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Chemotherapy use in end-of-life digestive cancer patients: a retrospective AGEO observational study

Abstract : BACKGROUND: The use of chemotherapy (CT) near the end-of-life (EOL) is an important issue in oncology since it could degrade quality of life. CT near EOL is still poorly studied, with no dedicated study in gastrointestinal (GI) cancer patients. AIM: To analyze in GI cancer patients the factors associated with the use of CT within 3- and 1-month before patients’ death. METHODS AND PARTICIPANTS: All consecutive patients who died from a GI cancer in 10 French tertiary care hospitals during 2014 were included in this retrospective study. Clinical, demographical and biological data were collected and compared between patients receiving or not CT within 3- and 1-month before death. Variables associated with overall survival (OS) was also determined using of univariate and multivariate analyses with a Cox model. RESULTS: Four hundred and thirty-seven patients with a metastatic GI cancer were included in this study. Among them, 293 pts (67.0%) received CT within 3-months before death, and 121 pts (27.7%) received CT within 1-month before death. Patients receiving CT within 3-months before death were significantly younger (median age: 65.5 vs 72.8 years, p < 0.0001), with a better PS (PS 0 or 1: 53.9 vs 29.3%, p < 0.0001) and a higher albumin level (median: 32.8 vs 31.0 g/L, p = 0.048). Similar results were found for CT within 1 month before death. Palliative care team intervention was less frequent in patients who received CT in their last month of life (39.7% vs 51.3%, p = 0.02). In multivariate analysis, median OS from diagnosis was shorter in the group receiving CT within 1-month before death (HR = 0.59; 95% CI [0.48-0.74]). CONCLUSION: In GI-cancer patients, CT is administered within 3- and 1-month before death, in two and one third of patients, respectively. Patients receiving CT within 1-month before death, had more aggressive disease with poor OS. Palliative care team intervention was associated with less administration of CT in the last month of life. These results highlight the need to better anticipate the time to stop CT treatment in the end-of-life and the importance of an active collaboration between oncology and palliative care teams.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 12:15:05 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 8, 2021 - 3:47:53 PM


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Alexandra Lapeyre-Prost, Geraldine Perkins, Marie Vallee, Astrid Pozet, David Tougeron, et al.. Chemotherapy use in end-of-life digestive cancer patients: a retrospective AGEO observational study. Clinics and Research in Hepatology and Gastroenterology, Elsevier, 2021, 45 (5), pp.101709. ⟨10.1016/j.clinre.2021.101709⟩. ⟨hal-03268628⟩



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