Prospective analysis of 30-day mortality following palliative chemotherapy at a tertiary cancer centre

James A McCracken, A Dabscheck, Maria Coperchini, Ilana Hornung, Azim Jalali, Georgina Akers, Amalia Karahalios, Fran Gore, Lara R. Lipton

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Background: Thirty-day mortality after chemotherapy has been suggested as a marker of quality in oncology care. Retrospective audits worldwide have put this figure at between 8.1% and 43%, with previous retrospective Australian audits putting this figure at between 3.4% and 18%. To date, there has not been a prospective cohort study of patients receiving palliative intent chemotherapy at an Australian chemotherapy day unit. Aim: The aim of the study is to benchmark 30-day mortality for patients receiving palliative intent chemotherapy and identify associated factors at an Australian tertiary cancer centre. Methods and results: A prospective cohort study of all patients with a diagnosis of malignancy referred for palliative intent intravenous chemotherapy to the Sunshine Hospital Chemotherapy Day Unit over a 12-month period. The primary outcome was death within 30 days of receiving palliative intent chemotherapy. Other outcome measures included place of death and whether the patient received an outpatient palliative care referral. A total of 314 patients were enrolled in the study, and 98 patients died within the audit period. Of these, 21 (6.6%) died within 30 days of commencing palliative intent chemotherapy, and 60 (18.8%) died more than 30 days after receiving chemotherapy. Of the 34 patients that were referred, but did not start chemotherapy, 18 (52%) died. Multivariable logistic regression found that patients who received an outpatient palliative care referral and received chemotherapy were more likely to die within 30 days, although these did not reach statistical significance. Conclusion(s): This prospective cohort study demonstrated that 6.6% of patients died within 30 days of the administration of palliative intent chemotherapy; however, none of the prespecified factors were found to be statistically significantly associated with 30-day mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1135
Number of pages6
JournalCancer Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ambulatory care
  • benchmarking
  • death
  • neoplasms
  • palliative care

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