Predictors of Mortality in Patients with Advanced Cancer—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Catherine Owusuaa*, Simone A. Dijkland, Daan Nieboer, Agnes van der Heide, Carin C.D. van der Rijt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)


To timely initiate advance care planning in patients with advanced cancer, physicians should identify patients with limited life expectancy. We aimed to identify predictors of mortality. To identify the relevant literature, we searched Embase, MEDLINE, Cochrane Central, Web of Science, and PubMed databases between January 2000–April 2020. Identified studies were assessed on risk-of-bias with a modified QUIPS tool. The main outcomes were predictors and prediction models of mortality within a period of 3–24 months. We included predictors that were studied in ≥2 cancer types in a meta-analysis using a fixed or random-effects model and summarized the discriminative ability of models. We included 68 studies (ranging from 42 to 66,112 patients), of which 24 were low risk-of-bias, and 39 were included in the meta-analysis. Using a fixed-effects model, the predictors of mortality were: the surprise question, performance status, cognitive impairment, (sub)cutaneous metastases, body mass index, comorbidity, serum albumin, and hemoglobin. Using a random-effects model, predictors were: disease stage IV (hazard ratio [HR] 7.58; 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.00–14.36), lung cancer (HR 2.51; 95% CI 1.24–5.06), ECOG performance status 1+ (HR 2.03; 95% CI 1.44–2.86) and 2+ (HR 4.06; 95% CI 2.36–6.98), age (HR 1.20; 95% CI 1.05–1.38), male sex (HR 1.24; 95% CI 1.14–1.36), and Charlson comorbidity score 3+ (HR 1.60; 95% CI 1.11–2.32). Thirteen studies reported on prediction models consisting of different sets of predictors with mostly moderate discriminative ability. To conclude, we identified reasonably accurate non-tumor specific predictors of mortality. Those predictors could guide in developing a more accurate prediction model and in selecting patients for advance care planning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number328
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) [grant number 844001209].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Dive into the research topics of 'Predictors of Mortality in Patients with Advanced Cancer—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this