Targeted therapy at the end of life for patients with lung cancer

J Palliat Med. 2010 Aug;13(8):945-8. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2010.0084.


The use of chemotherapy at the end of life is increasing. We characterized the use of targeted therapies in relation to the end of life in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who died in our institution. The frequency of systemic anticancer therapy usage at the end of life was consistent with that reported in other recent studies. The use of targeted therapies, especially epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), was strikingly more common than that of conventional chemotherapy. Targeted therapy was frequently initiated within the last 3 months of life. Targeted agents were also used in sequence, in combination, and in investigational protocols. We conclude that targeted agents, in particular EGFR TKIs, are now the drugs of choice in the systemic treatment of NSCLC at the end of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / drug therapy*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • Female
  • Gefitinib
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Quinazolines / administration & dosage
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Singapore
  • Sirolimus / administration & dosage
  • Terminal Care / methods*
  • Terminal Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinazolines
  • Erlotinib Hydrochloride
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Gefitinib
  • Sirolimus