Metastatic solid organ cancer is associated with a poor prognosis, and admission of patients with these cancers to the intensive care unit remains a dilemma. We aimed to assess outcomesin a cohort of these patients who were admitted to the ICU of a general tertiary centre.A retrospective observational study of patients with incurable metastatic solid organ malignancies who had unplanned admission to a tertiary hospital ICU between 1 January 2010 and 30 June 2015.Survival outcomes up to 1 year after ICU admission, and functional outcomes as measured by Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) grade up to 3 months after ICU discharge. We also determined rates of advance care planning documentation.A total of 101 patients were treated in the ICU during the study period. Hospital, 30-day and 1-year mortality rates were 35%, 41% and 77%, respectively, and the median survival was 2.3 months (95% CI, 1.1-3.9 months). On multivariable analysis, lowest albumin level (hazard ratio [HR], 1.10; 95% CI, 1.04-1.15) and highest white cell count (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.00-1.07) were significant, although they were marginal predictors of poorer overall survival. Higher ECOG grade showed a trend towards significance (HR, 1.60; 95% CI, 0.94-2.73; P = 0.08). In patients alive and assessable at 1 month, 17/31 (55%) had functionally declined. At 3 months, 15/22 surviving patients (68%) had returned to their baseline, pre-ICU admission ECOG grade. Ninety per cent had no advance care directive and twothirds did not have a medical enduring power of attorney.Survival is poor in patients with metastatic cancer after emergent ICU admission, although functional state is often recovered by 3 months in surviving patients. Albumin level, white cell count and ECOG grade are simple prognostic markers of survival.