BACKGROUND: There is little consensus on how best to manage head and neck cancer with palliative intent. Predicting outcome is difficult and reported survival varies. The present study sought to delineate local practice and outcomes in patients treated with palliative intent.
METHODS: The clinical records of all head and neck cancer patients treated with palliative intent presenting between 2015 and 2016 to our multidisciplinary team were reviewed.
RESULTS: Eighty-four patients (21.5 per cent) were treated with palliative intent. All had squamous cell carcinoma. Mean survival time was 151 days (standard deviation = 121.1; range, 8-536 days). Of the patients, 83.3 per cent had a palliative care referral; 74.1 per cent had a hospice referral. Patients received a variety of interventions, and there was an associated complication in 8.2 per cent. The mean number of days spent in hospital for interventions was 11.9 days (standard deviation = 12.5; range, 0-41 days).
CONCLUSION: Different interventions are used to manage head and neck cancer patients with palliative intent, and these may be associated with significant morbidity. Survival time is variable, often several months; thus, any treatment must take into account morbidity in conjunction with the patient's wishes.
BACKGROUND: The Surprise Question (SQ) "would I be surprised if this patient were to die in the next 12 months?" has been suggested to help clinicians, and especially General Practitioners (GPs), identify people who might benefit from palliative care. The prognostic accuracy of this approach is unclear and little is known about how GPs use this tool in practice. Are GPs consistent, individually and as a group? Are there international differences in the use of the tool? Does including the alternative Surprise Question ("Would I be surprised if the patient were still alive after 12 months?") alter the response? What is the impact on the treatment plan in response to the SQ? This study aims to address these questions.
METHODS: An online study will be completed by 600 (100 per country) registered GPs. They will be asked to review 20 hypothetical patient vignettes. For each vignette they will be asked to provide a response to the following four questions: (1) the SQ [Yes/No]; (2) the alternative SQ [Yes/No]; (3) the percentage probability of dying [0% no chance - 100% certain death]; and (4) the proposed treatment plan [multiple choice]. A "surprise threshold" for each participant will be calculated by comparing the responses to the SQ with the probability estimates of death. We will use linear regression to explore any differences in thresholds between countries and other clinician-related factors, such as years of experience. We will describe the actions taken by the clinicians and explore the differences between groups. We will also investigate the relationship between the alternative SQ and the other responses. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and the option to receive feedback on their performance.
DISCUSSION: This study explores the extent to which the SQ is consistently used at an individual, group, and national level. The findings of this study will help to understand the clinical value of using the SQ in routine practice.
OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate a simple prognostic tool for early prediction of survival of patients with advanced cancer in a tertiary care setting.
DESIGN: Prospective cohort study with 2 years' follow-up.
SETTING: Single tertiary teaching hospital in Singapore.
PARTICIPANTS: The study includes consecutive patients diagnosed with advanced cancer who were referred to a palliative care unit between 2013 and 2015 (N=840). Data were randomly split into training (n=560) and validation (n=280) sets.
RESULTS: 743 (88.5%) patients died with a mean follow-up of 97.0 days (SD 174.0). Cox regression modelling was used to build a prognostic model, cross-validating with six randomly split dataset pairs. Predictor variables for the model included functional status (Palliative Performance Scale, PPS V.2), symptoms (Edmonton Symptom Assessment System, ESASr), clinical assessment (eg, the number of organ systems with metastasis, serum albumin and total white cell count level) and patient demographics. The area under the receiver operating characteristic curve using the final averaged prognostic model was between 0.69 and 0.75. Our model classified patients into three prognostic groups, with a median survival of 79.0 days (IQR 175.0) for the low-risk group (0-1.5 points), 42.0 days (IQR 75.0) for the medium-risk group (2.0-5.5 points), and 15.0 days (IQR 28.0) for the high-risk group (6.0-10.5 points).
CONCLUSIONS: PROgnostic Model for Advanced Cancer (PRO-MAC) takes into account patient and disease-related factors and identify high-risk patients with 90-day mortality. PPS V.2 and ESASr are important predictors. PRO-MAC will help physicians identify patients earlier for supportive care, facilitating multidisciplinary, shared decision-making.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Clinical management for terminal patients should consider various aspects, particularly the patient's functional assessment, which correlates well with the short-term prognosis. The prognosis could improve if the presence of symptoms strongly associated with a poorer progression were included. The study's main objective was to assess whether the prognosis according to the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) improved with the presence/absence of pain-dyspnoea-delirium symptoms. The secondary objective was to determine caregiver satisfaction with the transfer to medium-stay palliative care units (MSPCUs), which are prepared for medium stays of approximately one month.
PATIENTS AND METHOD: We conducted a prospective, observational, multicentre (regional) study that analysed survival in MSPCUs according to the PPS dichotomized to > 20% and = 20%. We estimated the mean survival functions using the Kaplan-Meier method and compared them according to the Cox proportional hazards ratios (HR). Caregiver satisfaction was studied using an anonymous self-administered Likert questionnaire.
RESULTS: The study included 130 patients. The PPS = 20% and PPS > 20% subgroups had a median survival of 6 (3-13) days and 21 (11-42) days, respectively, with an unadjusted mortality HR 3.1-fold greater in the PPS = 20% subgroup. The HR did not change when adjusted for the symptoms. Eighty-three percent of the caregivers found the transfer beneficial, and 40% observed better patient care.
CONCLUSIONS: For patients transferred from general hospitals to MSPCUs, PPS scores = 20% were associated with survival shorter than one week, with a 3-fold higher mortality HR than patients with PPS scores > 20%, without the analysis adjusted for the presence of pain-dyspnoea-delirium providing greater prognostic accuracy. The caregivers found benefits mainly in the convenience of the facilities and distance.
RESEARCH QUESTION: How does the process of engagement and integration of sources of information outside patient-physician interaction affect how individuals with cancer interpret their treatment experience and prognosis?
BACKGROUND: Studies of patient-physician communication of prognosis in oncology highlight areas where misunderstanding occurs: understanding consequences of treatment, likelihood of treatment success, probability of cure, status/progression of illness, and prognosis. Theories proposing mechanisms that underlie this discrepancy cannot account for all instances of misunderstanding, including when complete and direct physician disclosure occurs. Prior research focused on patient-physician communication event(s) and immediate antecedents and consequences. However, less is known about what happens to information once it has been communicated and how a patient's process to interpret the meaning of their experience affects their understanding of it. Our study explores this question by examining patient communication with sources of information other than treating physicians.
METHODOLOGY: We conducted 10 semi-structured qualitative interviews with individuals diagnosed with 4 types of cancer at different stages. The interviews were analyzed using inductive qualitative analysis.
RESULTS: Participants in our sample consulted a variety of additional sources to give context and understanding to their communicated prognosis. These were important contributors to how they understood their prognosis and incorporated that understanding. They included family, friends/acquaintances, cancer survivors, support/survivor groups, secondary health-care staff, and relevant informational materials. Different motivations for seeking out these sources were also expressed. Participants expressed a link between their understanding of their prognosis and the variety of outside sources they enlisted for input and support.
Patients often affirm the goal to pursue comfort at the end of life, although clinicians may struggle with how best to provide comfort and face the ethical dilemma of treating or allowing a suspected infection to unfold. Treating an infection at the end of life does not allow for uniform improvement in symptoms and more time with family and friends. Additionally, there is potential for burden to the patient or health care system and treatment may occur to the exclusion of other comfort measures. Currently, the practice of providing or forgoing antibiotics at the end of life is variable, and literature supporting best practices can be contradictory. Data to support the use or withholding of treatment have been scant and vary across settings and patient populations. We review common obstacles providers face, prognostication tools that may assist in clinical decision making, the ethical support for withholding therapy, and how to factor in potential burdens of treatment. We propose that nurses, whether at the bedside in an acute care or nursing facility or in the home setting as a member of the interdisciplinary home hospice team, are uniquely qualified to help patients and families navigate this challenging clinical decision.
OBJECTIVES: Patients with colorectal cancer undergoing palliative treatment receive extensive treatment-related information throughout their disease trajectory. We aimed to explore the experiences of patients with incurable colorectal cancer while in palliative care and their reflections on the information provided by physicians and nurses. Our main focus was the patients' thoughts about how information about disease status and life expectancy was communicated, from the first time that they were informed about the incurable nature of their disease through to postsurgery palliative treatment.
SETTINGS: Patients with colorectal cancer receiving palliative chemotherapy.
RESEARCH DESIGN: We used a qualitative approach, and the data were analysed by qualitative content analysis.
PARTICIPANTS: 20 patients (34-75 years of age) were included in the study; 12 received first-line chemotherapy and 8 received second-line chemotherapy. Eleven patients were treated by oncologists, and nine were treated by junior physicians.
RESULTS: Data-driven empirical analysis identified three themes: (1) inadequate information during the initial phase of the disease trajectory; (2) hope and information further into the disease trajectory and (3) personal, professional and organisational factors that influenced information and communication throughout the disease trajectory.
CONCLUSION: The participants' experience of being told for the first time that they had an incurable disease was perceived as inadequate, while postsurgery palliative chemotherapy, physicians and nurses offered hope. The participants preferred customised information about their treatment and likely future prospects and physicians and nurses who took a holistic and compassionate approach focusing on their lifeworld. To be a sensitive, holistic and compassionate physician or nurse requires knowledge and confidence. To achieve this requires training and guidance at universities and in hospitals.
Background: Terminally ill cancer patients' worsening symptom distress and functional impairment may signal disease deterioration, thus facilitating their accurate prognostic awareness (PA). However, the joint roles played by symptom distress and functional impairment in association with cancer patients' accurate PA remain unexplored.
Methods: We used hierarchical generalized linear modeling to assess associations between our five identified worsening conjoint symptom-functional states and accurate PA in a convenience sample of 317 terminally ill cancer patients over their last six months.
Results: The majority of our participants (70.1%-76.3%) had accurate PA in their last six months. This proportion did not increase as death approached but varied significantly by the five identified distinct symptom-functional states. Participants in the four worst symptom-functional states (moderate/profound symptom distress with mild/profound functional impairment) had a higher likelihood of accurate PA than those in the best state (mild symptom distress with high functioning). Participants with severe or profound symptom distress (states 3 and 5) had a substantially higher likelihood of accurate PA than those with moderate symptom distress (states 2 and 4).
Conclusion/Clinical Implications: Terminally ill cancer patients' five distinct conjoint worsening symptom-functional states were differentially associated with their likelihood of accurate PA. Health care professionals should cultivate these patients' accurate PA when they are still free from severe symptom distress and functional impairment, effectively manage symptoms for those suffering from severe/profound symptom distress, and facilitate their psychological-spiritual adjustment to acknowledge their poor prognosis and the accompanying challenges of end-of-life care decisions to maximize quality of life and achieve a good death.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate views, determinants and barriers to end-of-life discussions for doctors, nurses and members of the public (MoP) and their acceptability of risk prediction tools.
METHODS: Concurrent surveys of 360 doctors and nurses and 497 MoP.
RESULTS: Sixty per cent of clinicians reported high confidence in initiating end-of-life discussions, and 55.8% regularly engaged in them. Barriers to end-of-life communication reported by clinicians were uncertainty on the likely time to death (44.7%) and family requests to withhold information from patients (44.2%). By contrast, most (92.8%) MoP wanted information about life expectancy; 89.9% wanted involvement in treatment decisions if the likelihood of death was high; and 23.8% already had an advance care directive.
CONCLUSIONS: A dissonance exists between doctor/nurses perception of older peoples' preference for receiving prognostic information and the public desire for involvement in decision-making at the end of life. As public attitudes change, strategies for greater involvement of patients in shared end-of-life planning are warranted.
Background: Routine imaging (“scan”) results contain key prognostic information for advanced cancer patients. Yet, little is known about how accurately patients understand this information, and whether psychological states relate to accurate understanding.
Objective: To determine if patients' sadness and anxiety, as well as results showing poorer prognosis, are associated with patients' understanding of scan results.
Design: Archival contrasts performed on multi-institutional cohort study data.
Subjects: Advanced cancer patients whose disease progressed after at least one chemotherapy regimen (N = 94) and their clinicians (N = 28) were recruited before an oncology appointment to discuss routine scan results.
Measurements: In preappointment structured interviews, patients rated sadness and anxiety about their cancer. Following the appointment, patients and clinicians reported whether the imaging results discussed showed progressive, improved, or stable disease.
Results: Overall, 68% of patients reported their imaging results accurately, as indicated by concordance with their clinician's rating. Accuracy was higher among patients whose results indicated improved (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 4.12, p = 0.02) or stable (AOR = 2.59, p = 0.04) disease compared with progressive disease. Patients with greater anxiety were less likely to report their imaging results accurately than those with less anxiety (AOR = 0.09, p = 0.003); in contrast, those with greater sadness were more likely to report their results accurately than those with less sadness (AOR = 5.23, p = 0.03).
Conclusions: Advanced cancer patients with higher anxiety and those with disease progression may need more help understanding or accepting their scan results than others.
Background/Aims: Advance directives (ADs) in Korean patients with heart failure (HF) and the associations of attitude towards ADs and HF prognosis with ADs were initially assessed using the model of the Korean-Advance Directive (K-AD).
Methods: Twenty-four patients with HF (age, 67.1 years; men, 58.3%; ejection fraction, 35.9%) participated. A pilot test to evaluate the feasibility of ADs and the possible associations of attitudes towards ADs and prognosis with end-of-life treatment preferences among patients with HF was conducted.
Results: Fifteen patients (62.5%) completed the K-Ads. The major reason for incomplete K-AD was knowledge deficit. Patients valued "comfortable death" the most (45.4%), followed by "giving no burden to the family" (13.6%). Among treatment preferences, hospice care was preferred by the majority (66.7%), while cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was preferred by the minority (31.8%). Children (50.0%) were mostly appointed as a proxy, followed by the spouse (33.3%). More patients with moderately positive attitudes completed the K-ADs than their counterparts (70.0% vs. 57.1%). The 5-year survival rate was 69.2%; the patients who preferred CPR had a higher survival rate (70.6% vs. 68.5%) whereas those who preferred hospice care had a lower survival rate than their counterparts (70.7% vs. 75.2%).
Conclusions: The findings support the feasibility of the K-AD model, with a high acceptance rate in two-thirds of the sample. Further studies are warranted to investigate whether treatment preferences are associated with attitude towards ADs and/or HF prognosis using larger sample size.
BACKGROUND: Despite advancements in treatment and survival, pediatric organ failure and transplant populations continue to face significant risks of morbidity and mortality. Little scientific attention has been given to addressing the end-of-life care needs of this growing population of young people. This study characterized current practices, beliefs, and challenges specific to the disclosure of prognosis and end-of-life care topics among providers caring for pediatric organ failure and transplant populations.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study included 144 healthcare providers actively caring for children, adolescents, and young adults with organ failure or solid organ transplant history. Participants completed an electronic survey measuring frequency and comfort in discussing the following topics with patients and parents: prognosis/survival statistics, re-transplantation, advance care planning (ACP), and death/dying. Descriptive statistics, two-sample t tests, and analysis of variance were used.
RESULTS: Fewer than half of respondents regularly discuss prognosis/survival statistics and potential need for re-transplantation with their pediatric and young adult patients. Less than 20% of providers engage their pediatric patients in ACP discussions, and approximately 30% facilitate such discussions with young adult patients. Pediatric organ failure and transplant providers endorse a number of barriers specific to discussing these topics.
CONCLUSION: Pediatric organ failure and transplant providers do not regularly discuss prognosis or end-of-life care topics with this patient population. Communication-focused intervention research is needed to improve honest and compassionate discussion of these topics that is aligned with both patients' and parents' needs and preferences.
We aim to describe survival outcomes of gynecologic oncology inpatients treated with intravenous bisphosphonates for hypercalcemia and develop a risk stratification model that predicts decreased survival to aid with goals of care discussion. In a single-center, retrospective cohort study of gynecologic oncology patients admitted for bisphosphonate therapy for hypercalcemia. Survival from hypercalcemia to death was assessed by Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank test. Univariate log-rank test and Cox proportional hazards modeling were used to develop a risk stratification model. Sixty-five patients were evaluable with a median follow-up of 83.5 months. Mean age was 59.2 years, 64.6% had recurrent disease, and 30.8% had =2 previous lines of chemotherapy. Median survival was 38 days. Our analysis identified four risk factors (RFs) [brain metastasis, >1 site of metastasis, serum corrected peak calcium >12.4 (mg/dL), and peak ionized calcium >5.97 (mg/dL)] that predicted survival and were used to build a risk stratification score. Sum of RFs included 35 patients with 1 RF, 11 had 2 RFs, and 19 had =3 RF. Median survival for 1, 2, or = 3 RFs was 53, 28, and 26 days respectively (p = .009). Survival at 6 months was 28.6%, 18.2%, and 5.3% for each group respectively. Hospice enrollment was 26.2%, and did not vary by group (p = .51). Among gynecologic oncology patients, inpatient management of hypercalcemia with bisphosphonates portends poor prognosis. Individualized risk stratification may help guide end-of-life discussions and identify patients who may benefit most from hospice care.
CONTEXT: Being diagnosed with cancer often forces patients and families to make difficult medical decisions. How patients think they and others will feel in the future, termed affective predictions, may influence these decisions. These affective predictions are often biased, which may contribute to suboptimal care outcomes by influencing decisions related to palliative care and advance care planning.
OBJECTIVES: This paper aims to translate perspectives from the decision sciences to inform future research about when and how affective predictions may influence decisions about palliative care and advance care planning.
METHODS: A systematic search of two databases to evaluate the extent to which affective predictions have been examined in the palliative care and advance care planning context yielded 35 relevant articles. Over half utilized qualitative methodologies (n = 21). Most studies were conducted in the United States (n = 12), Canada (n = 7) or European countries (n = 10). Study contexts included: EOL (n = 10), early treatment decisions (n = 10), pain and symptom management (n = 7), and patient-provider communication (n = 6). The affective processes of patients (n = 20), caregivers (n = 16), and/or providers (n = 12) were examined.
RESULTS: Three features of the PC and ACP context may contribute to biased affective predictions: 1) early treatment decisions are made under heightened emotional states and with insufficient information; 2) palliative care decisions influence life domains beyond physical health; and 3) palliative care decisions involve multiple people.
CONCLUSION: Biases in affective predictions may serve as a barrier to optimal palliative care delivery. Predictions are complicated by intense emotions, inadequate prognostic information, involvement of many individuals, and cancer's effect on non-health life domains. Applying decision science frameworks may generate insights about affective predictions that can be harnessed to solve challenges associated with optimal delivery of palliative care.
Background: Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC) is a severe complication of metastatic tumor spread to the central nervous system. Prognosis is dismal with a median overall survival (OS) of ~10-15 weeks. Treatment options include radiotherapy (RT) to involved sites, systemic chemo- or targeted therapy, intrathecal chemotherapy and best supportive care with dexamethasone. Craniospinal irradiation (CSI) is a more aggressive radiotherapeutic approach, for which very limited data exists. Here, we report on our 10-year experience with palliative CSI of selected patients with LC.
Patients and methods: Twenty-five patients received CSI for the treatment of LC at our institution between 2008 and 2018. Patients were selected individually for CSI based on clinical performance, presenting symptoms and estimated benefit. Median patient age was 53 years (IQR: 45-59), and breast cancer was the most common primary. Additional brain metastases were found in 18 patients (72.0%). RT was delivered at a TomoTherapy machine, using helical intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). The most commonly prescribed dose was 36 Gy in 20 fractions, corresponding to a median biologically equivalent dose of 40.8 Gy (IQR: 39.0-2.5). Clinical performance and neurologic function were assessed before and in response to therapy, and deficits were retrospectively quantified on the 5-point neurologic function scale (NFS). A Cox proportional hazards model with univariate and multivariate analyses was fitted for survival.
Results: Twenty-one patients died and four were alive at the time of analysis. Median OS from LC diagnosis was 19.3 weeks (IQR: 9.3–34.0, 95% CI: 11.0–32.0). In univariate analysis, a Karnofsky performance scale index (KPI) =70% (P=0.001), age =55 years at LC diagnosis (P=0.022), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein <100 mg/dL (P=0.018) and no more than mild or moderate neurologic deficits (NFS =2; P=0.007) were predictive of longer OS. So were the neurologic response to treatment (P=0.018) and the application of systemic therapy after RT completion (P=0.029). The presence of CSF flow obstruction was predictive of shorter OS (P=0.026). In multivariate analysis, age at LC diagnosis (P=0.018), KPI (P<0.001) and neurologic response (P=0.037) remained as independent prognostic factors for longer OS. Treatment-associated toxicity was manageable and
mostly grades I and II according to the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events v4.0. Eight patients (32%) developed grade III myelosuppression. Neurologic symptom stabilization could be achieved in 40.0% and a sizeable improvement in 28.0% of all patients.
Conclusion: CSI for the treatment of LC is feasible and may have therapeutic value in carefully selected patients, alleviating symptoms or delaying neurologic deterioration. OS after CSI was comparable to the rates described in current literature for patients with LC. The use of modern irradiation techniques such as helical IMRT is warranted to limit toxicity. Patient selection should take into account prognostic factors such as age, clinical performance, neurologic function and the availability of systemic treatment options.
Introduction: The purpose of this article is to report our institution's 10-year experience on palliative radiotherapy for the treatment of leptomeningeal carcinomatosis (LC), assessing survival, neurologic outcome, and prognostic factors.
Patients and methods: We retrospectively analyzed 110 patients who received palliative radiotherapy for LC between 2008 and 2018. The most common histologies were breast cancer (n = 43, 39.1%) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) (n = 31, 28.2%). Radiotherapy was administered as whole-brain radiotherapy (WBRT) (n = 51, 46.4%), focal spinal RT (n = 11, 10.0%) or both (n = 47, 42.7%). Twenty-five patients (22.7%) were selected for craniospinal irradiation. Clinical performance and neurologic function were quantified on the neurologic function scale (NFS) before and in response to therapy. A Cox Proportional Hazards model with univariate and multivariate analysis was fitted for survival.
Results: Ninety-eight patients (89.1%) died and 12 (10.9%) were alive at the time of analysis. Median OS from LC diagnosis and from the beginning of RT was 13.9 weeks (IQR: 7.1â€“34.0) and 9.9 weeks (IQR: 5.3â€“26.3), respectively. In univariate analysis, prognostic of longer OS were a Karnofsky performance scale index (KPI) of =70% (HR 0.20, 95%-CI: [0.13; 0.32], p < 0.001), initially moderate neurological deficits (NFS =2) (HR 0.32, 95% CI: [0.19; 0.52], p < 0.001), symptom response to RT (HR 0.41, 95%-CI: [0.26; 0.67], p < 0.001) and the administration of systemic therapy (HR 0.51, 95%-CI: [0.33; 0.78], p = 0.002). Prognostic of inferior OS were high-grade myelosuppression (HR 1.78, 95% CI: [1.06; 3.00], p = 0.03) and serum LDH levels >500 U/l (HR 3.62, 95% CI: [1.76; 7.44], p < 0.001). Clinical performance, symptom response and serum LDH stayed independently prognostic for survival in multivariate analysis. RT was well-tolerated and except for grade III myelosuppression in 19 cases (17.3%), no high-grade acute toxicities were observed. Neurologic symptom stabilization was achieved in 83 cases (75.5%) and a sizeable improvement in 39 cases (35.5%).
Conclusion: Radiotherapy is a well-tolerated and efficacious means of providing symptom palliation for patients with LC, delaying neurologic deterioration while probably not directly influencing survival. Prognostic factors such as clinical performance, neurologic response and serum LDH can be used for patient stratification to facilitate treatment decisions.
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: There is no established method to objectively predict short-term prognosis. Recently, we proposed objective, short-term, prognostic predictive methods that are combinations of laboratory test items: WPCBAL score, derived from six values (white blood cell, platelet, C-reactive protein, blood urea nitrogen, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase). However, that study was conducted in an acute-phase hospital to identify the test items useful for prognostic prediction; thus, whether WPCBAL score could be applied to terminal cancer patients in a palliative care unit was unverified.
Objective: To verify the usefulness of WPCBAL score for terminal cancer patients.
Design: A retrospective study.
Setting/Subjects: Patients admitted to the palliative care unit of Ashiya Municipal Hospital (N = 128) in Japan in 2016.
Measurements: The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, negative predictive value, accuracy, and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) were compared between WPCBAL score and the Glasgow prognostic score (GPS).
Results: For predicting three-week prognosis, WPCBAL score showed higher AUROC compared with GPS (0.7540 and 0.6573, respectively). WPCBAL score predicting two-week prognosis showed greater AUROC than GPS predicting three-week prognosis (0.7491 and 0.6573, respectively).
Conclusion: WPCBAL score was verified to objectively predict the two- or three-week prognosis for terminal cancer patients in a palliative care unit. WPCBAL score may be a new option for prognostic prediction for terminal cancer patients.
Background: The prognosis of advanced pancreatic cancer (APC) is poor and differs considerably among patients. Therefore, it is clinically relevant to identify patients with APC who are more likely to benefit from palliative chemotherapy with reduced risk of toxicity. To date, there is no prognostic score universally recommended to help clinicians in planning the therapeutic management.
Methods: Using individual patient data from 319 cases of APC treated with gemcitabine-based chemotherapy and enrolled in the SAKK 44/00-CECOG/PAN.1.3.001 randomized trial, several baseline variables, including inflammatory markers, were analysed post hoc as predictors of mortality and/or grade 3 or 4 chemotherapy-related toxicity and separate risk scores were developed.
Results: Median survival of the study patients was 7.9 months (interquartile range 3.7â€“13.3 months). Independent predictors of mortality included increased Aspartate transaminase (ASAT), low performance status, increased derived neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio, increased Carbohydrate Antigen 19-9 (CA 19-9), low haemoglobin, presence of pain, presence of metastasis and increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP). During the study, 117 patients experienced at least one grade 3 or 4 adverse event. Independent predictors of toxicity included white blood cells, ALP, renal function and bilirubin levels at baseline. Both models displayed moderate levels of discrimination (C-statistic 0.68 and 0.64 for mortality and toxicity, respectively) and adequate calibration.
Conclusions: We developed simple-to-use prognostic scores for mortality and severe toxicity for patients with APC. These scores can be useful in daily practice to identify patients with increased risk of death or toxicity and to plan the most appropriate therapeutic strategy to improve survival and quality of life. Further prospective studies to validate such scores are needed.
CONTEXT/OBJECTIVE: Half of advanced cancer patients do not have accurate prognostic awareness (PA). However, few randomized clinical trials (RCTs) have focused on facilitating patients' PA to reduce their life-sustaining treatments (LSTs) at end of life (EOL). To address these issues, we conducted a double-blinded RCT on terminally ill cancer patients.
METHODS: Experimental-arm participants received an individualized, interactive intervention tailored to their readiness for advanced care-planning and prognostic information. Control-arm participants received a symptom-management educational treatment. Intervention effectiveness in facilitating accurate PA and reducing LSTs received, two secondary RCT outcomes, was evaluated by intention-to-treat analysis using multivariate logistic regression.
RESULTS: Participants (N=460) were randomly assigned 1:1 to experimental and control arms, each with 215 participants in the final sample. Referring to 151-180 days before death, experimental-arm participants had significantly higher odds of accurate PA than control-arm participants 61-90, 91-120, and 121-150 days before death (AOR [95% CI]: 2.04 [1.16-3.61], 1.94 [1.09-3.45], and 1.93 [1.16-3.21], respectively), but not 1-60 days before death. Experimental-arm participants with accurate PA were significantly less likely than control-arm participants without accurate PA to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (0.16 [0.03-0.73]), but not less likely to receive intensive care unit care and mechanical ventilation in their last month.
CONCLUSIONS: Our intervention facilitated cancer patients' accurate PA early in their dying trajectory, reducing the risk of receiving CPR in the last month. Healthcare professionals should cultivate cancer patients' accurate PA early in the terminal-illness trajectory to allow them sufficient time to make informed EOL-care decisions to reduce CPR at EOL.