Palliative Care Clinical Trials

Our team is dedicated to clinical research in the field of palliative care. For more information on any of these trials, or to find out if you're eligible to participate, contact Mark Haller, or 858-543-7079.

Ongoing Studies

Alliance A221303: Randomized Study of Early Palliative Care Integrated with Standard Oncology Care versus Standard Oncology Care Alone in Patients with Incurable Lung or Non-Colorectal Gastrointestinal Malignancies

Status: Currently recruiting
Eligible: Patients and family caregivers of patients with incurable lung or non-colorectal gastrointestinal cancer
Patients diagnosed with metastatic cancer are known to benefit from palliative care in an inpatient setting however, the impact of palliative care in the outpatient setting is not known. Outpatient palliative care may serve to improve quality of life, increase understanding of the disease process, and decrease rates of depression in the population of patients and caregivers who receive this type of care. This randomized, controlled trial serves to compare outcomes of patients receiving early outpatient palliative care along with standard oncology care vs. patients receiving standard oncology care alone. Patients recently diagnosed with stage IV non-colorectal gastrointestinal or lung cancers may be eligible for this study. Those randomized to the early palliative care intervention will be asked to participate in monthly palliative care visits provided by a board certified palliative care physician and/or nurse practitioner which may take place in clinic, in the infusion center, or via phone.

Single Center, Prospective Expansion Study Evaluating Advance Care Planning Discussions Utilizing the 3 Questions

Status: Currently recruiting
Eligible: Advanced Stage Cancer Patients
Given the limited prognosis of advanced cancer patients, understanding and effectively communicating their end-of-life wishes is critical. These discussions should occur in the non-emergent outpatient setting when cancer patients may effectively communicate their wishes. However, social and pragmatic barriers limit advance care planning discussions. This study evaluates one simple, non-threatening innovative approach to address advance care planning using a tool developed by the Doris A. Howell Palliative Care Service called the 3 Questions. The 3 Questions are designed to help patients express their desires for advanced care and successfully identify an informed health care proxy or durable power of attorney. The goal of this study is to determine the proportion of advanced cancer patients who identify a health care proxy following implementation of the 3 Questions when administered by a Howell Service medical provider.

Positive Support in Cancer Care: Emphasizing Quality of Life and Legacy

Status: Currently recruiting
Eligible: Cancer patients who are eligible for or are currently receiving hospice or palliative care
This study focuses on the positive outcomes of providing cancer patients with extra support and attention. Patients included in this study will receive extra support from trained clinicians over the course of approximately two weeks. There will be two groups in the study. One group will be focused on support through storytelling and the creation of a life story (legacy) document. The second group will be focused on general support for daily needs or concerns. The primary goal of this study will help researchers understand the impact of different types of psychosocial support and how this process may positively impact people's well-being and quality of life.

A Prospective Study to Correlate Cross-Sectional Computed Tomography Skeletal Muscle Loss with Functional Activity in Metastatic Cancer Patients On Chemotherapy

Status: Currently Recruiting
Eligible: Patients receiving multiday highly-emetogenic chemotherapy for blood cancers
Cancer cachexia is one of the most common and distressing comorbidities associated with advanced cancer. It is characterized by substantial weight loss, muscle wasting, and a decrease in physical functioning. Cancer cachexia treatment has the potential to improve patient quality of life and survival; however, existing methods to evaluate cancer cachexia have limitations and are often costly and burdensome for patients. In this study, we propose that cross-sectional muscle area measured on routine computed tomography (CT) scans will correlate with patient-specific outcomes and may be a simple, cost-effective way to identify early stages of cachexia. No additional CT scans are required. The goal of this study is to determine whether cross-sectional muscle area measured on routine CT scans as part of normal cancer surveillance will correlate with patient physical activity, anthropometric measures (weight, height, measurement of the distance around your arm), and quality of life. Ultimately, optimizing cancer cachexia management may improve patient quality of life and allow for optimal cancer treatment. Participation in this trial will not prohibit participation in other clinical trials at Moores Cancer Center.


Mark Haller
Moores Cancer Center
Phone: 858-543-7079