Objectives To assess the prevalence and factors associated with the occurrence of pathological fractures and their impact on the overall survival of patients with bone metastases under palliative care.
Methods An observational retrospective cohort assessment concerning both male and female patients with cancer presenting with bone metastases referred to a palliative care unit. Sociodemographic and clinical data were obtained before and after care unit referral. Patients were followed up until death or the last follow-up (4 years after referral). Logistic regression models and survival curves employing a log-rank test were applied.
Results A total of 348 patients were included in the study. Most were <65 years (65%) and female (62%), and the most frequent primary tumour site was the breast (40%). The prevalence of pathological fractures was 28%, more frequent in the axial skeleton (49%), with no association with overall patient survival (p=0.348). Patients with breast cancer exhibited a 2.96-fold higher chance (95% CI: 1.80 to 4.86) of developing a fracture compared with other tumours, and not receiving previous radiotherapy increased the chances of fracture occurrence by 5.60-fold (95% CI: 2.46 to 12.77).
Conclusion A high prevalence of pathological fractures was observed. Presenting with breast cancer and not having undergone previous radiotherapy increase the chances of fracture occurrence, although this is not associated with overall survival in patients under palliative care.
- advance care planning
- supportive care
Data availability statement
No data are available.
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Contributors JR, LCdO and AB contributed to the research conception and design. JR, FPdS and AHRM contributed to data acquisition. JR, LCdO, AB and SSdA contributed to data analysis and interpretation. JR drafted the manuscript. All authors critically revised the manuscript, agreed to be fully accountable for ensuring the integrity and accuracy of the study, and read and approved the final manuscript. The author acting as guarantor is JR.
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.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.