Predictors of response to corticosteroids for dyspnea in advanced cancer patients: a preliminary multicenter prospective observational study
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Although corticosteroids can relieve dyspnea in advanced cancer patients, factors predicting the response remain unknown. We aimed to explore potential factors predicting the response to corticosteroids for dyspnea in advanced cancer patients.
In this preliminary multicenter prospective observational study, we included patients who had metastatic or locally advanced cancer, were receiving specialized palliative care services, and had a dyspnea intensity of ≥3 on a 0–10 Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) (worst during the last 24 h). The primary endpoint was NRS of dyspnea on day 3 after the administration of corticosteroids. Univariate/multivariate analyses were conducted to identify factors predicting ≥1-point reduction in NRS.
Of 74 patients who received corticosteroids, 50 (68%) showed ≥1-point reduction in dyspnea NRS. Factors that significantly predicted the response were an age of 70 years or older (82 vs. 53%, p = 0.008), absence of liver metastases (77 vs. 46%, p = 0.001), Palliative Prognostic Index (PPI) ≤ 6 (90 vs. 61%, p = 0.041), presence of pleuritis carcinomatosa with a small collection of pleural effusions (84 vs. 55%, p = 0.011), presence of audible wheezes (94 vs. 60%, p = 0.014), and baseline dyspnea NRS ≥7 (76% vs. 52%, p = 0.041). In a multivariate analysis, factors predicting response included PPI <6 (odds ratio (OR), 36.2; p = 0.021), baseline dyspnea NRS (worst) ≥7 (OR, 6.6; p = 0.036), and absence of liver metastases (OR, 0.19; p = 0.029) or ascites/liver enlargement (OR, 0.13; p = 0.050).
The patient characteristics, etiologies of dyspnea, and clinical manifestations may predict responses to corticosteroids for dyspnea. Larger prospective studies are promising to confirm our findings.
KeywordsDyspnea Corticosteroids Predictors Cancer Palliative care
This research in (partially) supported by the Practical Research for Innovative Cancer Control from Japan Agency for Medical Research and development, AMED (15ck0106059h0002).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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