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Early palliative care in haematological patients: a systematic literature review
  1. Silvia Tanzi1,2,
  2. Francesco Venturelli2,3,
  3. Stefano Luminari4,
  4. Franco Domenico Merlo5,
  5. Luca Braglia6,
  6. Chiara Bassi7 and
  7. Massimo Costantini5
  1. 1 Palliative Care Unit, Azienda USL-IRCCS Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  2. 2 Clinical and Experimental Medicine PhD Program, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy
  3. 3 Epidemiology Unit, Azienda USL-IRCCS Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  4. 4 Hematologic Department, Azienda USL-IRCCS Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  5. 5 Scientific Department, Azienda USL-IRCCS Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  6. 6 Department Infrastructure Research and Statistics Azienda USL-IRCCS Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  7. 7 Medical Library, Azienda USL-IRCCS Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Silvia Tanzi, Azienda Ospedaliera Santa Maria Nuova di Reggio Emilia, Reggio Emilia 42125, Italy; silvia.tanzi{at}


Background Early palliative care together with standard haematological care for advanced patients is needed worldwide. Little is known about its effect. The aim of the review is to synthesise the evidence on the impact of early palliative care on haematologic cancer patients’ quality of life and resource use.

Patients and methods A systematic review was conducted. The search terms were early palliative care or simultaneous or integrated or concurrent care and haematological or oncohaematological patients. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Embase, Cochrane, CINHAL and Scopus. Additional studies were identified through cross-checking the reference articles. Studies were in the English language, with no restriction for years. Two researchers independently reviewed the titles and abstracts, and one author assessed full articles for eligibility.

Results A total of 296 studies titles were reviewed. Eight articles were included in the synthesis of the results, two controlled studies provided data on the comparative efficacy of PC interventions, and six one-arm studies were included. Since data pooling and meta-analysis were not possible, only a narrative synthesis of the study results was performed. The quality of the two included comparative studies was low overall. The quality of the six non-comparative studies was high overall, without the possibility of linking the observed results to the implemented interventions.

Conclusions Studies on early palliative care and patients with haematological cancer are scarce and have not been prospectively designed. More research on the specific population target, type and timing of palliative care intervention and standardisation of collected outcomes is required.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020141322.

  • cancer
  • haematological disease

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.