Palliative and high-intensity end-of-life care in schizophrenia patients with lung cancer: results from a French national population-based study

Lung Cancer

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2020 Sep 2. doi: 10.1007/s00406-020-01186-z. Online ahead of print.


Schizophrenia is marked by inequities in cancer treatment and associated with high smoking rates. Lung cancer patients with schizophrenia may thus be at risk of receiving poorer end-of-life care compared to those without mental disorder. The objective was to compare end-of-life care delivered to patients with schizophrenia and lung cancer with patients without severe mental disorder. This population-based cohort study included all patients aged 15 and older who died from their terminal lung

cancer in hospital in France (2014-2016). Schizophrenia patients and controls without severe mental disorder were selected and indicators of palliative care and high-intensity end-of-life care were compared. Multivariable generalized log-linear models were performed, adjusted for sex, age, year of death, social deprivation, time between cancer diagnosis and death, metastases, comorbidity, smoking addiction and hospital category. The analysis included 633 schizophrenia patients and 66,469 controls. The schizophrenia patients died 6 years earlier, had almost twice more frequently smoking addiction (38.1%), had more frequently chronic pulmonary disease (32.5%) and a shorter duration from cancer diagnosis to death. In multivariate analysis, they were found to have more and earlier palliative care (adjusted Odds Ratio 1.27 [1.03;1.56]; p = 0.04), and less high-intensity end-of-life care (e.g., chemotherapy 0.53 [0.41;0.70]; p < 0.0001; surgery 0.73 [0.59;0.90]; p < 0.01) than controls. Although the use and/or continuation of high-intensity end-of-life care is less important in schizophrenia patients with lung cancer, some findings suggest a loss of chance. Future studies should explore the expectations of patients with schizophrenia and lung cancer to define the optimal end-of-life care.