Korean J Hosp Palliat Care.  2020 Mar;23(1):11-16. 10.14475/kjhpc.2020.23.1.11.

Association between D-Dimer Levels and the Prognosis of Terminal Cancer Patients in the Last Hours of Life

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Gil Medical Center, Gachon University College of Medicine, Incheon, Korea
  • 2Department of Family Medicine, Konkuk University Medical Center, Konkuk University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea


D-dimer levels are known to be associated with poor outcomes in patients with various cancers, but their significance at the end of life remains unclear. This study investigated D-dimer levels as a prognostic indicator for terminal cancer patients in the last hours of life.
The retrospective study was conducted at a palliative care unit of a tertiary cancer center, using a database to analyze the records of patients treated from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2018. In total, 67 terminal cancer patients with available data on Ddimer levels were included. Patients’ demographic data, clinical information, and laboratory values, including D-dimer levels, were collected. Survival was analyzed using the Kaplan– Meier method and the log-rank test. A Cox proportional-hazards model was used to identify prognostic factors of poor survival.
The most common site of cancer was the lung (32.8%) and the median survival time was 5 days. Most laboratory results, particularly D-dimer levels, deviated from the normal range. Patients with high D-dimer levels had a significantly shorter survival time than those with low D-dimer levels (4 days vs. 7 days; P=0.012). In the Cox regression analysis, only a high D-dimer level was identified as a predictor of a poor prognosis (hazard ratio, 1.83; 95% confidence interval, 1.09~3.07).
Our results suggest that at the very end of life, D-dimer levels may serve as a prognostic factor for survival in cancer patients.


Fibrin fibrinogen degradation products; Hospice care; Neoplasms; Prognosis; Survival
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