Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a leading cause of cancer deaths in developed nations. The past decade has seen the approval of numerous systemic therapies for RCC, most recently immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI). Nivolumab, an anti-programmed cell death 1 antibody, was superior to everolimus in a large phase 3 trial in clear-cell RCC (ccRCC), and is now approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for metastatic RCC after progression on prior anti-antiangiogenic therapy. The overall response rate is 25%, and there is a subset of patients who demonstrate pseudoprogression where initial tumor growth is followed by decreased tumor burden. Differentiating between progression and pseudoprogression has been chanllenging.
Herein we report the case of a patient with metastatic ccRCC with clinical deterioration and progression after 3 doses of nivolumab who went to hospice, only to come back 6 months later with less disease.
Background: People with advanced cancer face difficulties with their everyday activities at home that may reduce their health-related quality of life. To address these difficulties, we developed the ‘Cancer Home-Life Intervention’.
Aim: To evaluate the efficacy of the ‘Cancer Home Life-Intervention’ compared with usual care with regard to patients’ performance of, and participation in, everyday activities, and their health-related quality of life.
Design and intervention: A randomised controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02356627). The ‘Cancer Home-Life Intervention’ is a brief, tailored, occupational therapy–based and adaptive programme for people with advanced cancer targeting the performance of their prioritised everyday activities.
Setting/participants: Home-living adults diagnosed with advanced cancer experiencing functional limitations were recruited from two Danish hospitals. They were assessed at baseline, and at 6 and 12 weeks of follow-up. The primary outcome was activities of daily living motor ability. Secondary outcomes were activities of daily living process ability, difficulty performing prioritised everyday activities, participation restrictions and health-related quality of life.
Results: A total of 242 participants were randomised either to the intervention group (n = 121) or the control group (n = 121). No effect was found on the primary outcome (between-group mean change: -0.04 logits (95% confidence interval: -0.23 to 0.15); p = 0.69). Nor was any effect on the secondary outcomes observed.
Conclusion: In most cases, the ‘Cancer Home-Life Intervention’ was delivered through only one home visit and one follow-up telephone contact, which not was effective in maintaining or improving participants’ everyday activities and health-related quality of life. Future research should pay even more attention to intervention development and feasibility testing.
Background: The most important decision after diagnosing terminal cancer is whether to provide active therapy or withhold treatment.
Objective: To analyze the aggressiveness of care by evaluating systemic anticancer therapy (SACT) given near to death, describing this care and identifying factors that determine its use.
Design: This involves retrospective observational cohorts study.
Setting/Subjects: This involves patients with metastatic tumors who died at a University Hospital in Spain between 2015 and 2016.
Measurements: Data obtained from prescribing oncologists and patients' clinical records, type of cancer, and information on treatment. The dependent variable used was the interval between the date of the last dose and date of death.
Results: Ninety-four (32.60%) of 288 patients received SACT in the last month of life. This cohort had a higher frequency of lung cancer (OR: 1.58; CI 95%: 1.14-2.18), received more care from oncologist 2 (OR: 1.50; CI 95%: 1.08-2.08), had fewer last-line treatment cycles (OR: 1.28; CI 95%: 1.13-1.45), a lower subjective response (OR: 3.13; CI 95%: 1.34-7.29), less clinical benefit (OR: 2.38; CI 95%: 1.04-5.55), more visits to the Emergency Department (OR: 1.59; CI 95%: 1.06-2.38), and less care from the Palliative Care Unit (OR: 4.55; CI 95%: 2.69-7.70). In multivariate analysis, the predictors of having received SACT close to death remained: receiving fewer cycles of treatment (OR: 1.28; CI 95%: 1.12-1.47) and less palliative care (OR: 4.54; CI 95%: 2.56-7.69).
Conclusions: A third of cancer patients received SACT in the last month of life with less efficacy and poorer quality of care than patients not receiving it.
Introduction: Studies have shown aggressive cancer care at the end of life is associated with decreased quality of life, decreased median survival, and increased cost of care. This study describes the patients most likely to receive systemic anticancer therapy at the end of life in a community cancer institute.
Materials and Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of 201 patients who received systemic anticancer therapy in our institution and died between July 2016 and April 2017. Data collected included primary malignancy, hospice enrollment, healthcare utilization, Oncology Care Model (OCM) enrollment, and clinical assessments at last office visit prior to a treatment decision before death. We defined our outcome variable as the receipt of anticancer treatment in the last 14 days of a patient's life. We evaluated 20 clinical exposure variables with respect to the outcome classes. Risk ratios along with their associated confidence intervals and P values were calculated. Significance was determined using the Benjamini-Hochberg procedure to account for multiple testing.
Results: Of the 201 patients who died of cancer, 36 (17%) received anticancer therapy within the last 14 days of life. Several risk factors were significantly positively associated with receiving anticancer therapy at the end of life including hospitalization within 30 days of end of life, number of hospitalizations per patient (=2), death in hospital, enrollment in OCM, and a diagnosis of hematologic malignancy.
Conclusion: Our findings demonstrate those enrolled in the OCM and those with hematologic malignancies have a higher risk of receiving anticancer therapy in the last 14 days of life. These observations highlight the need for better identifying the needs of high-risk patients and providing good quality care throughout the disease trajectory to better align end-of-life care with patients' wishes.
OBJECTIVES: The role of palliative gastrectomy in the management of metastatic gastric cancer remains inadequately clarified.
METHODS: We analyzed patients with metastatic gastric cancer enrolled in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results registry from January 2004 to December 2012. Propensity score (PS) analysis with 1:1 matching and the nearest neighbor matching method was performed to ensure well-balanced characteristics of the groups of patients who undergone gastrectomy and those without gastrectomy. Data were analyzed by Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards regression models to evaluate the overall survival and cancer-specific survival rates with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (CIs).
RESULTS: In general, receiving any kind of gastrectomy was associated with an improvement in survival in the multivariate analyses (hazard ratio [HR]os = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.59-0.70, HRcss = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.57-0.68) and PS matching (PSM) analyses (HRos = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.56-0.70, HRcss = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.55-0.70). After PSM, palliative gastrectomy was found to be associated with remarkably improved survival for patients with stage M1 with only 1 metastasis but not associated with survival of patients with stage M1 with extensive metastasis (>= metastatic sites)
DISCUSSION: The results obtained from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database suggest that patients with metastatic gastric cancer might benefit from palliative gastrectomy on the basis of chemotherapy. However, a PSM cohort study of this kind still has a strong selection bias and cannot replace a properly conducted randomized controlled trial.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Penile squamous cell carcinoma (PSCC) remains a challenging malignancy to treat and there is an urgent need of significant improvements at all levels of medical care. In the current review, we summarized the significant obstacles encountered during management of PSCC and discussed the clinical relevance of novel findings and their potential to address these obstacles.
RECENT FINDINGS: The recent genetic and immunological advances suggest that patients with PSCC can benefit from available targeted therapy and immunotherapy options. Moreover, evidence has accumulated over time suggesting that majority of the patients diagnosed with PSCC suffer from psychosocial problems and impaired rehabilitation.
SUMMARY: Effective prevention strategies against PSCC are urgently needed especially in developing countries given the limited therapeutic options. About a quarter of patients with metastatic PSCC appear to benefit from available targeted therapies and about half of the patients can be a suitable candidate for immune checkpoint blockade as half of the PSCC cases exhibit PD-L1 expression. Moreover, increased public awareness, healthcare provider education and social support programs may help patients suffering from PSCC coping with the psychosocial burdens of the disease.
PURPOSE: End-of-life (EOL) chemotherapy has been described as the most widespread, wasteful, and unnecessary practice in oncology, with benchmarking aimed to reduce physician use of chemotherapy within 14 days of EOL. We evaluated the recent transformation of EOL chemotherapy and targeted therapy practices nationally.
METHODS: In patients older than 65 years of age who died as a result of breast (n = 19,887), lung (n = 79,613), colorectal (n = 29,844), or prostate (n = 17,910) cancer between 2007 and 2013, we evaluated the guideline-benchmarked measure of chemotherapy use within 14 days of EOL in SEER-Medicare. Comparison outcomes were nonbenchmarked measures of chemotherapy and targeted therapy across time points within 6 months of EOL. Cochran-Armitage test was used to evaluate temporal trends. Multilevel logistic models and intraclass correlation coefficient was used to evaluate variation in EOL chemotherapy use at the physician level.
RESULTS: From 2007 to 2013, chemotherapy within 14 days of EOL declined from 6.7% to 4.9% of patients (Ptrend < .001; = -1.8%). Similar declines occurred for chemotherapy within 1 month (Ptrend < .001; = -1.8%) and 2 months (Ptrend < .001; = -1.3%) of EOL. In contrast, chemotherapy within 4 to 6 months of EOL rose (Ptrend = .04; = 0.7% to 1.7%), and 43.0% of all patients received chemotherapy within 6 months of EOL. Frequency of targeted therapy use across all time points within 6 months of EOL was stable to marginally rising from 2007 to 2013 (Ptrend = .09 to .82; = -0.2% to 1.8%); overall, 1.2% received targeted therapy within 14 days and 3.6% within 1 month of EOL. By 2013, 13.2% of patients received any targeted therapy within 6 months of EOL. In a multilevel model, 5.19% (intraclass correlation coefficient) of variation in 14-day EOL chemotherapy was attributed to the physician level.
CONCLUSION: With national benchmarking, chemotherapy within 14 days of EOL successfully declined to less than 5%, with comprehensive benchmark uptake by physicians. Results may inform current strategies to help to achieve high-value EOL oncology practice.
PURPOSE: Several new drug therapies have been approved in CRPC in the past decade. However, little is known about their potential overuse at the end of life. Cancer therapy use at the end of life has been considered an indicator of overtreatment. The study objective was to describe CRPC drug use in the last month of life of CRPC patients in Quebec.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Using administrative databases from the province of Quebec in Canada, we identified patients who received medical or surgical castration treatment, received one or more CRPC drugs (chemotherapy, abiraterone, or bone-targeted therapy), and died between 2001 and 2013. CRPC drug use in the last month of life was the primary outcome.
RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 1,148 patients with CRPC. A total of 316 men (27.5%) received a CRPC drug in the last month of life. For those who received chemotherapy, abiraterone, and bone-targeted therapy, 10.2%, 27.8%, and 31.8% received them in the last month of life, respectively. In multivariable analyses, age older than 75 years (odds ratio [OR], 0.75; 95% CI, 0.57 to 0.99), and prostate cancer diagnosis received less than 24 months earlier (OR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.26 to 0.72) were associated with less CRPC drug use. Relative to dying between 2005 and 2011, dying between 2012 and 2013 (OR 1.60; 95% CI, 1.18 to 2.18) was associated with greater CRPC drug use.
CONCLUSION: More than one quarter of patients received CRPC drug therapies in the last month of life. Persistent chemotherapy, abiraterone, bone-targeted therapies, and medical castration drugs in the last month of life may be an indicator of inappropriate and expensive end-of-life care.
BACKGROUND: The oligometastatic paradigm suggests that some patients with a limited number of metastases might be cured if all lesions are eradicated. Evidence from randomised controlled trials to support this paradigm is scarce. We aimed to assess the effect of stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) on survival, oncological outcomes, toxicity, and quality of life in patients with a controlled primary tumour and one to five oligometastatic lesions.
METHODS: This randomised, open-label phase 2 study was done at 10 hospitals in Canada, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Australia. Patients aged 18 or older with a controlled primary tumour and one to five metastatic lesions, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score of 0-1, and a life expectancy of at least 6 months were eligible. After stratifying by the number of metastases (1-3 vs 4-5), we randomly assigned patients (1:2) to receive either palliative standard of care treatments alone (control group), or standard of care plus SABR to all metastatic lesions (SABR group), using a computer-generated randomisation list with permuted blocks of nine. Neither patients nor physicians were masked to treatment allocation. The primary endpoint was overall survival. We used a randomised phase 2 screening design with a two-sided a of 0·20 (wherein p<0·20 designates a positive trial). All analyses were intention to treat. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01446744.
FINDINGS: 99 patients were randomised between Feb 10, 2012, and Aug 30, 2016. Of 99 patients, 33 (33%) were assigned to the control group and 66 (67%) to the SABR group. Two (3%) patients in the SABR group did not receive allocated treatment and withdrew from the trial; two (6%) patients in the control group also withdrew from the trial. Median follow-up was 25 months (IQR 19-54) in the control group versus 26 months (23-37) in the SABR group. Median overall survival was 28 months (95% CI 19-33) in the control group versus 41 months (26-not reached) in the SABR group (hazard ratio 0·57, 95% CI 0·30-1·10; p=0·090). Adverse events of grade 2 or worse occurred in three (9%) of 33 controls and 19 (29%) of 66 patients in the SABR group (p=0·026), an absolute increase of 20% (95% CI 5-34). Treatment-related deaths occurred in three (4·5%) of 66 patients after SABR, compared with none in the control group.
INTERPRETATION: SABR was associated with an improvement in overall survival, meeting the primary endpoint of this trial, but three (4·5%) of 66 patients in the SABR group had treatment-related death. Phase 3 trials are needed to conclusively show an overall survival benefit, and to determine the maximum number of metastatic lesions wherein SABR provides a benefit.
FUNDING: Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and London Regional Cancer Program Catalyst Grant.
Dysphagia in people with advanced oesophageal cancer can be treated by oesophageal stents, external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) and intraluminal brachytherapy. Despite guidelines recommending brachytherapy for patients with a predicted life expectancy exceeding 3 months, its uptake in the UK has been limited. Here we examine the strength of the evidence supporting the use of brachytherapy compared with oesophageal stents and EBRT and possible reasons for its limited uptake. Trials and observational studies suggest brachytherapy alone confers a benefit to patients, but its impact is less immediate than oesophageal stents; the evidence on effectiveness and value-for-money is limited. Moreover, stronger evidence will probably be insufficient to increase uptake, due to the extra complexity of delivery compared with stents and EBRT and a lack of experience among specialists.
Several immune checkpoint inhibitor therapies (CPIs) have been approved to treat metastatic urothelial cell carcinoma (mUC). Because of the favorable toxicity profile of CPI compared with chemotherapy, oncologists may have a low threshold to prescribe CPI to patients near the end of life. We evaluated trends in initiation of end-of-life systemic therapy in 1,637 individuals in the Flatiron Health Database who were diagnosed with mUC between 2015 and 2017 and who died. Rates of systemic therapy initiation in the last 30 and 60 days of life were 17.0% and 29.8%, respectively. The quarterly proportion of patients who initiated CPI within 60 days of death increased from 1.0% to 23% during the study period (p trend < .001). After CPI approval, end-of-life CPI initiation significantly increased among patients with poor performance status (p trend = .020) and did not significantly change among individuals with good performance status. The quarterly proportion of patients who initiated any systemic therapy at the end of life doubled (17.4% to 34.8%) during the study period, largely explained by increased CPI use. These findings suggest a dramatic rise in CPI use at the end of life in patients with mUC, a finding that may have important guideline and policy implications.
In May 2018, the Right to Try (RTT) Act was signed into law, and it aims to increase access to investigational drugs for people with life-threatening illnesses. Although compassion is widely viewed as the motivating logic of the RTT Act, there are also indisputable economic and political motivations. These motivations reflect the mindset that the development and delivery of cures is being impeded primarily by risk-averse scientists and regulators, when what is required is a bold commitment to save dying people, unencumbered by timid procedural hurdles. Considerable attention has been paid to how this legislation differs from the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) existing Expanded Access regulations.2 However, during the bill’s progress through Congress, some of the concerns raised about the potential for unintended negative consequences of the law have been missing from the discussion. Herein, we consider one of these concerns: the Act’s potential to undermine palliative care for children with cancer.
This is a case of Ms. C, a 37-year-old woman originally from Zambia, Africa, with an unremarkable medical history prior to the unfortunate diagnosis of cervical cancer in 2014. Ms. C, was diagnosed with cervical cancer at an early stage with many treatment options available at the time of her diagnosis to potentially limit disease progression. Such therapeutic options included: conventional surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, all commonly recognized treatment approaches for medical management, utilizing ‘westernized’ medicinal theories. Based upon the ideology of the patient's family and her own personal beliefs of healing and western medical practices, she instead opted for a culturally based complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) management of her cervical cancer and declined surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. After 2 years of CAM management, her cervical cancer metastasized to her lungs and brain. After numerous hospitalizations for cancer-related illnesses and increasing symptom burden, she sought typical western medical interventions including chemotherapy, external beam radiation, along with a nephrostomy tube for renal failure and uterine artery embolization for chronic uterine bleeding. Within 6 months of such interventional techniques failing to improve her prognosis, the patient died under hospice home care. This case highlights the importance of elucidating how a patient understands their own medical condition and reconcile their belief system and cultural practices early in the management and treatment process. This is possible through emphasizing and practicing a thorough cross-cultural interview and is especially important when dealing with potentially life limiting pathologies like cancer, and when making key decisions such as choosing between CAM vs. western medicinal practices, or a holistic approach utilizing both. Physicians and patients must focus on removing cultural barriers to medical care.
BACKGROUND: Maintaining quality of life including physical functioning is highly prioritized among older cancer patients. Geriatric assessment is a recommended approach to identify patients with increased vulnerability to stressors (frailty). How frailty affects quality of life and physical functioning in older cancer patients has scarcely been investigated.
AIM: Focusing on physical functioning and global quality of life, we investigated whether frailty identified by a geriatric assessment was associated with higher risk of quality-of-life deterioration during cancer treatment and follow-up.
DESIGN: Prospective, observational study. Patients were classified as frail or non-frail by a modified geriatric assessment. Quality of life was measured using the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Core Quality-of-Life Questionnaire at inclusion, 2, 4, 6 and 12 months.
SETTING: Eight Norwegian outpatient cancer clinics.
Patients Patients >=70 years with solid tumours referred for palliative or curative systemic medical cancer treatment.
RESULTS: Among 288 patients included, 140 (49%) were frail and 148 (51%) non-frail. Frail patients consistently reported poorer scores on all functioning and symptom scales. Independent of age, gender and major cancer-related factors, frail patients had significantly poorer physical functioning and global quality of life during follow-up, and opposed to non-frail patients they had both a clinically and statistically significant decline in physical functioning from baseline until 12 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Geriatric assessment identifies frail patients with increased risk of physical decline, poor functioning and high symptom burden during and following cancer treatment. Frail patients should therefore receive early supportive or palliative care.
ackground/Aim: Previous studies have shown anti-proliferative and anti-apoptotic effects of omega-3 fatty acids (Omegaven®) in vitro and in vivo. Whether this effect can be exploited in patients with advanced esophago-gastric adenocarcinoma is unknown. The present study intended to determine the tumour radiological response and toxicity profile of intravenous omega-3 fish oil infusion when combined with standard palliative chemotherapy, and present the effects of this treatment on plasma cytokine biomarkers.
Materials and Methods: Participants with advanced esophago-gastric adenocarcinoma were enrolled in a phase II single-arm clinical trial of palliative chemotherapy (epirubicin, oxaliplatin, and capecitabine; EOX) coupled with weekly infusion of Omegaven®. Outcomes were compared to those observed in 37 historical control patients who had received EOX alone. Toxicity was graded using the CTCAE v4.03 and radiological response was assessed using RECIST v1.1. Plasma cytokine levels of IL-1, IL-2, IL-6, TNF-a, and VEGF were evaluated by ELISA.
Results: Twenty participants were included in the analysis. Radiological responses were as follows: partial response (EOX plus omega-3 group 73% vs. EOX alone 39%, p=0.03), stable disease (EOX plus omega-3 21% vs. EOX alone 39%, p=0.24), and progressive disease (EOX plus omega-3 7% vs. EOX alone 18%, p=0.34). Grade 3 or 4 toxicity was less common (thromboembolism & gastrointestinal) in those who received EOX plus omega-3. This translated into fewer hospital admissions. There were significant reductions in the concentrations of IL-2 (p=0.009), TNF-a (p<0.0001) and VEGF (p=0.002) following each treatment.
Conclusion: The treatment with supplementary omega-3 fatty acids reduced chemotherapy-related toxicity and resulted in better radiological responses. The combination treatment resulted in a shift towards a favourable anti-inflammatory cytokine profile. These findings should be evaluated in a randomised clinical trial.
Importance: Extramammary Paget disease (EMPD), a rare intraepithelial adenocarcinoma, poses a therapeutic challenge with high postoperative recurrence rates and a limited number of effective local treatment options.
Objective: To describe the use and efficacy of a topical combination of fluorouracil and calcipotriene as a palliative therapy for refractory EMPD.
Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective case series of 3 women with recurrent, refractory EMPD was conducted at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts and Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri. All patients were treated with a 1:1 mixture of fluorouracil, 5%, cream and calcipotriene, 0.005%, cream or ointment.
Main Outcomes and Measures: Clinical and histopathological findings.
Results: All 3 women (1 in her 50s, 2 in their 70s) presented with recurrent EMPD (vulvar, perianal, and perioral) after surgery and/or irradiation, and their EMPD was refractory to treatment with imiquimod, 5%, cream. Owing to disease progression and/or intolerable adverse effects from imiquimod, the patients began treatment with a 1:1 mixture of fluorouracil, 5%, cream and calcipotriene, 0.005%, cream. This treatment, which was well tolerated, was followed by clinical improvement in symptoms and appearance of the lesions in all 3 cases and histopathological signs of decreased tumor burden in 2 cases. Patients applied the combination topical therapy to affected areas with differing frequencies, ranging from 1 to 2 days per month to 4 consecutive days every 2 weeks.
Conclusions and Relevance: Extramammary Paget disease frequently recurs even after aggressive surgical management and can be refractory to many topical and locoregional therapies. Palliative treatment with a combination of fluorouracil and calcipotriene may be a viable option for patients with recurrent, refractory EMPD.
Background: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) affects 30% to 40% of patients with cancer with long-lasting disability. Scrambler therapy (ST) appeared to benefit patients in uncontrolled trials, so we performed a randomized sham-controlled Phase II trial of ST.
Methods: The primary end point was “average pain” after 28 days on the Numeric Rating Scale. Each received ten 30-minute sessions of ST on the dermatomes above the painful areas, or sham treatment on the back, typically at L3-5 where the nerve roots would enter the spinal cord. Outcomes included the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI)-CIPN and the EORTC CIPN-20 scale. Patients were evaluated before treatment (day 0), day 10, and days 28, 60, and 90.
Results: Data regarding pain as a primary outcome were collected for 33 of the 35 patients. There were no significant differences between the sham and the “real” ST group at day 10, 28, 60, or 90, for average pain, the BPI, or EORTC CIPN-20. Individual responses were noted during the ST treatment on the real arm, but most dissipated by day 30. There was improvement in the sensory subscale of the CIPN-20 at 2 months in the “real” group (P = .14). All “real” patients wanted to continue treatment if available.
Discussion: We observed no difference between sham and real ST CIPN treatment. Potential reasons include at least the following: ST does not work; the sham treatment had some effect; small sample size with heterogeneous patients; misplaced electrodes on an area of nonpainful but damaged nerves; or a combination of these factors.
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.
Background: This case study examines the feasibility of application of an acceptance-based behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), to a patient with end-stage metastatic pancreatic cancer, depression, and anxiety, as a form of integrative palliative care. Case Presentation: ACT allowed the patient to identify her values of resuming her religious connection, improving relationships with family members and trusted friends, and organizing her affairs before death. As a result, the patient was able to remain engaged in cancer treatments despite side effects that she had previously deemed intolerable. She was able to move toward her values despite health-related and depression-related obstacles. Furthermore, she successfully reconnected with her religious faith, and with her parents, spent time with her family, and deepened relationships with close friends before her death. Her quality of life was much improved by a combination of ACT and cancer treatments, suggesting that ACT may be a feasible mental health adjunct for palliative care in end-stage pancreatic cancer.
Conclusion: ACT was well received by this patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer, improving ability to cope with anxiety, depression, and treatment side effects, thereby accepting and managing her cancer more effectively.
Clear cell carcinoma is the most common form of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Metastatic RCC is poorly responsive to treatment and has a bleak prognosis. Newer systemic agents have improved outcomes. Furthermore, their interaction with radiation treatment (RT) may provide further therapeutic options. RCC is considered to be radioresistant, however we report the case of a patient with progression on targeted therapy and immunotherapy who achieved a substantial and sustained local, and possibly abscopal, response to low dose palliative radiation therapy.