Use of targeted therapy in cancer patients in the end-of-life period: results from an Australian centre.
Data on the use of targeted therapies at the end of life are scarce. This study reviews the pattern of use of targeted and potentially futile, toxic, or costly therapies at an Australian cancer centre.This retrospective single-centre review of data from patients who died within 3 months of having targeted therapy examined demographic characteristics, types of cancers, types of therapy, age, and lines of prior therapy.Over 24 months, two groups were analysed. Firstly, 889 patients died with 107 patients who were prescribed targeted therapy. Secondly, 457 patients were treated with targeted therapies with 52 patients, (11 %) dying within 3 months. To focus on the 52 patients: median age was 69 years, 65 % were men and 35 % were women, 50 % had haematologic cancers and 50 % had solid tumours. Ten therapeutic agents were represented: a higher total number of deaths among those prescribed erlotinib, bevacizumab, and rituximab. There were no deaths within 3 months of treatment with trastuzumab, ipilimumab, or vemurafenib. The targeted therapy was the first-line treatment in 54 %, second in 15 %, and third and beyond in 15 %. The patient's sex and type of cancer had no statistically significant influence on death within 3 months of targeted treatment.The use of targeted therapy at the end of life in this single-centre descriptive study was lower than documented in other studies. There is a need to prospectively document the factors leading to this prescribing behaviour to guide future protocols.
Wann, A; Ashley, D; Khasraw, M
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