Immunotherapy Initiation at the End of Life for Patients With Metastatic Cancers

Source: The Asco Post, January 2024

In an analysis reported in JAMA Oncology, Kerekes et al found that initiation of immunotherapy at the end of life has increased over time in U.S. patients with metastatic cancers.

Study Details
The retrospective cohort study used data from the National Cancer Database on patients with stage IV melanoma (n = 20,515), non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC; n = 197,331), and renal cell carcinoma (n = 24,625) diagnosed after U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of immune checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of each disease through December 2019. Main outcome measures included end-of-life immunotherapy, defined as immunotherapy initiated within 1 month of death.

Key Findings
Mean follow-up was 13.7 months. The percentage of patients receiving end-of-life immunotherapy increased over time since the approval of appropriate immunotherapies, from 0.8% to 4.3% in patients with melanoma, 0.9% to 3.2% in those with NSCLC, and 0.5% to 2.26% in those with renal cell carcinoma. Overall, more than 1 in 14 immunotherapies in 2019 were initiated within 1 month of death.