Background: Many patients with advanced cancers have associated gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction. Parenteral nutrition (PN) is indicated in patients with a dysfunctional GI tract, but the role of PN in patients' survival is still controversial. The present study was retrospectively conducted to verify if there are any long-term survivors living for more than 1 year after initiation of PN without food or drink in patients with malignant GI tract obstruction resulting from advanced cancers.
Methods: One hundred fifteen adult patients with malignant GI obstruction were identified over a 6-year period at a palliative-care setting. Their median age was 51 years (range, 31-74 years), and 62 (54%) were women and 53 men (46%). All selected patients had malignant GI tract obstruction and started PN treatment after cessation of energy intake to time of death. Survival expectancy as a criterion was analyzed in all patients.
Results: The median time from initiation of PN to death was 6.5 months. Eleven patients survived >or=1 year and 2 patients have been alive for almost 4 years later after cessation of energy intake.
Conclusions: PN can be expected to obtain a longer survival for the patient with GI tract obstruction caused by advanced cancer.