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J Cancer. 2017 Jul 5;8(11):1995-2003. doi: 10.7150/jca.18178. eCollection 2017.

Outcomes of cancer therapy administered to treatment-naïve lung cancer patients in the intensive care unit.

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Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital Yun-Lin Branch, No.579, Sec. 2, Yunlin Rd., Douliou City, Yunlin County 640, Taiwan (R.O.C.).
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, No.7, Zhongshan South Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan (ROC).
Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital Hsin-Chu Branch, No. 25, Lane 442, Sec. 1, Jingguo Rd., Hsinchu City 30059, Taiwan (R.O.C.).


Objectives: Therapy outcomes for newly diagnosed, critically ill lung cancer patients have seldom been evaluated. This study evaluated therapy outcomes for treatment-naïve lung cancer patients in the intensive care unit (ICU). Materials and Methods: Patients were excluded if they had previously received lung cancer treatment, such as systemic chemotherapy, targeted therapy, radiotherapy, or surgical lung resection before ICU admission. The therapeutic strategies for the treatment-naïve patients were determined while they were in the ICU. The patients' demographic data, clinical outcomes, and treatment-related toxicities were analyzed. Results: Newly diagnosed lung cancer patients (n = 72) who did not receive any anticancer treatment before ICU admission were included. Most patients had locally advanced disease, and 61 (84.7%) required intensive care due to cancer-related events. In the ICU, 24 (33.3%) patients received chemotherapy, 24 (33.3%) received epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI) therapy and 24 (33.3%) received best supportive care (BSC). Patients receiving chemotherapy or EGFR-TKIs in the ICU demonstrated better ICU (p = 0.011) and in-hospital (p = 0.034) survival than those receiving BSC only. Among patients requiring mechanical ventilation, those receiving chemotherapy had higher weaning rates than those receiving EGFR-TKIs or BSC (p = 0.002). In multivariate analysis, receipt of chemotherapy (hazard ratio [HR], 0.443; p = 0.083) and mechanical ventilation (HR, 0.270; p = 0.022) were significantly associated with longer ICU survival after adjusting for clinical factors. Conclusions: Anticancer therapy in the ICU might provide better short-term ICU survival for treatment-naïve, critically ill lung cancer patients.


Best supportive care; Epidermal growth factor receptor; Intensive care unit; Non-small cell lung cancer; Small cell lung cancer; Treatment-naïve lung cancer; Tyrosine kinase inhibitor

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: None of the authors has a financial relationship with a commercial entity that has an interest in the subject of this manuscript.

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