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Critical illness in patients with metastatic cancer: a population-based cohort study of epidemiology and outcomes
  1. Lavi Oud
  1. Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at the Permian Basin, Odessa, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lavi Oud, Odessa, Texas, USA; lavi.oud{at}


The appropriateness of intensive care unit (ICU) admission of patients with metastatic cancer remains debated. We aimed to examine the short-term outcomes and their temporal pattern in critically ill patients with metastatic disease. We used state-wide data to identify hospitalizations aged ≥18 years with metastatic cancer admitted to ICU in Texas during 2010–2014. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to examine the factors associated with short-term mortality and its temporal trends among all ICU admissions and those undergoing mechanical ventilation. Among 136,644 ICU admissions with metastatic cancer, 50.8% were aged ≥65 years, with one or more organ failures present in 53.3% and mechanical ventilation was used in 11.1%. The crude short-term mortality among all ICU admissions and those mechanically ventilated was 28.1% and 62.0%, respectively. Discharge to home occurred in 57.1% of all ICU admissions. On adjusted analyses, short-term mortality increased with rising number of organ failures (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.399, 95% CI 1.374 to 1.425), while being lower with chemotherapy (aOR 0.467, 95% CI 0.432 to 0.506) and radiation therapy (aOR 0.832, 95% CI 0.749 to 0.924), and decreased over time (aOR 0.934 per year, 95% CI 0.924 to 0.945). Predictors of short-term mortality were largely similar among those undergoing mechanical ventilation. Most ICU admissions with metastatic cancer survived hospitalization, although short-term mortality was very high among those undergoing mechanical ventilation. Short-term mortality decreased over time and was lower among those receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These findings support consideration of critical care in patients with metastatic cancer, but underscore the need to address patient-centered goals of care ahead of ICU admission.

  • carcinoma
  • critical care

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository.

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Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository.

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  • Contributors LO is the sole contributor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.

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