Diagnosis of Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer during Hospitalization: Missed Opportunity for Optimal Supportive Care?

Shristi Upadhyay Banskota, Jonathan Q. Trinh, Elizabeth Lyden, Conor Houlihan, Samia Asif, Omar Abughanimeh, Benjamin A. Teply

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The usual workup for patients newly diagnosed with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) occurs in the ambulatory setting. A subset of patients present with acute care needs and receive the diagnosis while hospitalized. Palliative therapies are typically initiated when patients are outpatients, even when diagnoses are made when they are inpatients. Lengthy admission, rehabilitation needs after discharge, and readmissions are possible barriers to timely and adequate outpatient follow-up. The outcomes for these patients diagnosed in the hospital are not well characterized. We hypothesized that patients have been ill-served by current treatment patterns, as reflected by low rates of cancer-directed treatment and poor survival. Patients and methods: We performed a retrospective study of new inpatient diagnoses of metastatic NSCLC at our institution between 1 January 2012 and 1 January 2022. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients ultimately receiving cancer-directed therapy. Other outcomes included time to treatment, use of targeted therapy, palliative care/hospice utilization, and overall survival (OS). Results: Seventy-three patients were included, with a median age of 57 years. Twenty-seven patients (37%) ultimately received systemic therapy with a median time from diagnosis to treatment of 37.5 days. Overall, 5.4% patients died while admitted, 6.8% were discharged to a hospice, 21.9% were discharged to a facility, and 61.6% were discharged home. Only 20 patients (27%) received palliative care consultation. The median OS for our entire population was 2.3 months, with estimated 6-month and 1-year OS rates of 32% and 22%, respectively. Conclusion: Patients with new inpatient diagnoses of metastatic NSCLC have extremely poor outcomes. Current management strategies resulted in few patients starting systemic therapy, yet most of the patients did not receive palliative care or hospice involvement. These findings demonstrate that there is a high unmet need to optimally support and palliate these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1221
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2024


  • inpatient
  • metastatic non-small cell lung cancer
  • palliative care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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