Palliative care referral across the disease trajectory in high-grade glioma

Rita C. Crooms, Jennie W. Taylor, Nathalie Jette, Rachelle Morgenstern, Parul Agarwal, Nathan E. Goldstein, Barbara G. Vickrey

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1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Adults with high-grade glioma (HGG), WHO grade III or IV, have substantial palliative care needs. Our aim was to determine occurrence, timing, and factors associated with palliative care consultation (PCC) in HGG at one large academic institution. Methods: HGG patients receiving care between 08/1/2011 and 01/23/2020 were identified retrospectively from a multi-center healthcare system cancer registry. Patients were stratified by any PCC (yes/no), and timing of initial PCC by disease phase: diagnosis (before radiation), during initial treatment (first-line chemotherapy/radiation), second-line treatment(s), or end-of-life (after last chemotherapy). Results: Of 621 HGG patients, 134 (21.58%) received PCC with the vast majority occurring during hospital admission [111 (82.84%)]. Of the 134, 14 (10.45%) were referred during the diagnostic phase; 35 (26.12%) during initial treatment; 20 (14.93%) during second-line treatment; and 65 (48.51%) during end of life. In multivariable logistic regression, only higher Charlson Comorbidity Index was associated with greater odds of PCC [OR 1.3 (95% CI 1.2–1.4), p < 0.01]; but not age or histopathology. Patients who received PCC prior to end of life had longer survival from diagnosis than those referred during end of life [16.5 (8, 24) months vs. 11 (4, 17); p < 0.01]. Conclusion: A minority of HGG patients ever received PCC, which primarily occurred in the inpatient setting, and nearly half during the end-of-life phase. Thus, only about one in ten patients in the entire cohort potentially received the benefits of earlier PCC despite earlier referral having an association with longer survival. Further studies should elucidate barriers and facilitators to early PCC in HGG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-259
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuro-Oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2023


  • Care trajectories
  • Glioma
  • Palliative care
  • Quality of life


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