Palliative care has an established role in improving the quality of life in patients with advanced cancer, but little is known regarding its delivery among patients with urologic malignancies.
To determine trends in the utilization of palliative interventions among patients with advanced bladder, prostate, and kidney cancer.
Design, setting, and participants
We performed a retrospective cohort study of patients from years 2004 to 2013 in the National Cancer Database diagnosed with stage IV bladder (n = 17,997), prostate (n = 23,322), and kidney (n = 34,697) cancer, after excluding those with missing disease stage, treatment, and outcomes data.
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis
Descriptive statistics and logistic regression were performed to evaluate utilization of palliative care intervention. Utilization was analyzed by cancer type and by overall survival strata (<6, 6-24, and >24 months). Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional hazards models analyzed overall survival.
Results and limitations
Palliative interventions were utilized in 12.5% (2,257/17,997), 14.7% (3,442/23,322), and 19.9% (6,935/34,697) of advanced bladder, prostate, and kidney cancer patients, respectively. Older age and longer survival were associated with lower odds of palliative intervention utilization in each malignancy, as was minority race in kidney and bladder cancer patients. Palliative radiation was used most commonly, and utilization of any palliative intervention was associated with poorer overall survival. Limitations largely stem from imperfect data abstraction, and the analysis of interventions' incomplete reflection of palliative care.
Palliative interventions were seldom used among patients with advanced urologic malignancies. Palliative interventions were less frequently used in older patients and minority races. Further study is warranted to define the role of palliative interventions in advanced urologic malignancies and guide their utilization.