Aggressiveness of cancer care near the end of life: is it a quality-of-care issue?

J Clin Oncol. 2008 Aug 10;26(23):3860-6. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.15.8253.


The purpose of this article is to review the literature and update analyses pertaining to the aggressiveness of cancer care near the end of life. Specifically, we will discuss trends and factors responsible for chemotherapy overuse very near death and underutilization of hospice services. Whether the concept of overly aggressive treatment represents a quality-of-care issue that is acceptable to all involved stakeholders is an open question.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Hospice Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms* / mortality
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / trends
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • SEER Program
  • Terminal Care* / methods
  • Terminal Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Terminal Care* / trends


  • Antineoplastic Agents