Background: Patients participating in phase I trials represent a population with advanced cancer and symptoms, with quality-of-life implications arising from both disease and treatment. Transitions to end-of-life care for these patients have received little attention. Good empirical data are needed to better understand the role of advance care planning and palliative care during phase I trial transitions. We investigated how physician–patient communication at the time of disease progression, patient characteristics, and patterns of care were associated with end-of-life care. Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all patients with solid tumors enrolled in phase I trials at a comprehensive cancer center from January 2015 to December 2017. We captured physician–patient communication during disease progression. Among patients who died, we assessed palliative care referral, advance care planning, place of death, healthcare use in the final month of life, hospice enrollment, and hospice length of stay (LOS). Factors independently associated with a short hospice LOS (defined as ≤3 days) were estimated from a multivariable model building approach. Results: Among 207 participants enrolled in phase I intervention studies at Johns Hopkins Hospital, the median age was 61 years (range, 31–91 years), 48% were women, 21% were members of racial minority groups, and 41.5% were referred from an outside institution. At the time of disease progression, 53% had goals of care documented, 47% were previously referred to palliative care, and 41% discussed hospice with their oncologist. A total of 82% of decedents died within 1 year of study enrollment, and 85% enrolled in hospice. Among the 147 participants who enrolled in hospice, 22 (15%) had a short LOS (≤3 days). Factors independently associated with an increased risk of short hospice LOS in the multivariable model included age >65 years (odds ratio [OR], 1.12; 95% CI, 1.01–1.24; P=.04), whereas remaining at the same institution (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.65–0.80; P<.001) and referral to palliative care before progression (OR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.75–0.92; P<.001) were associated with a decreased risk of short hospice LOS. Conclusions: Reported data support the benefit of palliative care for patients in phase I trials and the risks associated with healthcare transitions for all patients, particularly older adults, regardless of care received. Leaving a clinical trial is a time when clear communication is paramount. Phase I studies will continue to be vital in advancing cancer treatment. It is equally important to advance the support provided to patients who transition off these trials.
Ramy Sedhom, Amanda L. Blackford, Arjun Gupta, Kelly Griffiths, Janet Heussner and Michael A. Carducci
Featured Updates to the NCCN Guidelines
Pamela Sue Becker, Elizabeth A. Griffiths, Laura M. Alwan, Kimo Bachiashvili, Anna Brown, Rita Cool, Peter Curtin, Shira Dinner, Ivana Gojo, Ashley Hicks, Avyakta Kallam, Wajih Zaheer Kidwai, Dwight D. Kloth, Eric H. Kraut, Daniel Landsburg, Gary H. Lyman, Ryan Miller, Sudipto Mukherjee, Shiven Patel, Lia E. Perez, Adam Poust, Raajit Rampal, Rachel Rosovsky, Vivek Roy, Hope S. Rugo, Sepideh Shayani, Sumithira Vasu, Martha Wadleigh, Kelly Westbrook, Peter Westervelt, Jennifer Burns, Jennifer Keller and Lenora A. Pluchino
Management of febrile neutropenia (FN) is an integral part of supportive care for patients undergoing cancer treatment. The NCCN Guidelines for Hematopoietic Growth Factors provide suggestions for appropriate evaluation, risk determination, prophylaxis, and management of FN. These NCCN Guidelines are intended to guide clinicians in the appropriate use of growth factors for select patients undergoing treatment of nonmyeloid malignancies. These NCCN Guidelines Insights highlight important updates to the NCCN Guidelines regarding the incorporation of newly FDA-approved granulocyte-colony stimulating factor biosimilars for the prevention and treatment of FN.