Chemotherapy and palliative care near end-of life: Examining the appropriateness at a cancer institute for colorectal cancer patients

Ilaria Massa, Oriana Nanni, Flavia Foca, Marco Maltoni, Stefania Derni, Nicola Gentili, Giovanni Luca Frassineti, Andrea Casadei Gardini, Martina Valgiusti, Dino Amadori, Elena Prati, Mattia Altini, Davide Gallegati, Elisabetta Sansoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Appropriate cessation of chemotherapy and timely referral of patients to hospice services are crucial for the quality of care near death. We investigated the quality of care in our Cancer Institute in very advanced metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated in real life. Patients and Methods: We performed a retrospective analysis of electronic medical data of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who were candidates for chemotherapy during the study period (1 January 2007-30 June 2014) and died before 31 December 2014. Quality-of-cancer-care indicators were calculated for the overuse of chemotherapy and referral to hospice. Predictive factors of chemotherapy discontinuation and hospice referral in end-of life care were investigated using parametric and nonparametric methods. Results: Of the 365 patients who died before 31 December 2014, 26 (7.1%) received chemotherapy in the last 14 days of life and 36 (9.8%) started a new chemotherapy regimen in the last 30 days of life. Factors associated with the overuse of chemotherapy were being < 70 years of age for both indicators and not having received advanced chemotherapy treatments for the former indicator. The majority of patients (74.7%) had access to hospice services, of whom only a small percentage (7.2%) accessed them very near to death. Conclusions: According to the criteria used, our Institute provides a good quality of cancer care for dying colorectal cancer patients, measured by the use of chemotherapy and referral to hospice in their last days of life.

Original languageEnglish
Article number86
JournalBMC Palliative Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 19 2018


  • Appropriateness
  • Chemotherapy
  • End of life
  • Indicators
  • Palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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