There was a trend of increasing use of palliative care for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) since the mid-2000s, but overall rates of palliative care use remain low, according to a study presented at the 19th Annual Meeting of the International Kidney Cancer Symposium (IKCS 2020).

Palliative care can improve quality of life and decrease intensive care utilization and costs, and has thus been recommended for early integration in oncologic care. The use of palliative care among patients with RCC is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the trends in palliative care use in this setting.

The study included data from 62,136 patients from the National Cancer Database who were diagnosed with stage III to IV RCC between 2004 and 2014. The analyses included multivariate analysis of palliative care use that adjusted for patient, hospital, and surgical factors.

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At baseline, there were 20,122 patients with stage III disease and 42,014 with stage IV disease. Overall, palliative care was used among 13.1% of patients.

Use of palliative care increased among patients with stage IV RCC beginning in the mid-2000s (P =.008), but remained the same among patients with stage III disease (P =.224).

Palliative care use was more likely among patients who had sarcomatoid histology, received systemic therapy or systemic therapy plus surgery, who had higher education levels, and who were uninsured or who had some type of government-sponsored health insurance. Patients who were Black, had higher incomes, or who had undergone surgery were less likely to receive palliative care.

The authors concluded that “early, more equitable, and systematic use of palliative care among patients with advanced RCC is necessary.”


Patel HV, Sterling J, Srivastava A, et al. Factors associated with palliative care utilization in advanced and metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Presented at: 19th Annual Meeting of the International Kidney Cancer Symposium (IKCS 2020); November 6-7, 2020. Abstract NAS115.

This article originally appeared on Cancer Therapy Advisor