BACKGROUND: Previous research on chemotherapy discontinuation has mainly focused on predictive factors and outcomes. Few data are available on the reasons for chemotherapy discontinuation. The main objective was to identify the reasons for chemotherapy discontinuation in patients with gastrointestinal cancer. The secondary objectives were to describe the announcement of chemotherapy discontinuation and the time between chemotherapy discontinuation and death.
METHODS: This prospective multicenter French cohort included patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer, for whom chemotherapy was discontinued between May 2016 and January 2018.
RESULTS: One hundred and fourteen patients were analyzed. The first cause of chemotherapy discontinuation was the impairment of general condition (asthenia, cachexia). Complications such as sepsis, jaundice or occlusion, were the second most frequent cause. Progression was observed at chemotherapy discontinuation in two-thirds of cases. The announcement of the chemotherapy discontinuation was made formally in 74% of cases, with a follow-up by a palliative care team initiated in 50% of cases. Sixty-nine percent of the patients received chemotherapy during the last three months of life and 26% during the last month. The median time between chemotherapy discontinuation and death was 65 days (IQR: 36.5-109): 44% of patients died at the hospital, 39% in a palliative care unit and 16% at home.
CONCLUSION: Impairment of general condition was the major reason for chemotherapy discontinuation in patients with gastrointestinal cancers. Complications such as jaundice, sepsis or occlusion, were important reasons for discontinuation and could explain our shorter time between chemotherapy discontinuation and death, compared to other oncology sub-specialties.
Hospice is central to end-of-life care. Yet to receive hospice services, Medicare beneficiaries need to forgo treatments related to their terminal conditions. Thus, patients with cancer cannot receive radiotherapy or chemotherapy, such as single-fraction radiotherapy for painful bone metastasis, for palliative purposes. To alleviate this constraint, some hospices have developed open-access programs that allow patients to receive care for their terminal conditions. These hospices, however, encounter an increase in costs without an accompanying increase in reimbursement. In 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services initiated the Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM), which allows participating hospices to provide care for beneficiaries’ terminal conditions and receive a higher payment rate. Despite this, very few hospices participate in the MCCM. To date, little is known about trends in hospices providing palliative radiotherapy and chemotherapy. This topic is particularly important now, as hospices may be reluctant to provide new, expensive immunotherapies.
Objective: This study aimed to clarify the experiences and hidden needs of older patients with advanced cancer, their families and their physicians in palliative chemotherapy decision-making.
Materials and Methods: We conducted in-depth qualitative individual interviews with content analysis. Patients who were diagnosed as having advanced cancer, were aged =70 years (n = 15, median [range] = 77 [70–82] years) and had volunteered to receive palliative chemotherapy within the past 6 months were enrolled. Their families and physicians were also interviewed.
Results: The following four themes were identified: (i) physician’s awareness of paternalism; (ii) readiness for communication of serious news; (iii) spiritual care need assessment and (iv) support as a team. The patients and families expected physicians to demonstrate paternalism in their decision-making because they were unconfident about their self-determination capability. Although the physicians were aware of this expectation, they encountered difficulties in recommending treatment and communicating with older patients. The patients had spiritual pain since the time of diagnosis. Psychological issues were rarely discussed during decision-making and treatment, triggering feelings of isolation in the patients and their families.
Conclusion: Older patients and their families expected a paternalistic approach by the physicians for palliative chemotherapy decision-making. The physicians found it difficult to offer treatment options because of older patient diversity and limitations in evidence-based strategies. Therefore multidisciplinary approaches and evidence-based decision support aids are warranted. Because older patients and their families often have unexpressed psychological burdens including unmet spiritual needs, medical professionals should provide psychological care from the time of diagnosis.
Background: Although decongestive physiotherapy combined with diuretics may be efficient in limb edemas, no such therapy has been described in the context of anasarca.
Case Description: A bedbound 62-year-old man with stage IV pancreatic cancer, presenting with progressing severe dyspnea at rest and anasarca, was admitted to the free-standing hospice 3 weeks after receiving nab-paclitaxel with gemcitabine. Two weeks before admission, oral loop and potassium-sparing diuretics were started for bilateral lower limb edema, which progressed to anasarca even though the drug dose was increased. Hypotension hindered further dose escalation of diuretics. Supportive multicomponent bandage compression on both legs with concurrent intravenous furosemide in hypersaline infusion was implemented with good clinical toleration. Afterward, the loop diuretic dose was increased, and supplemented with dexamethasone. A spectacular edema decrease and marked dyspnea improvement with 19 kg body weight reduction were observed within 7 days. Furosemide was switched to oral route and the patient was discharged needing only occasional assistance in daily living.
Conclusion: Compression bandaging with diuretic therapy may be considered even in advanced generalized edemas; however, further studies are needed to determine the adequate therapeutic regime.
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.
PURPOSE: The median overall survival (OS) for metastatic pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (mPDAC) is < 1 year. Factors that contribute to quality of life during treatment are critical to quantify. One factor-time spent obtaining clinical services-is understudied. We quantified total outpatient time among patients with mPDAC receiving palliative systemic chemotherapy.
METHODS: We conducted a retrospective analysis using four patient-level time measures calculated from the medical record of patients with mPDAC receiving 5-fluorouracil infusion, leucovorin, oxaliplatin, and irinotecan; gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel; or gemcitabine within the University of Pennsylvania Health System between January 1, 2011 and January 15, 2019. These included the total number of health care encounter days (any day with at least one visit) and total visit time. Total visit time represented the time spent receiving care (care time) plus time spent commuting and waiting for care (noncare time). We performed descriptive statistics on these outpatient time metrics and compared the number of encounter days to OS.
RESULTS: A total of 362 patients were identified (median age, 65 years; 52% male; 78% white; 62% received gemcitabine plus nab-paclitaxel). Median OS was 230.5 days (7.6 months), with 79% of patients deceased at the end of follow-up. On average, patients had 22 health care encounter days, accounting for 10% of their total days survived. Median visit time was 4.6 hours, of which 2.5 hours was spent commuting or waiting for care.
CONCLUSION: On average, patients receiving palliative chemotherapy for mPDAC spend 10% of survival time on outpatient health care. More than half of this time is spent commuting and waiting for care. These findings provide an important snapshot of the patient experience during ambulatory care, and efforts to enhance efficiency of care delivery may be warranted.
Background: Although combination chemotherapy (CC) is generally recommended in recurrent or primary metastatic gastric cancer (RPMGC), the results of randomized trials are conflicting.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on 687 RPMGC patients who received palliative chemotherapy. We compared the overall survival (OS) between CC and single-agent chemotherapy (SC) among these patients, and we analyzed the clinicopathological characteristics affecting outcome including neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR).
Results: Although 521 patients (75.8%) underwent CC, SC was more frequently performed in elderly patients (57.6%) and ECOG performance status (PS) 2 or 3 (65.8%) patients (p < 0.0001, in each case). The median OS of patients who received CC was significantly longer than that of patients who received SC (11 vs. 8 months, p < 0.0001). No difference in OS between CC and SC was observed in elderly patients (p = 0.583), poor PS (p = 0.810), signet ring cell (p = 0.347), palliative surgical resection (p = 0.307), and high PLR (p = 0.120), with a significant interaction between age and type of regimen (p = 0.012). Moreover, there was no difference in OS between CC and SC after propensity score matching (p = 0.322). Multivariate analysis revealed that palliative resection and = second-line chemotherapy were independently associated with favorable OS (p < 0.0001, in each case), whereas poor PS (p = 0.004), signet ring cell (p < 0.0001), peritoneal metastasis (p = 0.04), high NLR (p = 0.001), and high PLR (p = 0.033) were independent prognostic factors of poor OS.
Conclusions: Although CC is the standard of care in RPMGC, SC can be considered a reasonable option in certain subgroups, such as elderly patients.
Background: Polypharmacy is an important issue in the care of older patients with cancer, as it increases the risk of unfavorable outcomes. We estimated the prevalence of polypharmacy, potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use, and drug–drug interactions (DDIs) in older patients with cancer in Korea and their associations with clinical outcomes.
Subjects, Materials, and Methods: This was a secondary analysis of a prospective observational study of geriatric patients with cancer undergoing first-line palliative chemotherapy. Eligible patients were older adults (=70 years) with histologically diagnosed solid cancer who were candidates for first-line palliative chemotherapy. All patients enrolled in this study received a geriatric assessment (GA) at baseline. We reviewed the daily medications taken by patients at the time of GA before starting chemotherapy. PIMs were assessed according to the 2015 Beers criteria, and DDIs were assessed by a clinical pharmacist using Lexi-comp Drug Interactions. We evaluated the association between polypharmacy and clinical outcomes including treatment-related toxicity, and hospitalization using logistic regression and Cox regression analyses.
Results: In total, 301 patients (median age 75 years; range, 70–93) were enrolled; the most common cancer types were colorectal cancer (28.9%) and lung cancer (24.6%). Mean number of daily medications was 4.7 (±3.1; range, 0–14). The prevalence of polypharmacy (=5 medications) was 45.2% and that of excessive polypharmacy (=10 medications) was 8.6%. PIM use was detected in 137 (45.5%) patients. Clinically significant DDIs were detected in 92 (30.6%) patients. Polypharmacy was significantly associated with hospitalization or emergency room (ER) visits (odds ratio: 1.73 [1.18–2.55], p < .01). Neither polypharmacy nor PIM use showed association with treatment-related toxicity.
Conclusion: Polypharmacy, PIM use, and potential major DDIs were prevalent in Korean geriatric patients with cancer. Polypharmacy was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization or ER visits during the chemotherapy period.
Implications for Practice: This study, which included 301 older Korean patients with cancer, highlights the increased prevalence of polypharmacy in this population planning to receive palliative chemotherapy. The prevalence of polypharmacy and excessive polypharmacy was 45.2% and 8.6%, respectively. The prescription of potentially inappropriate medications (PIMs) was detected in 45.5% and clinically significant drug–drug interaction in 30.6% of patients. Given the association of polypharmacy with increased hospitalization or emergency room visits, this study points to the need for increased awareness and intervention to minimize polypharmacy in the geriatric cancer population undergoing chemotherapy. Moreover, specific criteria for establishing PIMs should be adopted for the treatment of older adults with cancer.
A 72-year-old man was admitted to the hospital with fatigue. Colonoscopy revealed a 50 × 50 mm rectal tumor with bleeding. Based on close inspection, he was diagnosed with unresectable advanced rectal cancer with multiple liver metastases. Chemotherapy was administered as 10 cycles of bevacizumab + mFOLFOX6 and 7 cycles of bevacizumab + FOLFIRI. Nine months later, he presented with hematochezia and progression of anemia. It was difficult to stop the bleeding via endoscopy. He underwent radiation therapy (39 Gy in 13 fractions), and hemostasis was confirmed. Then, further chemotherapy was performed with 3 cycles of bevacizumab + FOLFIRI and 2 cycles of TAS102. However 14 months after the initial visit, he presented with right hypochondralgia and abdominal fullness due to the progression of multiple liver metastases. Palliative low-dose whole-liver radiation therapy (WLRT) (30 Gy in 10 fractions) was performed. He developed Grade 2 nausea, but his right hypochondralgia reduced, liver dysfunction improved, and he successfully completed radiotherapy. At approximately the same time his anemia progressed, and colonoscopy revealed recurrent bleeding from the tumor. Re-irradiation (15 Gy in 5 fractions) of the rectal tumor was carried out and a blood transfusion was performed for the bleeding. He was discharged after confirmation the anemia had not progressed. Few reports have been published on the use of both palliative re-irradiation to stop bleeding from rectal cancer and palliative low-dose WLRT. Based on our experience with this case, we believe that palliative radiotherapy can be useful in treating patients with a poor prognosis.
BACKGROUND: Peritoneal metastases arise in patients with a variety of primary cancers, and are associated with a poor prognosis. Systemic chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment; however, the morbidity is considerable and the survival benefit is modest. Cytoreductive surgery and heated intraperitoneal chemotherapy is a potentially curative treatment available to a minority of patients; however, most develop recurrent disease. A novel palliative treatment for peritoneal metastases, pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy, has recently been introduced. Pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy utilizes an aerosol of chemotherapy in carbon dioxide gas. It is instilled into the abdomen under pressure via laparoscopic ports. No cytoreduction is performed. Pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy can be repeated at 6-week intervals. Oxaliplatin or cis-platinum and doxorubicin have been used to date.
OBJECTIVE: This study aims to systematically review and evaluate the method, and the preclinical and early clinical results of pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy.
DATA SOURCES: Medline and the Cochrane Library were the data sources for the study.
STUDY SELECTION: Peer-reviewed series of greater than 10 patients, with sufficient patient data, through April 2019, were selected.
INTERVENTION: Patients with peritoneal metastases underwent pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient dropout, histologic tumor response, adverse events, and 30-day mortality were the primary outcomes measured.
RESULTS: A total of 921 patients with peritoneal metastases were brought to the operating room for pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy. The number of pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy treatments administered was as follows: 1 treatment, 862 (94%); 2 treatments, 645 (70%); and 3 treatments, 390 patients (42%). Initial laparoscopic access was not possible in 59 patients (6.4%). Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events grade 3 or higher were noted in 13.7% of the patients who, collectively, underwent a total of 2116 treatments. The 30-day mortality was 2.4% (22/921).
LIMITATIONS: This study was limited by the heterogeneity of reported data and primary tumor types and by the lack of long-term survival data.
CONCLUSIONS: Early clinical results are encouraging, but tumor-specific, prospective, randomized trials are needed to compare pressurized intraperitoneal aerosol chemotherapy to systemic chemotherapy. This method has yet to be introduced to the United States. It is another therapeutic option for patients with peritoneal metastases and will broaden the patient base for future clinical trials.
BACKGROUND/AIM: A standard treatment recommendation for advanced stage gastroesophageal cancer is still missing.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed clinical data of patients with inoperable locally advanced or metastatic gastroesophageal cancer treated between 2001 and 2017 at the Vienna General Hospital, Austria.
RESULTS: Administration of systemic therapy was positively associated with overall survival (OS) (469 days vs. 185 days; p<0.001), while palliative gastrectomy or radiotherapy showed no correlation. OS was significantly longer in patients receiving capecitabine/oxaliplatin (XELOX) vs. leucovorin/5-FU/oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) (600 days vs. 327 days, p<0.05). Comparison of doublet vs. triplet chemotherapies showed no difference in OS, but triplet chemotherapy resulted in more adverse events. The anti-HER2-antibody trastuzumab doubled OS (836 days vs. 399 days, p=0.053).
CONCLUSION: Capecitabine may be preferably used over infused 5-FU and doublet chemotherapy over triplet chemotherapy in the first-line palliative setting of advanced gastroesophageal cancer.
Purpose: Many patients with advanced cancer choose palliative chemotherapy. Considering its purpose of palliation and not treatment, it is important to consider the life of family caregivers. Family caregivers who experience bereavement undergo extreme stress, which is particularly high among patients’ spouses. The present study aims to clarify the experiences of the spouses of patients at the hospitals in Japan after the notification of palliative chemotherapy discontinuation until bereavement.
Method: We interviewed the spouses of 13 patients who received palliative chemotherapy using a semistructured interview guide. Each spouse was interviewed twice. The interviews were transcribed verbatim, and key concepts were identified using a grounded theory analytic approach.
Results: After the hospital's recommendation for palliative chemotherapy discontinuation, the spouses had “bewilderment over having to discontinue palliative chemotherapy” and experienced “difficulty in facing bereavement.” The spouses having “difficulty to give up hope for the patient's survival,” felt “bafflement over caregiving at the terminal stage,” which would be their responsibility in the future. Further, they had “hesitation in being honest to the patient” and were engaged in “knowing how to live with the patient until bereavement.“
Conclusion: Nurses need to encourage the patients and spouses to honestly express how they feel from the early stages of palliative chemotherapy. Furthermore, nurses should help spouses with how they face bereavement. This result may help prevent anticipatory grief, which may lead to excessive stress and emotional distress on the family caregivers.
Background: The therapeutic landscape in medical oncology continues to expand significantly. Newer therapies, especially immunotherapy, offer the hope of profound and durable responses with more tolerable side effect profiles. Integrating this information into the decision making process is challenging for patients and oncologists. Systemic anticancer treatment within the last thirty days of life is a key quality of care indicator and is one parameter used in the assessment of aggressiveness of care.
Methods: A retrospective review of medical records of all patients previously treated at Goulburn Valley Health oncology department who died between 1 January 2015 and 30 June 2018 was conducted. Information collected related to patient demographics, diagnosis, treatment, and hospital care within the last 30 days of life. These results were presented to the cancer services meeting and a quality improvement intervention program was instituted. A second retrospective review of medical records of all patients who died between 1 July 2018 and 31 December 2018 was conducted in order to measure the effect of this intervention.
Results: The initial audit period comprised 440 patients. 120 patients (27%) received treatment within the last 30 days of life. The re-audit period comprised 75 patients. 19 patients (25%) received treatment within the last 30 days of life. Treatment rates of chemotherapy reduced after the intervention in contrast to treatment rates of immunotherapy which increased. A separate analysis calculated the rate of mortality within 30 days of chemotherapy from the total number of patients who received chemotherapy was initially 8% and 2% in the re-audit period. Treatment within the last 30 days of life was associated with higher use of aggressive care such as emergency department presentation, hospitalisation, ICU admission and late hospice referral. Palliative care referral rates improved after the intervention.
Conclusion: This audit demonstrated that a quality improvement intervention can impact quality of care indicators with reductions in the use of chemotherapy within the last 30 days of life. However, immunotherapy use increased which may be explained by increased access and a better risk benefit balance.
OBJECTIVE: The use of chemotherapy near the end of life is not advisable. There are scarce data in Europe but shows signs of aggressiveness. We designed this study to analyze the proportion of onco-hematological patients receiving chemotherapy within their last 2 weeks of life as well as starting a new chemotherapy regimen in the 30 days prior to death.
METHODS: A retrospective observational study was conducted in a tertiary hospital. Adults who died of an onco-hematological neoplasia while hospitalized between April 2017 and March 2018 were included. We assessed the use of chemotherapy over the course of the last 14 days of life, defined as the administration of at least one dose of chemotherapy. We also examined the proportion of patients starting a new chemotherapy regimen in the last 30 days of life.
RESULTS: A total of 298 inpatients died in the Hematology and Oncology units. During the last 14 days, 28.2% (n = 11) of hematological and 26.3% (n = 68) of oncological patients received chemotherapy; the overall rate was 26.5% (n = 79). Furthermore, the proportion of patients starting a new chemotherapy regimen in the last 30 days of life was high (20.5% and 20.8%, respectively). Female gender (odds ratio [OR] = 1.99, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18-3.35) and age <45 (OR = 2.68, 95% CI = 1.05-6.88) were associated with higher rates of chemotherapy.
CONCLUSION: The proportion of patients receiving chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life was high, as well as the proportion of patients starting a new regimen in their last 30 days. This was indicative of excessive aggressiveness at the end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: In the absence of randomized controlled trials, real-world evidence may aid practitioners in optimizing the selection of therapy for patients with cancer. The study's aim was to determine real-word use, as well as compare effectiveness, of single-agent and combination chemotherapy as palliative treatment for female patients with metastatic breast cancer (mBC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using administrative claims data from the Symphony Health's Integrated Oncology Dataverse, female patients with mBC treated with at least one chemotherapy-only treatment (COT) between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2017 were selected. The frequency of use of single-agent versus combination chemotherapy overall and by line of therapy (LOT) was calculated whereas effectiveness was measured using time to next treatment (TNT).
RESULTS: A total of 12,381 patients with mBC were identified, and 3,777 (31%) received at least one line of COT. Of the 5,586 observed LOTs among the 3,777 patients, 66.5% were single-agent and 33.5% combination chemotherapy. Combination chemotherapy was most frequently used in first-line (45%) and least frequently in fifth-line (16%). Across all LOTs, median TNT was significantly longer for single-agent versus combination chemotherapy (5.3 months vs. 4.1 months, p < .0001). Comparison of median TNT by LOT showed significance in third-line and greater but not in first-line or second-line. Among single agents, the median TNT for patients receiving capecitabine was longest in comparison to all other single agents.
CONCLUSIONS: The frequency of combination COT use, particularly in first-line, warrants further research given published guideline recommendations. The observed TNT difference favoring single-agent treatment in later lines supports guideline recommendations. Variance between single-agent preference and observed TNT was noteworthy.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: Although published data from evidence- and consensus-based guidelines recommend single-agent over combination chemotherapy, the extensive list of agents available for use and a gap in the comparative effectiveness research of these agents have resulted in significant variances in patterns of care. The aim of this study was to assess real-world treatment patterns and their effectiveness during palliative therapy of metastatic breast cancer. The objective was to understand when and how chemotherapy-only treatment is used in metastatic breast cancer and whether comparative effectiveness analysis supports the observed patterns of care.
Background: Platinum-based chemotherapy is the standard of care as first-line treatment for recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (RM-NPC); however, the prognosis of patients with RM-NPC remains poor. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of anti-epidermal growth factor receptor (anti-EGFR) antibody plus chemotherapy for RM-NPC.
Methods: RM-NPC patients who received first-line chemotherapy plus an anti-EGFR antibody were recruited from Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Center between July 2007 and November 2017. Survival analyses were performed using the Kaplan-Meier method with a log-rank test. A Cox proportional hazards model was used for the multivariate analyses.
Results: A total of 203 patients were enrolled in the present study. The median follow-up time was 34.3 months (interquartile range: 19.7-66.5 months). The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 8.9 months (95% CI: 7.7-10.0 months) and the median overall survival (OS) was 29.1 months (95% CI: 23.5-34.6 months). The 1-, 3-, and 5-year PFS and OS rates were 35.5% and 79.6%, 15.2% and 42.5%, and 11.6% and 23.6%, respectively. The objective response rate (ORR) was 67.5% and the disease control rate (DCR) was 91.1%. The multivariate analysis identified the following prognostic factors for PFS: anti-EGFR agent (P = .010), recurrence/metastasis sequence (P = .016), KPS (P = .017), and combined chemotherapy regimen (P = .015). Independent risk factors for OS included age >43 years (P = .002), Karnofsky performance score =80 (P < .001), and higher level of baseline Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA (P = .008). Leukopenia was the most common adverse event (AE) in this cohort (any grade, 84.2%; grades 3-4, 43.4%).
Conclusions: Anti-EGFR antibody plus chemotherapy achieved promising antitumor activity with a tolerable toxicity profile in RM-NPC. Thus, randomized clinical trials are warranted to compare the efficacy of chemotherapy with or without anti-EGFR antibody in these patients.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Despite increased demand for cancer patient's to make their own decisions based on an adequate understanding of what is involved in chemotherapy, the primary signing agent and the reasons for surrogate signing have not been appropriately evaluated.
METHODS: The ethics committee of the palliative medicine subgroup of the Korean Cancer Study Group designed this study and solid cancer patients to whom chemotherapy was offered, from seven institutions, were evaluated. The details relating to surrogate's signing of chemotherapy consent were evaluated. Then, we analyzed the factors associated with surrogate's signing according to patient's demographics and characteristics related to chemotherapy consent.
RESULTS: Surrogate's signing was noted for 20.7% (84/405) of patient and over half of surrogate signings were performed by the patients' son or daughter (60.7%). Two main reasons for surrogate signing were patient's incapacity (34.5%) and taking over authorization from patients (33.3%). The factors associated with more frequent surrogate's signing were absence of spouse, lower education level, outpatient, and when residents played a role as a principle provider of chemotherapy consent.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests the lack of patients' own decision making for chemotherapy in some situations. This ethical dilemma must be considered for adequately informed decision making for chemotherapy while ensuring the patients' autonomy is maintained.
BACKGROUND: We report our experience with Indian patients who received palliative chemotherapy with/without cetuximab for recurrent/metastatic squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (R/M SCCHN).
METHODS: Data from 229 R/M SCCHN patients treated with cetuximab and chemotherapy (n = 140) or chemotherapy alone (n = 89) were retrospectively analyzed for response rate (RR), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and safety.
RESULTS: Patients receiving cetuximab with chemotherapy demonstrated significant increase in RR (77.1% vs 44.9%, P = .0001), PFS (8.1 vs 6.1 months, P = .039), and OS (11.8 vs 8.0 months, P = .002) compared with patients receiving chemotherapy alone. Continuing cetuximab and changing chemotherapy combination (second line and beyond) in fit patients doubled OS (13.5 vs 6.1 months, P = .001). Adverse effects, except skin reactions (more in the cetuximab with chemotherapy group; P = .001), were similar in both groups.
CONCLUSION: Adding cetuximab to chemotherapy improved ORR, PFS, and OS in Indian R/M SCCHN patients, and cetuximab was well tolerated.
OBJECTIVES: In non-gynecologic cancers, clinical trial participation has been associated with aggressive care at the end of life. The objective of this investigation was to examine how trial participation affects end of life outcomes in patients with ovarian cancer.
METHODS: In a retrospective review of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer at our institution between January 2010 and December 2015, we collected variables identified by the National Quality Forum as measures of aggressive end of life care including chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life, intensive care unit (ICU) admission in the last 30 days of life, or death in the acute care setting. Trials investigating medications but not surgical interventions were included. The primary outcome of this study was the association between trial participation and the National Quality Forum measures of aggressive end of life care in ovarian cancer decedents. Data were analyzed with univariable and multivariable parametric and non-parametric testing, and time to event outcomes were analyzed using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox's proportional hazard models.
RESULTS: Among 391 women treated for ovarian cancer, 62 patients (16%) participated in a clinical trial. Patients enrolled in clinical trials were more likely to have chemotherapy administered within 14 days of death; however, no association was found with other metrics of aggressive care at the end of life including the initiation of a new chemotherapy regimen in the last 30 days of life, ICU admissions, and death in an acute care setting. Among patients with recurrent ovarian cancer, median overall survival for trial participants was 57 months compared with only 31 months in non-trial participants (p<0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: In patients with ovarian cancer, clinical trial enrollment is associated with chemotherapy administration within 14 days of death, but not other measures of aggressive care at the end of life. Given the importance of clinical trial participation in improving care for women with ovarian cancer, this study suggests that concerns regarding aggressive care prior to death should not limit clinical trial participation.
Introduction: Head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) is the sixth most common cancer in the world. Almost 2/3rds of patients have recurrent or metastatic (R/M) HNSCC. Treatment options for R/M HNSCC have evolved, with relatively little change in survival. Thus, it is imperative that management decisions must balance efficacy with toxicity and emphasize the importance of maintaining the patient's quality of life (QOL). Areas covered: We cover the various chemotherapeutic options available for R/M HNSCC including single agent chemotherapy, platinum-based doublets and triplet options. The role of cetuximab, immunotherapy and oral metronomic chemotherapy (OMCT) is also reviewed. We discuss the management of patients with platinum-refractory disease. Expert opinion: In all patients with R/M HNSCC, we recommend assessment of extent of disease, patient symptomatology, performance status, affordability and availability of logistic and social support. In patients with PD-L1 CPS =/> 20, pembrolizumab is an option. In patients with PD-L1 CPS < 20, pembrolizumab/cisplatin/5FU or cisplatin/5FU/cetuximab (EXTREME) may be considered based on affordability and availability. Options available that have a lower toxicity and can help to maintain the patient's QOL include; single agent chemotherapy, carboplatin/paclitaxel combination chemotherapy, sequential combination chemotherapy followed by cetuximab, replacing 5FU with docetaxel (TPEx regime) and OMCT.