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Emily J. Guerard, Allison M. Deal, YunKyung Chang, Grant R. Williams, Kirsten A. Nyrop, Mackenzi Pergolotti, Hyman B. Muss, Hanna K. Sanoff, and Jennifer L. Lund

Background: An objective measure is needed to identify frail older adults with cancer who are at increased risk for poor health outcomes. The primary objective of this study was to develop a frailty index from a cancer-specific geriatric assessment (GA) and evaluate its ability to predict all-cause mortality among older adults with cancer. Patients and Methods: Using a unique and novel data set that brings together GA data with cancer-specific and long-term mortality data, we developed the Carolina Frailty Index (CFI) from a cancer-specific GA based on the principles of deficit accumulation. CFI scores (range, 0–1) were categorized as robust (0–0.2), pre-frail (0.2–0.35), and frail (>0.35). The primary outcome for evaluating predictive validity was all-cause mortality. The Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank tests were used to compare survival between frailty groups, and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to evaluate associations. Results: In our sample of 546 older adults with cancer, the median age was 72 years, 72% were women, 85% were white, and 47% had a breast cancer diagnosis. Overall, 58% of patients were robust, 24% were pre-frail, and 18% were frail. The estimated 5-year survival rate was 72% in robust patients, 58% in pre-frail patients, and 34% in frail patients (log-rank test, P<.0001). Frail patients had more than a 2-fold increased risk of all-cause mortality compared with robust patients (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.51–3.68). Conclusions: The CFI was predictive of all-cause mortality in older adults with cancer, a finding that was independent of age, sex, cancer type and stage, and number of medical comorbidities. The CFI has the potential to become a tool that oncologists can use to objectively identify frailty in older adults with cancer.

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Smith Giri, Mustafa Al-Obaidi, Alice Weaver, Kelly M. Kenzik, Andrew McDonald, Deanna Clark, Crystal Young-Smith, Ravi Paluri, Lakshmin Nandagopal, Olumide Gbolahan, Mackenzi Pergolotti, Smita Bhatia, and Grant R. Williams

Background: The NCCN Guidelines for Older Adult Oncology recommend that, when possible, older adults with cancer undergo a geriatric assessment (GA) to provide a comprehensive health appraisal to guide interventions and appropriate treatment selection. However, the association of age with GA-identified impairments (GA impairments) remains understudied and the appropriate age cutoff for using the GA remains unknown. Patients and Methods: We designed a cross-sectional study using the Cancer and Aging Resilience Evaluation (CARE) registry of older adults with cancer. We included adults aged ≥60 years diagnosed with gastrointestinal malignancy who underwent a patient-reported GA prior to their initial consultation at the gastrointestinal oncology clinic. We noted the presence of GA impairments and frailty using Rockwood’s deficit accumulation approach. We studied the relation between chronologic age and GA impairments/frailty using Spearman rank correlation and chi-square tests of trend. Results: We identified 455 eligible older adults aged ≥60 years with gastrointestinal malignancies; the median age was 68 years (range, 64–74 years) and colorectal (33%) and pancreatic (24%) cancers were the most common cancer type. The correlation between chronologic age and number of geriatric impairments was weak and did not reach statistical significance (Spearman ρ, 0.07; P=.16). Furthermore, the prevalence of domain-specific impairments or frailty was comparable across the 3 age groups (60–64 years, 65–74 years, ≥75 years) with the exception of comorbidity burden. Notably, 61% of patients aged 60 to 64 years had ≥2 GA impairments and 35% had evidence of frailty, which was comparable to patients aged 65 to 74 years (66% and 36%, respectively) and ≥75 years (70% and 40%, respectively). Conclusions: Using chronologic age alone to identify which patients may benefit from GA is problematic. Future studies should identify screening tools that may identify patients at high risk of frailty and GA impairments.

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Efrat Dotan, Louise C. Walter, Ilene S. Browner, Katherine Clifton, Harvey Jay Cohen, Martine Extermann, Cary Gross, Sumati Gupta, Genevieve Hollis, Joleen Hubbard, Reshma Jagsi, Nancy L. Keating, Elizabeth Kessler, Thuy Koll, Beatriz Korc-Grodzicki, June M. McKoy, Sumi Misra, Dominic Moon, Tracey O’Connor, Cynthia Owusu, Ashley Rosko, Marcia Russell, Mina Sedrak, Fareeha Siddiqui, Amy Stella, Derek L. Stirewalt, Ishwaria M. Subbiah, William P. Tew, Grant R. Williams, Liz Hollinger, Giby V. George, and Hema Sundar

The NCCN Guidelines for Older Adult Oncology address specific issues related to the management of cancer in older adults, including screening and comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA), assessing the risks and benefits of treatment, preventing or decreasing complications from therapy, and managing patients deemed to be at high risk for treatment-related toxicity. CGA is a multidisciplinary, in-depth evaluation that assesses the objective health of the older adult while evaluating multiple domains, which may affect cancer prognosis and treatment choices. These NCCN Guidelines Insights focus on recent updates to the NCCN Guidelines providing specific practical framework for the use of CGA when evaluating older adults with cancer.