What Goals Do Patients and Oncologists Have When Starting Medical Treatment for Metastatic Lung Cancer?

Adinda Mieras*, H. Roeline W. Pasman, Hanna T. Klop, Bregje D. Onwuteaka-Philipsen, Svitlana Tarasevych, Marian A. Tiemessen, Annemarie Becker-Commissaris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Metastatic lung cancer is an incurable disease that can be treated with systemic therapy. These treatments might prolong survival and reduce symptoms, but they may also cause serious adverse effects. We studied the treatment goals of patients with metastasized lung cancer and their oncologists before starting systemic therapy, concordance between patients’ and oncologists’ goals, and feasibility of these goals. Patients and Methods: This research was conducted between November 2016 and April 2018 in 1 academic and 5 nonacademic hospitals across the Netherlands. A total of 266 patients with metastatic lung cancer and their prescribing oncologists (n = 23) filled out a questionnaire about their treatment goals and the estimated feasibility of these goals before treatment was started. Additional interviews were conducted with patients and oncologists. Results: Patients and oncologists reported quality of life (respectively, 45% and 72%), life prolongation (45% and 55%), decrease in tumor size (39% and 66%), and cure (19% and 2%) as treatment goals. The interviews showed that the latter appeared to be often as motivation to stay alive. Concordances between patients’ and oncologists’ treatment goals were low (ranging from 24% to 33%). Patients had slightly higher feasibility scores than oncologists (6.8 vs. 5.8 on a 10-point scale). Educational level, age, religious views, and performance status of patients were associated with treatment goals. Conclusion: Patients and oncologists set various goals for the treatment they receive/prescribe. Low concordance might exist because different goals are set or because the patient misunderstands something. Clear communication about treatment goals should be integrated into clinical care.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Lung Cancer
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jun 2020

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