Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2016 Mar;19(1):70-75. 10.14475/kjhpc.2016.19.1.70.

Cases and Literature Review of Timing for Withdrawal of Palliative Chemotherapy

  • 1Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Ilsan Hospital, Dongguk University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea. smdkdy@hanmail.net


Advanced incurable cancer patients receive palliative chemotherapy to prolong their life and improve quality of life. However, physicians should assess the timing to discontinue the treatment, especially near the final months of life, as palliative chemotherapy may accompany considerable toxicity. Even though there are no clear guidelines regarding the withdrawal timing for anticancer treatment in palliative setting, it is important clarify the issue for quality of care for advanced cancer patients. Here, we present two patients who received palliative chemotherapy for advanced colon cancer and non-small cell lung cancer, respectively. In both cases, it was jointly determined to stop palliative chemotherapy, and best efforts are made to relieve troublesome symptoms. The cases and up-to-date literature review will highlight the importance of the timing of discontinuation of cancer treatments when changes are being made to the health care system and hospice and palliative medicine is taking root in Korea.


Antineoplastic agents; Palliative care; Terminal care; Quality of life; Withholding treatment

MeSH Terms

Antineoplastic Agents
Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung
Colonic Neoplasms
Delivery of Health Care
Drug Therapy*
Palliative Care
Quality of Life
Terminal Care
Withholding Treatment
Antineoplastic Agents
Full Text Links
export Copy
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
Similar articles
    DB Error: unknown error