Patients with Metastatic Lung Cancer and Oncologists’ Views on Achievement of Treatment Goals and Making the Right Treatment Decision: A Prospective Multicenter Study

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Background: Previous studies have investigated patients’ treatment goals before starting a treatment for metastatic lung cancer. Data on the evaluation of treatment goals are lacking. Aim: To determine if patients with metastatic lung cancer and their oncologists perceive the treatment goals they defined at the start of systemic treatment as achieved after treatment and if in hindsight they believe it was the right decision to start systemic therapy. Design and Participants: A prospective multicenter study in 6 hospitals across the Netherlands between 2016 and 2018. Following systemic treatment, 146 patients with metastatic lung cancer and 23 oncologists completed a questionnaire on the achievement of their treatment goals and whether they made the right treatment decision. Additional interviews with 15 patients and 5 oncologists were conducted. Results: According to patients and oncologists, treatment goals were achieved in 30% and 37% for ‘quality of life,’ 49% and 41% for ‘life prolongation,’ 26% and 44% for ‘decrease in tumor size,’ and 44% for ‘cure’, respectively. Most patients and oncologists, in hindsight, felt they had made the right decision to start treatment even if they had not achieved their goals (72% and 93%). This was related to the feeling that they had to do ‘something.’ Conclusions: Before deciding on treatment, the treatment options, including their benefits and side effects, and the goals patients have should be discussed. It is key that these discussions include not only systemic treatment but also palliative care as effective options for doing ‘something.’

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-526
Number of pages12
JournalMedical decision making
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • chemotherapy
  • communication
  • end of life
  • immunotherapy
  • lung cancer
  • targeted therapy
  • treatment goals

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