OBJECTIVES: This study seeks to characterize the effect of longitudinally-collected symptom scores on predicting time to death for advanced breast cancer patients.
METHODS: A cohort of 993 Stage IV breast cancer patients was constructed using linked population-level health administrative databases that captured longitudinally-collected symptom data using the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System. Data was captured on individual symptom scores (20,371 assessments) for pain, tiredness, drowsiness, nausea, appetite, dyspnea, depression, anxiety and wellbeing, as well as three summative scores of total symptom distress score (TSDS), physical symptom score, and psychological symptom score. A joint modelling approach was undertaken to simultaneously model repeated measures longitudinal data and time-to-event data.
RESULTS: Of patients who died in the study, 56.11% survived for a mean time of less than three years and had lower mean symptom scores for all symptoms except shortness of breath, in comparison to patients who lived for greater than three years. Symptom burden was predictive of patient time to death for all symptoms, with risk of death increasing with worsening symptom scores. For TSDS, age at diagnosis (0.009, p<0.05), chemotherapy (-0.63, p<0.001) and palliative care (3.15, p<0.001) were significant predictors of patient time to death.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with advanced breast cancer experience chronic, ongoing low symptom burden which predicts patient time to death. Future research should examine the mechanisms by which patient characteristics, treatment, supportive and palliative care can have an impact on patient survival.