Impacts of multidisciplinary meeting case discussion on palliative care referral and end-of-life care in lung cancer: a retrospective observational study

Krita Sridharan, Eldho Paul, Robert G. Stirling, Chi Li

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Background: Multidisciplinary meeting (MDM) discussion and early palliative care are recommended in lung cancer management. The literature is unclear whether MDM discussion leads to early palliative care and improved end-of-life care. Aims: To evaluate impacts of discussion at an Australian lung MDM on palliative care referral, and MDM and early palliative care on aggressive end-of-life care. Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional study was conducted of 352 patients diagnosed with primary lung cancer from 2017 to 2019 at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne. The primary question was whether MDM discussion influenced palliative care referrals. Secondary questions were whether MDM discussion and early palliative care reduced aggressive treatment (chemotherapy, hospitalisation, emergency department visits, intensive care admission and in-hospital death) during the last 30 days of life. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine independent association between MDM discussion and palliative care referral. Results: MDM discussion did not independently impact palliative care referral. There was reduced likelihood of MDM presentation in patients with metastatic disease (P < 0.0001) and poorer performance status (P = 0.025), and higher likelihood of palliative care referral in these patients (both P < 0.001). MDM discussion reduced end-of-life intensive care unit (ICU) admission in patients with metastatic disease (P = 0.04). A palliative care referral-to-death interval of ≥30 days was associated with reduced hospitalisation at the end of life (P < 0.0001) and hospital deaths (P = 0.001). Conclusion: Discussion at lung MDM did not increase palliative care referral, but did reduce ICU admission among metastatic patients at the end of life. Longer palliative care referral-to-death interval was associated with reduced aggressive end-of-life care. Further research is needed in these areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1450-1456
Number of pages7
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • lung neoplasms
  • multidisciplinary care
  • palliative care
  • quality of life
  • terminal care

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