The question of whether cancer patients with severe respiratory failure beneft from veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (vv-ECMO) remains unanswered. We, therefore, analyzed clinical characteristics and outcomes of a large cohort of cancer patients treated with vv-ECMO with the aim to identify prognostic factors.
297 cancer patients from 19 German and Austrian hospitals who underwent vv-ECMO between 2009 and 2019 were retrospectively analyzed. A multivariable cox proportional hazards analysis for overall survival was performed. In addition, a propensity score-matched analysis and a latent class analysis were conducted.
Patients had a median age of 56 (IQR 44–65) years and 214 (72%) were males. 159 (54%) had a solid tumor and 138 (47%) a hematologic malignancy. The 60-day overall survival rate was 26.8% (95% CI 22.1–32.4%). Low platelet count (HR 0.997, 95% CI 0.996–0.999; p=0.0001 per 1000 platelets/µl), elevated lactate levels (HR 1.048, 95% CI 1.012–1.084; p=0.0077), and disease status (progressive disease [HR 1.871, 95% CI 1.081–3.238; p=0.0253], newly diagnosed [HR 1.571, 95% CI 1.044–2.364; p=0.0304]) were independent adverse prognostic factors for overall survival. A propensity score-matched analysis with patients who did not receive ECMO treatment showed no signifcant survival advantage for treatment with ECMO.
The overall survival of cancer patients who require vv-ECMO is poor. This study shows that the value of vv-ECMO in cancer patients with respiratory failure is still unclear and further research is needed. The risk factors identifed in the present analysis may help to better select patients who may beneft from vv-ECMO