Predictive models in palliative care


  • Presented at the Inside Track Conference “Predictive Modeling in Prostate Cancer,” organized by the European School of Oncology, Venice, Italy, April 17-19, 2008.


It is important to identify prognostic and predictive factors concerning both life expectancy and quality of life in palliative care patients to facilitate ethical, clinical, and organizational decisions, but also to use resources in the best possible way. The authors reviewed the literature to identify the major factors that can predict survival of patients with solid tumors. They found only a few prospective assessments of prognostic factors. Clinical prognostic/predictors of survival based on physician's and/or nurse's judgment, performance status, dyspnea at rest, anorexia, dysphagia, or delirium are all considered to be of primary importance. Despite several contrasting findings, it is generally agreed that the type and site of the primary tumor and metastasis, psychosocial factors, and quality of life should be considered secondary to the organic effects in the final stages of life. Leukocytosis, lymphocytopenia, and elevated C-reactive protein are all reported to have prognostic significance, and low serum albumin and high lactate dehydrogenase levels must also be taken into consideration. Cancer 2009;115(13 suppl):3128–34. © 2009 American Cancer Society.