Purpose: Early palliative intervention is necessary in advanced cancer patients. Early palliative intervention in metastatic non-small cell lung cancer patients has been shown to improve their prognosis. Hence, it is possible that cooperation between active anti-cancer treatment and early palliative care improves patient prognosis. We performed a comparative study of inpatients and outpatients with advanced cancer to clarify the appropriate time for palliative intervention and to assess the improvement in prognosis.
Methods: Two hundred and one patients, all deceased, who had been treated in our department over a period of 4 years were divided into two groups of patients: inpatients who had experienced outpatient services for less than 7 days (inpatient group, 64 patients) and those who had experienced outpatient services for 7 days or more (outpatient group, 137 patients). Overall survival (OS), duration of chemotherapy and post-progression survival (PPS) were retrospectively analyzed through examination of medical records.
Results: OS of the outpatient group was longer than that of the inpatient group in all cases (19.8 months vs. 7.3 months, P<0.001). In advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients with anti-cancer treatment, OS (14.0 months vs. 3.5 months, P=0.015), duration of chemotherapy (6.0 months vs. 1.9 months, P=0.115), and PPS (2.7 months vs. 0.7 month, P=0.018) in the outpatient group were longer than those in the inpatient group.
Conclusion: In advanced non-small cell lung cancer patients undergoing anti-cancer treatment, early palliative intervention at the outpatient stage improves their prognosis.