Hospice care, cancer-directed therapy, and Medicare expenditures among older patients dying with malignant brain tumors

Academic Article


  • Background End-of-life care for older adults with malignant brain tumors is poorly understood. The purpose of this study is to quantify end-of-life utilization of hospice care, cancer-directed therapy, and associated Medicare expenditures among older adults with malignant brain tumors. Methods This retrospective cohort study included deceased Medicare beneficiaries age ≥65 with primary malignant brain tumor (PMBT) or secondary MBT (SMBT) receiving care within a southeastern cancer community network including academic and community hospitals from 2012-2015. Utilization of hospice and cancer-directed therapy and total Medicare expenditures in the last 30 days of life were calculated using generalized linear and mixed effect models, respectively. Results Late (1-3 days prior to death) or no hospice care was received by 24% of PMBT (n = 383) and 32% of SMBT (n = 940) patients. SMBT patients received late hospice care more frequently than PMBT patients (10% vs 5%, P = 0.002). Cancer-directed therapy was administered to 18% of patients with PMBT versus 25% with SMBT (P = 0.003). Nonwhite race, male sex, and receipt of any hospital-based care in the final 30 days of life were associated with increased risk of late or no hospice care. The average decrease in Medicare expenditures associated with hospice utilization for patients with PMBT was $'12,138 (95% CI: $ '18,065 to $ '6210) and with SMBT was $ '1,508 (95% CI: $ '3,613 to $598). Conclusions Receiving late or no hospice care was common among older patients with malignant brain tumors and was significantly associated with increased total Medicare expenditures for patients with PMBT.
  • Published In

  • Neuro-Oncology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dover LL; Dulaney CR; Williams CP; Fiveash JB; Jackson BE; Warren PP; Kvale EA; Boggs DH; Rocque GB
  • Start Page

  • 986
  • End Page

  • 993
  • Volume

  • 20
  • Issue

  • 7