Outpatient Palliative Care and Aggressiveness of End-of-Life Care in Patients with Metastatic Colorectal Cancer

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Palliative care in outpatient setting has been shown to promote better symptom management and transition to hospice care among patients with advanced cancer. Nevertheless, specialized palliative care is rarely provided at cancer centers in Korea. Herein, we aimed to assess aggressiveness of end-of-life care for patients with metastatic colorectal cancer according to the use of outpatient palliative care (OPC) at a single cancer center in Korea.


We performed a retrospective medical record review for 132 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer who died between 2011 and 2014. Fifty patients used OPC (OPC group), while 82 patients did not (non-OPC group). Indicators of aggressiveness of end-of-life care including chemotherapy use, emergency department visits, hospitalization, and utilization of hospice care were analyzed according to the use of OPC.


More patients in the OPC group were admitted to hospice than those in the non-OPC group (32% vs 17%, P = .047). The mean of inpatient days within 30 days of death was shorter for the OPC group than the non-OPC group (4.02 days vs 7.77 days, respectively, P = .032). There were no differences in the proportions of patients who received chemotherapy and visited the emergency department within 30 days from death.


Among patients with metastatic colorectal cancer, OPC was associated with shorter inpatient days near death and greater hospice utilization. Further prospective studies are needed to evaluate the impact of OPC on end-of-life care in Korea.

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