Early palliative care provides no quality of life benefits for recently diagnosed MPM patients

October 16, 2017, International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer

Early specialist palliative care for patients that were recently diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) does not impact quality of life (QOL) measures, according to research presented by Prof. Fraser Brims of Curtin University in Australia, at the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) 18th World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC) in Yokohama, Japan.

Because of the high symptom burden often associated with MPM, Prof. Brims sought to determine whether starting early would impact of life. Additionally, a study by Temel et al., 2010, published in the New England Journal of Medicine called "Early Palliative Care for Patients with Metastatic Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer" demonstrated a significant difference in reported quality of life in advanced who had regular palliative care as compared to control therapy alone. This led Prof. Brims to consider whether this intervention could lead to similar findings in patients with MPM.

The team randomized patients diagnosed with MPM within the last six weeks into two groups - the intervention group received both early specialist palliative care and standard care, while the other group received standard care alone. Those receiving the early specialist palliative care had a visit every four weeks throughout the study. To determine the impact of the intervention, the researchers used the EORTC QLQ-C30 questionnaire for quality of life measurements and the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) for anxiety/depression measurements. The primary outcome they studied was the change in EORTC C30 Global Health Status QOL 12 weeks after randomization.

The results of the international multicenter study indicate that there is no role for routine early referral to palliative care, regardless of symptoms, as there was no impact on quality of life (or mood) in the recently diagnosed MPM patients in the . Because the study doesn't provide clear results on what the optimal timing for referral is, that decision should continue to be based on clinicians' judgement. Future research into this question may be useful to review this practice to ensure optimal use of healthcare resources.

"The different finding of this study as compared to the Temel paper may be explained by the different settings and healthcare systems the studies were performed in, or perhaps can be explained by the different disease," said Prof. Brims. "While the results were surprising, as intuitively many of us felt that the intervention was likely to help, they highlight why we need high quality studies like this."

Explore further: Early palliative care improves coping, quality of life for patients with incurable cancers

Related Stories

Early palliative care improves coping, quality of life for patients with incurable cancers

September 7, 2016
A randomized clinical trial found that introducing palliative care shortly after a diagnosis of certain metastatic cancers greatly increases a patient's coping abilities, as well as overall quality of life. Researchers also ...

'Triggers': A new tool to assess cancer patients' palliative needs

September 9, 2017
A new tool to identify patients who would benefit from early palliative care will be presented at the ESMO 2017 Congress in Madrid. (1)

Study examines palliative care trends in patients with end-stage liver disease

June 29, 2017
A new study has uncovered low rates of referral for palliative care in US patients with end-stage liver disease, although rates have been slowly increasing over time. The Hepatology study also found that certain socioeconomic ...

Palliative care initiated in the ED associated with improved quality of life

January 14, 2016
A palliative care consultation initiated in the emergency department (ED) for patients with advanced cancer was associated with improved quality of life and did not seem to shorten survival, according to an article published ...

Palliative care viewed as a stigma, despite improving quality of life

April 18, 2016
The term palliative care carries a stigma for patients and their caregivers, who regard it as synonymous with impending death. Education, and possibly a name change, will be necessary to be able to integrate palliative care ...

Palliative care improves quality of life, lessens symptoms

November 22, 2016
People living with serious illness who receive palliative care have better quality of life and fewer symptoms than those who don't receive palliative care, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh ...

Recommended for you

In zebrafish, a way to find new cancer therapies, targeting tumor modulators

September 21, 2018
The lab of Leonard Zon, MD, at Boston Children's Hospital has long been interested in making blood stem cells in quantity for therapeutic purposes. Looking for a way to test for their presence in zebrafish, their go-to research ...

What can salad dressing tell us about cancer? Think oil and vinegar

September 20, 2018
Researchers led by St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have identified another way the process that causes oil to form droplets in water may contribute to solid tumors, such as prostate and breast cancer. The ...

Novel biomarker found in ovarian cancer patients can predict response to therapy

September 20, 2018
Despite months of aggressive treatment involving surgery and chemotherapy, about 85 percent of women with high-grade wide-spread ovarian cancer will have a recurrence of their disease. This leads to further treatment, but ...

Testing fluorescent tracers used to help surgeons determine edges of breast cancer tumors

September 20, 2018
A team of researchers with members from institutions in The Netherlands and China has conducted a test of fluorescent tracers meant to aid surgeons performing tumor removal in breast cancer patients. In their paper published ...

Cancer immunotherapy might benefit from previously overlooked immune players

September 20, 2018
Cancer immunotherapy—efforts to boost a patient's own immune system, allowing it to better fight cancer cells on its own—has shown great promise for some previously intractable cancers. Yet immunotherapy doesn't work ...

New way to target advanced breast cancers

September 20, 2018
A cytokine signature found in certain kinds of breast cancer cells can not only serve as a diagnostic tool for HER2-negative cancers but also offer an effective treatment target.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.