Trajectories of Hospitalization in three Groups of Patients with Incurable Gastric Cancer Identified by Hierarchical Clustering: A Retrospective Analysis
Author(s): Yasuko Murakawa, Masato Sakayori, and Kazunori Otsuka
Purpose: The therapeutic goal for advanced solid malignancies is not to achieve cure but to prolong survival and maintain quality of life (QOL). To date, no study has reported the trajectory of the QOL throughout the clinical course of a patient with advanced malignancy. As hospitalization is considered a predictor of QOL, we retrospectively analyzed the trajectory of hospitalization in patients with incurable gastric cancer throughout the clinical course.
Methods: The data of 85 patients with incurable gastric cancer were collected, including age, sex, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) Performance Status (PS), treatment, histology, sites of metastases at first consultation, planned and unplanned hospitalization throughout the clinical course, and overall survival (OS). We ranked the patients by OS and hospitalization using a hierarchical clustering analysis.
Results: Three clusters were identified corresponding to short, intermediate, and long OS/hospitalization (Clusters 1, 2, and 3, respectively). Patients in Cluster 3 were more likely to have an ECOG PS of 0-2 and receive palliative chemotherapy than the other clusters. No other differences in histology, age, sex, and or extra-peritoneal metastasis sites were observed between the three groups. In Cluster 3, planned hospitalization accumulated gradually during the early clinical phase, while unplanned hospitalization accumulated rapidly in later phases.
Conclusions: No specific characteristics were associated with short, intermediate, and long OS/hospitalization. Patients in the long OS/hospitalization group exhibited a rapid accumulation of unplanned hospitalization during the latter clinical course. Further research is needed to identify specific predictors of and measures to avoid a long OS/hospitalization.