RATIONALE: Few studies have analyzed the aggressiveness of the care (continuation of active treatments) at the end of life in patients with lung cancer. The objective of this study was to assess practices in this setting in a university department of respiratory medicine.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: This retrospective study has consecutively included all patients who were managed for lung cancer and died over a period of 18 months. The analysis focused on the characteristics of the patients, the modalities of cancer treatment and the delays between the last active treatment and death.
RESULTS: The overall median survival of the 94 patients included was 9.6 months; 92% of patients having received at least one active treatment. During the 4 and 2 weeks periods preceding death, respectively 55% and 22% of the patients received active treatments. The median time between the last day of active treatment and death was 27 days.
CONCLUSION: These results, in concordance with the published data, showed that end of life active treatment in patients with lung cancer is a complex problem. We need prospective multicentric studies, with testing tools allowing better sharing of the decisions on active treatment between the medical team, the patient and his family.