Palliative performance scale and survival among outpatients with advanced cancer

Support Care Cancer. 2015 Apr;23(4):913-8. doi: 10.1007/s00520-014-2440-8. Epub 2014 Sep 18.


Purpose: Previous studies have examined the association between the Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) and survival duration; however, few have examined patients with incurable cancer in the outpatient setting. In addition to exploring this association further, the purpose of this study was to identify key PPS markers that could serve as triggers to signify the need for key care discussions.

Methods: Study subjects were followed prospectively from the time of referral for a specialist palliative care consultation until death. PPS ratings and survival estimates were determined for each visit.

Results: For the final study population of 368 patients, at baseline, the median PPS rating was 60. Overall median and mean survival duration were approximately 4 and 6 months, respectively. Median survival duration for patients with PPS ratings of 70, 60, and 50 were found to be approximately 6, 3, and 2 months, respectively. Twenty-four percent of all survival estimates were found to be accurate.

Conclusions: Given the ongoing challenge of inaccurate survival estimates, this data suggests what may be of greatest clinical utility is to use specific PPS ratings as triggers for key care discussions among patients with incurable and progressive cancer.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Prognosis
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Survival Analysis