Objectives: Although transthyretin (TTR) is a nutritional indicator and is influenced by systemic inflammation, it may be a good prognostic indicator for cancer patients in palliative care settings. This study investigates the correlation between low TTR levels and survival among cancer patients in palliative care settings.
Methods: This was a sub-analysis of a prospective, multicenter cohort study. Patients who had advanced-stage cancer and who were newly referred to palliative care services were eligible to participate; however, those receiving anti-tumor therapy were excluded. Survival analyses were performed to clarify predictors of poor prognosis.
Results: A total of 144 patients were enrolled (45.1% female; median age, 72 years). Cox regression analysis revealed that low TTR levels (<10.9 mg/l) (hazard ratio 1.74, P = 0.025), poor muscle power (1.71, P = 0.045), and fatigue (1.89, P = 0.024) were predictors of poor prognosis. Median survival in patients with low TTR levels (<10.9 mg/l) was 26 days, which was significantly shorter than those with high TTR levels (=10.9 mg/l) (50 days; P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Low TTR levels may be indicators for poor prognosis among cancer patients in palliative care settings.
BACKGROUND: Breakthrough cancer pain (BTcP) is a predictor of interference with general activities and poor pain management. The extent of this influence has not yet been determined.
OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the influence of BTcP on general activities, and pain management in patients with controlled background pain.
DESIGN: Single-center prospective observational study.
SETTING/SUBJECTS: The study cohort comprised 258 consecutive patients (female, 40.0%; mean age, 64.5 years) who had received opioid medication for cancer pain for over 2 weeks.
MEASUREMENTS: A recommended diagnostic algorithm was used to quantitate and compare interference with general activities, average background pain intensity over the previous 24 hours (24h-PI), and achievement of personalized pain goals (PPGs) (24h-PI=PPG) of 119 patients with and 139 patients without BTcP.
RESULTS: Interference with general activities, 24h-PI, and PPG scores [mean (standard deviation)] in patients with BTcP were 2.8 (2.2), 3.0 (1.7), and 1.8 (1.4), respectively, which are all significantly higher than for those without BTcP [1.3 (2.0), p < 0.01; 1.7 (1.6), p < 0.01; 1.5 (1.3), p = 0.03], respectively. A significantly smaller percentage of patients with BTcP than without BTcP achieved their PPGs (36.1% vs. 67.6%, p < 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: BTcP has a negative impact on general activities and pain management. Healthcare providers should recognize that management of BTcP is important in improving general activities and management of cancer pain.
CONTEXT: Dyspnea is a common distressing symptom among patients with advanced cancer.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine the effect of fan therapy on dyspnea in patients with terminally ill cancer.
METHODS: This parallel-arm, randomized controlled trial included 40 patients with advanced cancer from a palliative care unit at the National Cancer Center Hospital in Japan. All patients experienced dyspnea at rest with a score of at least three points on a subjective 0- to 10-point Numerical Rating Scale (NRS), showed peripheral oxygen saturation levels of =90%, had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group grade of 3 or 4, and were aged 20 years or more. In one group, a fan was directed to blow air on the patient's face for five minutes. This group was compared to a control group wherein air was blown to the patient's legs. Patients were randomly assigned to each group. The main outcome measure was the difference in dyspnea NRS scores between fan-to-face and fan-to-legs groups.
RESULTS: No significant differences were seen in baseline dyspnea NRS between groups (mean score, 5.3 vs. 5.1, P = 0.665). Mean dyspnea changed by -1.35 points (95% CI, -1.86 to -0.84) in patients assigned to receive fan-to-face and by -0.1 points (-0.53 to 0.33) in patients assigned to receive fan-to-legs (P < 0.001). The proportion of patients with a one-point reduction in dyspnea NRS was significantly higher in the fan-to-face arm than in the fan-to-legs arm (80% [n = 16] vs. 25% [n = 5], P = 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Fan-to-face is effective in alleviating dyspnea in patients with terminally ill cancer.