Special Issue "Integrating Palliative Care in Oncology"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694). This special issue belongs to the section "Cancer Survivorship and Quality of Life".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 1008

Special Issue Editor

Cancer Supportive and Palliative Care Unit, Department of Medical Oncology, Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, University of Barcelona, 08036 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: supportive care in cancer; palliative care; medical oncology; palliative medicine

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The World Health Organization (WHO) calls for health services to be designed so that early palliative care is integrated into existing health services in a shared care model to provide appropriate support to those who need it.

Many randomised clinical trials have shown that early palliative care (EPC) in patients with advanced cancer improves symptom control, psychological distress, quality of life, and patient and family satisfaction. Some trials have also shown that EPC reduces the use of futile chemotherapy at the end of life and improves healthcare resource use and survival.

Based on consistent scientific evidence, many international scientific societies and expert commissions (American Society of Clinical Oncology, European Society of Medical Oncology, National Comprehensive Cancer Network, and The Lancet Commission) recommend that patients with advanced cancer should be managed by multidisciplinary teams specialising in EPC, parallelly with their cancer treatment.

Referral to early palliative care teams and the intensity of shared care with oncology not only depend on the extent of patients' disease and prognosis, but also on the individual complexity of their care needs. A key component of improving the care of patients with advanced cancer is increasing our knowledge in this area. That is why we are seeking your opinion and contribution (through narrative or systematic reviews, original research, etc.).

The aim of this Special Issue is to review the integration of early palliative care in oncology. The main topics for the Special Issue may include, but are not limited to: the integration of palliative care in oncology; complexity of palliative care needs; organisational models of shared care between oncology and palliative care; cancer pain; symptom control; end of life in cancer patients; advanced care planning, etc.

Dr. Albert Tuca-Rodríguez
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Cancers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • early palliative care
  • advanced cancer
  • complexity of care needs
  • integration of palliative care in oncology
  • cancer pain
  • symptom control
  • end-of-life
  • advance care planning

Published Papers (1 paper)

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16 pages, 2133 KiB  
Validation Study of the PALCOM Scale of Complexity of Palliative Care Needs: A Cohort Study in Advanced Cancer Patients
Cancers 2023, 15(16), 4182; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers15164182 - 20 Aug 2023
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Background: In a patient-centred model of care, referral to early palliative care (EPC) depends on both the prognosis and the complexity of care needs. The PALCOM scale is a 5-domain multidimensional assessment tool developed to identify the level of complexity of palliative care [...] Read more.
Background: In a patient-centred model of care, referral to early palliative care (EPC) depends on both the prognosis and the complexity of care needs. The PALCOM scale is a 5-domain multidimensional assessment tool developed to identify the level of complexity of palliative care needs of cancer patients. The aim of this study was to validate the PALCOM scale. Patient and methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study of cancer patients to compare the PALCOM scale and expert empirical assessment (EA) of the complexity of palliative care needs. The EA had to categorise patients according to their complexity, considering that medium to high levels required priority attention from specialist EPC teams, while those with low levels could be managed by non-specialist teams. Systematically collected multidimensional variables were recorded in an electronic report form and stratified by level of complexity and rating system (PALCOM scale versus EA). The correlation rank (Kendall’s tau test) and accuracy test (F1-score) between the two rating systems were analysed. ROC curve analysis was used to determine the predictive power of the PALCOM scale. Results: A total of 283 advanced cancer patients were included. There were no significant differences in the frequency of the levels of complexity between the EA and the PALCOM scale (low 22.3–23.7%; medium 57.2–59.0%; high 20.5–17.3%). The prevalence of high symptom burden, severe pain, functional impairment, socio-familial risk, existential/spiritual problems, 6-month mortality and in-hospital death was significantly higher (p < 0.001) at the high complexity levels in both scoring systems. Comparative analysis showed a high correlation rank and accuracy between the two scoring systems (Kendall’s tau test 0.81, F1 score 0.84). The predictive ability of the PALCOM scale was confirmed by an area under the curve in the ROC analysis of 0.907 for high and 0.902 for low complexity. Conclusions: In a patient-centred care model, the identification of complexity is a key point to appropriate referral and management of shared care with EPC teams. The PALCOM scale is a high precision tool for determining the level of complexity of palliative care needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Integrating Palliative Care in Oncology)
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