These data have been presented in part, as an oral abstract, at the Combined International Psycho-Oncology Society/Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting, in Brisbane, Australia in 2012.
Administration of chemotherapy with palliative intent in the last 30 days of life: the balance between palliation and chemotherapy
Article first published online: 15 NOV 2013
© 2013 The Authors; Internal Medicine Journal © 2013 Royal Australasian College of Physicians
Internal Medicine Journal
Volume 43, Issue 11, pages 1191–1198, November 2013
How to Cite
Zdenkowski, N., Cavenagh, J., Ku, Y. C., Bisquera, A. and Bonaventura, A. (2013), Administration of chemotherapy with palliative intent in the last 30 days of life: the balance between palliation and chemotherapy. Internal Medicine Journal, 43: 1191–1198. doi: 10.1111/imj.12245
Conflict of interest: None.
- Issue published online: 15 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 15 NOV 2013
- Accepted manuscript online: 22 JUL 2013 04:51AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 17 MAY 2013
- advanced cancer;
- palliative care;
- end of life
Appropriately timed cessation of chemotherapy is an important aspect of good quality palliative care. There is wide variation in the reported rates of chemotherapy administration within the last 30 days of life.
To identify predictors of death within 30 days of receiving palliative chemotherapy, and to propose a standard definition by which oncologists and cancer centres can be compared.
Patients who received palliative chemotherapy at a regional cancer centre and its rural outreach unit between 2009 and 2011 were included. An adjusted logistic regression model, including all variables, was fit to identify predictors of death within 30 days of receiving palliative chemotherapy.
Over a 3-year period, 1131 patients received palliative chemotherapy, 138 (12%) died within 30 days of receiving palliative chemotherapy. Predictors of death within 30 days of palliative chemotherapy were: less than 30 days contact with palliative care (odds ratio 3.30 (95% confidence interval 2.04–5.34), P < 0.001) and male gender (odds ratio 2.02 (95% confidence interval 1.24–3.31), P = 0.0049), but treating clinician, tumour chemoresponsiveness, age, body mass index and survival from initial diagnosis were not.
Patients who received chemotherapy in the last 30 days of life were more likely to be male and have a shorter duration of palliative care team involvement. In this study, the observed rate of death within 30 days of chemotherapy is within the range of published data. It is recommended that a standard definition be used to benchmark medical oncology centres and individual oncologists, and to allow comparison over time.