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Chemotherapy does not improve quality of life in cancer patients at end of life, US study finds

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 30 July 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4139
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

Chemotherapy for patients with end stage cancer did not improve quality of life in those with poor or moderate performance status and worsened it in those with good performance status, US researchers have found.1

The lead author of the study, published in JAMA Oncology, was Holly G Prigerson, of the Center for Research on End of Life Care at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

Participants included patients with end stage cancer and their caregivers. Patients qualified as “end stage” if they had distant metastases, disease that was refractory to one or more lines of chemotherapy, and life expectancy of six months or less. The patients had a variety of cancers including those of the lung, colon, pancreas, and breast. The 312 patients were followed prospectively until death. At enrollment 158 (50.6%) of the participants were receiving chemotherapy, and 154 (49.4%) were not. …

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