Palliative care and coping in patients with acute myeloid leukemia: Mediation analysis of data from a randomized clinical trial

Ashley M. Nelson, Hermioni L. Amonoo, Alison R. Kavanaugh, Jason A. Webb, Vicki A. Jackson, Julia Rice, Mitchell W. Lavoie, Amir T. Fathi, Andrew M. Brunner, Joseph A. Greer, Jennifer S. Temel, Areej El-Jawahri, Thomas W. LeBlanc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: It has been shown previously that integrated palliative care for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) during intensive chemotherapy leads to improvements in quality of life (QOL) and mood. Coping has been shown to mediate palliative care interventions in advanced cancer; the mechanisms by which improvements occur among patients with AML remain unexplained. Methods: The authors conducted a secondary analysis of data from a multisite randomized trial of integrated palliative and oncology care (IPC; n = 86) versus usual care (n = 74) for hospitalized patients with AML undergoing intensive chemotherapy. IPC patients met with palliative care at least twice weekly during their initial and subsequent hospitalizations. Patients completed the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy–Leukemia, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and the Brief Coping Orientation to Problems Experienced Inventory to assess QOL, mood, and coping at the baseline and at weeks 2, 4, 12, and 24. Linear regression models were used to assess the effect of IPC on coping. Causal mediation regression models were used to examine whether changes in coping mediated intervention effects on patient-reported outcomes at week 2. Results: One hundred sixty eligible patients (68.1%) were enrolled. Those randomized to IPC reported improvements in approach-oriented coping (P <.01) and reductions in avoidant coping (P <.05). These changes in coping mediated the intervention effects on QOL (95% CI, 2.14-13.63), depression (95% CI, –2.05 to –0.27), and anxiety symptoms (95% CI, –1.25 to –0.04). Changes in approach-oriented and avoidant coping accounted for 78% of the total palliative care intervention effect on QOL, for 66% of the effect on depression, and for 35% of the effect on anxiety symptoms. Conclusions: Palliative care integrated during intensive chemotherapy for patients with AML facilitates coping strategy use. Improvement in coping skills accounts for a substantial proportion of the effect from a palliative care intervention on patient-reported outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4702-4710
Number of pages9
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021


  • acute myeloid leukemia (AML)
  • coping
  • distress
  • palliative care intervention
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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