Defining palliative opportunities in pediatric patients with bone and soft tissue tumors


Defining palliative opportunities in pediatric patients with bone and soft tissue tumors


Ebelhar J; Allen K; Wasilewski-Masker K; Brock K



Pediatric Blood and Cancer




adolescent; bone marrow; bone tumor; cancer patient; cancer recurrence; child; conference abstract; controlled study; death; disease exacerbation; do not resuscitate order; female; hospice; hospital admission; human; intensive care; major clinical study; male; palliative therapy; pediatric patient; phase 1 clinical trial; relapse; retrospective study; soft tissue tumor; solid malignant neoplasm; statistics


Background: Pediatric patients with cancer have many opportunities for increased primary or specialty palliative care (PC). This is particularly true for patients with solid tumors who often have higher symptom burden and worse outcomes. However, how many opportunities, when they occur, and if these opportunities are correlated with disease or demographic variables are unknown. Objective(s): To define palliative opportunities within pediatric cancer, and explore howthese occur in patients with solid tumors. Design/Method: A priori, nine palliative opportunity categories were defined (disease progression and relapse, hospital admission for symptoms or social concerns, intensive care or marrow transplant admission, phase 1 trial or hospice enrollment, DNR status). A single-center retrospective review was conducted on patients aged 0-17 years at diagnosis with bone/soft tissue tumors who died from 1/1/12- 11/30/17. Demographic, disease, and treatment data was collected, and descriptive statistics were performed. Timing of opportunities was evaluated over quartiles from diagnosis to death. Result(s): Patients (n = 60) had a mean of nine (SD = 4) palliative opportunities. Number or type of opportunities did not differ by primary diagnosis or demographic variables. PC consulted on 18 patients (30%) a median of 14.0 months (IQR 25.0) after diagnosis, and 2.6 months (IQR 11.5) prior to death. Likelihood of PC consult did not differ by diagnosis or total opportunities. The opportunities that preceded PC consultwere progression/relapse (9/18), escalated hospital level of care (4/18), symptom admission (3/18), and end-oflife concerns (2/18). Hospicewas involved for 72% of patients. The majority of opportunities occurred in the last quartile of the disease course (median 5.0, IQR 5.0). Conclusion(s): Patients with solid tumors incur many events warranting psychosocial or palliative support, which increase toward the end-of-life. Mean reported opportunities is likely a minimum due to stringent collection methods. No palliative opportunity or demographic variable was associated with PC consultation. Defining palliative opportunities provides an additional framework to assess the disease trajectory for patients suffering from oncologic diseases. Additional work is needed to further refine what qualifies as a palliative opportunity, how to fully capture opportunities, and how those may differ across different cancers.


Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

Oncology 2019 List



Ebelhar J; Allen K; Wasilewski-Masker K; Brock K, “Defining palliative opportunities in pediatric patients with bone and soft tissue tumors,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 26, 2024,