Prognostic factors of survival in patients with advanced cancer admitted to home care

Alessandra Casuccio, Claudio Adile, Sebastiano Mercadante, Giampiero Porzio, Alessandro Valle, Federica Aielli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


AbstractCONTEXT: Data regarding prognostication of life expectancy in patients with advanced cancer are of paramount importance to patients, families, and clinicians. However, data regarding patients followed at home are lacking.OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between various factors recorded at the beginning of home care assistance and survival.METHODS: A sample of consecutive patients admitted to two home care programs was surveyed. A preliminary consensus was achieved as to the possible variables easy to be recorded at home. These included age at the time of home care admission, gender, residence, marital status, primary cancer diagnosis, Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) score, measures of systolic blood pressure and heart rate, cyanosis, use of oxygen, and body temperature. The Edmonton Symptom Assessment System was used to record the intensity of each symptom. Patients were divided into two groups: patients with a survival of less than 10 days (short survival) and patients with a survival of 10 days or more (medium-long survival).RESULTS: Three hundred seventy-four consecutive patients admitted to home care programs were surveyed, of which 187 were male. The mean±SD age was 72.1±12.7 years. The mean survival was 56.2±65 days. Mean survival was 71.5±67 days (287 patients) and 5.6±2.7 days (87 patients) in the short and medium-long survival groups, respectively. No association between type of tumor and survival was observed (P=0.162). Univariate logistic regression analysis revealed that male gender (P=0.020), older age (P=0.012), lower KPS scores (P<0.0005), systolic blood pressure less than 100 mmHg (P=0.003), heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute (P=0.0006), delirium (P=0.004), the use of oxygen (P=0.002), intensity of fatigue (P=0.006), drowsiness (P<0.0005), anorexia (P<0.0005), dyspnea (P<0.0005), poor sense of well-being (P<0.0005), and distress score (P<0.0005) were associated with a survival of less than 10 days. Marital status, residence, cognitive function, fever, pain, depression, and anxiety were not found to be significantly correlated with survival. In a multiple logistic regression model, low systolic blood pressure and high heart rate, gender, delirium, use of oxygen, KPS score, drowsiness, anorexia, and dyspnea were significantly correlated with a shorter survival.CONCLUSION: Low systolic blood pressure and high heart rate, male gender, poor KPS score, anorexia, and dyspnea were correlated with a shorter survival. Moreover, patients with low systolic blood pressure and high heart rate, male gender, poor KPS score, and greater intensity of anorexia and dyspnea are more likely to die within one week. The combination of physical symptoms from the Edmonton Symptom Assessment System and other parameters included in this study, which are simple to assess and are repeatable at home, should be further explored in future studies to provide a simple tool for use with patients with advanced cancer admitted to a home care program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
Publication statusPublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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