Efficacy and undesirable effects of corticosteroid therapy experienced by palliative care specialists in Japan: a nationwide survey

J Palliat Med. 2011 Jul;14(7):840-5. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2011.0002. Epub 2011 Jun 1.


Background and methods: Corticosteroids are commonly used for symptom relief in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer. Consistent efficacy of corticosteroid treatment in palliative care remains controversial. A cross-sectional anonymous survey was mailed to representative managing physicians in certified palliative care units in Japan to clarify the physician-perceived efficacy of steroid treatment on anorexia, fatigue, and dyspnea in terminal cancer patients, to clarify physicians' experience of side effects of corticosteroid use, and to determine the Japanese palliative care physician-reported predictive factors for efficacy and lack of efficacy.

Results and conclusions: Many Japanese palliative care specialists perceived that corticosteroids are effective for each of the symptoms, are aware of the prevalence and importance of serious adverse effects, and predict the effectiveness of steroid therapy by etiological factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Palliative Care*
  • Specialization*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones