Specific anticancer treatments in the last 3 months of life: a French experience
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The treatment of patients with advanced cancer is becoming increasingly aggressive near the end of life, whereas poor literature is available. This study analyzes the management of patients with a solid cancer in their last 3 months of life in the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Besançon, France.
This retrospective study includes all adult patients with a solid tumor who died in medical oncology or radiotherapy unit in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Group A had received at least one specific anticancer treatment at the end of life, while group B did not.
Of 167 included patients, 139 (83.2 %) received a specific treatment during the last 3 months of life. The reference unit was medical oncology for 76 % and radiotherapy for 24 % patients; overall survival was 18 and 9 months, and median age of metastatic evolution was 59 and 71 in group A and B, respectively. The number of previous lines of chemotherapy was on average 1.96 and 0.39, respectively. In a univariate analysis, differences appear for reference unit, age of death, and number of previous lines of chemotherapy, with a trend for chemosensitivity of the tumor in this small-sized study. No significant difference was found for sex, life-threatening metastases, or performance status.
These preliminary data suggest that when evaluating the utilization of care at the end of life, one needs to take into account factors such as the age of the patient and the chemosensitivity of the tumor.